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October 17, 2009

BehindTheMedspeak: Grand Rounds Idol

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Will this be the successor to "American Idol?"

Leo Gordon, M.D. tipped me to this site, which aims to let doctors know before rather than after they've been put to sleep by another witless, droning bore of an invited speaker who looked like money from afar —

Wwwww

but turned out to be chopped liver.

October 17, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vespa Rocker

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[via Bem Legaus! and motoblog.it]

October 17, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

World's first known vegetarian spider

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Henry Fountain described it (above) in his "Observatory" feature in the October 12, 2009 New York Times Science section; his piece follows.

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Jumping Spider Prefers Green Leaves to Meat

During field studies in Mexico two years ago, Christopher J. Meehan, then a student at Villanova University, spent time watching a jumping spider on an acacia plant. The plant was swarming with ants, as ants and acacias constitute a well-known example of mutualism — the insects provide protection for the plant and in return the acacia produces nutritious leaf tips for the ants to eat.

Mr. Meehan figured that the spider was hunting dinner. “I was waiting for it to do something like prey on an ant,” he said.

Instead, to his surprise, the spider, Bagheera kiplingi, darted around the ants and plucked off a one of the leaf tips, called a Beltian body.

Mr. Meehan, who is now at the University of Arizona, had discovered the first example of a largely vegetarian spider. He and Eric J. Olson of Brandeis University, who observed the same behavior among B. kiplingi in Costa Rica, and colleagues have published a paper on the finding in Current Biology.

Some spiders occasionally eat pollen or nectar, but only as a supplement to their typical diet of insects. Through observations and isotopic analyses, the researchers found that B. kiplingi eats more Beltian bodies than ants — especially in Mexico, where about 90 percent of the diet consisted of plant tissue.

The spiders actively hunt their vegetable prey. “Every foraging event poses a novel obstacle,” Mr. Meehan said. “The spider stares at a food target, and sometimes it backs away and stares again. Then it will use a variety of ways to acrobatically move through the ants.”

Mr. Meehan said the behavior was an example of one organism exploiting a mutualism between two others. “It’s pretty well established that the interdependence between ants and acacias allowed for the emergence of the Beltian body,” he said. “And now the only known case of spider herbivory depends on this interdependence.”

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The abstract of the Current Biology report follows.

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Herbivory in a spider through exploitation of an ant-plant mutualism

Spiders are thought to be strict predators. We describe a novel exception: Bagheera kiplingi, a Neotropical jumping spider (Salticidae) that exploits a well-studied ant–plant mutualism, is predominantly herbivorous. From behavioral field observations and stable-isotope analyses, we show that the main diet of this host-specific spider comprises specialized leaf tips (Beltian food bodies) from Vachellia spp. ant-acacias (formerly Acacia spp.), structures traded for protection in the plant's coevolved mutualism with Pseudomyrmex spp. ants that inhabit its hollow thorns. This is the first report of a spider that feeds primarily and deliberately on plants.

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A very detailed and informative story on the spider appeared October 12, 2009 on ScienceDaily.com.

October 17, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gummy Belly Bugs

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"Help our guy get those pesky gummy bugs out of his tummy. Just open up the incision in his belly, then extract the parasites from his gut with the included tweezers — then, put the bloodsuckers into your mouth and enjoy delicious gummy goodness."

Though not specified, it would appear the tweezers are inedible (but I could be wrong).

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$1.99.

[via Foolish Gadgets and Nerd Approved]

October 17, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dyson's Bladeless Fan Isn't

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From Hack A Day (cool site):

"This morning we’ve been having a heated discussion ... over Dyson's new offering, a “bladeless fan.” At first this seemed extremely exciting, but how is the air being moved? ... Some of us think the bladeless claim is an outright lie, others understand it from a marketing stance, but we all agree: a fan with blades is still moving the air.

"Dyson's own information page states that “an energy efficient brushless motor” draws the air in with ... technology used in “superchargers and jet engines,” both of which use blades! The fan blades are in the base of this unit, they take in air and blow it out the ring. Just because you can’t see a fan, can we call our computers bladeless, or an air conditioner bladeless?

"At 200 british pounds (~$320) for a ten-inch desk fan, what are you getting that’s better than a traditional fan?  The design supposedly amplifies the air movement fifteen times, but we’re skeptical about that figure as there’s no energy-saving claim to go along with such an incredible power boost. One thing is certain, you will NOT get a fan without blades for your sterling… just one with hidden blades plus a huge marketing campaign."



October 17, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is it?

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Actually, the scene above is "Before."

"After" appears at this time tomorrow.

October 17, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Breakfast Machine

"A Rube Goldberg machine conceived by Yuri Suzuki and Masa Kimura to serve... breakfast during Platform 21 = Jamming," was how it was described on What Alice Found.

From an October 1, 2009 post on today and tomorrow: "The machine...  can serve you an omelet, coffee, and toast with jam. Yuri and Masa invited other designers and the public to help build and design the machine. They used recycled remnants of previous Platform 21 projects to solve all the different problems to get to their goal. Last weekend the machine was ready and served breakfast all day to the visitors. This video is actually in Dutch but you can see the Breakfast Machine in action."

October 17, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Adjust-A-Spoon

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From the website:

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Adjust-A-Spoon Measuring Set

These 2 adjustable spoons replaces 10 ordinary measuring spoons —  both feature sliding covers for easy one-handed use.

Set includes teaspoon with increments of 1/8 tsp. to 1 tsp., and tablespoon with increments of 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp.

Top rack dishwasher-safe.

Plastic.

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Dtwh

$4.99.

October 17, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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