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Bodyguards for Plant

Its attractive red berries, succulent leaves and brightly colored flowers might look like a tasty snack for a hungry herbivore.

But while the berries of the bittersweet nightshade already hold enough poison to put off even the most enthusiastic of grazers, it seems the plant also has another trick to defend itself – ant bodyguards.

The bittersweet nightshade, also called Solanum dulcamara, produces a sugary nectar directly from wounds inflicted on its leaves by animals chewing on them in a bid to attract ants.

A poisonous woodland plant called bittersweet nightshade has been found to 'bled' a sugary nectar from wounds when slugs and insect larvae eat its leaves. These secretions attract three different species of ant (red ants pictured) which attack the herbivores and protect the plant from suffering further damage

A poisonous woodland plant called bittersweet nightshade has been found to ‘bled’ a sugary nectar from wounds when slugs and insect larvae eat its leaves. These secretions attract three different species of ant (red ants pictured) which attack the herbivores and protect the plant from suffering further damage

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We Can Protect Ourselves From the Zika Virus

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Liberals are always attempting to lecture the rest of us about safety – especially the safety and well-being of the children. We must child proof our houses. Children mustn’t be allowed to play with small toys for fear of choking. We must purchase the correct car seat and kids must always have a proper bike helmet. We must make sure they have child approved medicines and keep them sealed. We must have no firearms within a mile of children. We must keep children away from lead paint, lest they ingest paint chips causing physical and mental defects.

Pregnant mothers are also treated with kid gloves. Every precaution is taken to make sure they give birth to a healthy baby. In other words, we do (and overdue) whatever is necessary to keep our kids and moms-to-be safe and healthy.

But even with all the precautions parents take, something as insignificant as a mosquito can throw an entire family for a loop. I’m speaking of course of the mosquito-borne Zika virus which is spreading rapidly through South and Central America and now into the Southern United States.

The Zika virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in otherwise healthy adults, “but in pregnant women it has been linked to an alarming increase in the rate of the birth defect known as microcephaly – a debilitatingly small head and brain size.” Dr. Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General describes the outbreak as an “extraordinary event and a public health threat to other parts of the world.”

Experts at the CDC have issued a new set of guidelines for travelers to affected areas and work on a vaccine is being done at a feverish pace. It seems everything that can be done at this time is being done to prevent the spread of the epidemic. read more

Worm Inspires Wet Adhesive

The sandcastle worm has inspired a new form of underwater adhesive

The sandcastle worm has inspired a new form of underwater adhesive (Credit: Fred Hayes)

Science has turned its torch to many corners of the animal kingdom in the pursuit of advanced adhesives. Immoveable mussels, grippy geckos and stubborn shellfish have helped nudge these efforts along in the past, and now another critter has emerged with a few sticky secrets of its own. read more

No Need to Fret over Global Warming – We Will Just Evolve

by: the Common Constitutionalist

“We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.” That’s what the president exclaimed in his dog and pony show Tuesday night.

But really, is it already too late for that? Americans have been told that global warming will surely cause worldwide drought. At the same time it will cause massive coastal flooding due to melting of all the ice over the entire globe. Even the ice in your freezer will melt.

I suppose then, for those living along the coast it will get really wet and those inland, assuming there is any inland, there will be barren conditions, not to mention packing more and more people into an ever-shrinking land mass– so I guess its pick your poison. This is what the so-called global warming experts tell us. read more

The Mother of All Good Crises

by: the Common Constitutionalist

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before,” said Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago mayor and leftist hack.

We’ve seen this adage demonstrated throughout Obama’s dictatorial reign. Every time there is a shooting incident that involves a white killing a black, regardless of the justification, Obama, ever the community agitator, is one of the first to speak up.

The body of the dead is barely cold as Obama takes to a microphone and declares this could have somehow been prevented if only he could take all our guns away. Okay, he doesn’t say it, but you can bet he means it.

But he’s not the only one. Most large, sweeping government programs, rules and regulations come from a good crisis – real or fabricated. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout supposedly saved the country from certain financial doom. The GM bailout was to save the car company, but it was actually intended to preserve the labor unions.

TARP also gave us Dodd-Frank, the effective federal takeover of the financial system.

Obamacare was born from a phony healthcare crisis, and the flood of illegals over the past few years was apparently due to poor Central Americans trying escape the strife in their own countries.

But the mother of all good crises may come from the aftermath of mega-hurricane Patricia, bearing down on Southern Mexico. read more

Podcast – Immigration Act 50th Anniversary – Climate Mega-Church Wants To Punish Deniers – Hurricane and Climate Predictions

On Segment One of this episode I discuss the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act Signed by LBJ and how we’re all worse off because of it. Segment Two is a discussion of The Climate Change “Perfect Con,” and how alarmists now want the Obama administration to prosecute corporations and deniers under the RICO act. Segment Three furthers the Climate Change discussion, juxtaposing it with the inaccurate science of predicting and tracking hurricanes. read more

Tent – Sleeping Bag All-In-One

The Polarmond sleep system is designed as a warm, cozy shelter for one

The Polarmond sleep system is designed as a warm, cozy shelter for one (Credit: OutDoor Friedrichshafen)

A waterproof shelter, sleeping bag and sleeping pad are three of the most important pieces of kit you’ll need when bedding down in the great outdoors on a cold night. Usually those three things are purchased, packed and set up separately, but Swiss startup Polarmond has a different idea. Its All-In-One sleep system rolls all three components into one unit with the goal of delivering a warmer, more comfortable night of sleep in temperatures down to -22° F (-30° C).

The primary component of the All-In-One sleep system is what Polarmond calls the sleep shell. This unit blends the features and functions of a bivouac sack, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. When compared to the tight confines of a mummy bag, the design opens things up with a multi-layered inner chamber. read more

Growing More With Less

Okay, I don’t buy into the whole overpopulation nonsense, but this is ingenious.

The world’s population, which stood at 2.5 billion in 1950, is predicted to increase to 10.5 billion by 2050.

But at the same time, farmland is shrinking and crop productivity is stagnating, leading many to fear there may not be enough food to feed the planet.

Now scientists claim they have come up with a novel solution; hack the process by which plants convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugar.

Scentists claim they have come up with a novel solution to feed the world; hack the process by which plants convert sunlight and carbon dioxide. This graphic shows how environmental changes throughout the canopy affect photosynthesis. For instance, relative humidity (RH) tends to increase from top to bottom
Scentists claim they have come up with a novel solution to feed the world; hack the process by which plants convert sunlight and carbon dioxide. This graphic shows how environmental changes throughout the canopy affect photosynthesis. For instance, relative humidity (RH) tends to increase from top to bottom

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Man Made Reclaimed by Nature

Eerie empty streets, buildings taken over by vines, rusting underwater tanks inhabited by fish, these are the dramatic images of the places that time forgot.

Vines climb old stone walls, weave through windows and doors and creep along crumpling paths. In an abandoned village which has been reclaimed by mother nature, there is no sign of life other than the animals, birds and insects which have taken over.

Time stands still in the village on Shengshan Island – one of almost 400 that make up the Shengsi Islands to the east of China’s Zhejiang province. What was once a thriving fishing hub has been long deserted and naturally transformed into a green jungle of tangled plants and neglected buildings.

In Paris, you might be surprised to find a beautiful 19-mile belt of neglected green space in the centre of the city, which has lain abandoned since 1934. Now it is a treasure trove for graffiti artists and nature-lovers, and the people of Paris are passionate about saving it.

In another set of pictures, the shifting sands of the Namibian Desert have totally taken over a formerly opulent mining village built in the middle of the desert by wealthy Germans seeking their fortune. Now the only visitors are tourists and ghost hunters.

But the pictures all share one theme – that once nature finds a way, it soon takes over and transforms the space into something compellingly beautiful.

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In this abandoned fishing village on Shengshan Island, Zhejiang province, China, vines climb the old stone walls, weave through the windows and doors and creep along the crumpling paths. The fishing village has been 'reclaimed' by mother nature
In this abandoned fishing village on Shengshan Island, Zhejiang province, China, vines climb the old stone walls, weave through the windows and doors and creep along the crumpling paths. The fishing village has been ‘reclaimed’ by mother nature

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Google Street Underwater

Google partnered with XL Caitlin Seaview Survey and Underwater Earth to compile the images over the last four years

Google partnered with XL Caitlin Seaview Survey and Underwater Earth to compile the images over the last four years

In an effort to raise awareness ahead of World Oceans Day on June 8, Google has expanded its Street View service to let users explore a range of stunning coastal and underwater scenes.

Just as Street View allows you to click to navigate across dry land, users can move around beneath the surface with interactive imagery taken from 40 sites around the world. read more