Tag Archives | butterflies

Terence McKenna: Butterfly Hunter

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PIC: Klea McKenna (C) -click to see more images and learn about the book.

This month we remember the late, great Terence McKenna. The author, lecturer, scientist and philosopher was the heir apparent to Timothy Leary, bringing more lucidity, humor and insight to spreading the gospel of the psychedelic experience than anyone has been able to muster since we lost McKenna to brain cancer in April, 2000.

While it’s always nice to recall our heroes in an online post, I mention McKenna to point to the remembrance created by his daughter. Klea McKenna’s The Butterfly Hunter is a gorgeous photography volume that documents her dad’s butterfly collection as she explains in the introduction of her book:

For four years, beginning in 1969, my father lived out an unlikely fantasy: he became a butterfly collector. (We use the term collector but that is just a euphemism for hunter.) Butterfly hunting is a conflicted activity, a desire for beauty and a small act of violence, both justified by science.

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The Fukushima Disaster Produced Mutant Irradiated Butterflies

Radiation turns your dreams to nightmares, via Mother Jones:

Researchers collected butterflies immediately following the nuclear meltdown and six months later, both from the surrounding areas of Fukushima and from various other localities in Japan. As compared with the butterflies collected from elsewhere, Fukushima butterflies showed some abnormally-developed legs, dented eyes, deformed wing shapes, and changes to the color and spot patterns of their wings, with an overall abnormality rate of around 12 percent.

While these levels of mutations were still relatively mild, more alarming were the same data on butterflies collected six months later, in September of last year. The overall rate of similar mutations among these butterflies was around 28 percent, while this number skyrocketed to around 52 percent in the second generation produced from the collected butterflies.

The study renews worries that humans, too, might be affected by the released radiation in the Fukushima area, but the researchers insist that this is not an easy line to draw.

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