Queer world

Queerer than I can imagine

by reestheskin on 05/08/2020

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“Although adult beetles were easily eaten by frogs, 90% of swallowed beetles were excreted within 6 h (0.1–6.0 h) after being eaten and, surprisingly, were still alive.” The aquatic beetle Regimbartia attenuata can swim right through a frog, found biologist Shinji Sugiura. ( Current Biology paper) (Watch a video of it happening in The New York Times, if that’s what you’re into.)

Nature Briefing reporting on a story in the New York Times

Queerer that I can imagine

by reestheskin on 16/06/2020

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Its natural, Jim. From an obituary of Julian Perry Robinson in Nature

Julian Perry Robinson (1941–2020)

In 1981, the US government publicly accused Soviet-backed forces in southeast Asia of waging toxin warfare and violating their legal obligations under the 1925 Geneva Protocol and 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. It alleged that aircraft dispersed ‘yellow rain’ containing mycotoxins that were “not indigenous to the region”. Julian Perry Robinson, working alongside biologist Matthew Meselson at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, established that what actually fell was wild-honeybee faeces containing naturally occurring toxins. He died on 22 April, aged 78.

The world is queerer than I can imagine

by reestheskin on 14/05/2020

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Katherine Rundell writes in the LRB about the Greenland shark. I learn that these beasts who inhabit the cold deeps can live for up to 600 years. Not surprisingly, they run their lives — and their metabolism — slow: moving at 1-2mph, and only requiring the equivalent of a biscuit or two to keep a 200kg beast turning over for a day. If you wish to choose between a biscuit and the shark flesh, go for the familiar. Their fins smell of pee and the urea in their flesh is poisonous to humans. Seemingly, you have to bury the meat for months, allowing it to ferment, before hanging it out for yet several more months. She writes that for some it is a delicacy, for others an abomination. I don’t need persuading.