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The amoeba was always my favorite

I haven’t had my scopes out since I moved, but I was once a keen amateur microscopist. A pond dipper, mostly. Microscopy and astronomy are two areas of scientific study where a non-professional can make important discoveries (that’s the motto of Microscopy UK, which publishes the excellent free online mag Micscape).

I didn’t make any discoveries, important or otherwise. I made bowls of stinky hay infusions. And microphotography rigs that relied on duct tape, balance and the power of prayer.

I didn’t even really learn anything about protozoa. I spent hours and hours staring down the tube going, “ZOMG! That hairy thing just ate that blobby thing!”

I loved every minute of it.

If you want to see some spectacularly good pictures of hairy things and blobby things, check out the Flickr page of Proyecto Agua — the Water Project. It’s a pond-dipping and photography project of the Laboratory of Natural Sciences of the Institute of La Rioja in Spain.

I particularly recommend the videos (why, yes, there’s an amoeba proteus).

It took me an improbable number of years to find an amoeba, by the way. My dad was all, “amoeba? Pff! That’s the easiest one!”

We have really dumb arguments in my family.

September 8, 2010 — 10:45 pm
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