June 23, 2012
Pitcher Plant of No Return
Short June 18 New York Times Science section story by Sindya N. Bhanoo shorter:
Pitcher plants are carnivores that rely on insects for nourishment. One species of the plant, found in Southeast Asia, uses raindrops to trap prey in its fluid-filled pitcher. Writing in the journal PloS One, researchers describe how the species Nepenthes gracilis (above and below)
has a springboardlike mechanism built into its lid.
Insects seek shelter from rain on the underside of the plant's lid. Then, when raindrops hit the top of the lid, the insects are flung into the pitcher, said Ulrike Bauer, a biologist at the University of Cambridge in England and the study's first author.
Dr. Bauer and her colleagues set up a pitcher plant in a laboratory, with a drip system hanging above that simulated raindrops. In a box nearby, the researchers kept a colony of ants that were naturally attracted to the plant's nectar.
The underside of the pitcher plant's lid is covered with specialized wax crystals, Dr. Bauer said. This surface seems to allow enough grip for the insects to walk on the surface to seek shelter and feed on nectar when the weather is calm. But it is also slippery enough that when it rains, insects are thrust from the lid into the clutches of the pitcher. This mechanism may let the pitcher plant capture a wider variety of insects than other types of pitcher plants.
"Flying insects with very delicate wings, like flies and bees and wasps, may seek shelter from the rain," Dr. Bauer said.
Above, the plant in action.
YouTube caption: "During heavy rain, the lid of the Nepenthes gracilis pitcher acts like a springboard, catapulting insects that seek shelter on its underside directly into the fluid-filled pitcher."
Harry Potter Snuggie Blanket
[via This Is Why I'm Broke]
Helpful Hints from joeeze: Fix your glasses with your fingernail
You know how sometimes the stem of your glasses will get loose, because the little teeny screw that attaches it to the frame loses its grip?
I used to think that if you had a screw loose you had to go to the eye doctor's office to get it fixed but then the other day when mine got lax I had an idea: maybe I could tighten it just enough with a fingernail to make it work properly.
Voilà: done and dusted.
Try it, you'll not only like it, you'll love it.
Or I will refund every penny you paid for this advice.
And you can take that to the bank.
If you bite your nails and can't use this trick, a set of these:
will put paid to your problem.
From the website:
Years have gone by now — it doesn't matter how incompetent you were with the cube when you were young.
Wash away those horrible memories as you sit back and relax with this nostalgic mug inspired by the iconic image of the classic toy.
We spent months perfecting a specially designed square mug that looks great and is actually easy to drink from with its special curved lip.
No dribbling and slobbering over the cube like you did when you desperately tried to solve the original one... this one is perfect: pre-solved and dribble free.
On the Death of a Cat — Franz Wright
Shetland Pony Rocking Stool
From the New York Times: "After a brief release more than a decade ago, Haworth brought back its playful Shetland pony rocking stool. Michael Welsh, who designed the revival, said the piece was 'meant to be informal, supple, and iconic in its shape,' plus you can stow a briefcase under it. The stool, which comes in a stationary version as well, will be available in September in a painted finish or walnut veneer, and will range from $700 for the stool alone to $2,000 with the optional companion covers in wool and leather that evoke horse blankets and saddles."
Young Winston Churchill
The photo above was taken about 1895, when Churchill was 20.
[via the New York Times]
This Many Card
"Each card is 5.62" x 4.25" and printed on Pearl White Crane Lettra Letterpress 110 lb. Cover.
Designed by Sarah Hollowood.