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Aug 2nd 2018
Pelican Spiders Are the Weirdest-Looking Assassins You'll Ever See
Once upon a time, 165 million years ago, there lived a spider who looked like a pelican. About the size of a grain of rice and just as quiet, the pelican spider tiptoed under foliage in the leafy parts of the world, looking for prey to impale with the fanged, beak-like pincers at the end of its long neck. Its favorite meal: other spiders.
The happy ending to this tale (for arachnophiles, at least) is that pelican spiders still exist today — and in much greater variety than biologists previously thought. According to a new paper published today (Jan. 11) in the journal ZooKeys, there are at least 26 known species of pelican spiders (family name Archaeidae) still creeping around Madagascar and South Africa alone, 18 of which have never been described before. [5 Spooky Spider Myths Busted]
"I think there's going to be a lot more species that haven't yet been described or documented," Hannah Wood, curator of arachnids and myriapods at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and author of the study, said in a statement. After years of collecting pelican spiders from Madagascar and studying them in museum collections, Wood and colleague Nikolaj Scharff of the University of Copenhagenin Denmark described the bizarre hunters in unprecedented detail.
Spider assassins caught in the act
How the pelican spider got its name is no mystery. When not hunting, the spider often folds its fanged pincers, called chelicerae, down against the long, neck-like appendage connecting the arachnid's head to its body. As a result, the pelican spider looks more like a bird than a spider in profile. Unlike a bird, however, the spider's mouth is situated at the bottom of its neck, putting the opening at perfect range to feast on whatever the spider manages to catch on the tips of its chelicerae.
Pelican spiders are active hunters, the paper said. Rather than spinning their own webs, they prefer to stalk the trails of silk left behind by other spiders scuttling around their leafy habitats. At night, pelican spiders follow these silky bread crumbs, moving slowly and often upside down through the leaves. While the spider's back six legs do the walking, their front two legs sweep through the air, feeling for prey. After finally reaching the edge of another spider's web, pelican spiders can wait for hours for the right time to strike (earning them the moniker "assassin spiders").
Then, they strike with deadly efficiency. The spiders swing their chelicerae away from their bodies in a rapid, 90-degree arc tojab the pincers into their prey. Thanks to the spider's long necks and pincers, they keep their prey held harmlessly at arm's length while deadly venom pumps through the predators' chelicerae and into their victims.
"Then," Wood told Science News in 2014, following publication of a previous pelican spider study, "they pull out one chelicera and leave the other one hanging out there with the spider prey impaled on it." Feasting follows.
Pelican spiders are unusual, even by arachnid standards, the statement said, but their methods are time-tested. Wood calls today's pelican spiders "living fossils," as the arachnids appear remarkably similar to species preserved in the fossil record dating back up to 165 million years.
Most modern specimens of pelican spiders have been collected from Madagascar, South Africa and Australia. This wide distribution suggests the species' arachnid ancestors once lived on the supercontinent Pangaeabefore it began breaking apart roughly 200 million years ago.
July 31st 2018
Worms Frozen for 42,000 Years in Siberian Permafrost Wriggle to Life
Did you ever wake up from a long nap feeling a little disoriented, not quite knowing where you were? Now, imagine getting a wake-up call after being "asleep" for 42,000 years.
In Siberia, melting permafrost is releasing nematodes — microscopic worms that live in soil — that have been suspended in a deep freeze since the Pleistocene. Despite being frozen for tens of thousands of years, two species of these worms were successfully revived, scientists recently reported in a new study.
Their findings, published in the May 2018 issue of the journal Doklady Biological Sciences, represent the first evidence of multicellular organisms returning to life after a long-term slumber in Arctic permafrost, the researchers wrote. [Weird Wildlife: The Real Animals of Antarctica]
Though nematodes are tiny — typically measuring about 1 millimeter in length — they are known to possess impressive abilities. Some are found living 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers) below Earth's surface, deeper than any other multicellular animal. Certain worms that live on an island in the Indian Ocean can develop one of five different mouths, depending on what type of food is available. Others are adapted to thrive inside slug intestines and travel on slimy highways of slug poop.
For the new study, researchers analyzed 300 samples of Arctic permafrost deposits and found two that held several well-preserved nematodes. One sample was collected from a fossil squirrel burrow near the Alazeya River in the northeastern part of Yakutia, Russia, from deposits estimated to be about 32,000 years old. The other permafrost sample came from the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, and the age of nearby deposits was around 42,000 years old, the scientists reported.
They isolated the worms — all females — from the permafrost samples, finding they represented two known nematode species: Panagrolaimus detritophagus and Plectus parvus. After defrosting the worms, the researchers saw them moving and eating, making this the first evidence of "natural cryopreservation" of multicellular animals, according to the study.
However, the nematodes weren't the first organism to awaken from millennia in icy suspension. Previously, another group of scientists had identified a giant virus that was resuscitated after spending 30,000 years frozen in Siberian permafrost. (Don't panic; amoebas are the only animal affected by this ancient attacker.)
Further study will be needed to unravel the mechanisms in the ancient nematodes that enabled them to survive such lengthy freezing; pinpointing how those adaptations work could have implications in many scientific areas, "such as cryomedicine, cryobiology, and astrobiology," the researchers concluded.
July 20th 2018
What the microbes in your gut can tell you about your general health
The number of studies that have found a link between a disease and a specific gut microbiome composition seems to be ever increasing.
Until recently, almost all these studies have looked at single diseases in isolation. But most people tend to have more than one health complaint at a time – “comorbidities”, in medical parlance.
For our latest study, published in Nature Communications, we looked at the gut microbe composition across a range of diseases. What we found surprised us. The kind of microbes (such as Enterobacteriaceae) that increased in one disease, increased in pretty much all 38 diseases studied. Also, some microbes that might be considered to be “healthy gut microbes”, were reduced in all 38 diseases studied.
We used data from the TwinsUK cohort, a unique group of older British twins who have shared their health history, and many biological samples, for over 25 years. They are volunteers who, like all of us who have lived a while, have gathered health problems over time – 96% of the 2,700 who have donated stool samples have one or more health problems.
The most striking finding from our analysis was that the microbes weren’t specific to individual diseases, but rather to the state of general health. From a biological perspective, this makes sense. The environment that each bug likes is quite specific; anything that alters it, even slightly, means some sensitive bugs won’t survive.
For example, the colon is a surprisingly low-oxygen (anaerobic) environment. Many illnesses lead to low level inflammation, which means that tiny blood vessels open and white cells creep out into tissues, including in the gut. White cells use oxygen as a weapon, so oxygen levels in the colon rise. This can be toxic to the normal gut bacteria, which evolved for strictly anaerobic conditions. An example is the friendly (yet frightening sounding) bug Faecalibacterium Prausnitzii, which is wiped out in the presence of almost any disease.
The knock-on effect the loss of these friendly microbes has on a person’s health is not yet known. They may simply be markers of good health, or they may actively contribute to good health. If they do contribute to good health, doctors will need to intervene early in the disease process to keep the friendly bugs alive. This might involve taking prebiotics (food for the friendly bugs) and probiotics, side by side.
In the future, researchers may even find a way to isolate your healthy gut bacteria and grow them outside your gut. Once enough have been grown, they could be reintroduced to your gut to boost your health. A personalised combination of healthy gut bacteria may be more likely to survive in your gut than a random implant of any good bacteria.
Care in the community
A family of bacteria that increased in all the diseases we looked at was Enterobacteriaceae. These bacteria are adapted to survive in higher oxygen environments than the normal colon, and they include bacteria, such as E coli, that can make you really ill. They also harbour high numbers of antibiotic-resistant genes.
Bacteria can pass special genes between each other (horizontal gene transfer) to survive an antibiotic onslaught. So if it turns out that bacteria which carries those genes are also found in people with multiple diseases, then it makes a difference to how we deliver safe, effective care for patients while maintaining infection control. For example, putting a bunch of vulnerable people together in a hospital is likely to create more opportunities for virulent strains of bacteria to evolve. We might need to invest more in treating people safely in their own homes.
Bug sensors and bug census
Our findings suggest that we could all benefit from being more aware of exactly what we are carrying inside us. Specifically, it suggests two things.
One, bugs are good sensors of our general health. So, in the future, we might want to consider over-the-counter poo tests to monitor our overall health. An early warning, such as a dip in anaerobic bugs, could help us to head things off at the pass. Subsequent tests could tell us if any of the action we have taken is working. If not, we can change tack.
Two, we should take a regular census of the bugs inside us, especially those associated with antibiotic resistant genes. The science is still in its infancy, but knowing where we are with these guys may help preserve antibiotics for when we really need them.
July 15th 2018
A Woman Had Strange Feelings in Her Legs. Doctors Found Parasites in Her Spine
When the 35-year-old woman arrived at a hospital in France, she told doctors it felt like electric shocks were running down her legs. What's more, she felt weak and had experienced a number of falls recently.
The woman's unusual symptoms turned out to have a surprising cause: Tapeworm larvae lurking in her spine, according to a new report of the case, published today (July 11) in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The woman lived in France and told doctors that she hadn't been out of the country recently. But she said she did ride horses and have contact with cattle. In addition to her other symptoms, the woman said that over the last three months, she'd had difficulty riding her horse, according to the report.
An MRI revealed a lesion on her spine, at her ninth thoracic vertebra, which is located in the middle of the back, the report said. [8 Awful Parasite Infections That Will Make Your Skin Crawl]
The woman needed surgery to remove the lesion, and tests revealed that it was caused by an infection with Echinococcus granulosus, a small tapeworm that's found in dogs and some farm animals, including sheep, cattle, goats and pigs.
This tapeworm can cause a disease called cystic echinococcosis, also known as hydatidosis, in which the larvae form cysts that grow slowly in a person's body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These cysts typically grow in the liver or the lungs, but they can also appear in other parts of the body, including the bones and the central nervous system. However, infections of the bones, including the spinal column, are rare, making up just 0.5 to 4 percent of cases of this disease, according to a 2013 paper on cystic echinococcosis.
The life cycle of Echinococcus granulosus is somewhat complex: The "adult" form of the worm lives in the intestines of dogs and can grow to be 6 millimeters (0.2 inches) long, according to the CDC. Tapeworm eggs are passed in the dogs' stool, and other farm animals become infected when they ingest food or water that's contaminated with the tapeworm eggs. Once ingested by farm animals, the eggs develop into larvae, but they cannot develop into adult worms until they are again ingested by dogs (which can happen if dogs are fed slaughtered livestock, according to the CDC.)
Humans become infected with Echinococcus granulosus when they ingest the tapeworm eggs, which can happen if people consume food or water that's contaminated with stool from infected dogs, according to the CDC. For example, a person might become infected if they consumed plants or berries gathered from fields where infected dogs have been. Humans are considered "accidental" hosts, because they aren't involved in transmitting the disease back to dogs, according to the World Health Organization. (The worms can't grow into adults in humans.)
Dr. Lionel Piroth, an infectious-disease specialist at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Dijon, who treated the woman, said that cystic echinococcosis "is very rare in France," and it wasn't clear how the woman got the infection. She did not report having any contact with dogs, he said.
One possibility is that the woman could've gotten sick by eating vegetables that were contaminated with the parasite, Piroth told Live Science. (If this were the case, the vegetables would've been contaminated by an "unknown" dog, he noted.) Adding to the mystery, the woman was the only one in her family to be infected.
In addition to surgery, the woman was treated with an anti-parasitic medication. Nine months later, she had no lingering symptoms of her infection or signs that it was coming back, the report said.
July 10th 2018
Scientists in Finland reportedly discovered a wasp found in the Andes mountains and Amazon rainforests whose stinger “looks like a fierce weapon.”
"I have studied tropical parasitoid wasps for a long time, but I have never seen anything like it," said Professor Ilari E. Sääksjärvi from University of Turku, according to him
The stinger could be used multiple times in its lifetime and wasps like the newly discovered one—a parasitoid wasp—use their stingers to paralyze spiders. The wasp then lays its eggs on the spider and the larva eat the spider.
June 9th 2018
Exotic Particle Changes Flavor as Scientists Watch
Scientists have observed the rare phenomenon of one type of exotic particle transforming into another, which could reveal secrets about the evolution of the universe.
The particles are two types of chargeless, nearly massless species called neutrinos, which come in three flavors: muon, electron and tau. In past experiments, physicists have measured the change of muon neutrinos to tau neutrinos and electron neutrinos to muon or tau neutrinos, but no one has definitively seen muon neutrinos turn into electron neutrinos.
Now, two separate experiments — one in Japan and one in Minnesota — have both found evidence for this transformation as well.
Scientists of the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) experiment at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced their findings today (June 24). The results are consistent with, and significantly constrain, a measurement reported 10 days ago by the Japanese Tokai-to-Kamioka (T2K) experiment, which announced an indication of this type of transformation. [Strange Quarks and Muons, Oh My! Nature's Tiniest Particles]
The MINOS study sent a beam of muon neutrinos 450 miles (735 kilometers) through the Earth, from the Main Injector accelerator at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., to a 5,000-ton neutrino detector, located half a mile underground in the Soudan Underground Laboratory in northern Minnesota.
The neutrinos' trip from Fermilab to Soudan takes about four hundredths of a second, giving the neutrinos enough time to change their identities.
MINOS recorded a total of 62 electron neutrino-like events, which is a likely indication that there were 62 electron neutrinos present at Soudan. If muon neutrinos didn't transform into electron neutrinos, MINOS should have seen only 49 events. The T2K experiment showed 71 such electron-neutrino events, though the two experiments use different methods and analysis techniques to look for this rare transformation.
The balance of matter
The new finding could have major implications for our understanding of the history of the universe. If muon neutrinos can transform into electron neutrinos, neutrinos could be the reason that the Big Bang produced more matter than antimatter, leading to the universe as it exists today. To solve this mystery, scientists want to calculate how often different flavors of neutrinos change into each other, and compare that with the rate of change among neutrinos' antimatter partners, antineutrinos.
If it turns out that the rules of transformation are different between neutrinos and antineutrinos, that asymmetry could help explain why matter vastly outnumbers antimatter in the universe.
MINOS will continue to collect data until February 2012. The T2K experiment was interrupted in March when the severe earthquake in Japan damaged its muon neutrino source. Scientists expect to resume operations of the experiment at the end of the year
June 3rd 2018
How Long Do Tardigrades Live?
Tardigrades are probably the most paradoxical animals on the planet. On the one hand, these microscopic organisms are impossibly cute, seeming like tiny blimps that bumble around harmlessly on their stubby legs. But they also enjoy a legendary reputation as the toughest, most indestructible creatures on Earth.
Just 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) long (or less), their little bodies contain biological superpowers that help them withstand conditions that would spell certain death for other organisms. Taking their toughness into account, how long can these creatures live?
That depends on where they're found. Tardigrades occur almost everywhere on the planet, but most are happiest frolicking about in moist habitats, such as the moss that adorns river stones. When tardigrades have enough food and water to support their bodily functions, they live out the natural course of their lives, rarely lasting for longer than 2.5 years, according to Animal Diversity Web, a database run by the University of Michigan. [How Did Life Arise on Earth?]
And yet, tardigrades can survive for much longer if they go into a state called cryptobiosis, which is triggered when environmental conditions become unbearable.
"Tardigrades are fascinating little beasties," said Sandra McInnes, a tardigrade researcher with the British Antarctic Survey, who has been studying species that occur in the frozen snowscapes of Antarctica since 1980. "Tardigrades have this ability to cope with extreme environments by shutting down their metabolism. This ability to cope with drying out or freezing is what gives them their durability in the Antarctic."
Cryptobiosis puts tardigrades into a "tun" state, slowing their metabolism to a halt, reducing their need for oxygen and ridding their cells of water almost completely, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. In this shrunken state, tardigrades mimic death so closely that they're able to survive in places devoid of water, at temperatures as low as minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 304 degrees F (minus 200 Celsius and 151 degrees C). When these mummy-like tardigrades are exposed to water again, they simply reanimate, returning to normal life in a matter of hours.
"So long as the tardigrade can get into the tun, it will cope with anything that you throw at it," McInnes told Live Science.
McInnes once defrosted a moss sample from a former experiment and found it contained live tardigrades. She deduced that the organisms had survived, frozen, for at least eight years. In 2016, a paper published in the journal Cryobiology made waves when it showed that a handful of tardigrades, frozen in another Antarctic moss sample back in 1983, had survived in this frigid state for 30 years until they were revived in 2014. It's thought that the tardigrade's talent for self-preservation comes down, in part, to its production of unique proteins that can lock fragile cell components into position. That protects the membranes, proteins and DNA from being shattered, pierced and torn when cells become desiccated, according to a 2017 study in the journal Molecular Cell.
But the range of risky scenarios that tardigrades can survive has left scientists puzzled by just how these little beasties pull it off. "We are literally just scratching the surface of the biochemistry, the molecular pathways by which these animals cope with these environments," McInnes said. For instance, along with being frozen, boiled and dried, it's known that tardigrades can withstand pressures of up to 87,000 pounds per square inch (600 megapascals) — six times what you'd experience at the bottom of the sea. Just half this pressure would kill most other organisms on Earth. [What's the Oldest Living Organism?]
Many researchers have gone to extreme lengths to test tardigrade resilience, by blasting them (in their tun state) into space. In many of these studies, the space-traveling tardigrades were exposed to direct solar radiation and gamma-rays. But when they were popped into a water-filled petri dish back on Earth, they "basically walked away and said, 'OK, where's dinner?'" McInnes said. Tardigrades are seemingly able to resist radiation and even repair their DNA, which may explain why they're so resilient to radiation's extreme effects, a 2013 PLOS ONE studyreported.
"If they've got this ability to last over time, how long do they live? Well, how long is a piece of string?" McInnes said. But she cautioned against the prevailing belief that tardigrades are invincible: "They can't live forever," she said. The widely publicized notion that tardigrades can survive in a tun state for 100 years or more is an overstatement, for instance. And high-stress living does take its toll on their physiology. Only some tardigrades survive the torments of experimental freezing, boiling and radiation that we humans subject them to.
But there is another way to appreciate their resilience: on a species level. Not only have tardigrades existed since the Cambrian period 541 million years ago, but they may well go on to outlive us — and probably all other life on Earth, according to a 2017 paper published in the journal Scientific Reports. It found that if a cataclysmic event like an asteroid impact were to befall Earth and destroy life, a group of tardigrades inhabiting the ocean's Mariana Trench would endure.
As well as being impossibly cute, it would therefore seem that tardigrades are our surest hope for maintaining life on this planet.
May 6th 2018
Scientists discover how to harness the power of quantum spookiness by entangling clouds of atoms
From tunnelling through impenetrable barriers to being in two places at the same time, the quantum world of atoms and particles is famously bizarre. Yet the strange properties of quantum mechanics are not mathematical quirks – they are real effects that have been seen in laboratories over and over.
One of the most iconic features of quantum mechanics is “entanglement” – describing particles that are mysteriously linked regardless of how far away from each other they are. Now three independent European research groups have managed to entangle not just a pair of particles, but separated clouds of thousands of atoms. They’ve also found a way to harness their technological potential.
When particles are entangled they share properties in a way that makes them dependent on each other, even when they are separated by large distances. Einstein famously called entanglement “spooky action at a distance”, as altering one particle in an entangled pair affects its twin instantaneously – no matter how far away it is.
While entanglement may sound wacky, experiments have been able to show that it exists for many years now. It also has the potential to be exceptionally useful – particles linked in this way can be used to transfer a particle’s quantum state, such as spin, from one location to another immediately (teleportation). They can also help store a huge amount of information in a given volume (super-dense coding).
Along with this storage capacity, entanglement can also help link and combine the computing power of systems in different parts of the globe. It is easy to see how that makes it a crucial aspect of quantum computation. Another promising avenue is truly secure communications. That’s because any attempt to interfere with systems involving entangled particles immediately disrupts the entanglement, making it obvious that a message has been tampered with.
It is also possible to use entangled photons to enhance the resolution of imaging techniques. Researchers at the University of Waterloo are currently hoping to develop a quantum radar that may be capable of detecting stealth aircraft.
Delivering on the promises of entanglement-based technologies, however, is proving to be difficult. That’s because entanglement is a very fragile phenomenon. Experiments on entanglement typically produce individual pairs of particles. However, single particles are difficult to detect accurately and they are often lost or obscured by background noise. So the task of producing them in entangled states, manipulating them in the ways required for useful operations, and finally using them, is often daunting.
This is where the new research, published in three papers in Science (you can read them here, here and here), has made a significant breakthrough. Instead of taking single particles and entangling them one at a time, the researchers begin with an ultra-cold gas – a collection of thousands of atoms. These are cooled to within a hair’s breadth of absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible.
Computer simulation showing vortices in a spinning Bose-Einstein condensate.NIST/wikipedia, CC BY-SA
When confined in a small volume, atoms in such a cloud become indistinguishable from each other, forming a new state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. The atoms in the cloud now behave collectively – they are entangled. Scientists first discovered this state of matter in 1995, earning them the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001. Although it has been known for some time that this method entangles thousands of atoms simultaneously, no one had demonstrated a technique to actually make use of it – until now.
The researchers behind the new study showed that you can split these clouds into groups and still preserve the quantum connection between the atoms inside. They did this by releasing the atoms from their confined space and using a laser to split it and measure the properties of distant parts of the expanded cloud.
The researchers speculate that the methods developed could be expanded to allow every atom from the cloud to be used independently – if this were achieved, then there would be huge benefits for quantum computing. In digital computing, information is processed as ones and zeros, binary digits (or bits). The analogue to these in quantum computing are known as qubits. The current record for producing qubits one-by-one in entangled states for ions (charged atoms) is just 20, so producing thousands of qubits simultaneously in a cloud like this would represent a huge advancement.
Another field that will benefit from this breakthrough is metrology, the science of ultra-precise measurements. When entanglement is established between two particles or systems, measurements made on one half reveal information about the other. This allows parameters to be measured with greater sensitivity than would otherwise be possible. Using entanglement in this way could improve the accuracy of atomic clocks and with it the global position system (GPS), or make more sensitive detectors for MRI machines, for example.
Understanding and harnessing quantum effects, such as entanglement, will allow new technologies to be developed that have capabilities beyond anything we possess today. This is why there is so much excitement behind research in the field of quantum technology and why the advancements made in this new research are so important.
Jan 16th 2018
I'm sure he thinks he is beautifull.
The wonderfull Sea Dragon
Jan 15th 2018
Truly invisable catapillar
Cone shell these are deadly do not touch.
Austrailian Rove Bettle
Aug 30th 2017
There are some weird and wonderful things out there, just keep looking and do not forget your camera
Sept 22nd 2017
Who are the insect eaters
A 2013 UN food and culture Organisation report reminds us that there are 1900 edible insect species out there that some 2 billion earthlings already regularly consume: Beatles, butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, crickets and locusts. insects are abundantly available and rich in low-fat protein, fibre and minerals.
Tip for first timers: open your mind, then your mouth.
Who eats insects? Or a better question is, who does not eat insects? And
the answer is humans that have not tried this delicacy and polar Bears, and the
Bears certainly would if there were any available in their own habitat.
In Asian countries, insects are considered a delicacy and many foreign visitors have tried and enjoyed these unique tastes, and it is not only the taste, the insects are highly nutritious and can if desired make a substantial meal.
It is very easy to try out the wide range of edible insects that are available, and they are all reasonably priced, beautifully packed and readily obtainable from a very popular supplier.
biotics is another reason. Gut health is receiving more
attention lately and probiotics have become a big nutritional supplement.
Cricket powder is packed with prebiotics which are nutrients for probiotics.
Therefore, cricket flour helps support strong gut health.
If Omega 3, Iron, Calcium and B12 are important to you, here is another reason. Not only are many vitamins and minerals available from insects, they are very digestible as well.
If you’re on the Paleo Diet, you can’t get more paleo than this.
But, there are also environmental and social issues. Many current agriculture methods are not sustainable and are a major cause of pollution and therefore, global warming. Insects can be grown using less water and land than conventional livestock. Way less. They can be grown inside or out and they can be farmed vertically by industry or the family farm. This is important. The availability of edible insects is universal, it’s worldwide. Edible insects can be grown at home by just about anyone.
The mission of Entosense, Inc. is to bring edible insects into the diets of North Americans for their own benefit and that of the world. If edible insects become a trend here, it will help spread throughout the world. It’s true that much of the world already eat insects but it is losing popularity instead of gaining. Meat, especially beef, is gaining popularity at a time when we need to reduce meat consumption, not increase it. Edible insects are one sustainable answer.
And, a damn good one. Insects offer a wide variety of new flavors and textures for adventurous chefs and home cooks. There are more insects than any other animal group. Their tastes and texture vary widely. Embrace this new culinary experience. It will be good for you and good for the planet.
Are you planning a party? Why not surprise your guests by having some unusual items on the menu, there are various insect preparations that come in a powdered form that can be added surreptitiously to some of your more normal dishes, you can prepare for this by doing a little shopping here
We get a lot of comments about the price of edible insects.
It’s true, edible insects are expensive right now. But, that will change due to the law of supply and demand. Supply is low and demand is growing. Market forces will bring the price down as suppliers gear up for higher demand.
So, prices are high. You’re paying for a new experience and supporting a new industry. As a first adopter and market influencer, your experience is important and your story can help the industry grow.
Edible insects have so much going for them. Yet, unwarranted cultural fears keep many people from the experience.
Experience edible insects and tell your story.
Insects have been consumed since the dawn of human existence. Our biology is very different and insect pathogens are specific to invertebrates and generally do not harm humans.
There are three areas of concern.
1.The risk of pathogens does exist to an extent; especially when insects are eaten raw. This is true with most foods and insects need to be treated with the same care as other food products. It’s always best to cook them.
2. People with shellfish allergies may be allergic to the chitin (the insect’s exoskeleton) since it is very similar to the chitin in crustaceans.
3. Pesticides and herbicides can be a problem with insects that are gathered in the wild and are not grown on a farm for human consumption.
Insects are the largest and most successful group of animals on the planet. It is estimated that they comprise 80% of all animals. Around one out of every four animals is a beetle. So, therefore, the nutritional value of insects varies considerably from insect to insect.
The flavor and texture of each insect vary as well. This is both a new and ancient culinary experience.
Although this is a recent trend in North America and Europe, around 80% of the world eats insects every day and have been since the dawn of human existence.
Our southern neighbor, Mexico, enjoys over 200 different edible insects. Thailand has over 20,000 insect farms and one of Cambodia’s top exports is edible insects. The Mopane Worm is considered a delicacy in Zimbabwe. The Witchety Grub in Australia. It’s obvious that here in the United States and Canada, we’re the ones missing out.
Maybe insects are what’s missing from our North American diets?! Insects are packed full of protein, beneficial fats, vitamins, minerals, and prebiotic fiber. They are animals we eat whole and are more easily digested than livestock muscle tissue.
One of the challenges and also benefits of raising insects is that they are what they eat in a significant way. Feed crickets carrots and they will be high in vitamin A. We can work with and control their diets to obtain an optimal product.
June 2nd 2017
While exploring the depths of a massive abyss off the coast of Australia over the weekend, a group of scientists came upon an odd-looking creature — a large, faceless fish.
The brownish white fish was unrecognizable, without eyes or anything that resembled gills.
A group of 40 scientists from Museums Victoria and the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), who are traveling on a research vessel for a month-long journey that began on May 15, caught the creature in the Jervis Bay Commonwealth Marine Reserve some 13,000 feet below the surface. The temperature of the water was barely above freezing.
"Everyone was amazed," one CSIRO scientist described in a blog post Tuesday. "We fishos thought we'd hit the jackpot, especially as we had no idea what is was."
They sent in tissue samples and emailed several images of the mystery fish to experts who work on abyssal fishes.
"We even conjured up possible new scientific names," an enthusiastic CSIRO scientist added.
Then eel expert John Pogonoski, who works for CSIRO's Australian National Fish Collection, examined the fish while onboard the vessel and shared some shocking news with the crew — the fish wasn't a new species after all.
It's actually a cusk eel with the scientific name Typhlonus nasus, which is derived from Greek, meaning "blind hake."
"So, it's not a new species, but it's still an incredibly exciting find, and we think ours is the largest one seen so far," CSIRO explained in the blog post.
The fish, which scientists dubbed the "Faceless Cusk," has not been spotted in the area for more than a century.
Dr. Tim O'Hara, the chief scientist and expedition leader for CSIRO, told The Guardian it was the first time the fish had been seen in waters off Australia since 1873, when one was dredged up by a British ship near Papua New Guinea.
According to CSIRO, the Faceless Cusk is known from the Arabian Sea, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Japan and Hawaii. Living at depths between 13,000 to 14,000 feet, it's a rare sight.
"This little fish looks amazing because the mouth is actually situated at the bottom of the animal so, when you look side-on, you can't see any eyes, you can't see any nose or gills or mouth," O'Hara told The Guardian. "It looks like two rear-ends on a fish, really."
The faceless fish went viral on Facebook and Twitter this week — with thousands of people sharing photos of the 17-inch-long sea creature.
"If he only knew how famous he'd become, imagine the look on his face! Oh...wait," CSIRO joked on Twitter Wednesday.
While the Faceless Cusk was a great catch, O'Hara said it just one of many unique creatures the team expects to find during their voyage.
"Scientists expect to find a range of animals, including new species, of fish, starfish, molluscs, crabs, sponges, marine worms and sea spiders," O'Hara said in statement online. "The data gathered on this trip will be crucial to understanding Australia's deep-sea habitats, their biodiversity and the ecological processes that sustain them."
April 29th 2017
Another strange creature, a geko that looks like a prehistoric dinosaur
Feb 14th 2017
Here are some things parasites will do to survive.
The hairworm makes infected crickets commit suicide in water so it can find a mate. Parasitic barnacles invade the bodies of crabs, sterilize them, and then trick them into caring for baby parasitic barnacles. Toxo makes rats so fearless that they run straight to cats, whose feces spread the parasite.
In other words, parasites sometimes possess not just the bodies of their hosts. They seem to possess their minds.
Malaria, which sickens more than 200 million people a year, seems to have some mind-altering powers over mosquitoes, too. The parasites that causes malaria, which belong to the genus Plasmodium, spread to humans through mosquito bites. A handful of studies have foundthat female mosquitoes infected with a certain stage of the parasite are more eager for blood. And conversely, humans infected with malaria seem to emanate signals that attract more mosquitoes.
A new study in Science actually illuminates how the parasite in human blood draws mosquitoes, manipulating the bugs into flying malaria-dispersal machines.
The discovery came by accident. Ingrid Faye, a molecular biologist at Stockholm University, was curious about a particular molecule made by malaria parasites called HMBPP. She wanted to drill into the details of how HMBPP affects mosquito immune systems, but her team ended up noticing some behavior too odd to ignore: The mosquitos—specifically, the species Anopheles gambiaethey were studying—would go crazy for human blood with HMBPP. “The difference it made was just astounding,” says Faye. When given a choice between normal human blood and that either laced with the HMBPP or infected with malaria parasites, almost all the mosquitoes went for the latter two.
The blue Dragon. It is a creature that lives in the sea and eats the poison stings of jellyfish, it stores the poison in its body to ward off predators.
It has actually been named a Satanic Geko
photoshop picture shows added wings which are not real
Life in the scorching hot Sahara Desert is no problem for an ant that has evolved an effective and stylish heat-repellant system, new research finds.
Saharan silver ants grow flashy body hairs that cause total internal reflection of light, which is a technique also used in manmade fiber optics. New findings about the cool system, published in the journal PLOS ONE, also report a scientific first.
This is “the first time that total internal reflection is shown to determine the color of an organism,” Serge Aron of the Free University of Brussels said in a press release. As the name of the ants suggest, that color is glittery silver.
Aron and his team used a Scanning electron microscope to investigate the ant’s hairs, watching what happens when incoming light hits them. They also compared normal hairy ants with some that had been shaved with a tiny scalpel blade to measure how light was reflected and how fast the ants heated up under simulated sunlight.
They found that the hairy ants were almost 10 times more reflective than the shaved ones, and were able to stay up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit cooler under simulated sunlight.
The high-powered microscope revealed that each of the ant’s hairs has a corrugated surface and a triangular cross-section. Like a prism, the hairs can then reflect light, such that the light rays entering each hair undergo total internal reflection, bouncing back off the bottom plane of the hair instead of transmitting through it.
The mirror effect gives the ant its bright silver sheen, likely provides some camouflage, aids in ant communications, and reduces heat absorption from sunlight. The latter prevents the ant from overheating.
While many Sahara Desert insects and animals come out at night to avoid daytime temperatures, the Saharan silver ant has no such fears.
Aron, lead author Quentin Willot and their colleagues wrote: “Workers come out from the nest during the hottest midday period, when temperatures exceed 50°C (122 degrees Fahrenheit), to scavenge corpses of heat-stricken animals.”
“By restricting foraging activity to the hottest period of the day,” the researchers continued, “the ants minimize the chances of encountering their most frequent predator — a lizard that ceases all activities when the temperature becomes unbearable.”
In addition to their silvery hairs, the ants are equipped with legs that are much longer than those of other ants. The long limbs keep their bodies away from the hot surface. They also allow the ants to run very fast, which helps them stay cool by Convection.
This strange creature lives in the sea in Asia and is just one of several bizarre species of worm with similar nasty habits, these are usually defensive but some have pointed ends with the venom
Worm eggs unknowingly ingested by the Amber Snail hatch in the snails digestive track.
The larva then change into sporocysts, causing drastic mutations in the snail’s brain and physiology. Healthy snails seek darkness to hide from predators, but the infected Amber Snail moves itself into dangerous open space and light. It is also helpless to retract its newly swollen, pulsating tentacles.
The end result is that feeding birds mistake the exposed tentacles
for a caterpillar or grub, and rip them off the snail’s defenseless
head. The flatworm then grows to maturity inside the bird, laying eggs
that are released in droppings for new snails to consume.
The medical use of maggots to clean wounds.
And a very bizarre practice of using faecal excreta capsules to control the patients stomach bacteria
We shall cover the bizarre historical practice of Chinese foot binding.
Maggots have been known for centuries to help heal wounds. Military surgeons noted that soldiers whose wounds became infested with maggots had better outcomes than those not infested. William Baer, while at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, may have been the first in the Northern Hemisphere to have intentionally applied larvae to wounds to induce wound healing. During the late 1920's, he identified specific species, raised them in the laboratory, and used their larvae to treat several children with osteomyelitis and soft tissue infections. He presented his findings at a surgical conference in 1929. Two years later, after treating 98 children, his findings were published posthumously.
MDT was successfully and routinely performed by thousands of physicians throughout the 1930’s, but soon it was supplanted by the new antibiotics and surgical techniques after World War II. Maggot therapy was occasionally used during the 1970's and 1980's, but only when antibiotics, surgery, and modern wound care failed to control the advancing wound.
The first modern clinical studies of maggot therapy were initiated in 1989, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, and at the University of California, Irvine. Controlled clinical studies set out to compare maggot debridement therapy to the standard therapy being prescribed by wound care experts in the treatment of chronic pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, post-traumatic wounds, etc. The results of those controlled comparative studies, and the many studies that followed, indicate that MDT is still useful today as a safe and effective treatment tool for some types of wounds. Those studies also demonstrate there is no reason to withhold MDT until all other modalities have been exhausted, nor to use it only as a "last resort." Indeed, while published accounts of "pre-amputation MDT" show a limb salvage rate of over 40%, the success of MDT when used earlier in the course of treatment (say, as a 2nd or 3rd or 4th line treatment) is even more dramatic
The Poop treatment
Yes, pretty much. In the treatment (also called fecal microbiota therapy or fecal bacteriotherapy), a small amount of human waste is inserted into the patient's gut, or gastrointestinal system, via colonoscopy, enema, or nasogastric tube. Some doctors obtain the "medicine" from the patient's spouse, child, or friend; others find it preferable to work with anonymous donors. While most prepare a liquid solution, frozen feces have also been used successfully; so far no one has standardized the treatment protocol.
Of course, it's not the fecal matter per se that's of interest, but the fact that it's swarming with microbes. (Donors are screened for the presence of any infectious diseases that could be transmitted through their feces.) The goal is to restore the natural balance of organisms in the gastrointestinal tract. Any number of factors and conditions can knock this balance out of whack, including many antibiotics that are used to fight infections. The drugs kill the pathogens but they also wipe out the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut; the fecal transplant allows these helpful microbes to recolonize the digestive organs.
Interest in fecal transplantation has grown as research into the human microbiome—the bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes that live in us and on us—has exploded. Our microbiomes harbor an estimated 100 trillion organisms—10 times the total number of cells in our bodies. Researchers are only beginning to understand the microbiome's diversity and its complex role in promoting health and warding off sickness.
The human gut is the microbe high-density zone. This gut biome appears to play a major role in many biological functions, among them strengthening our immune system, maintaining healthy cholesterol and weight profiles, and preventing allergies and auto-immune diseases. Just last month, researchers reported that people with diabetes have a distinct gut bacterial profile. Some evidence suggests possible links with autism.
So does fecal transplantation work?
Yes, at least in the case of a nasty strain of bacteria called Clostridium difficile. This pathogen causes pernicious infections that lead to severe diarrhea, inflammation of the colon, and death. Twenty or thirty years ago, C. difficile infections occurred mostly in older hospitalized patients being treated with antibiotics. In the past decade, the infections have become much more common, virulent and antibiotic-resistant. These more aggressive bacterial strains can also attack young, healthy individuals.
"Finally, I referred her to a gastroenterologist for a fecal transplant from her mom. It was miraculous! She's fine now."
Many of the hundreds of thousands a year who suffer from C. difficile infection experience multiple relapses and undergo several bouts of heavy antibiotic treatment. The illness kills an estimated 14,000 people in the US annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Because of the severity of the infections, doctors in recent years have increasingly turned to the little-known fecal transplant alternative in apparently untreatable cases.
Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious disease specialist at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, recalls one patient, a Berkeley graduate student, who suffered six C. difficile relapses within a year, three of them requiring hospitalizations. "None of the standard treatments worked," he says. "Finally, I referred her to a gastroenterologist for a fecal transplant from her mom. It was miraculous! She's fine now."
In fact, studies of patients treated with fecal transplants for persistent C. difficile infections have reported rates of around 90 percent—a remarkable record. The treatment is believed to work by re-introducing a healthy gut biome that outcompetes and replaces the drug-resistant C. difficile organisms. To date, no one has reported findings from a randomized controlled trial, the epidemiologic gold standard and a necessary piece of evidence for formal approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, though a grant such a study was awarded to a researcher at the Women's Medicine Collaborative in Providence, Rhode Island back in August.
In fact, OpenBiome’s screening process is extremely strict: fewer than twenty per cent of recruits pass the blood and stool tests. Use of antibiotics in the previous six months is cause for rejection, as is travel to the developing world and the presence in a stool test of pathogens like B. hominis, a parasite that is found in up to ten per cent of healthy people. Approved donors are given blue Cool Whip-style containers and paid forty dollars a specimen. Size is important: an ample donation can provide up to ten treatments, and a monthly prize is awarded for “the most generous contribution.” In the past year, orders for OpenBiome’s stool have increased at a rate of about eighteen per cent a month. Its success has unnerved biotech companies that are developing stool-based enemas and capsules—or, as they’re known in the field, “crapsules”—for eventual sale on the commercial market.
Even if OpenBiome were to stop shipping stool to hospitals, it could presumably continue to operate as a resource for researchers. When I visited in October, there was a tray of shiny white capsules on Smith’s desk—“poop pills that we’ve been working on,” he explained. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital had just announced the results of a study showing that capsules were as effective as colonoscopes for treating C. difficile, and the field was abuzz with the news, since, as Smith pointed out, “everyone would rather swallow a pill.” He had hit on a way to improve on the doctors’ methods: lining capsules with cocoa butter, which is solid at room temperature, thus insuring that they won’t disintegrate prematurely—on the shelf or in someone’s mouth.
Chinese foot binding
One of the most bizarre stories from history are the details about the Chinese used to bind up the feet of infant females to make them more attractive. Many young girls used foot binding because it was a mark of beauty and were was one of the main avenues for women to find a husband in China or marry into money
Many women who underwent foot binding were left with lasting disabilities, and missionaries working in China in the last 1800s said the practice should be banned to promote equality between men and women.
Since they could not balance securely, older women who had bound feet were less able to rise from a sitting position and were more likely to fall and break their hips and other bones
Many of the foot bones would remain broken for years, but would start to heal as the girl grew older. However they were still prone to repeatedly re-breaking, especially during teenage years when the girl's feet were soft
The 'giraffe women' of eastern Burma who wear brass rings around their necks as a sign of beauty
With thanks to Emma Innes
These remarkable pictures show the bizarre ‘giraffe women’ of eastern Burma.
These Kayan women, from Kayah state, wear bizarre brass coils around their necks to give the impression that their necks are stretched.
Having a long neck is often seen as beautiful in Kayan culture.
The Kayan women of eastern Burma wear brass rings around their necks to make them appear longer
They can start wearing the rings from the age of five and tend to add more rings as they get older
While the neck rings make the women’s necks appear long, in reality, the weight of the coils pushes down the muscles around the collarbone and compresses the rib cage - meaning their necks appear longer than they are.
The women – who can start wearing the rings from the age of five - have a long piece of brass wound in a spiral around their necks.
The metal is wound manually by the women and, as brass is tough, this process can take many hours.
Most women gradually increase the number of coils on their rings to steadily increase the apparent length of their necks.
Despite the weight of the bizarre rings, the women wearing them experience little restriction to their movement.
The rings do not actually stretch the women's necks - the weight pushes down their collarbones and compresses their rib cages making their necks appear longer.
The women can remove the rings but they tend not to as it can be uncomfortable and the skin underneath tends to be dis-coloured
And, as the bizarre coiling and uncoiling process takes so long, the women rarely remove the rings – they usually only do so to replace them with a longer version.
The coils can be safely removed even though the muscles underneath are weakened.
However, many women prefer not to have them removed as their necks and collarbones are left bruised and dis-coloured underneath and they suffer discomfort when they are removed.
Additionally, when they have been wearing the rings for a long time, many of the women say they feel they have become an integral part of their bodies and they feel 'naked' without them.
The rings are made of long pieces of brass that are wrapped around the neck to form coils
Many of the women say that if they remove the rings they feel naked and vulnerable
It is not known why the women started wearing the rings but there are many theories
After a few days of not wearing the rings, the discomfort fades, but the dis-colouration tends to remain.
It is not clear exactly how the bizarre tradition of wearing the neck rings came about.
There are theories that women wore them to protect against tiger bites or that they were worn to make them look more like the dragons of local legends.
Other people believe they started wearing them to make themselves less attractive to other tribes so they were less likely to be taken into slavery.
Some people believe women originally wore the rings to protect themselves from tiger bites - other people think they were designed to make them unattractive so they were less likely to be taken into slavery
Now, most of the women wear the rings because they are seen as beautiful and to preserve the tradition
Some women wear the rings because they attract tourists and tourists bring vital revenue to the community
However, when asked, most of the women will now say they wear them to preserve their cultural identities.
Kayan women are usually now given a choice as to whether or not they want to wear the neck rings.
Most of those who still do, do so because they see them as beautiful or because they want to preserve the tradition.
It is also likely that some wear them because they attract tourists who bring vital revenue to the community.
The rings are wound around the women's necks and this can take several hours as the brass is very tough
Surprisingly, the rings do not significantly restrict the women's movement
set of the neck rings can weigh up to 10 kilos but few women wear that amount.
FGM ---Breast ironing--- GOOGLE IT----unbelievable
I think the whole idea of hypnotism is bizarre, there is no doubt that it works but the idea that someone can control the mind of another person without any physical contact is very strange and yet it is an accepted medical treatment.
Then there's the altogether absurd strange and bizarre effect they get in quantum mechanics, where two particles can be entangled and then separated by thousands of miles and the odd thing is what you do to one particle effects. the other one remotely.
Bizarre as it may sound this is not a new idea
You can be buried in a watery grave
About four years ago, CERN made a claim that sent shockwaves through the scientific community. During the course of an experiment, CERN scientists apparently discovered that neutrinos -- tiny subatomic particles that travel near light speed -- could possibly accelerate faster than light. That, however, turned out to be an error, apparently due to some faulty testing equipment [Sad trombone]. Why are we talking about this now? Well, scientists have finally completed the experiment's original goal, which was to see if neutrinos could shift from one type to another (also known as the Oscillation Project with Emulation-tRacking Apparatus (OPERA) experiment). And, well, they can. Between 2008 and 2012, researchers were able to shoot a beam of "muon" type neutrinos through the Earth -- traveling a 730 kilometer distance from CERN in Geneva, Switzerland to the Gran Sasso lab in Italy -- and found that they had metamorphosed into "tau" type neutrinos on the other side. Just recently, the team uncovered the fifth such "tau" neutrino, thus concluding the experiment. While the study's result won't spoil Einstein's theory of relativity, the discovery is still an important step forward in the world of particle physics.
I have my own theory that these particles could be the cause of a lot of human cancers but of course it is impossible to prove this.
It's true, there are places in this world where they plant a jockey on the back of an ostrich and race them just like we do horses.
Did you know that there are spiders that catch fish
I will try and find out more details but I did see the photographs.
It may look bizarre to us, but in the Ethiopian Suri tribe,
this enormous lip plate on their young ladies is actually a sign of beauty.
DailyMail reports that when girls hit puberty in the tribe, they have their
bottom two teeth removed in a bizarre ritual before a small hole is cut into
their bottom lip.
A clay disc is then inserted into the hole, which is steadily increased, stretching the lip, much like flesh-tunnel piercings which have become popular with teenagers in the UK. The larger the lip plate the more cows the girl's father can demand in dowry when his daughter is married -- usually 40 for a small plate and 60 for a larger one.
In recent years though, some young women from the tribes are refusing to have their lips pierced, and removing their teeth can be a violent and sometimes traumatising task. Their men on the other hand take part in the considerably less-painful ritual of body painting. A basic paint is made from herbs and plants mixed with soil, before the tribesmen cover themselves with it, sculpting it into patterns.
There was also a bizarre custom in Egypt of enlarging the scull by binding.
Then there's a zombie spider, when attacked by a wasp is spider modifies its behaviour by building a stronger web so that the wasp cocoon doesn't destroy the web due to its weight.