Friday, August 4, 2017

Dragonfly Lore




 Winged & Tooth-jawed




Dragonflies and their cousins, the Damselflies, have mythological roots that lead back to dragons.

According to some sources, Odonata, the family name of this winged species, originates from the Greek word for tooth.  It was believed that these flying creatures had teeth with which they could easily crush their prey. Turns out they don’t really have teeth but do have strong muscles that allow them to complete the task. 


Most of us find them near water. They glide atop the surface of water in pursuit of what they seek. And for this reason, they appear to be magical. In a sense, they appear to be able to ‘walk on water’.


They appear the world over and for that reason have been mentioned in a variety of cultures. Dragonfly images have been found on pottery, rock paintings and contemporary jewelry. In Japan, they are a source of traditional medicine as they represent courage, strength, and happiness.


Did you know that they can move in six different directions and can do so at a speed of approximately 45 miles per hour?  They hover, fly backwards and go straight up or down on both the left and the right sides at a wing flapping pace of about 30 times a minute. Compare that to the 600 times a minute a mosquito must flap its wings.


Facts and Myths


Here are a few facts and myths about these multi-dimensional flying insects:


Facts


  • Dragonflies have two sets of wings so they don’t have to beat them as much to fly.
  • Huge dinosaur dragonflies lived 300 million years ago. The largest found fossil had a wingspan of 2.5 feet.

Myths


  • Dragonflies are known as snake doctors because they can bring dead snakes back to life.
  • They would seek out bad children and sew their mouths together while they slept.


 Related Information


Friday, July 28, 2017

3 Urban Legends




Urban Legends on Film


Urban legends are usually true stories that have evolved over time. While these rich tales have been passed down, they reflect contemporary themes, such as outer space contact and unexpected medical results. They are also shared via modern day technology, such as video.

Here are three examples of videos that have fostered urban legends:


Garden City Ghost Car

This police chase in Georgia involves a white car that drove off the highway then came to a dead end. Then, supposedly, it disappeared behind a chain link fence.  The driver was never found and there was no evidence of the car anywhere beyond the fence.  


1928 Time Traveler

The Circus, a Charlie Chaplin silent film was a box office success in 1928. In 2004, a copy of the movie was released to DVD with bonus footage. The footage shows pictures of the public attending the film, including a premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. In the clip, a woman in a heavy coat and hat holds what looks like a black object – like a cell phone- to her head. She is even seen chatting just as a cell phone user today would do.
Some say this woman with very big feet and hands was a time traveler. Others think that maybe she was holding a 1924 hearing aid. 


The McPherson Tape

This movie, created in 1989 is a classic example of “found footage” -Made to look like a home movie recording) that chronicles a Connecticut family abducted by aliens.  It documents a child’s birthday party and an unusual power outage that follows a flash of red lights that the family thinks is the result of a plane crash. Inspection of the site reveals aliens who capture them.


Related Information

Abduction Film 

American Highway Men

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Help Science, Have Fun



Help Science + Have Fun = Win/Win





Got time on your hands? Feeling like it’s time to get involved in the world in new and productive ways? Looking for ways to become involved in something that can, in the long run, help others? If so, then check out the possibilities these hands-on approaches to scientific research. They cover a range of topics, and allow you to help organizations as little or as much as you would like.

The Online Wisdom Lab - A new suite of apps that will help University of Birmingham researchers learn about changes in thinking skills, decision making and health behavior during adulthood. By completing surveys and games within the app, members of the public will be able to learn more about their own thinking and behavior, and help researchers to understand how these skills change throughout the lifespan. 

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The Small World of Words project is a large study, based upon a questionnaire that volunteers take, designed to help universities in Australia and Belgium build a map of the human lexicon in the major languages of the world. Unlike a thesaurus or dictionary, this language map provides insight into what words and what part of their meaning are represented in the human mind. The results enable psychologists, linguists, neuroscientists and others to test new theories about how the human brain represents and processes language.

Today’s globalized world lets us connect in ways that have never been possible before. So, go on, step into the future and give science a hand; at a pace that works for you. Along the way, you might also learn some new skills and have fun. 

Nothing wrong with that, right?

To learn more about these and other volunteer opportunities, click here.



Related Information