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Nature’s Living Tape Recorders

“Many birds can mimic sounds but lyrebirds are the masters. They are nature’s living tape recorders, and sometimes their songs can be troubling.

For example, when the BBC’s David Attenborough ran into a lyrebird deep in the Australian woods, the bird not only sang the songs of 20 other forest birds, it also did a perfect imitation of foresters and their chainsaws, who apparently were getting closer. That same bird made the sound of a car alarm.

These birds were, in effect, recording the sounds of their own habitat destruction. And they were doing this, ironically, inside their mating songs.”

An incredible Youtube video is embedded in the article (via Krulwich Wonders… : NPR).

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Memoirs of an Entomophage

New York Entomological Society logo

“My reputation in some circles as a person who eats bugs has been blown out of proportion. Yes, I have knowingly and voluntarily eaten insects, but I wish people wouldn’t pluck out that historical detail to epitomize me (“You remember, I’ve told you about John—he’s the bug-eater!”). It was so out of character for me. As a boy, I was fastidious to the point of annoying priggishness; other children would probably have enjoyed making me eat insects had the idea occurred to them, but I wouldn’t have chosen to do so myself. Bug eating was something I matured into, and performed as a professional duty, even a public service.

Here’s how it happened…”

— John Rennie, former editor of Scientific American (via  Retort).