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14 Great Names for Bugs

Scientists have a sense of humor just like the rest of us. The difference is that a scientist's jokes are sometimes enshrined in the body of knowledge for eternity, or close to it. One of the ways they do this is naming things that previously had no name, like insect species. A little leeway in Latin goes a long way when classifying insects, because there are way more insect species than there are existing words in lost languages. That's when things can get interesting. Meet some bugs with names that make you go "huh?"

1. Enema Pan

Enema Pan is a type of rhinoceros beetle found in Mexico, Central America, and South America. It was named by entomologist Johan Christian Fabricius, who studied under Carl Linnaeus, the inventor of modern taxonomy. One gets the impression that Fabricius was seeing how far he could go with this species-naming plan. Photograph by Flickr user Udo Schmidt.

2-4. Star Wars Wasps

Three species of apoid wasps are named Polemistus chewbacca, Polemistus vaderi, and Polemistus yoda. Renowned entomologist and Star Wars fan Arnold S. Menke gave the first two those names in 1983, and P. yoda was named by fellow entomologist Charles Vincent in the same year, which brought more attention to these bugs than other tiny and rare wasps ever get.

5. Pison Eu

Little wasp

Arnold Menke was also responsible for naming the Central American wasp called Pison eu in 1988. The genus Pison can be pronounced different ways, depending on whether you are referring to Pison eu or Pison eyvae, which was also named by Menke in 1988. The picture here shows a different but related species of Pison. Photograph by Flickr user dracophylla.

6-8. Musical Chiggers

Trombicula is a genus of mites that we call chiggers in their larval stage. Trombicula doremi as well as Trombicula fasola were named by scientists Brennan and Beck in 1955, which was actually before the song was written for the 1959 Broadway musical The Sound of Music. However, the notes of the major scale were commonly known by those solfège syllables. The chigger named Trombicula fujigmo is an acronym of the military slang for "F--- you, Jack, I got my orders."

9. Villa Manillae

Entomologist Neal L. Evenhuis named a species of Villa fly in 1993. The name he selected was Villa manillae. I'm sure he was in no way influenced by the name of the pop music duo Milli Vanilli who won a Grammy in 1990, which was rescinded when the pair was outed as a lip-synching act.

10. Tabanus Nippontucki


Tabanus
is a genus of horseflies. The particular species T. nippontucki was named by entomologist Cornelius B. Philip in 1941. Sources say it was named during, or about, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but I found no available documentation about that. Photograph by Christin Hardy/Tabanid PEET Project, USDA/ARS/SEL Entovision System.

11. Eubetia Bigaulae

Eubetia bigaulae is a moth from the family Tortricidae. The species is pronounced "you betcha by golly." For that we can thank Smithsonian entomologist John Brown, who discovered the species in Venezuela in 1999.

12-13. Heerz Tooya and Heerz Lukenatcha

Heerz is a genus of parasitic moth found in Mexico. Heerz tooya was first described by Paul Marsh in 1993. He is the same scientist who named the species Heerz lukenatcha, which is pictured above. So far, there is no species named Heerz johnni, but that should be next.

14. Verae Peculya

Ichneumon?

A Brazilian species of parasite wasp in the family Braconidae is named Verae peculya, designated so by Paul Marsh in 1993. How peculiar is it? So peculiar I couldn't find a picture of one, so here's another wasp of the Braconidae family. Photograph by Flickr user bramblejungle.

See also: 9 Spiders and the Stars They Were Named For, Schwarzenegger Beetles (and other celebrity species), and 10 Animals Named After Celebrities.

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Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

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Pop Culture
Treat Yo Self to a Piece of Pawnee, Indiana, at this Parks and Recreation-Themed Auction
Chris Haston/NBC
Chris Haston/NBC

They'll never get to eat JJ's world-famous waffles or attend a Mouse Rat concert, but Parks and Recreation fans can still purchase a piece of Pawnee memorabilia featured on the late NBC sitcom. As Slashfilm reports, auction house Screenbid has partnered with NBC Universal Television to sell nearly 300 props, clothing items, and accessories used by the fictional parks department and their fellow Pawneeans.

The auction starts on November 27, 2017, and runs through December 1, 2017. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LA Conservation Corps, which describes itself as "the nation's largest urban conservation corps and L.A.'s preeminent youth development organization."

Items for sale include, but aren't limited to, Leslie Knope's campaign merchandise (including buttons, T-shirts, and mugs), a Raggedy Ann Halloween costume worn by Ann Perkins, and multiple Mouse Rat CDs. And for fans of Tom Haverford, there's plenty of Entertainment 720 swag to go around (and wear out around town).

View some selected auction items below, or treat yo' self by checking out the full online catalogue here.

 "The Final Word with Perd" mugs, featured on the NBC TV show "Parks and Recreation" and on sale in a new themed auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

The Final Word with Perd mugs, featured on the NBC TV show Parks and Recreation.

Courtesy of ScreenBid

Entertainment 720 Dollars Stack, featured on NBC show "Parks and Recreation" and on sale in a new online auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

Entertainment 720 Dollars Stack, featured on Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

An Entertainment 720-branded T-shirt, featured on the NBC show "Parks and Recreation" and on sale in a new auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

An Entertainment 720-branded T-shirt, worn on TV show Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

A bottle of Tom Haverford's Snake Juice, featured on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," is on sale in a new auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

A bottle of Tom Haverford's Snake Juice, from Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

An "I met Li'l Sebastian" T-shirt, once featured on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," is on sale in a new online auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

An "I Met Li'l Sebastian" T-shirt from Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

[h/t Slashfilm]

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