WELCOME TO THE CFZ BLOG NETWORK: COME AND JOIN THE FUN

Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, February 23, 2015

News link - Solving a Museum’s Bug Display Problem With Lego

An entomologist from London is using his favorite childhood toy to build a device that holds fragile insect specimens.

The Natural History Museum in London has a gargantuan task ahead: the mass digitization of its sprawling collections. Over the next five years, the museum plans to scan more than 20 million pinned specimens. The job will require imaging an inordinate variety of insects, from metallic-green beetles and butterflies as colorful as a Monet, to tropical parasitic wasps and grasshoppers from Mount Everest.

But photographing tiny bugs can be tricky. Meaningful images must capture minutiae such as leg hairs, wing tips, and antennae. And gathering those details is challenging for museum researchers dealing with fragile specimens, some of which are more than 300 years old. “Every time you pick one of these up on a pin, there’s a chance they will break because they are very brittle,” said Steen Dupont, an entomologist at the museum. “But we still want to image the insects to make them available.”

Though there are several commercial devices that allow entomologists to manipulate pinned insects without touching them, most are often bulky and expensive. Dupont wanted something that was cheap, portable, and customizable so that he could observe the wings of his moths easier. So he turned to Legos, his favorite childhood toy, to construct something new. 

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