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Silent crickets

Crickets on two Hawaiian islands have evolved an inability to sing, to hide themselves from flies that use the crickets' bodies as incubators for their maggots. Ew!

And apparently they evolved in fewer than 20 generations.


I've been hopeless with this community lately - apologies for that. If anyone finds any good stuff, please feel free to post!
Here's one I found today.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit)
You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.

Source: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/94828


Sep. 9th, 2011

I already knew about the rationing that went on in Britain during the Second World War. I remember Mum telling me that sweets were rationed until long after the War, until 1953.

Many other foodstuffs were rationed, and there were also restrictions on things like clothes, soap and paper.

I didn't realize that there was also a ban on the production of ice cream, from 1942 until 1945. During the war years, cinema-going was very popular - think of the escapism afford by some of the films of the day - but cinemas suffered financially when they couldn't provide ice cream to enhance the punters' viewing pleasure.

I can't imagine things like this - that we take utterly for granted - being restricted.

Can you? Can any member here remember what it was like?


New mushroom discovered

Scientists have discovered a new species of mushroom in Borneo, and have named it after Spongebob Squarepants! I kid you not!

From the BBC news site:
The fungus, named Spongiforma squarepantsii by the researchers at San Francisco State University (SFSU), was found during an expedition to the forests of Borneo.

S. squarepantsii is shaped like a sea sponge and, say its discoverers, has a fruity or musty smell.


While browsing (Ok, work was boring...) I came across the story of the ghost ship, the Ourang Medan, among others...

"The story of the Ourang Medan begins in 1947, when two American ships received a distress call while navigating the Strait of Malacca, off the coast of Malaysia. The caller identified himself as a member of the crew of the Ourang Medan, a Dutch vessel, and supposedly claimed that the ship’s captain and crew were all dead or dying. The messages became jumbled and bizarre before trailing off and ending with the words: “I die.” The ships quickly raced to the scene to help. When they arrived, they found that the Ourang Medan was undamaged, but that the entire crew—even the ship’s dog— was dead, their bodies and faces locked in terrified poses and expressions, and many pointing at something that was not there. Before the rescuers could investigate further, the ship mysteriously caught on fire, and they had to evacuate. Soon after, the Ourang Medan is said to have exploded and then sank. While the details and the overall veracity of the Ourang Medan story are still widely debated, there have been a number of theories proposed about what might have caused the death of the crew. The most popular of these is that the ship was illegally transporting nitroglycerin or some kind of illegal nerve agent, which was not properly secured and seeped out into the air. Others, meanwhile, have claimed the ship was a victim of a UFO attack or some other kind of paranormal event."


Of the 10 there, I'd only heard of the Flying Dutchman and the Mary Celest. Fascinating and creepy stuff!

The Joy of Stats

Statistically, most swedish people have more than the average number of legs. Most have two legs a few have one or none, but no-one has three, so the average is 1.999... Therefore most swedish people have more than the average number of legs... Good, eh!

GPS-imbedded info in pictures

I read this article today on Yahoo news (was originally in the NY Times), and thought it was interesting--what do you think? http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Web-Photos-That-Reveal-nytimes-2375510549.html?x=0&.v=1 It's about information that will be embedded in the data on photos that people take with their smart phones/iPhones.

Following is the link to a story that was mentioned in the article:

I thought it was pretty interesting. I had never really stopped to think about this...another way modern technology can tell a lot about you!

About Personality

The following article from LiveScience.com was interesting to me: http://www.livescience.com/culture/children-personality-adults-100804.html

I probably found it so interesting as I have still have my report cards from elementary school where in the comments section teachers almost always wrote, "Susie is talkative." teehee


American Independence Day Facts

In honor of the American Independence Day Holiday, I found the following article, with tons of fascinating (or not so, depending on who you are and how much you care), facts about the 4th of July!

The Truth About Independence Day

For those of my fellow Americans who celebrate, Happy 4th! I'm just happy that I don't have to hear the stupid noise and smell the smoke for days and days! I'm actually looking forward to fireworks here in Japan, though I'll miss most of the festivals when I'm in the states in August.

Happy Fireworks - and be safe!

The Letter W

The previous post reminded me of something...

I had never been sure how to pronounce the letter W. I've heard many variations (deb-ah-yu, dub-el-yu, deb-el-yu, dub-ya), but I didn't know which, if any, are correct.

The answer is that it's both pronounced and spelled out like this: "double-u."

It seems so simple now, doesn't it? And, of course, it does look like two of the letter U's.

The Wonders of the World

I found an interesting link as I was perusing some food blogs, and thought it interesting enough to share here. I'm not sure who hosts this page though...it has some advertising, and has some odd compilations if you click on their other tabs. The page I found the link on belongs to a woman who homeschools. So...all that said here is the link. You'll find hot links, which when clicked on will show you a picture (or artwork) and a little bit about that wonder.


Coconut Water

"Coconut water is the liquid that is taken from unripe coconuts."

"Coconut water is almost identical to blood plasma and this makes it easy to use for blood transfusion. In cases of emergency coconut water has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid instead of the standard IV fluid. During World War II many wounded soldiers were saved in the Pacific because of emergency transfusion using coconut water as plasma." (Source)

I've heard people say they love chocolate so much that it runs through their veins, so who here likes coconut this much? :D
Do you know today is Armenian Christmas?

Well it is.

Snowflake site!

Everything you ever wanted to know--and more!--about snowflakes. Plus simply gorgeous pictures in the photo galleries (the third photo gallery has links to other snowflake photo collections too):


The most common birthday in the U.S.

...is October fifth.

"So why October 5? Just a random date? Perhaps, but Anybirthday has a theory: To be born on this date, a baby would most likely have been conceived on New Year's Eve." (Source)

Happy new year. ;)

cool pix on a cold winter's day

Check it out:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8413000/8413590.stm (wish they had sound for this)

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/nouvian/ (leave the sound on!) My favorite, I think, is the ping pong tree sponge.

Why do leaves change color in the fall?

***anybody have any nice autumn pics? if so, please post!***

When leaves appear green, it is because they contain an abundance of chlorophyll. There is so much chlorophyll in an active leaf that the green masks other pigment colors. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. The decomposition rate of chlorophyll remains constant, so the green color starts to fade from leaves.

At the same time, surging sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. Carotenoids are another class of pigments found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren't diminished by shortened days. Carotenoids can be orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange.

Leaves with carotenoids but little or no anthocyanin will appear yellow. In the absence of these pigments, other plant chemicals also can affect leaf color. An example includes tannins, which are responsible for the brownish color of some oak leaves.

Temperature affects the rate of chemical reactions, including those in leaves, so it plays a part in leaf color. However, it's mainly light levels that are responsible for fall foliage colors. Sunny autumn days are needed for the brightest color displays, since anthocyanins require light. Overcast days will lead to more yellows and browns.

from: http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingsworkfaqs/f/fallleafcolor.htm


why we'd better find water on the moon

A gallon of water weighs eight pounds.

I heard it on KPFA so it must be true.
Did you know that there really is a sport whereby men keep ferrets down their trousers? I thought it was just a Pythonesque joke, but no.

'The sport is said to involve very little "native skill", simply an ability to "have your tool bitten and not care".'




Welsh in South America

I learned in school that there was a Welsh colony in Patagonia, but I didn't realize it was still thriving. I'm staying with my Mum in Wales at the moment, and there was a gaucho on the Welsh news from Patagonia over here to visit for the first time.

He doesn't speak any English - he's fluent in Spanish and Welsh.

I think I'm going to have to read more about this now. :-)