Thursday, August 11, 2016

Coffee and Provocation

Wasp Turns Cockroaches into Zombies
A number of wasps use venom to parasitize spiders and caterpillars to feed their larva, but the Jewel Wasp has evolved a particular chemical mix that it injects into a roach's brain to alter its behavior and metabolism and turn them into zombies to use as food for their young.

The Animal War with the Most Combatants and Deaths

The largest animal war in history (humans included) is happening right now.

You Are the Product of a Fight
Your parents genes fought over you before you were even born.

Transplant a Human Head?
They have a volunteer with serious disabilities, and the core work was first done on dogs.

The War on Coyotes Is Not Being Lost by the Coyotes
More than 500,000 a year are shot, trapped or poisoned, but there are more than ever before.  The reason?  Coyotes eat down the food chain, living off rodents, rabbits, fruit, various vegetables, road kill, mice, and garbage but have almost no impact whatsoever on the large game animals. In short, they fit into a very useful niche that almost no one minds them being in. When their omnivorous diet is combined with their social flexibility -- they can live as individuals, pairs, or packs -- they seem to be able to fit in almost anywhere.

The End of the Republican Party
Over at 538 (Nate Silver), Clare Malone writes:  "Over the past few decades, the GOP has remained largely white, less educated and older while the numbers of minorities in the country soared, college attainment rose and the millennial generation came of age politically. Alienating the country’s growing ranks of minorities is unwise on the sheer face of the numbers, and bad reputations can stick around for years; like sports teams and baldness, our political beliefs are passed down through generations and familial connections.... Somewhere in recent years, the GOP’s engagement with modern America and how to best project those values into a nation of 320 million people became dysfunctional. As the country has diversified, the party has remained monochromatic, has grayed, and rather than allowing some birch-like give on shifting cultural norms, has become an unbending oak of ideological purity. The GOP now finds itself lacking an intimate’s ability to criticize productively, given its demographic and cultural divergence from the majority of the country.... Republicans’ educational attainment has also stalled. While GOP voters had historically won college-educated voters, by 2012, this was clearly not the case.... The tea party movement, which rose up from the grassroots in 2009, has significantly altered the way the GOP conducts its business. But the party’s 'revolution' was led not by young men and women storming the barricades but by the gray-haired masses sitting down in their Adirondack Chairs and fighting to keep things as they have been. According to a 2010 New York Times/CBS News poll of tea party supporters, 75 percent were 45 or older. In keeping with Republican Party trends, the group was also overwhelmingly white, at 89 percent, and only 23 percent had a college degree."

Must Love Wieners
Must Love Weiners is billed as "a rescue dog romance."

Howl No More Forever
The East Fork Wolf Pack near Denali has been researched since the 1930s. but may have recently been wiped out by aggressive hunting.  Meanwhile, in Washington State, a wolf has turned up on Mt. Spokane.  No news yet on whether it was just passing through or is sticking around.

John Muir Learned About Nature in the American South
An interesting read about how John Muir's nature epiphany occurred in the American South, not the American West.  And guess what?  Muir was racist against Indians, regarding them as subhuman.

Solar Powered Electric Car Charging Stations
In the Netherlands, a company called Fastned is building attractive solar-powered car charging stations. Supplemental power is supplied with wind turbines.

Tipi's House of Nails
It seems actress Tipi Hedren, of Hitchcock's "Birds" fame is to blame for the proliferation of Vietnamese nail salons.  Hedren had scores of big cats at one time that she was using to make a horrible and ill-fated movie called Roar. Over 70 actors and technicians were seriously injured during the production of the movie.

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