Weekly Webcrawl: Bees, bats, and bodies
Okay, yet again an overdue webcrawl (maybe I should just make this a Sunday or Monday feature instead of Friday?), but no less exciting a week in the sclogosphere:
- There was a lot of digging up of dead people last week, or at least reporting on it. We learned ancient egyptians lived a hard-knock life and that just like us, the mummies were plagued by heart disease. In London, construction of a new train line literally ran into a Black Plague burial ground.
- Thousands of dead pigs turned up in a Chinese river last week, but this was apparently not the first time. Similarly, thousands of dead fish made their way to a river in Rio while a slew of sick and starving sea lions stranded themselves on the California coast.
- HIV has been an oft-spoke-of topic since we learned of the Mississippi baby who was functionally “cured” of the disease. A French study out last week reported 14 adult patients similarly free of symptoms and PLOS blogger Ricki Lewis riffed on how feline immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV may foretell the future of the human form of the virus. (Speaking of viruses, are they actual living creatures?!).
- Bees made the news again this week as a compound in their venom is deadly to HIV. Also, Northeastern professor Joe Ayers’ robotic Bee project made it into the webpages of National Geographic while a robotic bat wing helps explain how bats fly.
- And here’s a picture of a bat-eating spider that you should definitely forego if you’re at all arachnophobic. That said, if you are afraid of spiders, you should read this Smithsonian article on why we should all celebrate save a spider day. We can start with our undying love for Spider-Man, who turned fifty last Sunday (the 10th).
- Everyone on the planet is probably aware that the Vatican elected a new pope last week, but did you know they also released the recipe for conclave smoke?
- Scientific American writer Katie Worth’s living on Mars time experiment ended with a bang last week and we also found out that life was possible on the red planet even before it was possible on Earth.
- Life is also apparently possible deep in Earth’s crust and deep beneath the sea. But let’s not get too excited, lest we end up in the same muddle we’re in with the news of bacteria in Lake Vostok.
- National Geographic hosted a TEDx talk on the science-fiction-meets-real-life method of de-extinction. (Stay tuned for more on this from Northeastern’s ethics of species expert, Ron Sandler.)
- We also learned that the Boston newspaper the Phoenix closing, ending yet another important outlet for good climate coverage after the Time’s closed both it’s environment desk and green blog earlier this year.
- The National Institutes of Health will make a decision about what to do with its 450 medical-research chimps by the end of March. As many as 50 may stay in the lab, says Wired.
And here’s a wonderful video of a guy playing in his one-man-vegetable-band: