Sunday, October 31, 2010

Great Blue - NH 043

NH 043
Blue Dragonfly
Category: Dragonflies
Family: Libellulidae

So I know I like to space out the collections but I looked and realized that out of all the Natural History pieces I've put up so far, only 3, they have all been vialed spiders. So to diversify the posts I decided today would be a good day to post up one of the pinned insects from the collection. And to start off I present you all with one of my favorite pinned pieces. So if you haven't been able to tell yet, this guy is a dragonfly and I am going to temporarily identify him as a Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans).

I've always been fascinated by dragonflies, they're at the top of my list insect wise. So when I started the pinned collection about 2-4 years ago I was excited that I was able to capture not just one, but three dragonflies for the collection, this one being the largest. He was collected at Camp Babcock-Hovey, Ovid, New York, USA in early August ca. 2008. I'll have to check on the date. But anyway he was living in a nearby small pond when I caught him. The wingspan is about 3.75 inches and I classified him as a great blue skimmer based on his blue color and location, and comparing him (or her for that matter) to photos on reliable sites, though I'm still not positive that I have the genus/species right. However, that is the correct family which is probably the most important.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Funnel Web Weaver - NH 007

NH 007
Grass Spider
Category: Arachnids
Family: Agelenidae

It's Saturday, which means only one thing, that it's Spider Saturday! Today's spider is actually the first spider from outside my building I caught and vialed for the collection. This spider is a very common grass spider here in Ithaca. This guy belongs to the genus Agelenopsis and is probably a male. He was found behind Warren Hall , Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA and collected on September 18th, 2010. These guys build funnel webs to live and catch their prey (though their webs aren't sticky like the stereotypical spider web, but they are quite fast and agile).

This guy's web was made in a Hosta plant. If you haven't noticed from the picture, he is actually missing his two front right legs. I have no idea where they are but he was living fine in his web without them. And you may be wondering what that white stuff is in there. Well unlike a previous specimen where it was guts, this is just some of his web that caught in his legs and I couldn't get it off before I vialed him.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Winter Shoes - HS 013

HS 013
Horse Stud
Era: Mid 20th Century
Details: diamond imprint on the end

Sorry about not posting in awhile but I've been really busy this week and I'm pretty exhausted right now. But anyway I just received the newest additions to the museum today, but I'm not going to show them until next week, because they are in the Coin Collection and I don't want to keep posting items from the same collection over and over; I like to space them out a bit. But have no fear you will see them soon enough.

But today I went with something given to me by my grandfather. He grew up on a farm and owned a farm until he finally retired but kept a lot of the old stuff (some of which has been passed down to me). You may be wondering exactly what in the world this thing is. Is it a key to a wind up clock, or just some bolt to a tractor or something? Well it turns out that this is a stud that was put on horseshoes to help the horses move around in snowy and icy conditions. I'm not all too familiar with horses and real farming so I can't give you too much more information on this. I only enjoy it because it belonged in the family and tells of an older time; it's interesting to see antiques and think about how they were used in the olden days. Comparing present places and things to their older selves.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Orthoceras - FOS 009

FOS 009
Orthoceras Chamber
Location: Morocco
Details: polished in matrix

So just a quick post before I go insect collecting (I've already added 5 new specimens to the collection today NH 056-NH 060). I haven't had a fossil post in awhile so I present you guys with my Orthoceras. These are fairly easy to identify and most people enjoy them as pieces of art as they polish up nicely. I generally don't like polished up specimens but I had to make an exception for this one as they are usually only sold polished and needed one for my collection. I bought this one at the Rock, Mineral, and Gem Show in Syracuse, New York a few years back.

Orthoceras' were cephalopods and you would probably recognize their body shape by clicking the link. I may have some additional details on this particular specimen back home, but I'll have to wait before I can verify any of that (I might have a label indicating where this specimen was originally found, which is important for scientific purposes). They lived between the Ordovician and Triassic periods, and fed upon small marine animals. They generally didn't grow to be too big, only about 6 inches in length.

EDIT: From Morocco, Devonian age.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mathematical Money - CC 023

CC 023
Boskovic Bill
Origin: Croatia
Unit: 1 Dinar
Details: no longer in circulation

Sorry about not posting anything up yesterday, but I was busy getting work done and will probably miss some more days this week (it's going to be a busy one). So because of that I'm going to make today's post a bit short so I can get back to doing some work. But anywho, I give you my Croatian dinar.

As it turns out, Croatia only used the dinar as currency after the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991 and forming their own independent nation. This seemed like a temporary monetary unit however to ease from the Yugoslavian dinar and into the Croatian kuna (1 kuna = 1000 dinar) which replaced the dinar in 1994. So this bill only existed for a short period of time. What makes it so special to me, however, is that all the dinar bills (including my 1 dinar bill) have the picture of Rudjer Boskovic on their obverse (the opposite of reverse). He was a polymath (basically a Renaissance Man), dipping into philosophy, theology, diplomacy, and notably physics and astronomy. His main contribution was in developing a theory on the forces of nature and his atomic model, but he had multitude of other ideas and theories. Hence why he was so important to put on all the bills. The reverse has a picture of the Zagreb Cathedral.

So that's why I like this one, it's rare/out of print and has a famous physicist on the cover (along with some fancy mathematical diagrams depicting some of his work). And finally I'm assuming that this is from 1991 (as the date is there) and the serial number is F0788207. Enjoy. Oh and if you didn't get the old title reference (Boskovic=Washington) it's how Boskovic's picture on the Croatian dinar is equivalent to Washington's on the American dollar.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Epic Battle - NH 003

NH 003
Banded Garden Spider
Category: Arachnids
Family: Araneidae

So, it's Saturday and I think I'll continue on with Spider Saturday here at the Sholesonian. Today is a very interesting piece that I personally collected, interesting in both how big it is and the story about how I captured it. First off, I can tell you that this is a Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) after I mis-identified it as a Common Black and Yellow Garden Spider (thanks Kayla). Second, I should tell you how I go about collecting my spider collections. I use those plastic cups with lids that normally are used for taking ketchup and other condiments for on the go, and I just scoop them up when I find them.

Now, for this particular guy I was walking from one class to another and spotted him on a bush next to Goldwin-Smith, Cornell University, Ithaca in mid-September. He was so big and different from the other spiders I have that I had to catch him, and luckily I had an empty cup with me. The unfortunate thing was that he (and I'm only using he because I actually don't know the gender) had just managed to capture lunch in his web, a common bee (NH 024) and had just started to envelop it. But I had to get to my next class so I just scooped them both up in the cup and continued on to class. The thing was that the bee would not stop buzzing and they were in some sort of epic battle in my pocket. It was amusing as when the whole room was silent all you could hear were the two of them 'fighting.' Anyway, that's the reason why he has lost two legs. And that white stuff that is in the vial is I guess 'guts.'

So anyway, hope you enjoy this awesome addition to the collection. And on a side note I went to Insectapalooza today and was able to identify some of the mystery insects of my collection and get some interesting information on their lifestyle/behavior so expect at least one of them in the coming week. Oh, and if you want to learn more about Argiope trifasciata, check out this link and you can actually see what it's like for one of them to successfully capture a bee.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Non-Desert Dunes - GEO 009

GEO 009
Jockey's Ridge Sands
Class: Sands
Location: Nags Head, North Carolina
Details: largest Eastern US sand dunes

So today is one of my favorite geological pieces in my museum, sands from the largest sand dunes East of the Mississippi River. A few years back, 2006 I believe, my family and I went on a vacation down to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. The Outer Banks, encompasses a few towns, most notably Kittyhawk where the Wright Brothers had their first flight (I also got to check out where they flew). One of those towns is Nags Head which contains these massive sand dunes. Jockey's Ridge State Park is where they are mostly located so we spent some time there and it was pretty awesome. Though there is a ton of sand, and it gets everywhere, and you start sinking into it as you walk.

But anyway, while there I of course had to get myself a sample of them (scooping it up with an empty film bottle). So what you see here are those sands in all there glory. I particularly enjoy this specimen because of how nice it looks in the vial and how cool it is to have part of the largest sand dunes in the East. This is one of the special pieces of my collection, that is pieces that are from important or significant places/people in history/the world. Oh and I included a photo of myself showing off how big these dunes were. And if you want more information check out the Jockey's Ridge State Park website.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bon-Bons - HS 004

HS 004
Bon Bons
Era: ca. 2005
Details: French candy, blue raspberry flavor

Today I present you with another piece of foreign candy. I obtained this one too from my High School Spanish class a few years back. These are blue raspberry flavored bon-bons, which judging from the the manufacturer, The Foreign Candy Company, is a flavor that is no longer being made. They now only make green apple and strawberry flavored Eiffel Bon Bons. But I have to say that these were really good tasting treats, if my memory serves me right. They are, as you probably have guessed, a product of France and while the copyright is from 2000, I probably got this around 2005-ish. Not much else to say, these guys are just part of the cultural aspect of my Historical Significance collection, and add that sweet aspect to the museum.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Holy Coin - CC 003

CC 003
Pope John XXIII Coin
Origin: Vatican City
Unit: 100 lire
Details: excellent, no longer minted

I've got another coin for you guys today, and this one comes all away from Vatican City. Despite being the smallest country in the world, they do have their own currency. In present times they have switched over to using the Euro, but before they were using the lira (the unit of Italian currency, pre-Euro). This particular piece is a 100 lire piece from 1960 and in excellent condition. I received it as a present from my dad a few years back. Because of the limited minting, due to the country being so small, these coins are highly collectible and make a great addition to the museum.

The coin features a relief of Pope John XXIII, who served as pope from 1958 to 1963, and you can see the 'tails' side in the photo above. The approximation value of the coin, if you were to actually buy something with it is about 5 Euro cents. An interesting side note about the coins of the Vatican is that they apparently have the worlds only ATM that is in Latin, and while they have functional Euro coins, they do not mint any Vatican Euro bills.

If you want to check out other similar era Vatican coins, click here.
Or, if you want to learn more about their Euros, click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shark Attack - FOS 003

FOS 003
'Shark' Tooth
Location: Unknown
Details: animal unknown

So I decided the past few posts weren't all that interesting so I decided to present this fossilized shark tooth today. I unfortunately don't know the details from this fossil, but it is still a nice addition to the museum. It was part of a gift from my aunt, along with an array of minerals. I'm sorry I can't give any more details on this one but that is the extent of my knowledge on this specimen.

But if you guys want to learn more about prehistoric sharks you can check this link out. So enjoy this fossilized tooth from an ancient predator of the deep.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Message in a Bottle - HS 009

HS 009
Glass Bottle
Era: ca. mid 20th century
Details: flower vase?

Again, nothing out of the ordinary today. But my grandfather's museum had a lot of old glass bottles so I decided to keep it going, and they're actually interesting to look at. I do find a lot of them on my property as back in the olden days people would just dump their trash out back so there are a lot of old glass bottles and pieces of pottery buried in my woods and under the pool deck (they had to do a little bit of excavation).

This is one of those bottles that I acquired from out back in the woods, in a dirt bank where we dump our organic waste (i.e. old Christmas trees and racked up leaves). It appears to just be perhaps a vase for a couple of small flowers, but I'm not an expert on antiques so it could have been for some other purpose. Other than that not much more to say. I don't think I'm going to clean it up any time soon, I like the rustic feel it has at the moment.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mystery Rock - GEO 018

GEO 018
'Peach Fuzz'
Class: Mineral
Location: Unknown
Details: mineral unknown

So nothing too notable today, in fact I don't even know what this rock/mineral is. You see a few years back, in either 2009 or 2008, there was a yard sale in Newark, New York where a couple of collectors were downsizing their collection as they were moving. This meant high-quality, large, and a big selection of specimens to choose from. I'll be posting more from this collection later on, and will have the actual name of the collection it used to belong to.

This particular piece is interesting because of it's peach-fuzz like texture. Basically the only reason I got it, and it looks pretty nice on display. Unfortunately I still don't know what it was because when they were selling them only a few had labels and this guy didn't. But still, enjoy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Daddy Long Legs - NH 008

NH 008
Category: Arachnids
Order: Opiliones

Thinking about making Saturdays 'Spider Saturdays,' but we shall see if that will continue . Anyway, technically today's exhibit isn't actually a spider at all despite most everyone calling them spiders. They are, however, arachnids (just not true spiders) and belong to the order Opiliones. I don't know the rest of the classification yet, but if anyone knows how to classify these guys further please just post a comment.

This long-legged guy was found at Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York which is right on Beebe Lake. Unfortunately, while trying to capture the harvestman (as they are also known as) I picked him up by the leg. What I didn't know was that in distress they can actually release their legs, so one of his legs is detached, but still floating around in the vial.

And finally I'm going to just clear some things up. We have all probably grown up with the belief that these guys are actually the most poisonous spiders in the world but are unable to bit you/penetrate the skin. Even I held that belief for awhile. But alas it is utterly false. None of the species categorized in Opiliones even have venom glands; and the urban legend has already been debunked by the Mythbusters (remember Adam sticking his arm in a box littered with them), and Bill Nye. So you don't have to worry about them at all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pre-Loonie - CC 004

CC 004
$1 Banknote
Origin: Canada
Unit: One Dollar
Details: Unicirculated, no longer in production

So I was going to post up some other random coin for today's exhibit, but decided on presenting you with CC 004 instead of CC 002, which means nothing to you but this one is cooler in my own honest opinion. And I promise you something really cool either tomorrow or Sunday.

Today I present you with a Canadian $1 bill. This one belonged to my dad back when he collected coins and it somehow managed to make it into my collection. It's dated 1954 and is in pristine condition, nearly uncirculated. What is so interesting about this specimen is that the Canadian government stopped minting one dollar bills back in 1989, two years after they successfully introduced the $1 coin, known as a loonie (due to the picture of the loon on the front). So I think it's pretty cool that I have one of these now obsolete banknotes in my collection, and in great condition to boot.

I'd take a picture of the reverse for you guys but it doesn't seem like it will come out so great (it will seem more transparent). The reverse, however, features what looks like to be a field with a road going down it and telephone poles as it expands outward into the horizon. Pretty cool actually.

On a side note, it turns out that Canada actually had some $4 banknotes printed back in the late 1800's and some $1000 bills until 2000. It would be pretty awesome to have the four dollar bill in my collection but it looks like it's pretty rare from what I can tell through a couple of quick Google searches. Still, I can dream.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Magnifico - HS 002

HS 002
Era: ca. 2005
Details: gummy peach heart Spanish candy

First off I updated the Kodak Brownie (HS 001) post so you should recheck that. Second is that there will probably be many of these smaller posts of things that aren't all that interesting but need to be posted nonetheless. And remember that this is being posted in HS because that college covers both items of historical and cultural significance, this being of the latter.

This is the wrapper to some foreign candy that I have. This one is called Magnifico: Caramelo de melocoton, Gummy Peach Hearts. I got these candies from my Spanish class way back in early High School. This is going to be a short post basically because I don't have much information on it, other than what I can see on the wrapper. I went to the manufacturer's website, The Foreign Candy Company, and it seems that this particular brand is no longer being produced. So I guess that it's good it made it to the collection.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Arachno-post - NH 002

NH 002
Marbled Orb Weaver
Category: Arachnids
Family: Araneidae

I am proud to say that the newest addition to the museum is a new collection of vialed insects and arachnids. So to kick off this new section I present this beast of a spider which my friend Kayla and I managed to find and capture her at Cornell University, down by Beebe Lake. Now we weren't too sure about our on-the-spot identification, but I believe that it may be a Marbled Orb Weaver, possibly Araneus marmoreus. They aren't poisonous but the thing is a bit too big for me to feel comfortable around it.

It was hidden under a leaf next to its web, right next to the lake. He was so big that none of my glass vials had a wide enough mouth to accommodate him, or her I guess as I'm no entomologist, so I had to borrow one from Kayla. He is now stored in alcohol.

Dark Red Grains - GEO 014

GEO 014
Class: Mineral
Location: Wingdale, NY
Details: many small pieces

The first specimen from the geological collection is actually a collection of small garnets. I got this small bag of garnet grains for free a few years back at a Mineral, Fossil, and Gem show in Syracuse, New York. Its chemical formula is Fe3AL2(SiO4)3, making it a silicate. You can clearly see the distinctive red color that garnets are so well known for, in the photo above. It was collected in Wingdale, Dutchess County, New York by Wingdale Materials. I got it a few years back so it was probably collected around 2007-2009, 2009 is the most likely.

EDIT: So I found a label card for these garnets from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The back reads:
"The name garnet comes from the Latin for pomegranate, due to the resemblance of some varieties of garnet to red pomegranate seeds. Their use as gems has a history that goes back to the ancient Egyptians. The primary use of garnet is as an industrial abrasive suitable for lens grinding, metal and glass polishing, and sanding leather, wood and plastic.
New York State's garnets come from one of the largest garnet deposits in the world, located near Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks. This deposit is a complex of metamorphic rock consisting principally of hornblende and garnet. Garnet crystals about three feet in size have been found at Gore Mountain, although most often the crystals are only about five inches."

Sleep is Power! - PUB 001

PUB 001
The Official Sleepy Steve Cartoon Collection
Media: Floppy Disks
Year: 2005
Details: two disks, a few paper comics

While I don't have too many pieces that belong in publications, I decided this would be placed there rather than in the personal collection as the significance has already made it to the internet. This is one of my favorite pieces simply because of the inscription on the box reading "All on two convenient 3 1/2" floppy disks formatted for Windows 2000 or lower."

For those who don't know, Sleepy Steve is a comic strip character who was invented by my friend Dan and based off of me. Basically he sleeps all the time. So for my birthday back in 2005 he gave me the only Official Sleepy Steve Cartoon Collection, on floppy disks or course (Dan was a bit behind technologically back then, but has since gotten much better). Needless to say I no longer own a working computer that still has a floppy drive attached, but luckily I have all the comics saved on a compact disk he later gave to me. The box included two floppy disks, some comics printed out, and a pin (not Sleepy Steve related however).

The writing on the box says,
Henry Green Products Presents...Henry Green by Daniel P.
  • All the HENRY GREEN Sleepy Steve Cartoons from 2003-2005 in JPEG Windows Format
  • Original Sleepy Steve Drawing
  • Biography on Sleepy Steve by the person Sleepy Steve is based on
  • HENRY GREEN Desktop picture
  • All on two convenient 3 1/2" floppy disks formatted for Windows 2000 or lower
The Official Sleepy Steve Cartoon Collection
From the very beginning until January 2006
All the Sleepy Steve cartoons you love in JPEG picture format on two convenient 3 1/2" floppy disks

Henry Green, Sleepy Steve, the Henry Green symbol, and the (dp) are trademarks of THe Henry Green Comics Company.
Copyright 2005 Henry Green Company



Want to learn more, or read the comics? Check out the official Facebook Fan Page!

Kodak Brownie - HS 001

HS 001
Brownie Target SIX-16
Era: ca. 1940's-1950's
Details: Black, w/film, Eastman Kodak, dual finders

First off, I have an extensive camera collection so expect some similar posts but these antique cameras are pretty cool. My first camera, and piece from the Historical Significance collection, is an Eastman Kodak Target Six-16 Brownie. I unfortunately can't remember where I acquired this one, it is probably from my Uncle or Grandfather, they have graciously donated many cameras to the museum. This model was made circa 1948, as in they first started to introduce them back in 1946 and discontinued them in 1951.

UPDATE: So I was right in that it was from my Uncle, well first cousin once removed, and this was the camera I thought it was. This was purchased at an estate sale because it was the same camera that my great-uncle used to use back in the day. I have a picture back home that was taken with this type of camera (of my mom actually). I'm a big fan of genealogy so knowing the back history of this piece and it's ties with my family makes it that much more unique and interesting. And remember, if you have any suggestions or additions I should make about a certain piece just let me know.

Compared to today's cameras it is extremely bulky but Brownies were quite popular and the craze during the mid century. It did have the great feature of two image finders, one on top and another on the left side, for portrait and landscape photos respectively. It originally sold for $4.00. My camera still has some of its original film inside it, after I just learned how to open it after reading a scan of the original instruction manual (check out the More Information link below).

V is for Victory - CC 001

CC 001
Victory Nickel
Origin: Canada
Unit: Five Cents
Details: About Uncirculated

My first post from the Coin Collection is a 1945 Candadian 'V' nickel (5 cents). I honestly can't remember when and where I acquired this specimen but it was probably at a coin show, collectible shop, or I received it as a gift. The coin was described as 'About Uncirculated.'

It seems that these coins were minted from 1943 to 1945 in order to increase interest in the war effort, for World War II. What I just found out is that instead of the ridges that are engraved on normal coins, like the US quarter, these coins had "We Win When We Work Willingly" written along the rim....but in Morse Code. Makes this an interesting addition to the collection for sure, especially when you also consider the double entendre of the V standing for both Victory and the Roman numeral V (5) to signify the coin's value as well. Oh, and if you're wondering who designed the coin it was Thomas Shingles.

Monster of the Deep - FOS 002

FOS 002
Mosasaur Tooth in Matrix
Location: Unkown (Probably Morocco)
Details: Acquired at the Royal Ontario Museum

So I finally received my photo studio, to help with cataloging all of the collections. To start with I'm going to put up one piece from each of the collections, to give a little taste of what is here. To start off I'm going to be posting a newer specimen in the FOS collection. It's a Mosasaur tooth, theoretically that is.

You see, while I did acquire this fossil at a museum gift shop, I'm not too sure of its authenticity. As you can see from picture there is a severe lacking of pores/deep pockets in the matrix and the fossil, which leads me to believe that it may actually be a replica. Not to fear though as most of the real museums have many casts of fossils on display and not the real thing, so despite its questionable nature it still adds a bit of excitement to the collection.

A little bit about Mosasuars though to go along with the post. Despite ending in -saur, Mosasaurs are actually not dinosaurs. You can think of it this way, if it lived in the water it wasn't a dinosaur, this is also true for pterosaurs and their kin. It's technically all in the hips (the way the bones in that area are). Obviously from the size and shape of the tooth you can clearly see that this was the top sea predator of its time.

More Information

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How This Is Going To Work

As I await my photo studio, soon to arrive, to take some professional-looking pictures of the museum collections, I will post the cataloging system I'm going to be using. I am going to break down the entire museum, the Sholesonian if you will, into a couple of 'colleges.' Each specimen is going to be labeled, or be boxed/bagged/bottled with a label, with a 2-3 letter code and a number. The following list explains the colleges I am going to be using.

FOS ### - These will be the fossils that I have acquired over the years.

NH ### - The natural history section, basically if it was alive at one time and isn't a fossil it will be going into this category.

PUB ### - A relatively small collection, certain publications, literature, etc. will be placed into this group.

CC ### - I was really big into numismatics about 5 years ago, and I still go around collecting coins so monetary units will be placed here. Also the few stamps I have.

HS ### - Items of historical and/or cultural significance will be placed here including antiques.

GEO ### - Rocks, minerals, and sands basically.

PC ### - Collection numbers that hold a personal significance. Most of these probably won't end up on here.

G ### - These are reserved for honorary pieces that I do not personally own but wish I could. Will probably be photos I've taken of specimens at real museums. Check the links on the side bar for more information about them.

And I think that just about covers it. And just to hold you over if you are just visiting here is a photograph of a small section, though the most prominent, of the museum. Eventually they will all be cataloged and up for display.