I know that people eat weird things. They eat dogs, cats, and bugs, and perhaps that is no different from eating lambs, pigs, and cows. I went to college. I know about diversity. That said, when I found out that a man was recently detained entering London's Gatwick Airport from Burkina Faso with more than 200 pounds of dried caterpillars, my response was a very simple and un-collegiate "Ewwwwww."
IKEA is so easy to make fun of, what with the weird Swedish names of everything and the cartoon instructions and those anemic little "tools." It's a good thing for them they just make piles and piles of money selling crap to us and don't have any real reason to give much of a rat's ass what we think. Because, right on the heels of the "horse meat in IKEA meatballs" story, we've now found that in December (December??? Did they send the news via Pony Express, and did the first pony die and end up in a Swedish meatball?), Chinese officials destroyed 1,800 pounds of IKEA almond cakes, when tests demonstrated the product had "excessive levels" of coliform bacteria. What is coliform bacteria, you ask? What a wonderful question! It is something often found in the feces of a mammal. In this case, probably a mouse. Better than a human, not better than a cake with no shit in it.
Flying squirrel race purists have another reason to hate climate change: Some scientists believe that as a response to shifting temperatures, the southern flying squirrel has begun to mate with the northern flying squirrel and -- just in case anyone reading this is really, really dumb -- vice versa.
Let's be clear. There is no question that the southern flying squirrel and northern flying squirrel have begun to do it and produce offspring. In a northern region of Ontario currently being studied with regard to this strange squirrel interbreeding, about 4 percent of the squirrels now being born are hybrids. The question is why. There are many factors that can cause interbreeding, such as loss of habitat, or the sudden presence of invasive species. But Canadian scientists Jeff Bowman and Paul Wilson, who have been studying and tracking this interbreeding, are pretty sure this interbreed lovefest is climate-change related, mostly because the hybrids started to emerge around the same time -- 1995 -- that the winters began to get steadily warmer.
Rich dude/dreamer Dennis Tito wants to send a man and a woman on a round-trip journey to Mars in 2018. One of the challenges of such a journey: cosmic radiation. A solution for this challenge: lining the walls of the spacecraft with water, food, and -- we really hope this stuff isn't all going to be touching each other -- the astronauts' own feces.
We already know Washington, D.C., has the worst gridlock in the world. But now we know it has the worst traffic too. HEYOOOOO
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute has just put out its annual Urban Mobility Report [PDF], and D.C. can proudly proclaim that it remains No. 1, based on data collected in 2011. If you are living and driving in D.C., you can expect to lose 67 hours a year and 32 gallons of gas to traffic gridlock. And you can expect to spend roughly $1,400 a year on the problem.
Steven Kutcher is not the kind of entomologist who wantonly sticks bugs on pins in display cases. He is the kind of entomologist who lovingly applies non-toxic paint to a bug's feet, lets the bug walk around on a damp piece of paper or canvas to create a tiny masterpiece, and then carefully cleans the bug off when done.
Starship Troopers is one of my favorite films, so I just couldn't help but warm to this sort of rough-trade, clacking, kind of crude robot who is the total doppelgänger of the film's "bad guys." This robot, nicknamed BigDog, could already run four miles per hour and carry over 300 pounds, but its creators at Boston Dynamics (some dudes from MIT) apparently decided it was time for it to learn a useful trade. And that trade is throwing cinderblocks. Watch it do so below.