By the Writer

Uncle John’s 2010 Census Random Drawing Winner

You thought we forgot, right? Well, we didn’t. It just took us a long time to go through all the answers and process the massive amounts of data about you and your households. The consensus here at the BRI is that the census was a success. Without further delay, we would like to announce the randomly selected winner of the Uncle John’s 2010 Census…

Crystal Elmer: You are the winner!!!! We have sent you an email. Please email us back with your address and choice of book.

We also want to take this moment to confirm what some of you already suspected. Sadly, Uncle John will not be appearing on America Idol. Although, we do hope that one day our April Fool’s will actually become a reality. Until then, go with the flow!

Suicide-Committing Grasshoppers

Just found this on the intertubes. It’s a fascinating (and creepy) YouTube video about nematomorpha, parasitic creatures more commonly called “hairworms.” We wrote a short piece about them in Uncle John’s Triumphant 20th Bathroom Reader (2007, p. 172). An excerpt:

Tests on grasshoppers that had contracted hairworms by drinking water containing hairworm larvae revealed that the lavrae feed off grasshoppers’ insides and grow until one takes up most of its body cavity. When that worm is ready to reproduce, it secretes a protein concoction that affects the grasshopper’s central nervous system, mimicking messages to its brain. The messages drive the grasshopper to water, where it doesn’t stop for a drink…it jumps in and drowns. It is effectively induced to commit suicide. The worm, which by this time can be three times the length of the grasshopper, then crawls out of the carcass and swims off to find a mate.

Yum!

Here’s the video:

Related Extra: A fungus that brainwashes ants into sacrificing themselves…for the fungus.

And this just in: Yay toads!

Periodic Table Printmaking Project

This is just too cool:

Ninety-seven printmakers of all experience levels, have joined together to produce 118 prints in any medium; woodcut, linocut, monotype, etching, lithograph, silkscreen, or any combination. The end result is a periodic table of elements intended to promote both science and the arts.

Example:

Tin
by Natalia Moroz

About the Element
For Tin, a silvery-white metal, the chemical element of atomic number 50. (Symbol: Sn), I pictured The Steadfast Tin Soldier from the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.

About the Print
I also added more tins on the background. It’s a four color linocut, gray, red and blue printed using the jigsaw method, overprinted with black. Printed with Daniel Smith oil based inks on white Rising Stonehenge paper.