Monday, April 29, 2013

Natural history bits

Over the weekend, Ben and I went to the annual Houston Gem & Mineral Show (it was both our 2nd time going).  Mostly, it's to go and gape at the really amazing specimens offered, some that are spectacular enough to be in museums.  Obviously, such specimens cost 1000's, if not tens of thousands, of dollars, so if we do buy anything, it's small and cheap.  But it's still worth it to just go and look - how often will you get to see and touch 1-meter long prisms of selenite, huge blobs of malachite that look like broccoli and grapes, perfect smoky quartz crystals intergrown in amazonite?  It's a fun experience.  And because we went on the last day, some vendors were offering their specimens for 50% off.  We managed to snag a beautiful trilobite, a Mrakbina specimen from Morocco:

We put the new trilobite with Ben's rock collection, which, not surprisingly, is heavily dominated by biological and sedimentary things (except that beautiful piece of obsidian on the right).

Speaking of fossils, we managed to make one of our own (and continue to make it every time the cabinet door containing the coffee is opened and closed).  Here's a cockroach that got smashed and somehow ended up pretty well-preserved:

Here are some random biological bits I've picked up on various trips, now sitting on a shelf above my desk:

From the top left - a cowrie shell I found in Papua New Guinea, a box on top of a jar of random shells, a septarian nodule from the Atacama Desert, two limpet shells from the Chile coast, a nautilus (lamely, from a gift shop in Galveston, TX), a mermaid's purse from Long Island, and a snail shell filled with sand and bored through by another organism (also from Long Island).

And to finish off the weekend, we celebrated a bunch of recent nice things:  Ben's NSF DDIG getting funded, Ben getting the Vaughn Fellowship from Rice, me accepting the post-doc at Brown starting in January.  For that, we splurged on a ~$15 bottle of wine which we only splurged on because it had an ammonite on the label!  (And it wasn't too bad of a wine either).

No comments: