09 March 2010


So the last week was pretty quiet, I got some work done and made the most of not being very busy. Because this week I have started the ultrastructure course and have to be at work at 8 am! Not to mention that the course is in German so that doesn't really help me to stay awake early in the morning. Ultrastructure is a little like histology. You have a wee piece of an animal, you embed it in stuff, you cut it up, you look at it under a microscope. Only in histology you are looking at micrometres (there is a thousand micrometres in a millimetre) and now in ultrastructure I have to deal with nano-metres! It is ridiculously tiny.

Anyway over the weekend I went to the Natural History Musuem. I was going to go to one of the art galleries but now that I am intent on visiting musuems I could not help but see the Natural History one first. And it was really quite good - the guide book that I had did not have many good things to say about it but obviously the author was a bit of a dick. I liked the fact that they have kept the original cases instead of ripping out all of that history to appease the tourists.

First there was the geology, and you would think rocks are boring, but I couldn't read all the boring stuff anyway because it was all in German. So I just looked at all the pretty rocks. They were very sparkly,and there were a couple of huge geodes full of amethyst, about a metre or so in diameter. And some gigantic chunks of solid gold. They must need really tight security. And this beautiful bouquet made of diamonds and gem-stones.

Then you got into the fossils and next thing you know - dinosaur bones! It took me awhile to realise, because you see them on tele all the time, but I don't think I had ever seen dinosaur bones before. Back in NZ it is all moa bones and that's about all we have.

Then lastly Natural History would not be complete without heaps of dead and stuffed animals. There were too many though, it gets a bit depressing after awhile. They had Kea, Kakapo, Kiwi, Kaka and Huia. And a Takahe too. Strange to see NZ birds there.

There was also a Darwin exhibition, which is probably more interesting for non-biologists who don't already know all of that. But you know he actually studied barnacles for a long time before coming up with the theory of evolution, so there were my barnacles on display for the world. Thought I doubt many people pay the barncles much attention. You know, in medieval times they thought that plant, marine and bird life could be seen altogether in the goose-barnacle-tree, which grew barnacles, out of which came geese. So you see I actually study a really amazing animal, and one day, if they survive so long, they might turn into birds.

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