Beetle byte (25 October 2013 edition)

After a great week at the 2013 ESC JAM, a few bites for the upcoming weekend.


Of course, we humans don’t have dye coursing through our brains. We have a substance far more sinister: amyloid plaques, proteins that build up over time and that, for years, have been the prime suspect for what causes Alzheimer’s. Beta-amyloid plaques must be removed from the brain, or they gradually clog healthy pathways, degrade the neural connections within the brain and collapse the neuron’s transport system. Scientists now believe sleep is the only way to adequately fight beta-amyloid buildup.


Are you an editor?

An illustrated guide to achieving grammatic nirvana.


Vampires, just in time for Hallowe’en

In 1997 a Brazilian man claimed that while he was urinating in a river, a candiru swam up and into his urethra. Doctors removed a 13-centimeter-long specimen, but the account has been met with extensive skepticism.


Maybe wait for the DVD

The filmmakers have cleverly removed those criticisms with the origin story of their giant spider: “DNA crossbreeding from a Martian microbial fossil.” You don’t “crossbreed” DNA, and DNA degrades in fossils, but hey, you get the idea. It’s an ALIEN GMO SPIDER.


Monarch worries

Rather than the dozens of monarchs I typically see feeding by day on the inn’s asters, goldenrods and other fall-blooming plants—and the hundreds clustering for warmth on yew, holly and hackberry branches once the sun starts to go down—I spotted just a handful of monarchs in total and never more than one individual at a time.


This should not happen (photos)

The minerals in our electronic devices have bankrolled unspeakable violence in the Congo.