A few new paintings…

These pieces copyright 2019 by Russ Hodge, not for use without permission.


New version of Mark Twain


sleeping angel





Harriet Tubman



New updates to the Devil’s dictionary!!!

today’s entries: blastulation, chorion, latebra, and reproductive value.

See the complete Devil’s Dictionary of Scientific Words and Phrases here.


all entries in the Devil’s Dictionary copyright 2019 by Russ Hodge


blastulation  A process in an early stage of embryogenesis whereby cells form a hollow, balloon-like sphere (or blastula, although any Latin nerd will tell you it ought to be called a blastulum, just as the singular form of spatula ought to be spatulum). In ancient times, before evolution got things straightened out, blastulas (or blastula, depending on your stance on the blastula/blastulum issue) often suffered the fate of balloons being overinflated. They blasted apart, hence the name. Then evolution produced gastrulation, which had basically the function of adding extra layers to the balloon so that it could expand to the size of a whole animal without exploding.

chorion  The yucky, skin-like envelope still left on the surface of an egg after the shell has been peeled off, if you didn’t properly follow the manufacturer’s protocol for boiling an egg. Whether the chorion is also there before the egg has been boiled is a matter of intense controversy among chorionologists. One school holds that it is indeed there, while the other maintains that the chorion is an artifact that arises through the process of boiling, like the skin that forms on boiling milk. The question has not been resolved because so far, all attempts to peel unboiled eggs have resulted in a state of affairs technically known as a mess.

latebra  The white stuff in an egg – in other words, everything except for the yolk, the shell, the chorion, parasites, other visitors, GPS tracking devices, or any foreign entities you might find there. Whether the latebra is white before you open the egg is a philosophical question on a par with the light-in-the-refrigerator debate.

reproductive value  A quantitative value assigned to females which represents the number of children they will still have once they have reached a particular age. For a female aged x, for example, the reproductive value would be represented as Vx. If the female is aged x + 3, then the reproductive value would usually be lower, unless she is a late starter, or has yet to attract a partner, or has an unenthusiastic partner, or is taking potent fertility drugs, or her partner is taking such drugs, at which point things get rather unpredictable and the formula becomes more complex. The reproductive value also depends on the species in question, and whether the “3” represents years, months, or minutes; in any case the value should be adjusted by subtracting the number of children the female had during the 3 years, months or minutes that have passed, yielding a formula something like Vx + 3 = Vx– y, where y = the number of children she could have had during that period, although if she bore twins this should be corrected to 2y, triplets 3y, octuplets 8y, etc.


If you liked this post, you’ll probably like:

Even God’s first paper got rejected

The subtle art of the truly vicious review

Losing your heart in Heidelberg – and getting it back again

and check out the hundreds of Molecular biology cartoons

as well as the serious pieces in the categories Teaching and training, etc.




A few more new pieces…

These images are copyright 2019 by Russ Hodge, not for reuse without permission, unlike the cartoons and most of the rest of the material on the site. Some originals and reproductions for sale. If you’re interested, get in touch. Enjoy!

(better color versions will be posted soon)

  1. Untitled

2. Giverny series


3. Untitled

4. More Giverny…

5. Same basic scene, another technique…

Better versions of paintings – Giverny series

Here are the properly photographed versions of some recent paintings: the Giverny series so far. Copyright 2019 by Russ Hodge. Not for use without permission – which I am generally happy to give for good causes. I can make prints if there is interest…

These have been fascinating exercises in learning to see, and simply trying to paint what I see. Monet’s gardens are fabulously beautiful, and somehow it seems impossible to see them nowadays without seeing them at least a bit through his eyes. Trying to capture these scenes is tremendously interesting and highly frustrating… but for me it has been worth the effort.



More non-scientific artwork…

Two paintings after our trip to Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, north of Paris… Stunningly beautiful, and somehow almost impossible to see except through his eyes. Trying to capture just what you see is impossible, of course, but definitely worth the effort. These photos of my paintings don’t get the colors right – better versions to come, when my photographer is back from vacation.

These copyright 2019 by Russ Hodge, not for use without permission.