Pharyngula

The best article title this week goes to…

I had to read it just for the title alone: “Harmonic Convergence in the Love Songs of the Dengue Vector Mosquito”. It’s got romance, it’s got harmony, it’s got singing, and best of all, it has that delicious dramatic tension of being all about biting insects known to carry a nasty disease. Even in the lowliest, most obnoxious creatures, biologists find beauty.

I’d tell you all about it — in short, courting mosquitos synchronize their wingbeats to sing in harmony — but Neurotopia beat me to it. When summer comes to Minnesota, I’ll have to remember that the incessant whines are actually tiny little liebeslieder.

Comments

  1. #1 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    And those mosquitoes who don’t know the words can simply hum along.

  2. #2 Qwerty
    February 27, 2009

    I remember once as a kid watching a mostquito feast on my blood; then fly away.

    I think I saw a program on NOVA about all the animals that feast on other animals blood. Even humans do this as there is some tribe in Africa that bleed their cattle for the blood.

  3. #3 ChrisGose
    February 27, 2009

    Last year I got 2 different strains of dengue within a 2 month period.

    To hell with their beauty.

  4. #4 E.V.
    February 27, 2009

    There was a Tabasco Sauce commercial here in the States with a red headed backwoods guy eating a slice of pizza with a few dashes of McIlhenny’s best when a mosquito lands on his arm, digs in and then flies away after being sated with blood. Suddenly there is a midair fiery explosion in the night sky in the vicinity of the mosquito’s last known whereabouts. The red headed guy just grins and nods.

    That’s my favorite mental image of mosquitoes.

  5. #5 misc
    February 27, 2009

    Apparently German words are somewhat popular in English nowadays. Maybe my mother tongue will come in handy, after all.

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    February 27, 2009

    Nothing like a love whine to get them all hot.

    Reminds me of the IDiots…

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  7. #7 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    Yes Misc, though I think you should have thrown your mother’s tongue away long ago.

  8. #8 Jeeves
    February 27, 2009

    Minnesota has a summer?

  9. #9 naughty savage
    February 27, 2009

    The musical is back!

    (couldn’t resist)

  10. #10 KI
    February 27, 2009

    #8
    Yes we have summer. Between June 15 and August 1 (exaggerating!). Better than that, we have a species called the Snow Mosquito, they come out in February on days above freezing and lay their eggs in snowmelt puddles. They can take freezing and thawing cycles and when the puddles dry up in the spring the adults hibernate under tree bark until the next winter. We also have snow spiders that have antifreeze in their blood so they can be mobile to about ten degrees (F) below freezing. How many snow mosquitos they eat is unknown to me.

  11. #11 Brownian
    February 27, 2009
  12. #12 misc
    February 27, 2009

    Yes AnthonyK, synonyms are really, really funny sometimes. Ha, ha. Ha…

  13. #13 gaypaganunitarianagnostic
    February 27, 2009

    Zing, zing, zing a little zong wid meeee.!

  14. #14 Eamon Knight
    February 27, 2009

    Harmonic Convergence in the Love Songs of the Dengue Vector Mosquito”. It’s got romance, it’s got harmony, it’s got singing, and best of all, it has that delicious dramatic tension of being all about biting insects known to carry a nasty disease

    …and a humorous nod in the direction of a bit of newage woo.

  15. #15 Tualha
    February 27, 2009

    They’ve got rhythm, they’ve got music?

  16. #16 E.V.
    February 27, 2009

    Who could ask for anything more?

  17. #17 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    I prefer “Antonyms” myself.

  18. #18 peter g
    February 27, 2009

    Canadas CBC radio beat you to it as well on last saturdays ,
    Quirks and Quarks.

  19. #19 T. Bruce McNeely
    February 27, 2009

    Peggy Lee did it first:

    You give me Fever
    when you kiss me
    fever when you hold me tight
    Fever
    In the morning
    Fever all through the night

  20. #20 NewEnglandBob
    February 27, 2009

    Mosquitoes playing harmonicas! Fantastic!!!

  21. #21 Glen Davidson
    February 27, 2009

    See, there’s beauty in the parasites and vectors of deadly diseases that god made for us.

    Behe will be thrilled.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  22. #22 C. M. Baxter
    February 27, 2009

    Ok, I couldn’t find the definition anywhere. What the hell does liebeslieder mean?

  23. #23 Slaughter
    February 27, 2009

    Did you know that only female mosquitoes suck blood? And that the male is the one that buzzes, although he doesn’t bite? So if you’re in bed at night and hear buzzing, don’t worry, it’s the male and he won’t bite. But if you hear nothing….

  24. #24 mikecbraun
    February 27, 2009

    misc and AnthonyK, you’re both wrong. Tongue in this case, would be a homonym. The word is spelled and pronounced the same, yet has two different meanings. Here endeth the lesson.

  25. #25 mikecbraun
    February 27, 2009

    liebeslieder: love songs
    synonym: two different words that have the same meaning (i.e. car/automobile)
    antonym: two differnt words that have opposite meanings (i.e. alive/dead)

  26. #26 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 27, 2009

    liebeslieder

    IIRC from my very rusty German (with the aid of a dictionary), love song.

  27. #27 Strangebrew
    February 27, 2009

    ‘I’ll have to remember that the incessant whines are actually tiny little liebeslieder.’

    So that is noise coming incessantly from the fundy corner!

  28. #28 PZ Myers
    February 27, 2009

    What? No one listens to Brahms or Strauss anymore?

  29. #29 Strangebrew
    February 27, 2009

    *23

    ‘Did you know that only female mosquitoes suck blood? And that the male is the one that buzzes, although he doesn’t bite? So if you’re in bed at night and hear buzzing, don’t worry, it’s the male and he won’t bite. But if you hear nothing….’

    Then you is getting a nasty manly suck…but all is cool cos he don’t bite right?!

    ( eeuwww!…having just read what I wrote…summat just don’t gell right!)

  30. #30 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    So which sex is it that does all the whining?

  31. #31 Christine
    February 27, 2009

    Qwerty: “I think I saw a program on NOVA about all the animals that feast on other animals blood. Even humans do this as there is some tribe in Africa that bleed their cattle for the blood.”

    You sound surprised. I recommend not coming to Scotland…

  32. #32 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    Here endeth the lesson.

    With a lisp like that, I suggest you give steer clear of “lessons”, or even “suggestions”.

  33. #33 Epikt
    February 27, 2009

    AnthonyK:

    So which sex is it that does all the whining?

    Before or after mating?

  34. #34 Jeff Bell
    February 27, 2009

    So I guess it is entitled to the title title.

  35. #35 MusicCritic
    February 27, 2009

    When I first saw this item, I missed the second “the” in the title, and interpreted “Dengue Vector Mosquito” as the name of a band.

    Probably post-punk or something.

  36. #36 MJKelleher
    February 27, 2009

    What? No one listens to Brahms or Strauss anymore?

    Can’t forget Bach … PDQ Bach, that is, and the Liebeslieder Polkas.

  37. #37 Interrobang
    February 27, 2009

    And that the male is the one that buzzes, although he doesn’t bite?

    I think that’s only true for some species of mosquitoes. The little splattered bodies I’ve left when swatting in the dark by homing in on the annoying whining noise seem to indicate otherwise. After all, if they really were males (and I think the males are very much larger than the females, are they not>?), then why would they be buzzing around me and trying to fly into my ears and nose? I’m willing to bet you could scrape a beautiful biofilm out of my sinus cavities, but I’m also reasonably sure there’s no mosquitoes in residence.

  38. #38 misc
    February 27, 2009

    @mikecbraun
    Um.. what I meant: “Mother tongue” is synonymous to “first language”. But enough Wortklauberei.

  39. #39 misc
    February 27, 2009

    That Gedankengang was somewhat opaque, though.

  40. #40 CatBallou
    February 27, 2009

    Since this thread has descended into wordplay, I’m reminded of the “Harmonic Convergence” of 1987, which was supposed to usher in a new era of love and unity. Sort of like the Age of Aquarius.
    Anyway, a few months later I was chatting up a guy in a bar, and jokingly asked him where he was for the harmonic convergence. He thought I said “harmonica virgins.”
    A great name for a band.

  41. #41 Ritchie Annand
    February 27, 2009

    I will be conducting the mosquito symphony this summer with my electric racket/conductor’s baton.

  42. #42 Loc
    February 27, 2009

    Are the footprints of Homo erectus or ergaster? I’ve seen two varying statements. The Perspective didn’t mention either.

  43. #43 Blondin
    February 27, 2009

    Isn’t the mosquito the Minnesota state bird?

  44. #44 Katkinkate
    February 27, 2009

    Posted by: AnthonyK @ 37 ” “Here endeth the lesson.”
    With a lisp like that, I suggest you give steer clear of “lessons”, or even “suggestions”. ‘

    Not to mention ‘sizzling sausages’.

  45. #45 scicurious
    February 27, 2009

    Eeek! Linked by PZ! No way! You totally rock my socks, I’m feeling so famous right now. :)

  46. #46 Wild Urmensch
    February 27, 2009

    To Misc, AnthonyK and mikecbraun

    Sorry. Mother’s tongue is neither antonym, synonym or homologue.
    It’s a metonym. ;)

  47. #47 Sili
    February 27, 2009

    I hope you’ll forgive me for preferring the arthropod Liebestod.

  48. #48 dada-1.03
    February 27, 2009

    I submit:

    The Narrative of Fatal flaw: Dialectic narrative and social realism

    Helmut McElwaine
    Department of Ontology, University of California, Berkeley

    1. Foucaultist power relations and capitalist situationism

    If one examines social realism, one is faced with a choice: either reject
    dialectic narrative or conclude that reality is responsible for hierarchy, but
    only if Lacan’s critique of cultural socialism is valid. The subject is
    interpolated into a social realism that includes consciousness as a paradox.

    If capitalist situationism holds, we have to choose between the neodialectic
    paradigm of concensus and social realism. Bataille uses the term ‘social
    realism’ to denote not, in fact, theory, but pretheory. In a sense, Porter [1]
    suggests that the works of Burroughs are reminiscent of Koons.

    Therefore, several situationisms concerning dialectic narrative exist.
    Postdeconstructive dematerialism holds that culture may be used to reinforce
    outdated perceptions of art.

    2. Expressions of absurdity

    In the works of Tarantino, a predominant concept is the concept of textual
    sexuality. In a sense, in Pulp Fiction, Tarantino reiterates social realism; in
    Pulp Fiction Tarantino denies capitalist situationism. Many narratives
    concerning dialectic narrative exist. However, the subject is contextualised
    into a dialectic narrative that includes truth as a paradox.

    The main theme of la Fournier’s [2] model of capitalist feminism is the
    collapse, and some would say the fatal flaw, of subcultural sexual identity.

    Pickett [3] suggests that we have to choose between social realism and
    capitalist situationism. Baudrillard uses the term ‘dialectic narrative’ to
    denote the difference between class and society.

    Thus, a number of narratives concerning precapitalist neomaterial theory may be
    found. The premise of social realism implies that culture is used to entrench
    capitalism, given that language is equal to art. Sartre promotes the use of
    dialectic narrative to analyse consciousness.

    3. Capitalist situationism and Sontagist camp

    “Sexual identity is a legal fiction,” says Sartre. But the rubicon of the
    textual paradigm of context which is a central theme of Reservoir Dogs is also
    evident in Clerks. The main theme of la Tournier’s [4] essay on Sontagist camp
    is the paradigm, and thus the meaninglessness, of substructural sexual
    identity.

    In the works of Tarantino, a predominant concept is the distinction between
    figure and ground. Derrida uses the term ‘dialectic narrative’ to denote a
    postsemioticist whole. It could be said that the subject is interpolated into a
    social realism that includes narrativity as a reality. In a sense, social
    realism states that the task of the writer is deconstruction.

    If one examines Sontagist camp, one is faced with a choice: either accept
    dialectic narrative or conclude that the collective is capable of truth. Any
    number of theories concerning the role of the poet as artist exist. Parry [5]
    suggests that we have to choose between neocapitalist libertarianism and social
    realism.

    Thus, Lyotard promotes the use of dialectic narrative to challenge class
    divisions. The subject is interpolated into a constructivist situationism that
    includes sexuality as a totality.

    The main theme of the works of Tarantino is not narrative, but subnarrative.
    Hubbard [6] holds that the works of Tarantino are an example of conceptual
    nationalism.

    In a sense, Marx’s analysis of social realism implies that expression comes
    from the collective unconscious, but only if Sontagist camp is invalid;
    otherwise, Foucault’s model of Debordist situation is one of “neodialectic
    rationalism”, and thus fundamentally impossible.

    However, Baudrillard uses the term ‘the semanticist paradigm of discourse’ to
    denote the futility, and eventually the stasis, of neodialectic reality. An
    abundance of desublimations concerning Sontagist camp exist. If dialectic
    narrative holds, we have to choose between social realism and Sontagist camp.

    —-
    1. Porter, S. C. G. (1976) Dialectic narrative in the works of Tarantino.
    Oxford University Press
    2. la Fournier, P. A. J. ed. (1973) Social realism and dialectic narrative.
    University of Georgia Press
    3. Pickett, R. L. (1981) Expressions of Dialectic: Dialectic narrative and
    social realism. Panic Button Books
    4. la Tournier, W. (1977) Social realism in the works of Pynchon. O’Reilly &
    Associates
    5. Parry, O. D. ed. (1979) Social realism and dialectic narrative. Oxford
    University Press
    6. Hubbard, B. N. H. ed. (1988) Postcapitalist Theories: Social realism and
    dialectic narrative. Schlangekraft

    real 0m0.038s
    user 0m0.006s
    sys 0m0.007s

  49. #49 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 27, 2009

    dada-1.03, this had what to do with subject of the thread?

  50. #50 nick nick bobick
    February 27, 2009

    t bruce @ 19

    Credit where credit is due: Fever was actually first recorded as a hit by Little Willie John in 1956, 2 years before Peggy Lee. It was written by a couple of black songwriters.

  51. #51 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    I’m with you Nerd, that dada should read dodo. WTF?

  52. #52 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    Thankyou for clearing that mystery up, dada-1-03.

  53. #53 Broggly
    February 27, 2009

    There is beauty in the gnashing of a shark
    There is beauty in the thorns around the rose
    To a mind that’s scientific
    There’s nothing so terrific
    As the humming of a hive of mosquitos

  54. #54 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Oh sweet mother of dodo’s, he mentioned libertarism.

  55. #55 AnthonyK
    February 27, 2009

    Libertarianism is one of my all-time favourite “ibertarainisms”. What are yours?

  56. #56 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Damn it. I do love that Chimp for his bacon and grits, but those blasted cooties he drops all over the place play hell with my spelling.

    I ment liber-a-tard-ism.

  57. #57 bastion of sass
    February 28, 2009

    #31:

    Qwerty: “I think I saw a program on NOVA about all the animals that feast on other animals blood. Even humans do this as there is some tribe in Africa that bleed their cattle for the blood.”

    You sound surprised. I recommend not coming to Scotland…

    Or Poland.

    There’s czernina which my Polish side of the family calls “chocolate soup” when they want to introduce it to squeamish eaters.

    And then there’s the Polish equivalent of black pudding: kiszka.

  58. #58 nothing's sacred
    February 28, 2009

    dada-1.03, this had what to do with subject of the thread?

    dada-1.03 is a piece of software that takes a grammar script and generates random output. In this case I gave it pomo.pb, which generates articles and article titles similar to what one might find in a PoMo journal like “Social Text”, made famous by Alan Sokal, author of the hoax article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”. So, this was intended as a joke, but I guess it was too esoteric.

  59. #59 John Morales
    February 28, 2009

    nothing’s sacred, not that esoteric, with the runtimes at the end. Pretty big clue.

  60. #60 AnthonyK
    February 28, 2009

    Ah I see, nothing’s sacred – a socal poe. Well, if you think that’s esoteric, you should check out my therory of indefinite postponeism, which I must get round to wtiting up.
    I think that that pericular hoax, you know the one, effectivley killed off post-modernism, along with the death of Foucault et al.
    If only we could find the equivalent for creationism. Oh shit, we have – reality! The world’s fucked!

  61. #61 hery
    January 25, 2010

    I think that’s only true for some species of mosquitoes

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