photo of the week

Honeyguide Web Log


The honeyguide is an African bird that leads humans to beehives, then shares in the spoils when the hive has been opened. This Web Log contains links to some caches of honey I've found on the Net.

archives - subject index

Week of 8 October 1999

subject: biology - arthropods
source: Nature Science Update

Myrmeco-topiary: an African ant prunes its host tree to prevent invasion by other ant species. (A BBC News story describes the experimental method.)


subject: biology - arthropods
source: ABCNews Science

ABCNews.com covers the Blackwall spider's compass eyes. Unlike last week's Nature Science Update story, this one describes the experimental method used and includes photos.


subject: misc - agriculture
source: New Scientist

Bacillus thuringensis (Bt) is sprayed on crops and used by organic gardeners. It's nearly identical to B. anthracis, which causes anthrax, and B. cereus, which can cause food poisoning. Since Bt is able to swap plasmids with other Bacillus cells, this is cause for concern.


subject: biology - neurology
source: New Scientist

Fascinating debate over the significance of savant skills:

Magnetic pulses can interfere with normal brain activity. If you time and position the surge just right, it can temporarily turn off activity in a particular region. Snyder's plan is to "switch off" the conceptualising area. If his theory is correct, and if he can find the area, this should cause the normally pre-conscious savant skills to burst into consciousness.

subject: biology - arthropods
source: Excite Newstracker

Last month's story about the $144,000 beetle may have been a hoax, but beetle keeping -- and beetle breeding -- are popular hobbies in Japan. Beetle vending machines (mentioned in my vending machine pages) are also discussed:

One vending machine company, Future Precision Industry, says its beetle automats have to be restocked twice a day with beetles costing about yen 500 a pair.

subject: biology
source: New Scientist

New software can pinpoint a bird or animal's location just by listening to its call. This should make population counts much easier.


subject: biology - arthropods
source: Nature Science Update

More arthropod navigation: migratory ants use their entire bodies as a compass needle.


subject: misc - environment
source: Nando Times

The popularity of SUVs has brought the average fuel economy of new cars and light trucks back down to 1980's levels. Also, a sharp increase in the popularity of off-road vehicles is affecting public lands and watersheds.


subject: biology - neurology
source: Newswise

You've probably heard this pseudofact over and over: "most of us only use 10% of our brains." Maybe we only need 10% of our brains because our cultural environment consists of the same pseudofacts repeated over and over. Now, though, a University of Washington study has revealed a way you can use 5 times as much of your brain to process language: be dyslexic.


subject: space - solar system
source: science.nasa.gov

NASA Space Science News offers a backgrounder on Io and a preview of Galileo's upcoming flyby.


subject: science - chemistry
source: Nature Science Update

A team of chemists has demonstrated artificial photosynthesis using porphyrins and buckminsterfullerene.


subject: biology - conservation
source: Science Daily

Fragmented rainforests may keep losing species for a century after logging stops.


subject: space - solar system
source: BBC News

Mars Global Surveyor finds no evidence of ancient oceans.

Week of 1 October 1999

subject: humor - unintentional

What an eccentric attempt to build Web traffic. The maintaner of The Dormody's Heritage Research, a site about geneaology and deaf civilization, submitted it to the Open Directory in over a dozen obscure categories, including:


subject: space - solar system

Much of Europa is covered with frozen sulfuric acid, and Neptune and Uranus may be giant diamond mines.


subject: biology - deserts
subject 2: misc - environment
source: New Scientist

Planting forests in arid regions could help reverse global warming.


subject: misc - environment
source: CNN

The hole in the ozone layer has shrunk slightly over the last year.


subject: space - exploration
source: Yahoo News

A mismatch in measurements caused the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter: JPL used English measurements while Lockheed-Martin used metric. I certainly agree with this thoughtful Washington post piece that a few casualties in space exploration are to be expected, but sometimes I suspect that the Risks Digest is secretly a for-profit organization that funds NASA out of its advertising budget.


subject: biology - arthropods
source: Science Daily

New ideas on the evolution of insect metaphorphosis.


subject: biology - arthropods
source: Nature Science Update

The Blackwall spider uses a novel kind of biological compass: two oval eyes, set at right angles to each other, make up a filter that can determine the direction of polarization of light.


subject: biology - plants
subject 2: biology - genetic engineering
source: Nature Science Update

Another step toward plant-grown plastics.


subject: biology - birds
subject 2: biology - animal behavior
source: Nando Times

Reproductive favoritism: female zebra finches give an extra dose of hormones to eggs sired by males they find attractive. This finding casts doubt on attempts to test the "good-genes" hypothesis of mate selection, which holds that females prefer males with superior genes, whose offspring are likelier to survive and reproduce. If the offspring of attractive males are fitter, it may be because of the mother's hormones, not the father's genes. See also the abstract in Science (requires registration).


subject: science - archaeology
source: Science News

New evidence of Neanderthal cannibalism.


subject: misc - population
source: New Scientist

More population projections:

Says Brown: "Tragically, the world is divided into two parts: one where population growth is slowing as fertility falls, and one where population growth is slowing as mortality rises."

subject: misc - humor

The Dr. Fun comic is back after a year's sabbatical.


subject: biology - DNA computing
source: Artigen

DNA computers with fluorescent readouts.


subject: biology - deserts
subject 2: misc - climate change
source: Nando Times

Infected with asphalt, Phoenix is running a fever:

"It used to stay in the upper 70s and low 80s at night. Now, it's not uncommon to see 90," says Randy Cerveney, a climate researcher at Arizona State University in Tempe.

subject: biology - medicine
source: Newshub Science

A formerly ignored malaria drug circumvents drug resistance:

Glaxo Wellcome is preparing to donate the combined form of atovaquone and proguanil to a non-profit foundation that will distribute the drug, with tight restrictions, in malaria-endemic countries.

subject: space - exploration
source: Artigen

Postmortem on Mars Climate Observer.


subject: science - archaeology
source: Ancient World Web

Egyptian makeup may have been a cure infectious eye diseases.


subject: science - archaeology
source: ABCNews Science

A neolithic flute has been found in China. It can still be played, and its tuning resembles the diatonic scale.


subject: misc - politics
source: Salon

An amusing comparison of the Presential candidates to Roman emperors:

Bill Bradley may hope to be Marcus Aurelius, but he threatens to be Julian the Apostate.

subject: movies
source: Salon

Salon interviews John Sayles (whose The Secret of Roan Inish [Amazon] is, IMO, far the best fantasy movie ever made).


subject: misc

After a month's vacation, Jon Carroll is back.


previous week (1999/09/24)


Copyright 1994-1999 Raphael Carter

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