Beetle byte (18 October 2013 edition)

Oops, two bytes in a row with no intervening “content.” Ah well, I’ve been prepping for the upcoming 2013 Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of Canada and Ontario (150th anniversary!!!) starting tomorrow. So that’s enough of an excuse, right?

So, here are the weekly half-dozen…

Flying, for six months without landing?

But a year later, when three of the birds returned to the same breeding site and the scientists removed their tags to collect the data, the electronic tags revealed something unexpected. “When we looked at the data, we were totally blown away,” Liechti said. “During their non-breeding period in Africa, they were always in the air.”


Yes, I’m obsessed with bristlecone pines

From this elevated perch, these elderly trees have borne witness to the rise of a new geological age, a successor to the Holocene. This new age is called the Anthropocene, or ‘age of humans’, and it refers to the stretch of time during which we have begun to reshape the Earth’s chemical makeup. The idea of this new age arose just over a decade ago, as scientists began to realise that the geological record would likely bear the marks of human activity for aeons to come. There is still a question as to whether the term will enter the official geological lexicon, and there is fierce debate about whether the Anthropocene began with the Industrial Revolution, or with the development of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. But this much is certain: one of its signature features is massive deforestation.


Don’t wear cologne into the jungle

According to Ordeñana, a Bronx Zoo researcher once tried a bunch of different scents and discovered that jaguars really liked the Calvin Klein cologne. A researcher might spray some of the cologne on a tree branch that sits within the camera’s field of view.



Long before Amazon was bringing books to your doorstep, there was the Bookmobile! A travelling library often used to provide books to villages and city suburbs that had no library buildings, the bookmobile went from a simple horse-drawn cart in the 19th century to large customised vehicles that became part of American culture and reached their height of popularity in the mid-twentieth century. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane with this forgotten four-wheeler…


Watched any TED talks on “creativity” lately?

And that’s when it hit him: He had heard these things before. Each story seemed to develop in an entirely predictable fashion. He suspected that in the Dylan section, Lehrer would talk about “Like a Rolling Stone,” and that’s exactly what happened. When it came to the 3M section, he waited for Lehrer to dwell on the invention of the Post-it note — and there it was.


Ninja walking

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s no better time to learn how to walk silently through the night like a ninja. It’s an incredibly useful skill, allowing you not only to stealthily assassinate your archenemy, but also steal cookies from coworkers, check to see if toddlers are still sleeping without waking them, or sneak across your creaky wood floors to scare the bejeezus out of your roommate.