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My little USB ‘scope

This is the USB microscope I got for Christmas.

It comes with a small, nicely weighted stand, rubberized body, built-in adjustable LED ringlight and focus knob. It captures .avi video or stills, but I think it’s most fun just letting it rip live. You know, get a little aphid in a specimen jar or something, watch it hop around and…do…bug stuff.

Yes. I would do that.

It’s not a patch on a high-end optical microscope — duh — but it’s not a complete toy, either. I’ve played with my share of low-end Teletubby optics, and this is a gadget worth having.

Yes, I let the aphid go.

sock it to me

Comments


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: May 18, 2011, 11:49 pm

So you say you let the aphid go, but you’re turning into a chicken plucker???

 


Comment from some vegetable
Time: May 19, 2011, 12:10 am

BIG WEASEL IS WATCHING

 


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: May 19, 2011, 12:50 am

I’m glad you practice aphid catch and release, Stoaty, but if you ever decide to go aphid huntin’, my roses would be a good place to start.

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 19, 2011, 1:00 am

Well, what happened was…I went out and poached a sample of stinging nettle to microphotograph. I hate that stuff. I always forget about it and stick my hand in it. I wanted a picture of the tiny hairs that make it so painful.

And there was a very tiny aphid on the leaf.

As it turned out, the pictures weren’t very good and I plucked a feather off Vita instead.

 


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 19, 2011, 1:22 am

I don’t want to sound cruel or hard-hearted. . .but I seriously don’t think the destruction of an aphid would count as a black mark against you with much of anyone. Even tormenting an aphid wouldn’t raise many eyebrows. I mean, um, well–do you know anyone who has a good word to say for aphids? [Resists urge to ask what Uncle Badger does when he encounters aphids, as it is all too likely we already know. . .and it ain’t pretty!]

 


Comment from Oldcat
Time: May 19, 2011, 1:49 am

I mean, um, well–do you know anyone who has a good word to say for aphids? [Resists urge to ask what Uncle Badger does when he encounters aphids, as it is all too likely we already know. . .and it ain’t pretty!]

The ants that milk them like cows tend to like them.

 


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 19, 2011, 1:55 am

Well, yeah–but ants have their own popularity problems. Although I’ll confess that, many years ago, I chewed out a secretary I found torturing ants by dropping them on the hotplate part of the coffee maker to watch them sizzle. . . And, anyway, the ants are exploiting the aphids, so their opinion shouldn’t count.

I wonder if there is an organization titled (in ant-language equivalents) AETA (“Ants for the Ethical Treatment of Aphids.”

 


Comment from Mono The Elderish
Time: May 19, 2011, 2:31 am

Well, there IS a PETAphids . does that count?

 


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: May 19, 2011, 2:47 am

Snort! You actually snookered me into googling “petaphids”–generating the usual bossy suggestion that I really wanted to search on “pet aphids.” Which, astonishingly, actually generates results. . .

So, um–you gottum link to PETAphids? If so, I’m in.

 


Comment from Oceania
Time: May 19, 2011, 2:57 am

They are great in cell culture incubators 🙂

 


Comment from Oceania
Time: May 19, 2011, 3:20 am

Scube – something for SCA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8txk6EhYZKA

 


Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 19, 2011, 4:50 am

OK, I want one. Yeah, a real microscope is $500, the binoc one I used to work with when I was hand-soldering surface-mount signal-processing kit was $4000, and top-end they’re more than a tricked-out Benz, but still. I may have to drop unsubtle hints to what I suppose in this part of the world would be Tia Tejón* in time for next Xmas.

* my Auntie Badger

 


Comment from Mike C.
Time: May 19, 2011, 6:34 am

A nice old binocular scope…

http://www.gemmary.com/instcat/01/01-050.html

 


Comment from Mike C.
Time: May 19, 2011, 6:44 am

A more modern but still very nice petrographic microsope (yup – I’ve used those, too.)

http://www.gemmary.com/instcat/01P/01-503.html

You could actually still use that one, at least for basic stuff.

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 19, 2011, 10:10 am

Some years ago, I was getting functionally good but cosmetically scrood microscopes on eBay for a couple of hundred bucks each. I have some funky old scopes, just for fun, but my main two are a Leitz Wetzler binocular scope (similar to this one) and a Bausch and Lomb Stereozoom dissecting scope (like this one).

 


Comment from memomachine
Time: May 19, 2011, 2:51 pm

Hmmmm.

@ S. Weasel; are you accepting commission work for internet graphics?

(Sorry about this comment intruding here but I can’t seem to find an email address for you.)

 


Comment from Mono The Elderish
Time: May 19, 2011, 3:23 pm

@ Can’t hark my cry

Well, i’m just assuming that the PETA system just incorporates all manner of critters used for food. (also, i hear that if you put “phids” on the end of PETA you can snooker someone into searching it. :D)

You know, i could go for some aphid steak.

Lol.

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 19, 2011, 3:28 pm

Hi, memo. Thanks for asking (FYI, email in the header). I’ve turned down several inquiries this year. I know I shouldn’t — being an unemployed weasel ‘n’ all — but commission work makes me miserable. Trying to get at the picture in somebody else’s head…oof!

There’s a reason I switched to a corporate gig all those years ago.

 


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: May 19, 2011, 8:03 pm

I’ll take The One with a bunch of his toadies in the Situation Room by the Religion of Peace, Alex!

 


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: May 19, 2011, 8:03 pm

Just practicin’. Just practicin’…

 


Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: May 19, 2011, 8:45 pm

Happy birthday month, Weas!

Happy belated, can’t hark!

 


Comment from Deborah
Time: May 19, 2011, 10:40 pm

Stoaty—my granddaughter is home-schooled, and just a few days ago her mother and I were talking about the need to find a modest microscope for the child. They’d been to a “CSI” class for home-schoolers at a local university, and the granddaughter came away completely enthralled.

I can get this same digital microscope you are using here in the states for $70. My question to you—is it too complicated for an 8-year old (third grader)? She would be supervised, of course. I can buy a school grade microscope for about $120. Any thoughts?

 


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 19, 2011, 11:33 pm

Sorry folks – we had a major power outage here in xxxx xxx tonight (due, apparently, to the theft of power cables – more later).

Our leader eventually gave-up trying to post, in disgust poured herself a rather large whisky and stumped off to bed with her Kindle tucked under her front leg.

Ever seen a weasel hop?

The Badger (being made of altogether sterner stuff) sat here and growled at the screen once every 20 seconds till it came back on again.

See? It worked!

Oh, and the anon part is that, on Tuesday this week, customers of one of the mobile phone networks here in the South of England had an entire afternoon without service.

Why?

Apparently, thieves broke into a secure centre and swiped some of the company’s severs. Apparently it’s highly specialised equipment, but there is a small, but lucrative, ‘steal to order’ market for this sort of stuff.

And that, ladies and jellyfish, is how bad things are getting here.

Normal (ha!) service will be resumed tomorrow, I am led to believe.

 


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: May 19, 2011, 11:41 pm

Y’all are just a couple years ahead of us on the Western side of the Pond. Our fine “Law Enforcement” are learning how to be as capable as yours…

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 19, 2011, 11:54 pm

UB – I guess that the thieves didn’t see the new PSA….

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=54615

*warning – barf in the wastebasket, not on your keyboard*

 


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 20, 2011, 12:16 am

Nice!

It’s a kinder death than I’d prescribe for the bastards.

On the bright side, Her Stoatliness and I sat here and played cribbage by candlelight.

We could make it a spectator sport and charge, you know. We are both borderline innumerate so any game that depends on counting would be as hilarious to watch as it is embarrassing to play.

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 20, 2011, 12:17 am

LOL UB, you two should invest in the complete MUNCHKIN card set. Very popular here at the helpdesk….

 


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 20, 2011, 12:23 am

Do you have a ‘beyond help’ desk, Scoob?

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 20, 2011, 12:25 am

Yes, but if I told you who they were, I’d have to kill you…..

Or at least seriously maim…. 😉

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 20, 2011, 12:34 am

Severely embarrass?

 


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: May 20, 2011, 1:02 am

For UB:
Y”all could always get the chickens to keep score…

 


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: May 20, 2011, 3:19 am

ummm…. Maybe i shouldn’t have suggested MUNCHKIN?

 


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2011, 9:35 am

Deborah, a decent school microscope (with a good light source) will give her a much sharper image. It will be harder to operate but more rewarding, I think…eight is about the age I fell in love with my father’s microscope. She’ll have to learn to set up the instrument and prep slides and stuff.

The USB microscope is very easy to use in comparison and you can set it up and watch it like television, but the image quality is nowhere near as good. So more fun, less rewarding.

Oh, and I TOTALLY kicked badger ass playing cribbage last night.

 


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 20, 2011, 9:55 am

Never play cards with a weasel.

 


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: May 20, 2011, 11:28 am

For UB:
Did you perchance leave out “Cheating crap”?
}:-]

 


Comment from Oceania
Time: May 20, 2011, 12:47 pm

If you think USB scopes are a buzz, find your local electron microscope (with energy filter), and borrow it for a few days … but first you should do an EM prep coarse and a diamond knifing session …

 


Comment from Deborah
Time: May 20, 2011, 3:27 pm

Thank you for the information on microscopes, Stoaty.

 


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