Juvenile Secretary Bird - Sagittarius serpentarius
Secretary bird chicks are the cutest! They’re altricial birds, and spend about 40 days being fed by their parents, after which they tear up their own parent-delivered reptiles within the nest. After about 65-80 days, they start to fly (fledge), and are taught by both parents how to hunt soon after that. By the end of their fourth month, they generally live independently of their parents.
Faune de la Sénégambie. Alphonse Tremeau de Rochebrune, 1883-1887.

Juvenile Secretary Bird - Sagittarius serpentarius

Secretary bird chicks are the cutest! They’re altricial birds, and spend about 40 days being fed by their parents, after which they tear up their own parent-delivered reptiles within the nest. After about 65-80 days, they start to fly (fledge), and are taught by both parents how to hunt soon after that. By the end of their fourth month, they generally live independently of their parents.

Faune de la Sénégambie. Alphonse Tremeau de Rochebrune, 1883-1887.

asapscience:

Want to join the AsapSCIENCE team? 
We’re an educational channel on YouTube (http://youtube.com/AsapSCIENCE) that creates weekly science videos which are fun, engaging, and relatable  - and we’re looking for a skilled researcher/writer to join our team!
THE JOB DESCRIPTION:We’re looking for a science enthusiast who loves researching, writing, and making science accessible for the masses! Be sure to watch a few of our videos to get a sense of our style. The main responsibilities of the position will be to:
1) Take part in creative briefings/brainstorming sessions for topics - we’re looking for somebody with outside of the box thinking here. Yes, we cover basic biological phenomena, but we also love putting a spin on a simple question.
2) Research - you would be responsible for full scope research on topics. This ranges from using the web, using peer reviewed scientific journals (sites like PubMed), and reading reputable science books. 
3) Writing - not looking for a fancy or frilly writer (though it never hurts to have great writing skills!). Ultimately, we want somebody who can take complex science information - or multiple concepts to create a single, fun idea - and strip it down for people who know very little about science. Knowing when to keep information, and when to let it go is essential. 
REQUIRED SKILLS/EXPERIENCE:
1. You have to LOVE SCIENCE!2. Degree in Science (Biology related fields are a plus!)3. Deep understanding of how to research and find legitimate, peer-reviewed sources.4. Writing skills - concise and playful is ideal! We’re a bit tongue-in-cheek at times. 5. Ability to work independently 6. Ability to communicate effectively in a small team
HOW TO APPLY:Send the following information to AsapSCIENCEjobs [at] gmail [dot] com:
1. Your resume (Please include your age and city)2. A short summary (1 paragraph) of why you’re perfect for the job3. Create/outline a unique idea for an AsapSCIENCE episode that you could see yourself writing. No need to fully write the episode, but a high level overview of what the topic is, how the episode would flow, and what you would title the video is sufficient! We’re looking for creative thinkers here - not necessarily just pulling from simple biological phenomena (though, if you’ve got a great idea that is simple and think would really connect with our audience, by all means!).
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, September 5, 2014
We are located in Toronto, Canada - being local is definitely a plus, but if you really wow us, we’re open to working remotely! Also, if you know someone who’s perfect for this position, make sure you pass this on to them. 

asapscience:

Want to join the AsapSCIENCE team?

We’re an educational channel on YouTube (http://youtube.com/AsapSCIENCEthat creates weekly science videos which are fun, engaging, and relatable  - and we’re looking for a skilled researcher/writer to join our team!

THE JOB DESCRIPTION:

We’re looking for a science enthusiast who loves researching, writing, and making science accessible for the masses! Be sure to watch a few of our videos to get a sense of our style. The main responsibilities of the position will be to:

1) Take part in creative briefings/brainstorming sessions for topics - we’re looking for somebody with outside of the box thinking here. Yes, we cover basic biological phenomena, but we also love putting a spin on a simple question.

2) Research - you would be responsible for full scope research on topics. This ranges from using the web, using peer reviewed scientific journals (sites like PubMed), and reading reputable science books.

3) Writing - not looking for a fancy or frilly writer (though it never hurts to have great writing skills!). Ultimately, we want somebody who can take complex science information - or multiple concepts to create a single, fun idea - and strip it down for people who know very little about science. Knowing when to keep information, and when to let it go is essential.

REQUIRED SKILLS/EXPERIENCE:

1. You have to LOVE SCIENCE!
2. Degree in Science (Biology related fields are a plus!)
3. Deep understanding of how to research and find legitimate, peer-reviewed sources.
4. Writing skills - concise and playful is ideal! We’re a bit tongue-in-cheek at times.
5. Ability to work independently
6. Ability to communicate effectively in a small team

HOW TO APPLY:

Send the following information to AsapSCIENCEjobs [at] gmail [dot] com:

1. Your resume (Please include your age and city)
2. A short summary (1 paragraph) of why you’re perfect for the job
3. Create/outline a unique idea for an AsapSCIENCE episode that you could see yourself writing. No need to fully write the episode, but a high level overview of what the topic is, how the episode would flow, and what you would title the video is sufficient! We’re looking for creative thinkers here - not necessarily just pulling from simple biological phenomena (though, if you’ve got a great idea that is simple and think would really connect with our audience, by all means!).

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, September 5, 2014

We are located in Toronto, Canada - being local is definitely a plus, but if you really wow us, we’re open to working remotely! Also, if you know someone who’s perfect for this position, make sure you pass this on to them. 

Transcribing Tips from a fellow #volunpeer.

siobhanleachman:

I KNOW you want to dive right in BUT

Take the time to read the instructions – both the general help/tips page given by the Transcription Centre as well as any instructions given for a particular project. It saves time and your fellow #volunpeers won’t get so frustrated when they come to review your work.

Even if you DON’T read the instructions

Have a look at a “completed” page or two of the project.

Especially if you want to start editing.  Sometimes projects are not transcribed in the standard format and there’s normally a very good reason for this!  Check it before changing it.

Instructions don’t cover EVERY situation

Realise the Transcription Centre has kept the general help section short. It doesn’t cover all the situations you’ll come across in all the projects they give to us.  That’s part of the fun of being a #volunpeer - YOU are creating the content.

Notations and Methods that work for me

The following is how I transcribe for the Transcription Centre. If there is any doubt/issues ask the Transcription Centre as they have the final word on how a project should be transcribed.

Underlined, Strikethrough, Can’t read, good guess

  [[underlined]] text [[/underlined]] for underlined text.

[[strikethrough]] text [[/strikethrough] for text that has been struck out by writer.

Main aim is to be searchable so put a space between the [[text]] and the actual transcription.

If you can’t work out what a word is write [[?]]. If you are not sure of several words write [[?]] for each word.  For example: 

This [[?]] [[?]] sentence I’m not [[?]] of.

If you think you can guess the word, write your best guess inside those double brackets and keep the question mark. For example you THINK the writer has written “Smithsonian” but you are not sure. Transcribe as [[Smithsonian?]]

You can combine ALL of the above. So if the word is struck out & underlined, you can’t read it but you think its “Smithsonian” I would transcribe as:

[[strikethrough]] [[underlined]] [[Smithsonian?]] [[/underlined]] [[/strikethrough]]

I know it can be a bit ugly looking but it IS accurate!

[[end page]]

[[start page]]

You ONLY need to put these notations in if you are transcribing a project that has two pages per image. You don’t need either of these at the very top or very bottom of a page.

Blank pages

I use the notation [[Blank page]]. If there are two blank pages in the image I use

[[blank page]]

[[end page]]

[[start page]]

[[blank page]]

Insertions

Often in handwritten projects the writer will have forgotten words or gone back and corrected by adding in insertions.  They might use the ^ symbol to indicate this.  I transcribe this as 

^ [[insertion]] text [[/insertion]]

Where there is an insertion without the ^ I transcribe as

[[insertion]] text [[/insertion]]

I DON’T normally transcribe the [[insertion]] notation where a person has struck out the word and replaced it while writing. In that instance, I use the [[strikethrough]] notation.

BUT you will get the case where a writer has later come along, struck out some writing and added in more information with a ^. In that case I DO use the above notation.  Use your own judgement and try and be consistent.

In typed text projects insertions are easier - the ^[[text]] notation is used to show handwritten additions to typed text.

Margin Notes

I often come across projects where writers have made notes in the margin.  I usually transcribe as

 [[margin]] note [[/margin]].

 If the writer has made notes in both the left and right margins I’ll transcribe as

[[left margin]] note [[/margin]]

 [[right margin]] note [[/margin]]

As to WHERE to put the margin note, that it depends on the project and your judgement. Sometimes it makes sense to put all margin notes at the top of the transcription page, sometimes it makes better sense to put the margin note above the appropriate section. Use your judgement, check other completed pages of the project for a guide and ensure consistency.

Preprinted/stamped Text

If there is preprinted or stamped text in a document I transcribe as

[[preprinted]] text [[/preprinted]]

 [[stamped]] text [[/stamped]]

This clarifies to any reader or researcher what the writer ACTUALLY wrote.

Circled text

Sometimes page numbers are handwritten in circles or text has been circled for emphasis. I’ll transcribe as

 [[circled]] text [[/circled]]

Superscript text

I think whether to note that the text is in superscript depends on your judgement. If I do note text as superscript, I transcribe as

1[[superscript]] st [[/superscript]]

However this maybe unnecessary and 1st may do.  

Lines in text

This is another example of where you should use your own judgement. I use a variety of methods to transcribe lines drawn in text.  Examples of the methods I’ve used in various projects are as follows:

-

_

[[line]]

[[line across page]]

[[vertical line]] or [[horizontal line]]

Latin names/place names

Where the writer is using scientific names, terms or place names I’m not familiar with I Google it. I find Google, Wikipedia and www.geonames.org invaluable. Once I think I’ve found the appropriate information I make a note in the “Notes on Transcribing this page (optional)” box so that other transcribers can benefit from the knowledge gained.

If I’m concentrating on one particular project I’ll often keep a piece of paper beside the computer listing the Googled terms so that I don’t have to keep looking them up.

Symbols/accents on letters

Often projects will have symbols/accents on letters etc.  I use the Character Map on my desktop computer for these.  If I’m unable to find the appropriate symbol, I transcribe it as

[[symbol]]

I may even describe the symbol. For example:

[[male symbol]]

 [[female symbol]]

 [[degree symbol]] etc.

Transcribing ” “, Do or Ditto’s

One of the main aims of the Transcription Centre is to ensure any document transcribed is searchable. The Transcription Centre would therefore like any ” marks, Do, or Ditto to be transcribed. For example

Two little red hens

" " " foxes 

Should be transcribed as

Two little red hens

" " " [[Dittos for: Two little red]] foxes

Symbols in Botany, Entomology Projects etc

If you come across a symbol here, it is REALLY important to accurately transcribe it.  For example in the Bee projects there is often a hand drawn symbol which indicates whether the bee is male, female, neuter, virgin female etc. This is very important information for researchers. 

If you can’t find the symbol on Google, transcribe it as [[symbol]] and make a note in the “Notes on Transcribing this page (optional)” box. Hopefully another volunpeer or the Smithsonian staff can add the information.

Other issues in Botany, Entomology Projects

One recent issue that has arisen in the Bee projects is the difference between “collector” and “collection”. “Collector” is the person who actually went out in the field and collected the bug, plant etc. If the specimen label just says “collection of” you can’t put the owner of that collection down as the collector of that specimen. They may have acquired the specimen by various different methods including swapping with other collectors, purchasing it or being given it. 

Titles of people (esp. Collectors).

This mainly comes up when transcribing botany or entomology collections.  It is REALLY important to transcribe the title of women collectors – be it Miss or Mrs.

We are transcribing old documents and these women are frequently collecting with their fathers, brothers or husbands. Without their title being noted, their work is attributed to these men.

Often married women collectors are using their husbands’ full names. For example I’ve previously transcribed a collector as Mrs D. D. Gaillard (she was the wife of Colonel D.D. Gaillard). If you don’t transcribe her title, her scientific work will be credited to her husband.

Images

This is another example of where you should use your own judgment. Sometimes the image is as simple as an arrow drawing on the text. Some examples are:

[[image – arrow pointing to line above]]

At other times it is a complex drawing of the anatomy of an animal.

[[image – pencil sketch of a bee]]

Or it could be a photograph

[[image – black and white photograph of landscape with three men standing in the foreground]]

I normally do my best to transcribe within [[image - ]]  what the image actually is or looks like, as well as how the image is made.

I will also transcribe any written information, labels or key on the diagram in the transcription. 

Tables of information in text

This is another example of where you should use your own judgment. There is a lot of variety in the type and size of tables used in different projects. So there is no best way to transcribe them.  I often put descriptions of the table inside the [[text]] box and use the | symbol to indicate going from one column to another. For example

[[Table title]]  Wallpaper samples [[/title]]

[[Table with four columns with headers Lot Number, Pattern, colour, size]]

Lot Number  | Pattern |  Colour  | Size

1         | Tudor | cream | s

2         | Victorian | red | xl

3         | Edwardian | blue | m

[[/table]]

Spelling mistakes

 Transcribe the written work as actually written. I’m sure there will be language experts out there keen to research the spelling mistakes!

Other helpful hints.

If in doubt, transcribe as best you can and put a note in the “Notes on Transcribing this page (optional)” box describing the issue. Check back on that page later as a fellow volunpeer may leave some helpful guidance for you.

Contacting the Transcription Centre

You can ask the transcription staff if you have any issues with the Transcription Centre or any projects there. Personally I find the best way is to tweet to @transcribeSI. The staff are wonderfully helpful and friendly. They want to know what you need help with and are keen to get answers out to you.

Another way to contact the Transcription Centre is to fill in the feedback form obtained by pressing the “feedback” tab to the right of the transcription box. The Transcription Centre is also on Facebook so you could also leave your query there.

Contact other #volunpeers

 You can always ask for help from other volunpeers via Twitter. Use #volunpeers or follow other volunpeers who have posted to @transcribeSI.  Everyone I’ve come across so far has been friendly and keen to help.

Make Connections

If you find something of interest, TELL someone. Don’t assume that they will already know. We are transcribing documents that very few people have seen or read. They’d have to go to the Smithsonian, make an appointment and physically be there to read the whole document.

So email that institute explaining you’ve found mentions of their founder in a diary.  Contact that institution with corrections to their database. Tweet links to the bee projects to that conservation group concerned about pollinators. Create or edit that Wikipedia page on that important collector you’ve discovered. Add the name of that scientist to the Smithsonian Wikipedia “to do” list.

And don’t forget to Tweet or Facebook the Transcription Centre with interesting finds. They don’t get to have the fun of REALLY getting to know these projects by transcribing them. Let them share in the delight of the finds we make.

Top - Malayan Forest Gecko (Cyrtodactylus pulchellus) 

Center/Bottom - Crested Gecko (Correlophus ciliatus)

Why do geckos (and some other terrestrial lizards) lick their eyeballs?

Wouldn’t you, if you could? I sure would. Other than the fact that they have cool long tongues, geckos (and many of their terrestrial brethren) have non-functional eyelids, but rely strongly on their eyesight. In order to maintain their vision, they lick their eyes!

Several mammals, such as okapi and giraffe, also lick their eyes, though they still have functional eyelids.

Unrelated cool fact! "Eyelash geckos", otherwise known as crested geckos, were once thought to be extinct! In 1994, however, they were re-discovered in a southern province of New Caledonia. They bred easily in captivity, and are now one of the most popular pet reptiles.

Malayan Forest Gecko via Wikimedia Commons

"Lizard Lick" via It’s Erin! on Flickr

Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas)

The Atlas moth is the largest moth in the world (measuring over 10 inches across), but that doesn’t mean it’s long-lived; once it emerges from its cocoon, its sole purpose is to breed - like many butterflies and moths, it doesn’t even have a mouth! After about a week outside the cocoon, they die.

De uitlandsche kapellen: voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen Asia, Africa en America. Pieter Cramer and Caspar Stroll, 1779.

Atlas Moth on Wikimedia Commons

Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus)
The Miscellany of Natural History. 1833.

Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus)

The Miscellany of Natural History. 1833.

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica
Despite popular misconception, polar bears and penguins would never naturally interact. However, the Arctic does have puffins! These black-and-white seabirds have often been mistaken for penguins, but are a result of convergent evolution, not relation.
In adults, the brightly-colored beaks and “horns” on the eyes are part of their breeding plumage, and similarly to the antlers of moose and deer, are shed every year.
Puffins, like penguins, tend towards monogamy - but unlike penguins, their monogamy is largely due to fidelity towards their nesting site, not their mate. Generations of puffin families will nest in the same area, and if one gets “kicked out” or dies and another female chooses the area as a nest site, they will often find a different mate.
Brehms Tierleben, Allgemeine Kunde des Tierreichs. Prof. Otto zur Strassen, 1910.

Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica

Despite popular misconception, polar bears and penguins would never naturally interact. However, the Arctic does have puffins! These black-and-white seabirds have often been mistaken for penguins, but are a result of convergent evolution, not relation.

In adults, the brightly-colored beaks and “horns” on the eyes are part of their breeding plumage, and similarly to the antlers of moose and deer, are shed every year.

Puffins, like penguins, tend towards monogamy - but unlike penguins, their monogamy is largely due to fidelity towards their nesting site, not their mate. Generations of puffin families will nest in the same area, and if one gets “kicked out” or dies and another female chooses the area as a nest site, they will often find a different mate.

Brehms Tierleben, Allgemeine Kunde des Tierreichs. Prof. Otto zur Strassen, 1910.

Death by “Marsh Fever” (Malaria)

More people die of malaria every single day than have died of Ebola in the past decade.

During an average year, more people die of influenza every month than have ever even been infected with Ebola.

This is because mosquito and airborne transmission are far more effective than direct bodily-fluid contact. It’s fairly simple to eliminate bodily fluid transmission in countries with ready access to chlorine and water. Mosquito bites and airborne droplets are almost impossible to eliminate - all we can hope to do is control them.

There are much scarier things out there than Ebola.

Malaria" by Giulio Aristide Sartorio, 1905 (top), 1883 (bottom).

biomedicalephemera:

Have some time on your hands? Know how to read? Want to help science?

Join me at the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers Transcription Center!

There are thousands of collection items, field journals, and cataloged diaries and specimens at the Smithsonian, and because the pages and data are hand-written or irregular, digital transcription is unable to decode them.

This is where the Digital Volunteers come in! By transcribing and double-checking the transcription efforts of others prior to final review by Smithsonian staffers, we save the Smithsonian thousands of hours of initial squinting and trying to make sense of semi-illegible words.

Cursive is largely not taught in schools anymore, but the scientific value of these documents and specimens will still be true long after we’re gone. By transcribing things now and getting them into a digital database that can be searched and organized, scientists and historians of both tomorrow and decades in the future will benefit.

There are more difficult transcription pieces (such as the top page posted here), as well as very simple and easy-to-read pieces, such as The Bumblebee Project (SO MANY BEES).

This is where I procrastinate, these days. It’s strangely addicting.

scientificillustration:

Summer dance of the May-flies: Gilbert White, 1771.
I just wanted to thank you for posting the transcription project for the Smithsonian! It's super cool. Have a great day! — Asked by keepinitkocher

Is it weird that I’m all about this Bumblebee Collection? Cause I totally am.

I am the best at mindless tasks that I can do while listening to biology/virology/skepticism podcasts. They make me happy!

Not to say I haven’t gotten into the Biodiversity collection field notes enough that I forgot to pick up my husband from work today. Cause that happened. Oops.

As PSA as True as Ever

I’m Raymond Massey, and I have a special message for senior citizens.

Today’s doctors, drugs, and medical devices truly work “medical miracles” for young and old alike.

But there are some as phoney as a three-dollar bill!

….

Investigate before you invest in health services or products. Help stamp out quackery!

Video thanks to A/V Geeks Film Archive and Internet Archive

wapiti3:

Johann Eusebius Voets descriptions and illustrations hartschaaligter insects, Coleoptera on Flickr.

Publication info Erlangen, JJ Palm ,1793-1802.
Contributing Library:
Cornell University Library
BioDiv. Library