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Scientist reviews most painful insect stings he has ever received

tarantula-hawk‘Entomologist Justin O. Schmidt has written a book called The Sting of the Wild, about his mission to “compare the impacts of stinging insects on humans, mainly using himself as the gauge.” Here’s how he poetically describes a few bug stings, based on his own 4-point “Schmidt Pain Scale for Stinging Insects.”

Red fire ant (1): “Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.”Anthophorid bee (1): “Almost pleasant, a lover just bit your earlobe a little too hard.”

California carpenter bee (2): “Swift, sharp, and decisive. Your fingertip has been slammed by a car door.”

Western yellowjacket (2): “Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.”

Fierce black polybia wasp: (2.5): “A ritual gone wrong, satanic. The gas lamp in the old church explodes in your face when you light it.”

Velvet ant (3): “Explosive and long lasting, you sound insane as you scream. Hot oil from the deep frying spilling over your entire hand.”

Florida harvester ant (3): “Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a power drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.”

Tarantula hawk (4): “Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubble bath.”

Bullet ant (4): “Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over a flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail embedded in your heel.”

Warrior (or armadillo) wasp: “Torture. You are chained in the flow of an active volcano. Why did I start this list?”

Source: Boing Boing

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Alaska’s Creepy Bubbling Lakes

‘Every single month of 2016 has been the hottest on record, and this uptick in temperature is sure to have wide-ranging consequences around the world. One of the weirdest and least understood of these climate-related side effects is that Arctic boreal lakes are boiling over with methane bubbles. Indeed, some of these areas are such rich producers of methane that scientists can light plumes of the lake’s escaped gas on fire.

These gassy lakes are created by thawing permafrost, which is soil that normally remains frozen all year. But warmer temperatures have caused more permafrost to melt, causing the ground around it to collapse into water-filled sinkholes called thermokarst lakes.’

Source: Motherboard

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Cole Slaw: It’s the Most Important Thing on Your Plate

‘…[R]eaders and eaters, for the love of God, support anywhere you eat that serves excellent cole slaw. If the next lunch you sit down to serves you good cole slaw, know you are eating somewhere run by people who give a damn. Reward them with repeat business and recommendations*, go back for brunch, bring work friends to their happy hour. Vote with your dollars and let them know you recognize their attempt to rise above the common, goopy masses…’

Source: Big Think

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The bizarre true story behind the “this is a work of fiction” disclaimer.

‘Virtually every film in modern memory ends with some variation of the same disclaimer: “This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.” The cut-and-paste legal rider must be the most boring thing in every movie that features it. Who knew its origins were so lurid?

For that bit of boilerplate, we can indirectly thank none other than Grigori Rasputin, the famously hard-to-assassinate Russian mystic and intimate of the last, doomed Romanovs. It all started when an exiled Russian prince sued MGM in 1933 over the studio’s Rasputin biopic, claiming that the American production did not accurately depict Rasputin’s murder. And the prince ought to have known, having murdered him…’

Source: Slate

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Maine Gov. LePaige: people of color are the enemy

‘Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, told reporters that people of color are the enemy in his state.

“When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you? You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.”

The remarks came after he left a voicemail on a state lawmaker’s phone after the Democrat, Drew Gattine, allegedly called him a racist. He also threatened to shoot Gattine…’

Source: Boing Boing

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Cannabinoids remove plaque-forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells

 

‘Salk Institute scientists have found preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in marijuana can promote the cellular removal of amyloid beta, a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. While these exploratory studies were conducted in neurons grown in the laboratory, they may offer insight into the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and could provide clues to developing novel therapeutics for the disorder…’

Source: Neurosciencestuff Tumblr

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This ‘Star in a Jar’ Could Produce a Nearly Unlimited Supply of Energy

‘Fusion energy has long been heralded as the power-supply of the future, but the sad joke is, it always will be. The experimental energy source is perennially 30 years away from being viable on a mass-scale. Still, fusion energy could provide us with a low-cost, sustainable energy resource—if only physicists could figure out how to harness the power of the Sun on Earth.

This dream of a sustainable “star in a jar” was brought one step closer to reality this month by physicists at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, who demonstrated how the design for a new type of “jar” could lead to the first commercially viable nuclear fusion power plant…’

Source: Motherboard