April 2007 Archives

mutant salamander attacks!

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It isn't often that salamanders take on the role of death and destruction but The Host does just that. The film, made by Korean director Bong Joon-ho, stars a mutated salamander-like creature and has received great reviews from NPR for "[moving] effortlessly from scenes of grief to slapstick comedy, and back again" and from Robert Ebert at the Sun Times who gave the film 3 and 1/2 stars. The official site along with movie trailer can be found at hostmovie.com.

Back in August 2006, a salamander blog posted a article about the extraction of DNA from fossils. Using a small bit of protein, scientists have reported in Scientific American magazine they have done just that and compared it with living organisms. Using protein taken from a fossil thigh bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex, scientists were able to isolate seven amino acid sequences. Of the seven sequences, five were related to chicken, one to frog, and one a salamander.

In a March post in the salamander blog titled - Chinese Giant Salamander articificial breeding base for ??? - I wrote about a salamander breeding site for Chinese Giant Salamanders in China. Today, Bernama, a news agency out of Malaysia, posted an article about another breeding site in China (or maybe the same one?). Again, I'd like to find out what the purpose of these sites are - re-population or food production.

salamanders and popular culture

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While watching television a week ago, I noticed a Midas Car commercial (most of the time my attention drifts from the commercials). The setting is a suburban tree-lined street in the summer time. A little boy is causing a group of girls to scream and as a car cruises by the boy darts out in front of it to rescue his pet. Tires squeal and the boy reaches down to recover his pet - a large Tiger Salamander. I searched online for a copy of this commercial and even wrote the Midas company to see if they would possibly make a copy available but have heard nothing yet. With any luck I'll post a link or maybe even the content if Midas makes it available.

Then, a couple nights later, I am clicking randomly through the channels and come across the movie "Matilda". Here again is the salamander. This time the salamander is used to illicit screaming and terror in the evil schoolmaster as she attempts to drink from a pitcher containing the salamander. I did some searching online to see if I could get a short clip of the movie but again came up empty. After searching I did find that "Matilda" was a popular kid's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Roald Dahl is probably most famous as the author of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

I just realized as I was writing this blog entry that the general theme seems to be that salamanders can make people, in both cases the female variety, scream, especially when they are shoved in their face by a little boy or strategically placed in a pitcher of water.