*notcot - 03.12.14 , 14:15 - 1 Notes

Crufts Dog Show 2014

cruft0.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!

This year we visited Crufts on the day of the Working and Pastoral (Herding) Groups. There were no Gamekeepers present like last year’s Gun Dog day, but the day did mark the judging of some amazing dogs, including towering Great Danes, Mastiffs and St. Bernards in the working group, as well as some impressively dreadlocked Komondors and perfectly fluffed Old English Sheepdogs in the herding group. We met some fantastic dogs and dog lovers and as always, the sweetest moments were always, those little interactions between dogs and their people. More photos of Day 1 at Crufts on the next page.

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*notcot - 11.09.13 , 17:15 - 0 Notes

Baby Octopus

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*notcot - 08.18.13 , 12:20 -

Knopper Galls

gall1.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

As we move into late summer, fruits and nuts seem to be forming everywhere in all sorts of shapes and colors. While walking through London, these oddly-shaped green acorns caught my eye, with their ridges, knobs and slightly sticky appearance. On closer inspection, most of the acorns were covered with these intricate, ridged growths, called Knopper Galls. The galls result from a chemical reaction in response to the gall wasp (Andricus quercuscalicis), which lays its eggs on the developing acorns. The shapes and textures of the resulting galls are fascinating (and quite variable). The degree of ridging on the gall is thought to be related to the number of larvae competing within the gall and we found as many as three separate galls on a single developing acorn. Their name “Knopper Galls” comes is thought to be derived from the English word ‘knop’, meaning “a small rounded protuberance, boss, stud, button, tassel or the like” and German ‘knoppe’ meaning “a kind of felt cap or helmet worn during the 17th-century”.

Galls like the ones we found occur on the Pedunculate or Common Oak tree (Quercus robur), but the wasp also requires a second oak species, the Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) in order to complete its life cycle. Like aphids, the wasp undergoes both a sexual and asexual components of its life cycle. The knopper galls we observed are part of the agamic (female only) generation. Only adult females will emerge from the Knopper galls in the spring and these females will go on to lay their eggs on the catkins of the Turkey Oak. It is from these small conical galls that a sexual generation of male and female wasps will emerge, mate and produce further knopper galls. As a result, knopper galls are only found where both Common and Turkey Oaks grow. While galls have a negative effect on the reproduction of the trees, they don’t appear to harm other aspects of the tree’s health and in a typical biological twist, the wasps themselves are also often parasitized by a number of hyperparasites! You can find out more at ARKive, The Wildlife Trusts and Hedgerow Mobile, but for now see more pics (and my dissection) on the next page!

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*notcot - 06.12.13 , 10:13 - 1 Notes

LA Natural History Museum Nature Lab

nhm00.jpg On the plane about to land in memphis and battery about to die, but wanted to share this with you first! More details to come soon…

On the must see when in LA list ~ or the, if you live in LA, must see list ~ the LA Natural History Museum’s newest additions the Nature Lab and Nature Gardens literally bring it all to life! Being a born and raised angeleno with a sister who ended up getting her doctorate in animal behavior, you can only imagine how many local creatures large and small i grew up (and continually am) fascinated by all around me… from the parrots, finches, hummingbirds, etc. that constantly take over the yard, to the coyotes, deer, raccoons, alligator lizards, spiders, and so much more… Well for their 100th Birthday, the NHM has brought in quite the selection of living creatures that are all around us in a beautifully designed urban/modern interactive exhibition that is not to be missed. They create such a personal awareness about the interaction and roles that our city and communities have played in the rise and urban evolution of certain species, as well as teaching us all a bit more about all the creatures we encounter (and may not even notice) regularly here in Los Angeles. It was so inspiring to see kids and adults alike completely mesmerized, engaging with the exhibits with giddy smiles as they darted from one thing to the next. I couldn’t help but constantly wonder, “where was THIS when we were kids running around trying to find all these crazy creatures?”

So, we went to the 100th birthday bash for fun, and i wasn’t thinking about it as a post, but it was so exciting, Shawn and i ended up snapping a bunch of cell phone pics to share with Justine, and while cleaning them up, realized the inspiration (both from content and design) was too awesome not to share with you too! Take a peek inside the Nature Lab on the next page!

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*notcot - , 09:02 - 1 Notes

NHM 100: Otis Booth Pavilion Unveiling

unveil0.jpg The Los Angeles Natural History 100th Birthday Bash was incredible ~ inspiring, innovative, playful, and filled with incredible energy! From the updates to the displays in their historic building to the launch of their impressive Nature Gardens surrounding the museum and Nature Lab showcasing some of the wildlife that surrounds us all… to the unveiling of the stunning new Otis Booth Pavilion! It resembles an apple store like monstrous two story glass cube with a whale skeleton suspended within, and between performances by GZA/the Genius and DEVO, they had a super heartfelt look back through the history and adventures of the NHM and a look at how LA has evolved over the last century, then the digital whales burst on to the projection… even breaching at the top! and then pretending to break through the glass, dropping the curtains and showing off the new pavilion. So many random pictures from that evening, but first, take a peek at the whale filled unveiling moments in pics and video on the next page!

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*rugenius - 05.21.13 , 14:20 - 0 Notes

Highlights from the 100th Chelsea Flower Show

garden.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw from the 100th RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

One of the most incredible aspects of flowers shows like RHS Chelsea is amazing range and breadth of both wild type and cultivated plants. Leaves and flowers come in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures and even closely related cultivars can look strikingly different. Yet, cultivated varieties are bred to consistency and this simultaneous diversity and uniformity are highlighted at shows like Chelsea where large stands are filled with nearly identical blooms of each variety. More photos from Chelsea on the next page.

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*notcot - 04.27.13 , 11:53 - 4 Notes

Laser Challenges #9 + 10: Bird Feeders

birdfeeder0.jpg This post is part of the NOTlabs Laser Challenge: The ground rules are: Shawn and I are alternating days with executing and sharing a Laser Cutter involved experiment! And most importantly - we’re supposed to have fun, explore ideas, and it’s less about a fully formed product/concept at the end of the day, but more about seeing where the experiment takes us!

Laser Challenges #9 and #10 are here! We’ve slipped behind a tiny bit, but the rules still hold that each project goes from idea to post in less than a day… so today we teamed up for a pair of projects that complement and grew off each other. Looking around NOTlabs, i’ve had glass bottles around that are too pretty to throw away, but we also couldn’t figure out what to do with them (other than vases and as “future projects”) ~ including these Aladdin Sake Bottles and the Sofia Coppola Bottles… we also have a yard full of birds, from finches and jays to parrots and hummingbirds and more… so we decided to try turning them into bird feeders, with just laser cut acrylic and paracord. Of course all of this turned into a fun late night experiment playing with finding the perfect curves (and my learning more rhino from shawn), mastering snap fits down to such tiny measurements, and then a late night bird feeder hanging and photoshoot! Shawn’s #9 turns the wine bottle into a beautiful feeder that plays off of the curves so nicely! My #10 plays off of his ideas and takes them one step further with the stacked sake bottles of food and water (yay for the magic of surface tension) which can also be turned into a finches and little birds on top - hummingbirds downstairs set up. Just took the picture above while sitting here waiting to see if the birds come today… but for now, see the process and details of our two bird feeders on the next page!

p.s. If you have ideas, or want some laser cutting done, or want to play with us… feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment! And if you’re curious about the laser cutter we’re using, here’s the unboxing.

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*notcot - 04.26.13 , 16:05 - 4 Notes

Spider

spider1.jpg Today’s NOTlabs inspiration is coming from this furry little visitor that just showed up outside… a Jumping (thanks, commenters!) Spider! Couldn’t help taking a few portraits of his fuzzy little face and rusty colored patterned body before relocating him… take a peek on the next page!

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*rugenius - 03.27.13 , 17:15 - 1 Notes

Easter Eggs Live

eggamain.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!

Over the past few days, I have had been helping out on the live set behind Channel 4’s Easter Eggs Live, an exciting program that features eggs of all sorts hatching and developing live on air! With so many species about to hatch, there is nonstop action on the live streams which will continue until Monday. The newly hatched babies are pretty adorable too and you can watch them live as well on the live Baby Cams.

It’s been a busy day in the studio, with lots of animals to look after, and nonstop spawning and hatching activity. Check out more photos of the studio behind the scenes and of the incredible eggs, their layers and babies on the next page!

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*notcot - 03.22.13 , 10:48 - 0 Notes

Fancy Paws: Behind the Scenes

nfancy1.jpg Everything and everyone says that you need to expose your puppies to as much as possible ~ so when Sarah told us about Fancy Paws photoshoot to benefit NKLA, we HAD to bring Bucky! And at around 5 months old, he was (and still is) in full on puppy mode… only around 50 pounds these days… and with new people! new dogs! new spaces! new TOYS! and new treats! and things being attached to him… you can imagine how excited he got! So, huge thanks to the amazing Sarahs (Yates and Sherman Samuel) for wrangling and calming our pup for some fun photos that capture his wild energy that day (tongue is out an all in most pics!) See the adventures on the next page!

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*rugenius - 03.12.13 , 13:17 - 3 Notes

Gun Dogs at Crufts 2013

dogmain.jpg Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!

As this year saw the addition of our own NotPuppy, Bucky, it seems like the perfect time to celebrate dogs with a visit to the world’s largest dog show, The Kennel Club’s Crufts! We attended Crufts on Gun Dog day, a celebration of all our favorite retrievers, spaniels, pointers and so many other breeds developed for work in the field. Check out the next page for pics from our adventures - from lots of awesome dogs in action, both working the judges and flying through the air during agility competitions, as well as the naps taken in between, bonding with people, and everything in between!

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*notcot - 02.26.13 , 11:15 - 0 Notes

Calling LA Dogs: Fancy Paws!

fancypaws.jpg On awesome combinations, who can resist adorable dogs + incredible photographers + stylists + supporting NKLA? Our friends at Birds of A Feather are teaming up with Smitten Studio to have a day of doggie photoshoots on March 10th at LA’s The Forge Studios to raise money for NKLA! NKLA is a coalition of animal welfare organizations dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in LA shelters.

As explained on A House In The Hills

WHO: your beloved canine

WHAT: a 15 minute styled photo session of your pup (photographed by “birds of a feather” and styled by Sarah of “A House in the Hills” & Sarah of “Smitten Studio”), 5 high resolution digital files from the shoot available for download, $125 donation

WHERE: The Forge studio, 2636 Huron St. Los Angeles, 90065

WHEN: Sunday, March 10, 2013, 9 am- 5pm first come, first serve!

Perhaps Bucky and I will see you there?

*notcot - 02.13.13 , 15:51 - 0 Notes

Jumping NOTpuppy

jump0.jpg It’s hard to believe that our once tiny little NOTpuppy, Bucky, is now 21 weeks old and a whopping 45 lbs! Of course coming with that, is a loss of baby teeth, devious intelligence, fast growing muscles, manic speed… and new skills daily… today? He’s started mastering the jump catch - which made for some fun photos… and ridiculous faces!!! It’s also hard to believe the positions his body twists into and how high off the ground he gets! Take a peek at some of the fun on the next page!

p.s. See more on the adorably sad fox ball toy (and the beavers, platypus, and other colors) here

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*rugenius - 01.15.13 , 17:43 - 0 Notes

A study of Butterfly Wings by Linden Gledhill

lgledhill-bw-bluewhitebutterflywing.jpg Here’s the latest natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London based editor, Justine Aw.

Photographer Linden Gledhill, who describes himself as “a biochemist by training, working for a large international pharmaceutical company developing biopharmaceuticals (protein molecules) to treat cancer and diabetes”, but whom you may know from his stunning work for Dentsu and Canon, photographs of snowflakes and homegrown snowflakes!

Linden has always had a fascination with the physical world, particularly nature and uses photography to capture the feeling of awe and inspiration that he feels. I love the way his work captures colors and textures and reveals entire worlds that are otherwise overlooked. In his butterfly wings series, Gledhill uses varying levels of magnification to show the tapestry of scales that make of the wings and the huge variety of scales themselves.

See lots of pictures on the next page!

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*rugenius - 01.04.13 , 10:05 - 1 Notes

Sinobug: Macrophotography of John Horstman

mainbugs.jpg Here’s the latest natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London based editor, Justine Aw.

My fascination in animal behavior stems back to the creepy crawlies I spent hours watching when I was young. Inverts were a bit of an obsession of mine (I was even a member of SASI as a child!), and as a result I’ve still got a soft spot for them. I’m lucky enough to dabble in entomology in my volunteering behind the scenes at the Horniman Museum and biodiversity work for Mudchute Park & Farm, but it doesn’t quite satiate my appetite for ‘bugs’. That’s where blogs like John Horstman’s Sinobug come in. I discovered the blog through reddit’s whatsthisbug (a guilty pleasure) and have been a loyal reader ever since! I mean, sure I’ve encountered a fair few cool insects along the Rio Negro, but Horstman’s images coming from Pu’er, China are mind-blowing. Not only are they incredibly beautiful composites of textures, colors and patterns, they’re even shedding light on some of these species scientifically. See some of our favorites on the next page!

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