Notable Eclectic Ephemera


The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicana) is a neotenic salamander perhaps best known for its distinctive mane of feathery external gills. "Neoteny" refers to a lifecycle in which an animal undergoes a complete reproductive cycle without ever reaching an adult state - most axolotls live their entire lives as fully aquatic tadpoles.

Axolotls make wonderful pets. Meet Kimiko (albino) and Huxley (wild type) here.

University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt

I am a proud alumnus ("Judge emeritus") of the organization that runs the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt. The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt ("Scav") is an annual event that lasts four days each May. Each year's List of Items features several hundred weird and esoteric activities. Examples of past items: A replica of the chess-playing "automaton" The Mechanical Turk; affixing enormous googly eyes to campus buildings; a zeusaphone (singing tesla coil); a Stradivarius violin, cello, or viola. In 2011, The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt was anointed the World's Largest Scavenger Hunt (proof here) by the Guinness Book of World Records. In actuality, our induction into the GBWR followed a single hour-long event that was a mere footnote in the four-day-long extravaganza of searching for and making things. (The GBWR title has since been claimed by someone else.)

Kimiko curled up in her food dish.

Me, playing Chess against The Mechanical Turk during the 2013 Scavenger Hunt.