FW: Stop ! (was Re: Antennae vs. antennas)

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Mon Oct 26 01:09:16 EST 1998

> Well, maybe not.  Sorry, Pierre (Zagatti), I understand that many of these
> threads get tiresome and tend to fill the inbox.  Still, any thread that
> gets this much e-time must be at least interesting to a sufficient number
> of folks as to justify it's existence - even when the players are
> long-winded and like to _see_ themselves talk.
> I have tended to avoid this thread for the most part, but haven't been
> filtering it out.  It seems to have taken a bit of a curve lately, with
> talk of slander and litigation and such.  It all makes for interesting
> reading, though, even for those of us who do have other things to do.
> As for me, well, I tend to agree with the sentiment shared by several -
> the argument for the most part is somewhat overstated.  I think Anne
> Kilmer provided the best quenching when she made reference to the
> elementary study of dinosaurs.  I've never met a kid that didn't
> thoroughly enjoy (and find quite simple) the learning of latin reptilian
> names.  Anyone who's ever judged an elementary school science fair can
> attest to that.
> I also agree with Harry Pavulaan when he discussed his boyhood learning
> experiences with Lepidoptera - ala Klotz.  For me, butterfly publications
> have always been a sought-after learning tool.  As a child, I desperately
> wanted photographs.  Anything with real photographic plates.  I was bored
> with any guide that was filled with text.  And I didn't care much for the
> older guides that used sketches.  And PLEASE - no black and white
> pictures.
> But, alas, there weren't that many photographic books in those days.  No
> Audobon guide.  No D'Abrerra.  No butterfly gardening how-to's.  Most
> guides had sketched plates only, and too much text.  And any picture of
> any kind (even the drawings) always included a pin through the thorax -
> none of these nectaring photos we seem to favor in todays field guides.
> So I endured even some of the more boring sketched guides, anything to see
> real graphics of the insects I encountered in the field (mostly vacant lot
> fields).  The inclusion of latin names was never an issue, and in fact was
> desired.  I was never interested in any beginner book that treated me like
> a child (I was, after all, nearly 8 years old).  I didn't always know how
> to pronounce those names (heck, I still don't know how to pronounce them),
> nor were they particularly useful, and I guess as a child it WAS nice to
> also have common names that I could use amongst my friends (most people
> were still greatly impressed by vernacular name flinging).  
> As I got older, the simpler yet colorful field guides were no longer
> satisfying.  I began to want more detail.  As a result, I started buying
> books with lots of plates of any kind, sketches were fine.  First the
> color ones, and then the black and white ones.  Still getting older, I
> find myself wanting to READ more.  If I already know the species, I don't
> need a picture - and the descriptions of life cycle become increasingly
> more important.  Today, I usually ignore any reference to common names
> (they aren't consistent enough, anyway).  But I'm usually glad they're
> included.
> The point of all of this, I guess, is that the scientific names never
> discouraged my pursuit of knowledge.  Exclusively technical content
> probably would have, however, and I'm glad that there were publications
> that combined both scientific and common language.  Still, no one is
> suggesting we eliminate common language - and I'm not sure if anyone is
> suggesting we eliminate scientific references.  What the heck are we
> arguing about, anyway (I seem to have forgotten, having got all wrapped up
> by this large Arctiid moth which started flying in my son's bedroom where
> I am sitting on the floor responding to this email).  We're still moving
> into a new home here in Mission Viejo, CA, and this will be my first
> collected specimen from the neighborhood.  I suppose it could have emerged
> from one of the millions of boxes from Vermont, but it doesn't look like
> anything Eastern.
> It's unfamiliar to me, though I'm sure it's common.  It's wingspan is
> about 1.5 - 2.0 inches.  It's forewings are speckled white and grey and
> beige - kind of Tussock mothlike (Prominent?), the underside more orange.
> There's a similar pattern on the hindwing, though with striking pink and
> black.  The abdomen is grey with pink horizontal segmenting.  Too bad
> there's no Western Moth field guide - complete with photo's and latin
> names, please.
> Mark Walker
> Mission Viejo, CA

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