At the end of 2018, I was burnt out on politics, and I decided to instead write about something I genuinely loved and could change people’s minds about: spiders. I started writing up the various bits of arachnid-related things I come across, calling it “Arachnews”.
In April, Sebastian Alejandro Echeverri asked Spider Twitter who might be interested in a group blog, to provide better coverage of arachnids than the usual “creepy-crawly” stuff you see in the news. I jumped aboard, and we switched from my “random bookmarks of things people send me” system to a spreadsheet of Google Scholar alerts. I had no idea how much stuff was out there, guise. It’s a whole new world. Yes, like the song, but, like, with more spiders.
This past month was very busy, as I have been making up for all the work I missed recovering from surgery. So this Arachnews is rather late. But, tons of great stuff! In this month’s edition: rainbow-faced spiders, the results of the Great Black Widow Race, the goods on that “climate change making spiders more aggressive” story, a scorpion-inspired pressure sensor, a new Portia paper, and more.
I’ve also changed the formatting up a bit. Links to the original papers are now posted at the end of each item, accompanied by Sci-Hub links unless they’re open access (marked with a 🔓️).
Recently CBC revamped its music streams again and the old URLs don’t work. Why would they do this? Well, they want people to listen using the website or official app, or via platforms they have agreements with, like Google Home and Alexa.
Personally, I think this is bullshit. I like listening to music while on the computer, but I’m not opening a whole-ass modern web browser, on top of whatever else I have open, for a simple audio stream. And if I’m using headphones with my phone or an actual physical radio, how am I supposed to hear sounds on my computer? So, after some helpful tips from more techy folks on Mastodon, I threw together this playlist with all the local CBC Radio 1 and CBC Music streams available at CBC Listen. Details below the fold.
In this month’s edition of Arachnews: some amazing photography, cute cartoons, seal nasal mites, beetle-riding pseudoscorpions, ethical treatment of spiders, the evolution of sociality, and some beautiful newly described species. Go check it out.
So I’ve joined a new group blog, Arachnofiles! We’re a bunch of spider fans (both arachnologists and amateurs) who are hoping to create some quality stories that go beyond the dreary “creepy-crawly, ugh” angle you see in mainstream media coverage and shed light on current research. You can find the latest Arachnews posts there. And there’s a lot more content, because now we’ve got a group spreadsheet for adding links, and it’s not just one lonely, non-scientist person’s Firefox bookmarks.
I’ll still post updates here when a new post goes up, but if you use Medium, you can also follow Arachnofiles and, uh, engage there. And if you come across any neat spider-related stuff, please send it my way!