Beetle Byte (14 October 2014 edition)

Yesterday the Canadian readers of this blog had their turkey bites. Today, everyone gets some beetle bytes!


A report from the Endangered Species Coalition

Vanishing: Ten American Species Our Children May Never See


Time to say good-bye to the tumbling tumbleweed

Dana Berner wants to start an epidemic among tumbleweeds. Berner is a pathologist with the U.S. Agricultural Research Service who studies the diseases that afflict plants. One of his projects has been a search for something that’s able to infect and kill the iconic, spiny, rolling weed of the American West.


Take a look at this beautiful creature

When threatened, P. wahlbergii exhibits deimatic behavior, a threatening and startling response intended to discourage predators.  The mantis spreads out its body, raises its forelimbs, and opens its magnificent wings to expose patterns which resemble two large eyes.


12 tips for talking to science faculty about new teaching strategies (by Terry McGlynn)

Don’t push technology as a solution to a pedagogical challenge. We’d like to see what works, but not to have it marketed to us. (For example, tell us about clickers. But don’t claim that they make students learn better, because they don’t. They promote active learning, problem-solving and reflection, which causes learning. Scientists dislike false claims that often accompany technological promises.)


North Korea’s “Winston Smith”

Because Jang was required to write in a foreign style, he was one of the few people in the country permitted to read South Korean newspapers. Jang was shocked to learn that everything he’d learned as a child was a lie — and that South Korea was a thriving democracy many times more rich than its northern counterpart. More shocking still, he learned, writers in South Korean newspapers were permitted to criticize the government, a capital offense in North Korea. (In fact, everything in North Korea is a capital offense, as a sampling of public posters described in the book attests: “Death by Firing Squad to Those Who Disobey Traffic Rules!” “Death by Firing Squad to Those Who Waste Electricity!” “Death by Firing Squad To Those Who Gossip!”)


A great primer on the poetic line

If you want to understand poetry, and maybe learn how to write it, you definitely want to learn about the different kinds of poetic lines and the uses of line breaks in poetry. The more poetry you read, the more you’ll notice some poets use short lines, some use long, some set all the lines on the left side of the page, and some indent lines differently all over the page. The relationship between the poetic line (including its length and positioning and how it fits into other lines) and the content of a poem is a major aspect of poetry. Some critics go so far as to say that lineation is the defining characteristic of poetry, and many would say it’s certainly one major difference between most poetry and prose.