Well as promised, here is the second half of my run down of the animals and their histories, that put in an appearance at iCHSTM (International Congress for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine) last week in Manchester (21-28 July 201.
Well I began ‘Animal Day’ (as I took to calling last Wednesday, aka Day 3) with two papers on the history of entomology in Russia. Insect, or insect pests in particular, were the basis of two papers that considered issues of the professional vs. the amateur, and the change in the relationship between the 2 as the number of professionals increased.
Day 3 continued with ‘Beyond the Animal Model’, a session dedicated to all things (well almost all things) animal. Continue reading
This year I chose to spend Valentine’s Day with the dead. Well, the living were there as well, but we were definitely outnumbered by the dead. The Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL (a great place if you have never been, as long as you like zoological exhibits) held a special night dedicated to animals and love. And it is to them that I owe a debt of thanks for the contents of this post. I was struck by the number of folklore tales, or superstitions depending on your point of view, that feature animals in relation to women and their love lives. So today’s blog will give you some ideas of how animals can help (or hinder) you Continue reading
I am going to be honest from the start of this post – I loathe spiders. I suppose I have a very mild form of arachnophobia – I can ignore the really little ones, but the big ones can leave me frozen where I stand. (Which is unhelpful if I am the only one at home!) And spiders usually feature in my nightmares. So imagine my ‘joy’ at finding a couple of large spiders sheltering from the rain in my flat this morning.
Whenever I mention my dislike of these creepy crawlies to anyone, the usual response I get is ‘well they are harmless and they catch flies – so what’s the problem?’ Well I say that is all well and good, but Continue reading
Perhaps it was the chill in the air, the fact I finally pulled out my collection of jumpers, or that I even considered the need for a jacket, but something this morning told me that summer really was on its way out. (If it ever really arrived this year anyway). However, in this quiet moment of reflection, my thoughts wandered to all the changes in animal inhabitants of my garden that are becoming apparent. The number of spiders has risen quite dramatically, whilst the number of flying insects has steadily begun to fall. Fewer bees can be found buzzing around the roses and, thankfully, fewer wasps will be arriving, uninvited into the kitchen. But, perhaps, I have been misjudging wasps, and if you can spare me a few moments, I would like to try and explain my (slight) change of view.
Wasp – nasty or nice?. Copyright Peter Dahlgren, flickr
In a book that will in the future be referred to often on ‘tales of animals past’ Mind in the Lower Animals (1879), William Lauder Lindsay (Scottish Alienist and scholar of the animal mind), writes that man himself has ascribed the characteristics of irritability, ill-nature, spite and vengefulness onto wasps. And this in spite of their natural character which is quite the opposite Continue reading