Flickr Bug

Budding entomologists might want to think about casting aside butterfly net and pooter. A paper published in ZooKeys last week reports the discovery of a new species of lacewing, Semachrysa jade. But the unusual thing about this new insect was that it was first spotted not in the field but on Flickr. Insect biosystematist Shaun […]

Bananas, Barcodes and Carbon

Enjoying that cup of coffee? That’ll be 21g of CO2 emissions, please. The sandwich is 40g, the crisps 15g, and the banana 80g. And while 3g for flushing the toilet is thankfully a bargain, washing and drying your hands will cost another 35g. How do I know this? My phone told me. And if David […]

Pet Planarians: They Don’t Die

Last month saw scientists and philosophers facing off over some big questions. The Royal Institute hosted a debate (Storified here) on whether neuroscience will explain consciousness. Then philosopher Roger Scruton wrote about the limitations of “neurononsense” in the Spectator, which prompted the Guardian’s Neurophilosophy blogger Mo Costandi to scold him publicly for attacking a straw-neuroscientist. […]

Lessthanthree

Long thought to be the seat of the soul, the heart remains an emotive symbol of passion and there’s apparently still no better way to proclaim an infatuation than with a big pink heart stamped on glossy cardboard. The heart “nourishes, cherishes, quickens the whole body, and is indeed the foundation of life, the source […]

Multiple Kittens, Polydactyl Mittens

Welcome to The Dog & Pony Show! Let’s talk about cats. Not all cats are created equal. A couple of days ago, the BBC posted an article about a pair of polydactyl kittens. (If you’re wildly picturing a chimera of cat and pterosaur, you’ve headed off in the wrong direction. Come back.) Polydactyly is an […]

Bug Bunny

You’ve probably seen this picture already as it’s been around for a week, but I just can’t get the plump little lady out of my head. I’ve never seen an insect like it. It’s a giant weta, and this carrot-munching monster is the largest so far found. At over 70g it weighs more than a […]

Gamers 1, M-PMV Retroviral Protease 0

In the crossover news of the week, gamers have discovered the structure of a protein-cutting enzyme that plays an important role in the spread of an AIDS-like virus in rhesus monkeys. Knowing the structure of this enzyme – the M-PMV retroviral protease – might make it possible to design drugs to beat the virus, but […]

Light Conversation

Harald Haas and his team from the University of Edinburgh have invented what he calls “speaking light”. In a TED talk on 15 July, Haas demonstrated the wireless transmission of HD video via a rapidly blinking desk lamp. The trick involves quickly modulating the intensity of “high-brightness” LEDs, allowing binary-encoded data to be sent to […]