Oldster's View

Fight Against Maturity

RFID tags track wasp behaviour


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Wasps fitted with minuscule radio tags have helped scientists shed light on the insects’ behaviour.
Rather than just tending their home colonies, the worker wasps also buzzed into nearby relative-holding nests, helping raise the young, the team said.

The researchers believed the insects were boosting their chances of propagating their genes by nurturing relatives in multiple nests.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) study is published in Current Biology.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Huge fossil haul from Australian cave

An astonishing collection of fossil animals from southern Australia is reported by scientists. The creatures were found in limestone caves under the Nullabor Plain and date from about 400,000-800,000 years ago. The palaeontological “treasure trove” includes 23 kangaroo species, eight of which are entirely new to science.

Researchers tell Nature magazine that the caves also yielded a complete specimen of Thylacoleo carnifex, an extinct marsupial lion.

It appears the unsuspecting creatures fell to their deaths through pipes in the dusty plain surface that periodically opened and closed over millennia.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Huge fossil haul from Australian cave

Sounds fishy to me


squirl_fishlg.jpgFish have the reasoning capacity of a 4- or 5-year-old child when it comes to figuring out who among their peers is “top dog,” new research shows.

Stanford University scientists made the discovery—said to be the first demonstration that fish can use logical reasoning to figure out their social pecking order—by studying fights among small, highly territorial, spiny-finned fish called cichlids, common in freshwater in tropical Africa, including in Lake Tanganyika in central Africa.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A very brief glossary of TV news expressions

  1. Expert: Anyone who will talk to us
  2. Anonymous expert: We made it up
  3. Officials admitted: Somebody said (we think)
  4. We’ll be right back: Get set for 15 ads
  5. The very latest: My, Dear! Have you heard?!

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on A very brief glossary of TV news expressions

Something you don’t see every day

Yahoo! News Photo

Snow covers some saguaros and other desert vegetation at the entrance to the Santa Catalina mountains in Tucson, Ariz., Monday, Jan. 22, 2007. A rare snow from Sunday night left Tucson with up to 2 inches sticking to the ground

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Something you don’t see every day

Ancient spell



A magic spell to keep snakes away from the tombs of Egyptian kings, adopted from the Canaanites almost 5,000 years ago, could be the oldest Semitic text yet discovered, experts said Tuesday. The phrases, interspersed throughout religious texts in Egyptian characters in the underground chambers of a pyramid south of Cairo, stumped Egyptian experts for about a century, until the Semitic connection was found.

In 2002 one of the Egyptologists e-mailed the undeciphered part of the inscription to Richard Steiner, a professor of Semitic languages at Yeshiva University in New York. Steiner discovered that the phrases are the transcription of a language used by Canaanites at some point in the period from 25th to the 30th centuries B.C.

“This is the oldest connected text that we have in any Semitic language,” Steiner said in a telephone interview while visiting Israel to present his findings in a lecture sponsored by the Academy of the Hebrew Language. The previous oldest Semitic text dates from the 24th century B.C., Steiner said.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ancient spell

What ever happened to just driving?

A new survey of American drivers, from Nationwide Mutual Insurance, has revealed some disconcerting, if true, things. Survey respondents admitted to:

  • Putting in contacts while driving
  • Nursing a baby
  • Writing a grocery list
  • Changing seats with a passenger
  • Watching a movie
  • Reading a book (I’ve seen people reading a newspaper at 75 mph on I-5 near Seattle)

The survey also found that 73% talk on a cell phone while driving, only 16% drive at the speed limit, and 38% of respondents say they sometimes don’t recall a part of the driving.

So what else is new? Well, 29% would like an internet connection in the car and almost a third want a refrigerator built in.

Of the 1200 drivers between the ages of 18 and 60 questioned, 83% believe they are safe drivers.

Noting that “Distracted Driving” accounts for 80% of all accidents in the US, North Bend, Washington, about 30 miles east of Seattle, passed a law a few years back that levies a stout fine for distracted driving. In North Bend that includes doing nearly anything else while driving, down to and including eating and drinking coffee.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on What ever happened to just driving?

And a cold one for my dog

A brewery in the Netherlands has created a beer – especially for dogs. Kwispelbier makes the special brew from a mix of beef extract and malt.

The beverage is the brainchild of pet shop owner Gerrie Berendsen from the eastern town of Zelhem. The beer is non-alcoholic and fit for human consumption, but costs four times as much as a Heineken.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on And a cold one for my dog