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Now displaying: August, 2016
Aug 22, 2016

That's right, Model Airports.  Some people who like model airplanes build model airports to put their model airplanes in.  But while building model airplanes is a pretty common hobby, building model airports is super uncommon, almost unheard of.

Reasons why building model airports is uncommon include:

- Mathematics

- Creativity

- The nature of mankind (in particular our never ending fascination with war and violence)


Find more details about this episode at our website,

Aug 6, 2016

Episode Summary

This article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. The Wikipedia article for Syndesmica is not extensive. It tells you it’s a moth genus, but not much else. So I Googled Syndesmica. I got 280 hits, all of which quote the Wikipedia article word for word. Then I Google Scholar-ed Syndesmica. I got 3 hits, all of which were about Verruca Syndesmica, the wart common in frogs and toads. I couldn’t find Syndesmica in the library catalogue (I tried four different university libraries). I couldn’t find the word Syndesmica in the index of any book about moths. I started to think I was going insane. 

Link to Wikipedia page  

Stuff too cool to fit in the episode

Syndesmica was discovered in 1906, and hasn’t been seen since. It’s discovery was noted in the Proceeding of the Royal Society of Queensland. Yes, that’s what the Proceedings of a Royal Society look like. Cool huh? Proceeding of the Royal Society 1 (Cover)   While making this episode I got obsessed with a book called Moths of Australia by I.F.B. Common. It is super scientific in its focus, and it’s out of print so it’s hard to find (but it is in the State Library of Victoria). The only person I’ve found who is as excited about this book as me is Brittanie, as you can see here when she gushes about it on her blog, Insects Galore. It was Brittanie who drew my attention to the chapter about moths which are PATHENOGENETIC. And then I had to look up PARTHENOGENETIC. And then I freaked out. Cos seriously, PARTHENOGENETIC. (The whole of Brittanie’s blog is worth reading, if only to show what a true lepidoptera enthusiast looks like, instead of a Johnny come lately like me. Also, make sure you check out her bio, it’s the best).   For this episode I went to visit Peter Marriott in the specimen room at Melbourne Museum.  Here's what Peter and the room look like. [gallery link="file" columns="5" ids="60,77,61,62,63,64,76,72,87,86,78,80,79,70,69,65,66,83,81,82"] As well as moths, when I was in the specimen room I got to see Lady Gaga-ntuan, the gargantuan stick insect that the Melbourne Museum found in 2014 and have been using to establish a breeding program.  Unfortunately the original Lady Gaga-ntuan had recently passed away (picture below).  But the breeding program was successful, one of Lady Gaga-ntuan's offspring has now grown to become the largest known stick insect in Australia, at 56.5 cm long, just 2 mm off the world record.  Here's a video, not suitable for the bug-phobic   Lady Gaga 1   I also spoke to Ted Edwards for the episode, Ted is Australia’s premier moth guy. In 2015 he discovered a living moth dinosaur, and then a few months later he talked to me on the phone about something unrelated. So basically I discovered a living moth dinosaur (that’s how discovery works, right?)   Syndesmica was discovered by FP Dodd, the Butterfly Man of Kuranda. He turned his house into a lepidopterist museum, and made his kids work in it.   Syndesmica was scientifically catagorised by Alfred Turner. He was a doctor who collected moths in his spare time. His nickname was Gentle Annie, because he was very comfortable in his masculinity.   Karl Jordan did not discover or scientifically categorise Syndesmica, but he did name and catalogue hundreds of insect species, and I read a lot about him while researching this episode. You should read about him too, particularly the part of his life spent at Tring, a small town in Hertforshire England. Jordan worked at the zoological museum in Tring, his boss was Walter Rothschild, there were kangaroos and cassowaries roaming the museum grounds, and Walter liked to drive through London in a cart pulled by zebras. As do I. (I read about all of this in Ordering Life: Karl Jordan and the Naturalist Tradition by Kristin Johnson, which is an awesome book. Unlike Moths of Australia, which is really only suitable for those going through a severe bought of lepidoptera obsession, Ordering Life is super readable and still in print.  There's a copy at the Ballieu Library at the University of Melbourne, and it's also available on Amazon)    

Aug 3, 2016



It will make the most sense if listened to in front of the window of Rose Chong's Costumiers, 218 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.  Rose Chong's is also located just round the corner from Caz Reitops Dirty Secrets, where Random Article's launch and live podcast recording is happening on the 7th of August.  Coincidence?  Or conspiracy...   For details about the launch, or anything else in the world of Random Article, go to