A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘insects

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at some stunning imagery of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.
  • Inkfish notes that some jumping spiders do not just look like ants, they walk like them, too.
  • Language Log has gentle fun with the trend to develop heat maps for American English dialects.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the idea of disgust as it is made to relate to the homeless.
  • Siva Vijenthira at Spacing considers the particular importance of biking for the independence of women.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers whether or not terraforming Mars is worth it. (Yes, but it will be costly.)
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that China is displacing Russia, despite the latter’s efforts, as the main trade partner of smaller post-Soviet countries.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares an amusing photo of the Wonder Bears of Provincetown.

[NEWS] Some Thursday links

  • The Sacramento Bee reports that UC Davis spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on trying to salvage its reputation online, after famously being linked with security guards pepper-spraying student protesters.
  • Bloomberg notes China’s island-building spree in the South China Sea is causing environmental damage, notes Hungary may lose out on future investment because of labour shortages, and notes London property prices are sliding because of Brexit.
  • The Guardian suggests Russians do not care about Putin’s corruption.
  • The Independent reports on a Muslim anti-ISIS march not covered by mainstream media.
  • MacLean’s writes about the NDP, about the hard left turn, about James Laxer’s criticism of the Leap manifesto, and about the disinterest of Megan Leslie and other NDPers in going for the leadership.
  • The National Post notes the potential huge market for insects as human food and notes controversy over First Nations support for a controversial wind energy farm.
  • Quartz notes the culture gap between Koreans and Korean-Americans.
  • In the Toronto Star, Emma Teitel writes about how the pronoun “they” is easy to use.
  • Wired looks at a brain implant that gave a quadriplegic man control of his arm.

[LINK] “Jumping Spiders Can Think Ahead, Plan Detours”

National Geographic‘s Michael Greshko notes the unusual intelligence of a certain kind of predatory spider. (Beautiful pictures, if you’re into this.)

With brains the size of a sesame seed, jumping spiders may seem like mental lightweights.

But a new study shows that many species plan out intricate detours to reach their prey—smarts usually associated with far bigger creatures.

The arachnids, already well known for their colors and elaborate mating rituals, have sharp vision and an impressive awareness of three-dimensional space.

“Their vision is more on par with vertebrates,” says Damian Elias of the University of California, Berkeley, who wasn’t involved in the new research. “And that allows them to do things that are physically impossible for other animals that size.”

Jumping spiders of the subfamily Spartaeinae (spar-TAY-in-ay) are particularly ambitious—they eat other spiders. Researchers suspect that preying on other predators requires extra intelligence and cunning.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On Toronto’s early spring being more like early summer

Toronto’s weather today–21 degrees Celsius and shining–is record-breaking.

Environment Canada is predicting a high of 23 C at Pearson International Airport’s weather station and similar temperatures for the rest of the region.

The temperature will be a bit cooler closer to Lake Ontario, with the high expected to be more like 16 C, Environment Canada said.

Record high temperatures have already been set at 23 weather stations in Ontario, including Cobourg, Collingwood, Goderich, Sudbury, Hamilton Munro Airport, Toronto Buttonville and Wiarton, said CP24 meteorologist Bill Coulter.

On Wednesday night, the temperature will dip to a low of 13 C, but it is expected to soar to 26 C on Thursday, when more records will likely be shattered.

A rare March heat wave is giving Torontonians a break from usual March weather – normal highs of 6 C and lows of -3 C – and setting records almost daily with summer-like temperatures.

Speaking about a heat wave the way CP24 just did is misleading, inasmuch as the entire winter has been absurdly warm. This is uncharted territory for Torontonians, with wholesale changes to the entire year’s environment upcoming. Insect ecologies, for instance, will be radically changed, some species doing better thanks to the early warming and others worse.

What will become of the Toronto climate, this year and in following years? I wonder; I fear, even.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm