Eureka! Daily discoveries for the scientifically bent
Mar 02,2007 00:00 by Scott_LaFee

ELECTRON INK

More Than Monarchs

www.morethanmonarchs.org

This Web site provides a platform for villagers, community leaders, government officials and others to debate the environmental issues facing Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico.

TRUE FACTS - Charles Darwin was an authority on earthworms, which he studied assiduously for many years, even going so far as to calculate the number of worms in his garden. CNS Photo.

WHERE IN THE WORLD - The 'island' of Bermuda is actually an archipelago of more than 100 islands, the combined result of volcanic activity, marine organisms and weather. CNS Photo.

ELECTRON INK - The www.morethanmonarchs.org/en/ Web site provides a platform for villagers, community leaders, government officials and others to debate the environmental issues facing the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico. CNS Photo.

DARK PASSAGES - Spanish researchers recently announced that they had found evidence that the giant noctule bat, a rare European species with a 17-inch wingspan, preyed upon passing birds. CNS Photo.

The preserve contains some of the last remaining forests where Monarchs winter in the millions each year.

VERBATIM

There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who do not.

- Unknown

BRAIN SWEAT

Can you identify the subject(s) by the clue below:

Mce. Mce. Mce.

'TRUE FACTS'

Evolution was a theory to Charles Darwin; earthworms were a fact. Darwin was an authority on earthworms, which he studied assiduously for many years, even going so far as to calculate the number of worms in his garden (53,767 per acre, on average).

He subjected worms to many experiments, including several to assess their hearing. He placed them near a piano, which was played as loudly as possible, and then in the mouth of a bassoon.

Given their lack of response, he concluded they were deaf.

Or at least unappreciative of the music.

JUST ASKING

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

BRAIN SWEAT ANSWER

Three blind mice. They all lack I's.

DARK PASSAGES

By traveling at night, migrating European songbirds avoid at least one of the perils of their long, arduous journeys: flying predators.

At least that's what ornithologists supposed until Spanish researchers recently announced that they had found evidence that the giant noctule bat, a rare European species with a 17-inch wingspan, preyed upon passing birds.

Their evidence was feathers found in the bats' feces, most abundantly in the spring and autumn, times that coincide with seasonal bird migrations.

Skeptics have suggested that the feathers were accidentally consumed, ingested as the bats hovered in the air. The researchers countered with analyses of bat blood samples, which show traces of chemicals specifically linked to a diet of birds.

The discovery has generated substantial controversy. There are no other known examples of bird-eating bats. While many carnivorous bat species feed upon small vertebrates, mostly in the tropics, the bats invariably collect their prey on the ground, not in midair.

PRIME NUMBERS

10,000 - Minimum number of PlayStation 3s whose spare processing power will be used next year for biological research

5 - Factor by which the interconnected game systems will be faster than the world's most powerful supercomputer

1,069,000,000 - Estimated number of personal computers in use worldwide

Sources: Harper's; Vijay Pande, Stanford University; Computer Industry Almanac Inc.