Wednesday, April 30, 2014
This story is part of National Geographic‘s special eight-month “Future of Food” series.
It’s easy to underestimate what plants can do. They’re not just passive victims of animal attacks, in need of rescue through barriers and pesticides. They can produce defensive toxins to poison the creatures that try to eat them; the natural pesticides in our food far outnumber the synthetic ones we spray on them. They can also communicate with each other by releasing alarm chemicals into the air. Some of these attract parasites that kill the leaf-eating pests. Others tell neighbouring plants to start upping their own defences. But the tomato does something different.
It releases an airborne chemical that works not as an alarm, but as an ingredient. Other tomatoes can grab the substance from the air, and convert it into a toxin within their own tissues. They can turn an odour into a chemical weapon.
A tiny mite no larger than a sesame seed holds the record as the fastest land animal in the world, according to new research, when measured in proportion to its size.
While the cheetah is commonly thought of as one of the speediest creatures in the animal kingdom, and moves at 16 body lengths per second, the Paratarsotomus macropalpis trounces the big cat with a whopping 322 body lengths per second, according to a study by Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
This is almost twice as quick as what was previously believed to be the fastest animal, the Australian Tiger Beetle, which moves at 171 body lengths per second. Because of the mite’s minuscule proportions and inordinately fast pace, the research team was unable to use traditional means of measuring its velocity.
“We can’t actually chase after a mite because they move much too quickly for that,” said Jonathan Wright, lead researcher of the study.
“We’re actually filming them running on a concrete driveway.” After gathering the footage, the researchers then replayed the film to find that the mite’s speed exceeded their expectations and that it was also able to quickly switch its direction.
The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego on Sunday.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
“For about 30 seconds, it was unbelievable,” said Mississippi state Sen. Giles Ward, whose Louisville home was destroyed in the storm.
The collection begins with:
There was a sweet girl of Decatur Who went to sea on a freighter.
She was screwed by the master -An utter disaster-
But the crew all made up for it later.
Which Asimov explains: “This one marked the beginning. I composed it on the Queen Elizabeth II when returning from a visit to Great Britain in June 1974. When I recited it, everyone laughed. Since that time I have been writing down limericks. I wasn’t going to let myself forget them and lose laughs.” This first volume was soon followed by More Lecherous Limericks in 1976, Still More Lecherous Limericks in 1977, A Grossery of Limericks written and compiled with poet John Ciardi in 1981, and finally Limericks, Too Gross again with Ciardi in 1985. On the back dust-jacket of A Grossery of Limericks, Asimov explained his talent for writing rude verse:
ISAAC ASIMOV: “The question I am most frequently asked is ‘Asimov, how do you manage to make up your deliciously crafted limericks?’ “It’s difficult to find an answer that doesn’t sound immodest since ‘Sheer genius!’ happens to be the truth. It is terrible to have to choose between virtues of honesty and modesty. Generally I choose honesty which is one way (among many) in which I am different from John Ciardi. Not that I mean to impugn John’s character, of course. I am sure he would choose honesty too, if he knew what it was.
“The last time someone asked him how he managed to compose limericks, John said,
‘What are limericks?’”
To give you an idea of the quality of Asimov’s naughty verse, here’s a short selection from A Grossery of Limericks , with a couple by John Ciardi.
Monday, April 28, 2014
At least 17 people are dead after a string of 31 tornadoes hit states in the Southern and Midwestern U.S. on Sunday night.
The ice cream will be sold under the name SpoonVege beginning May 12.
A rough Google translation from the product page:
" Cherry tomato "
That the leading role the sweetness and flavor of tomatoes , add acidity and fruity aroma of cherry , and I prepared to enjoy the full-bodied taste and a rich tomato , ice cream deep taste . I can enjoy the soft hue of the original material .
" Carrot Orange "
By starring plump smell sweet and soft carrot , add refreshing fragrance and refreshing acidity of orange , can enjoy the refreshing sweetness of carrot and finished it in taste sophisticated . I can enjoy the shade of bright carrot unique .
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Because that would be cool.