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Semiotic Standard: the icons from Alien

Following on from our Solar System transit map, we settled on this as our next vector art project: recreating the "Semiotic Standard" icons used to decorate the Nostromo spaceship sets in the 1979 film Alien.

We also thought it'd be fun to make them usable as fediverse emoji, so we did that.

Find the full set in emojo form here:

See the attached image, or, for examples.

We'll be publishing large SVG files of these, too - as soon as we get the source file sorted out so we can export them easily. (we still suck at illustrator lol) In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these, and watch this space for more!

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The Solar System: A Transit Map

Ever wanted to take a bus from Earth to another planet entirely? Us too! If we could, this is the map we’d use to get from here to there. Now you can use it to do that, too!

Physical things that have this on them:

Different sizes, transparent backgrounds:

We want to make this into a depiction of a solarpunk future, designed by consensus, that we'd all love to see! If you have ideas or thoughts on that, please add them to this thread:

More at our website:

Special thanks and 💜 : @anarchiv @RedFuture @velexiraptor

We hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to boost and share with anyone you think might like it!

someone asked me today if i didn't like any other insects, "not even butterflies?"

it's the kind of question that can only make sense to someone who's never watched wasps hunt

welp. "flash sync is for cowards" didn't work out so hot, which makes sense, it fires the flashes a bunch of times in fast succession to ensure sensor coverage and that's never going to reach the same peak intensity

...wish i'd tested that more *before* losing what would've been a dozen good shots of a wasp i didn't immediately recognize

i did see a hummingbird, though, and the local four-toothed mason wasp - a daughter of last year's, using the same handrail for her own brood cells by the look of it. no shots, they're too quick and nervous by far, but always pleasant to see

and there miiiiiight be a P. dominula colony in the side porch box eave? i saw a forager land on the downspout and walk up into the (grossly oversized) hole, and i don't know why else she'd be likely to do that. i do see lots of P. dominula around here but that's not a surprise given they are very common, still interesting to keep an eye out and see

"man vs bee" or as i've been calling it lately, "mister bee-an"

light souls: everyone says these ones are easy, but actually resolving your problems through communication and mutual respect takes practice

every so often i just sit and think for a while about how some taxonomist really did go and name a species Vespa analis or the "asshole hornet" and apparently now is that time

not actually sure whether i'd rather go to pride this weekend or go out in the yard in my undershirt and take more pictures of wasps and see how well the "flash sync is for cowards" setting works on my camera

i mean granted it'll be the first chance i've had to go to pride since 2019 and i wanted to go last year, but on the other hand, it will be a very sunny day and perfect wasp weather and also lots and lots of people at pride and i don't really know most of them at this point tbh. also it's not like i need anyone else telling me i'm hot, i know that, and boyfriend likely won't want to go and it would be considerably less than half as fun without him. also my yard never normally has straight cops in it but the same can unfortunately not be said for the other and it has been a problem before

...let's be real, we already know how this is probably going to go. "would rather spend time in a cloud of wasps than a crowd of humans" is extremely on brand for me, don't you think? because i do

well that's embarrassing! this wasp isn't Polistes metricus at all, but rather Polistes annularis, the ringed wasp - so named for the bright yellow marking around her postpropodeal margin, that being the first segment of her naturally slender abdomen

(granted, she's still probably from an early brood given the slight raggedness of her wingtips, which is a reliable marker of a wasp's age regardless of species. and a P. metricus of such narrow gastral aspect would certainly have been relatively poorly fed in youth. the two species are close cousins but their markings are quite different, enough so that i'm a little embarrassed at the mistake despite this being as far as i remember the first time i've ever seen this kind of wasp, and certainly the first time i've ever gotten pictures of one!)

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it's another picture of the same wasp. this time she's taking off upside down 

i bet you didn't know they could do this. neither did i!

(i feel i should note that, while i post-processed this as i usually do to better reflect what i saw through the viewfinder, i neither stood on my head for the shot, nor inverted the image in post. believe it or not, and i admit i might not if i hadn't taken her picture myself - this is what she was actually doing)

it's hard to know how fast her wings are really beating. but this was shot at my camera's native max flash sync speed of 1/250 (ie the shutter was open for four thousandths of a second) and that wasn't even close to fast enough to freeze her motion, so depending on the sweep i feel like 50 beats per second is a reasonable minimum here, and tbh she could be going a lot faster

(that said, i *think* i figured out how to get my camera to do 1/2000, ie half a millisecond exposures, with flash! so maybe next time i get a chance to shoot we'll be able to see both how fast their wings beat, and what their wings look like while they *are* beating. i'm really hoping to be able to show just how much more flexible they are than it seems like they would be)

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oh neat, amazon's making their talking surveillance machine able to mimic human voices. i'm sure that's fine

(and look at those wings! usually they keep them folded and you can't even see all four of them, she's a very well satisfied wasp at this moment)

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it's a picture of a wasp 

she was probably hunting caterpillars, but there weren't any in that rosebush. fortunately, someone had daubed a bit of tasty and nutritious honey on some leaves, so her time wasn't entirely wasted

wild to have locked myself out the house for the first time in at least a decade. it's been a punishing week

at least i had my phone! called boyfriend, who dropped what he was doing and ran straight back home to rescue me. i do love that man 💖

this heat is really wonderful though, like march or april back home. it'll be harsher in august but for now it's quite pleasant and the wasps are fond of it too

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the weird and obscure mismatch of personal vibes occasioned when you talk about wasps a lot...

me: "...overall they're just really interesting, and quite beautiful besides!"

them: "well sure, until they sting you"

me: "Oh, they never sting me."

...and then just leave it there and go about your business

(it's not that it upsets people so much as that most just don't know what to say to something like that, which i have to admit is fair)

one of many things i love about my partner is that he already had a conceptual framework which easily encompasses my cordial relationship with hymenopterans. when i explained that being okay with that, and not being immediately hostile toward wasps, was a requirement of sharing both my home and my bed, he was not only unsurprised but practically finished the sentence with me. turns out he wasn't kidding when he said i wasn't the first witch he'd dated

him also being a skillful photographer helps a lot too, since it means he doesn't need explaining how we work. today my business included making sure to get some shooting time. got some keepers incl. one of a P. metricus forager (probably first or maybe second brood, given her slender gaster) midjump, wings a blur even at 1/250, all six legs stretched out in the posture they adopt to help their wings grab the air for takeoff

also in the same rosebush, either her again or one of her sisters poking around the underside of a leaf with her pointy wasp butt toward me. so i crouched down to get a close profile or portrait shot depending on which way she turned. crouched down too fast and too close as it happened: i shoot without glasses (they get in the way) with eyepiece diopter inserts to correct for my quite poor eyesight, so was quite close when she noticed and spun to face me. in the sliver of an instant that our eyes met i could swear i almost heard a faint and tiny "aaaaa!" before she teleported away, flying so fast my big dumb primate brain couldn't even tell which way she went

i'll try to post some developed pics in a day or two but it's going to keep being a busy week probably for about the next month and a half so no promises

and iii.) most importantly, how obviously good my partner and i are for each other

gonna marry him, y'all. at this point we're just thinking through the details

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met a friend for lunch today who we haven't seen in a year. she didn't recognize me at first!! and then complimented 1) my new look, and b) my ass

can't wait for stephen wolfram to go into mcafee mode

trespassers will receive a compulsory two hour lecture on the variations in social biology among various families of wasps

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masto instance for the tildeverse