Trees Don’t Twist | Homeless in Panama

6/5/2012
Cecropia Rotation Tests
Late night early morn. Race the sun, setup at 9.
Used chair trick learned from last night’s flower-carrying Leafcutter recording to make my tripods taller. Ran across Ummat and his bugs this morning. A group of adorable panamanian 8 year-old girls were interested in what he was doing with bugs, and helped him take down data. Adorable.

This picture should probably be on the cover of every recruitment brochure to go to Ummat’s college.

Setup was tricky as anticipated. Paint pen works well on leaves, but only if they are dry. A single drop takes a paint pen out of commission for 2-5 mins. Compass shows the sun rising in the west. Confusing.

Realized after starting that I setup the shots in the shade and need to drop the exposure for when the sun comes out.
Just now realized that I set my sitting/equipment tarp over a leafcutter nest. They are nicer than they look. I’m worried about the stability of the tripods. Shouldn’t worry about anything, this is paradise…though the stakes are so high to do something REALLY COOL and I have SO LITTLE TIME.

Need to do at least one fun thing with a microcontroller. Talked with Marc Seid, he pointed out that a golden experiment to hit on in science would be getting an insect to self-administer. This means, you can get ants addicted to morphine, but getting them to perform a task where they learn that morphine is the reward is something that has not yet been done.

10:55 Am
Been nearly 2 hours. Am starting to think that Cecropia trees do not move their leaves. Found lots of weird hemipterans with Ummat.

Had to pack my stuff up last night and surrender the key to my room. I’m now officially homeless in Panama. Supposedly I will get to move in with Stephen Pratt et al when they arrive in 5-6 days.
Found a strange insect yesterday. Was too attracted to my camera to snap a photo. Her legs are held top and bottom like a Tie-Fighter. Bright blue. Tiny Wings, Hovers. Moves like a quadcopter.