Beetle Byte (10 November 2014 edition)

Some biology, some climatology, and some Berlin.

Spiders are amazing!

Over 350 million years, spiders have evolved some impressive skills. Size for size, if spiders were as big as humans, some of these skills could be considered superhuman.


Just look a little closer and see what you find

This sort of thing doesn’t happen often. Over the last three decades, this is only the second new new frog species to have been identified in all of mainland US and Canada. The last time anyone turned up a new frog on the US Atlantic coast was in 1955. Even more remarkable that it should have been found in a swamp on Staten Island, so close to the restless streets of Manhattan.


Danish wolves

When wolves last roamed wild in Denmark, Napoleon was still terrorising Europe and the Battle of Waterloo had yet to be fought. But now a team of researchers say they have conclusive evidence that wolves have re-established themselves in much of the Jutland peninsula, the part of Denmark that is in mainland Europe, and that at least one male wolf has permanently settled there.


The recent IPCC report in plain language

We humans really, truly are responsible for climate change, and ignoring that fact doesn’t make it less true.


Speaking of climate, and other changes (interactive)

Investigate how the world around you has changed since you’ve been alive; from the amount the sea has risen, and the tectonic plates have moved, to the number of earthquakes and volcanoes that have erupted. Grasp the impact we’ve had on the planet in your lifetime; from how much fuel and food we’ve used to the species we’ve discovered and endangered.


I woke up to this 25 years ago while living in Germany

A human wave of East Germans, a quarter of a million strong according to an official estimate, swept through the Berlin Wall on Saturday to pack the pavements of West Berlin 20-deep with sightseers. Even three new crossing points created during the night could barely cope with the tide of humanity. The once feared East German border guards were brushed aside as the torrent of people swept through on foot, by car and by subway.


And today…

Until the early 1930s, West Berlin was the city’s racing heart. Now, it is beating once again. But it has not eclipsed the east — far from it. The whole city is prospering: Unemployment has fallen; the economy is growing faster than in any other German city. Finally, Berliners feel good in their city.