Monday, September 7, 2015

From the Radio Archives: Entomelodical Opportunities

Between 2002 and 2006 Irene was a DJ on WRFL 88.1fm. A great student run radio station at the University of Kentucky. Entomelodical Opportunities were segments from her weekly radio show, often co-hosted with Robert Beatty (Hair Police, Three-Legged Race).
Entomelodical Opportunities continued after leaving Lexington as a podcast titled Irene & Rosa's Pupal Cast once she moved to Tallahassee, Florida.

These show segments are now available through the Free Music Archive.

  • Robert and Irene Christmas Special - a special Robert and Irene show. One for the holidays!
  • Telemitry - The first of the Pupal Casts.
  • Persimmoween - Halloween and a cast of characters from Auk Theater sing along with some of the best music from October, 2007. Interview with Irene's father about the persimmon tree in the backyard.
  • Telekinesis - A tribute to Uri Geller. Discussion on the math of eating turkey.
  • Breakfast - Little light piano, dad wants to save a box, and its time to eat the most important meal of the day.
  • Fanatical - Irene and Rosa have found themselves down in a well.
  • Peep Show - Its talk of chickens.
  • Easter - Another holiday show and another rabbit.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

From the Radio Archives: Radio Interviews of Let's Talk Science

Let's Talk Science is a series of factual conversations with people working either as scientific researchers or in popular scientific media. The episodes of Let's Talk Science below were pre-recorded for Radio Boredcast from the 2012 A/V Festival, curated by People Like Us. These interviews are now available on Free Music Archive.

From the Radio Archives: Special Recorded Guest Appearances on WFMU

Scott Williams Show
March 9, 2001
Friday afternoons 3PM - 6PM

Live Nude Lepidopterae w/ special guests IRENE MOON and CHRIS JOLLY

People Like Us and Irene Moon
Sunday, January 12th, 2003
Nickel and Dime Radio with $mall ¢hange

This week on Nickel and Dime radio we're happy to have both People Like Us and Irene Moon invade the airwaves. The UK's People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett) has been a long time favorite of FMU's with her audio cut-ups of oldball music, spoken word, and sound effects that's equal parts crack and laughing gas. Based out of Atlanta, Irene Moon's 'learning experiences' combine sound collage and surreal (but quite real) science. Who says you can't trip and learn? Who knows what these audio terrorists will do together?

Dave Soldier and Irene Moon
September 22, 2010
on Do or DIY with People Like Us

On Do or DIY With People Like Us, local classical composer Dave Soldier provides a live performance of his new collaboration with electronic musician Sean Hagerty (and the late Frederic Chopin): a slow version of the Minute Waltz that lasts half an hour. Also, Irene Moon and a cast from the Auk Theater will perform a musical whodunit about insects, in which each insect is a suspect in a serial murder. Wednesday, 9/22, from 7 to 8 PM.

Irene Moon LIVE
August 17, 2011 on Do or DIY with People Like Us

Irene Moon Special Guest show. Irene Moon and the Auk Theater love drama, insects, crime, and examinations. All of these elements make great theater and all occurred at Princess Anne High School documented in the record yearbook created to archive the 1963-1964 school year. Irene found the record in a thrift store in early 2011, but had no idea the demon she uncovered! Of course, these elements could only be discovered in the recording by reading between the lines, backmasking, and interviewing people who know a lot about many things. The new historical drama is filled with music from Nine Fingered Thug, Juules Trakker, Yellow Tears, Secret Boyfriend, Kites, Kevin Blechdom, and, naturally, Lawrence Welk. Irene Moon is an entomologist at North Carolina State University who participates in music and theater. She has the duel focus to advance appreciation of art in the halls of science; as a means of connecting the public to entomology and increasing awareness of the art and creativity intrinsic to the scientific process. Find out more information about Irene Moon, Auk Theater and the Begonia Society at

Irene Moon on UbuWeb

The Films of Irene Moon and the Begonia Society

Irene Moon has been creating music, film and musical lectures since the mid-90s. Her films are heading combinations of completely factual information with neo-Dada homemade New Wave music, insect sound samples, microphotography, animations and so much more. Included here are her Films of the Auk Theater, a touring theater that performs absurd, classical and heavily stylized theater in rock clubs and music venues. All of the short Auk plays are from 2004-2005. Also: The Super 8 series: Early films from Moon with soundtracks created from field recordings of insects and equipment commonly found in a laboratory environment.

Look at this lovely #1

Its only the male Hoplitalysia slossonae that has the interesting reduced, club-like wings. The were originally described by Ashmead in 1900 as Bob Wharton outlines in his text "Review of the Nearctic Alysiini (Hymenotpera, Braconidae).

Monday, April 6, 2015

Beautifully Uninformative

Part of my scientific research is to evaluate and visualize large biodiversity datasets around a type of insect commonly known as Plant Bugs (Miridae). The dataset is big, comprising of around 1.5 million specimen records from Natural History collections (

These visualizations can easily take on a life of their own leaving their descriptive and scientific nature behind, transforming into objects of beauty and disinformation rather than clarification. The illustrations are not random nor imaginative as each of them is powered by the same dataset of Plant Bugs - where the insects were collected, their food plants, and dates of that collection event. These simply exist as an alternative representation of a highly complex natural ecosystem as we have recorded and translated into discrete pieces of information.

Histogram 1 & 2: Collecting event based on plant family with
mixed up columns and rows.

Histogram 3: Plant diversity for every
insect species. The graph is so dense many of the 
columns just appear black.
Network graphs are some of the most striking on the Web and found in publication. Outside of demonstrating that a network is complex, it is very difficult to make them visually informative but fairly easy to make them striking. This is demonstrated with Host Network Graph 1, which is the product of using only the defaults of the R igraph package.

Host Network Graph 1: Default color scheme with all nodes arranged circularly. Only a few of the most numerous edges are visible. 

Art remains interrelated with the possibility of scientific discovery or description since the dataset originates from actual ecosystem observation. Highlights of information can be found in graphs simply made for visual pleasure. The two network graphs below are an example of graphs that convey some truth about Plant Bugs and the way they function in complex ecosystems. In Host Network Graph 2, the plants that the bugs eat tend to be the nodes that have several edges coming from them like fireworks scattering. Reminiscent of constellations, the pattern indicates that many plant bugs are fairly plant food specific. In other words, plant bugs are very selective about what they eat, leading toward isolated groupings of nodes and edges.

In Host Network Graph 3, green nodes are plants eaten by Plant Bugs. The large green circle indicates that more plant bugs like to eat this plant than any other. This network graph, with its giant green node, makes it clear that plant bugs like to eat pine trees.

Host Network Graph 2: Insect and plant interaction are rather isolated.
Host Network Graph 3: A host plant network for Plant Bugs with one favorite plant.

Friday, January 16, 2015

More Irene Moon Titles on FMA

I was looking for some old stash of merchandise to take to a friends record store in West Philadelphia tomorrow. Suddenly, to my shock, most of it has actually been sold. Amazing, I thought closets of some recordings would be around forever. I am in the process of putting all of the old recordings on Free Music Archive for everyone to do as they please. So, please do!