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daily 02/14/2014

    • This deadly assault is a pretty effective deterrent to most other ant species, which tend to keep their distance. But the fire ants have now run up against another invasive species that’s willing to take them on: the tawny crazy ant. This unassuming little ant has the surprising habit of aggressively barreling right into a colony of fire ants, seemingly undeterred by their toxic venom.
    • A crazy ant’s headlong charge into a mass of fire ants almost always results in it being smeared with venom. But once covered in the neurotoxin, these ants perform a systematic and ritualized behavior. First, an ant stands on its hind legs and curls up its abdomen, touching its mandibles to a small gland at the tip of its body called the acidopore. The ant then runs its front legs through its mandibles and grooms itself fastidiously.
    • Clearly, something originating from the acidopore was increasing the survival of ants covered in venom.
    • By testing crazy ant secretions, the researchers found that the life-saving substance was actually formic acid from the crazy ants’ own venom. So far, it’s unclear exactly how this chemical detoxifies fire ant venom. It’s possible that formic acid denatures the enzymes that enable neurotoxins to enter cells.
    • When the two species fight over food or space, crazy ants come out on top 93 percent of the time.

       

    • Related PSA: crazy ants are attracted to electronics. So if you’re a technology lover living in the southeastern US, watch your computers and appliances because these tiny invaders are headed your way
    • Scientists’ efforts were long thwarted because moisture in tomato sauce, cheese and toppings migrated to the dough over time, resulting in soggy pizza that provided the perfect conditions for mold and disease-causing bacteria to grow.
    • But on-and-off research over the past few years helped them figure out ways to prevent moisture from migrating. That includes using ingredients called humectants — sugar, salt and syrups can do the trick — that bind to water and keep it from getting to the dough
    • the drilling and production of natural gas can lead to leaks of  methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.Those methane leaks negate the climate change benefits of using natural gas as a transportation fuel, according to the study
    • Brewer believes that the Texas Tech medical staff “misdiagnosed” his back injury in June 2013, causing him to fall behind in the quarterback competition with Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield (who also left the program). He also cited communication issues with the coaching staff during the season as reasons for his transfer.
    • You’ll still see travelers all around the world dragging superzooms with them, because those insanely long lenses are a godsend for catching animals, sports, and tourist shots.
    • By keeping heat inside—and the facade extremely cold—these high-tech materials facilitate ice formation on the outside of the building.
    • [It] can range from thin dense sheets of hard ice that flutter to ther ground to bowling ball-sized chunks of white rigid ice that are less dense but make significantly larger projectiles. These ice formations are largely a result of wind-driven super cooled water droplets from visible cloud formations, fog, or mist coming in contact with cold building materials
    • It’s not quite Coke buying Pepsi, but it’s close enough to raise alarms. But it’s also easier to see why both companies might feel the need to be even bigger. They’re threatened from every conceivable angle.
    • A stalemate that long, though, proved to cable providers that they no longer have the leverage they once thought. And the quickest way to gain leverage is size.
    • By owning both cable and internet connections for the near-majority of American households, TWComcast would give customers nowhere to run. It’s hard to escape a sinking ship if the same company also owns the ocean.
    • Remember, Comcast and TWC are not in direct competition in most markets, which makes it an easier sell. Or rather, it gives the FCC a ready excuse, if it’s looking for one. Which it almost certainly will be; one of the cable industry’s top lobbyists used to be an FCC chairman.
    • The proposal’s rationale is that defenses would have more time to substitute in this age of hyper-quick offenses. The committee called the change a player-safety issue.
    • NCAA football changes are allowed every other year. This is a so-called “off” year for the committee. However, if a rule deals with player safety, it can be implemented at any time.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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