Thursday, November 01, 2007

Really cool factoid of the day:

Tole is having a wee spot of trouble with trees taking over his main sewer line. After seeing a photo of the problem, I was put in mind of a Gary Larson 'Far Side' cartoon with two cavemen looking at a hole in the floor of a cave, with one caveman saying, "Ooo, this not be cheap."

I went looking through the Intarwebz for a copy of the cartoon to e-mail to him, but alas I couldn't find one.

What I found instead, was one of those little touches that gives me hope for the human race.

In 1982, Gary Larson drew a 'Far Side' cartoon of a bunch of cavemen at a lecture. The lecturer is pointing to the wickedly spiked tail of a stegosaurus and saying, "Now this end is called the thagomizer, after the late Thag Simmons."

As per the usual with 'Far Side' cartoons, this was very funny -- although I really can't tell you why.

Anyhoo, apparently paleontologists have the same sense of humour that I do because those spikes are now commonly referred to as the "thagomizer" in reference books, museum exhibits -- and Discover Magazine.

There may be some hope for people after all.

LawDog

16 comments:

LabRat said...

Gary Larson and Terry Pratchett both have species named after them. Larson's a louse and (don't quote me on this) Pratchett's a form of Ediacaran life.

Trust me, biologists all over the U.S. STILL have original-run newspaper Far Side cartoons taped to office windows. I think some are actually inherited.

Chris said...

Another hero for making being a nerd almost cool!

Take care, C

wolfwalker said...

Many scientists I know love "The Far Side," because Larson knew how to do good science jokes, without being either insipid or mean about it. It's not at all surprising that this sort of thing is going on -- in fact, I'd guess there's many more examples that no one has bothered to comment on.

According to Wikipedia, Larson actually has two species named after him: an owl louse and a tropical butterfly. The fossil species that was named after Pterry is (appropriately) a sea-turtle from the Eocene epoch, Psephophorus terrypratchetti.

Anonymous said...

http://home.earthlink.net/~misaak/taxonomy/taxEtym.html
This will take you to a page that links all sorts of odd categories of taxonomic oddities. Kinda fun!

--Vic303

Anonymous said...

Oh, to get the url to work you need ".html" at the end.

--Vic303

Rorschach said...

I visited the "Lucy" a few weeks back and they had this giant mural showing the various twigs and berries of the humanoid family bush and down near the end where they started talking about modern man, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, the writing became very tongue in cheek and Larsonesque. If anyone is in the Houston area and has not seen the exhibit, I strongly urge you to do so.

JPG said...

Of all the dozens - -nay, HUNDREDS - - of excellent Larsen cartoons, I most appreciate this one: Two cave men, one holding a small bow, are looking at a hunormous mastodon, toes up with a tiny arrow sticking out of the belly. One cave guy says, "OOOooh - - We gotta write that place down."

WebFoot Logger said...

Larson did a Far Side with a female gorilla picking a blonde hair off of a male gorilla . . . "Hanging around with that Goodall tramp again!"

There was a great deal of howling . . . until Jane Goodall's opinion was made known: She thought it was funny.

--WebFoot Logger

CarlS said...

To see the cartoon you were searching for, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thagomizer

CarlS said...

Apologies, 'Dawg! The URL I posted is not the one you're looking for.

shooter said...

At my new branch, I am kindly reminded on a daily basis of the "ACME School for the Gifted" Larson cartoon where the nerd is pushing on the door marked 'Pull.' With every door in that bank, I have the urge to do the exact opposite of what they require...and the other bankers have hidden the label maker so I can mark the doors.

Kiki B. said...

Oh man, Gary Larson and "The Far Side" are the best. I have some of his "comic" books, and I have read them many times over, and still laugh like crazy at them. He and Bill Watterson("Calvin and Hobbes") are probably two of the best comic strip writers ever.

Flintlock Tom said...

Ooo, Ooo, Shooter, that comic is on my coffee mug!
A gift from my co-workers.

Rorschach said...

Tom, methinks your cow-workers were trying to tell you something.....=D

Motor-T said...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/65/Thagomizer.png

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