Longtime readers will remember my morbid affection for Scutigera coleoptrata—aka, the house centipede—a species of oddly adorable, 30-legged, mostly harmless arthropods that frequently set up housekeeping in bathrooms and basements*. Originally native to the Mediterranean, they now live ... everywhere. (And please, feel free to imagine these buggers speaking in comic, stereotypical Italiano-Greek accents from now on. God knows I will.)
Now, YouTube musician Pink Torpedo has created a song dedicated to promoting peace and understanding between humans and Scutigera coleoptratas. I dig it!
*Side note: Scutigera coleoptrata do not always live in your house. But, when they do, they prefer to live in damp places. Thus, their affinity for bathrooms. Why? Because they don't actually breathe through their mouths. Like many arthropods, Scutigera coleoptrata get their air intake via little valves all along their exoskeleton. These valves are called spiracles. In most species that have them, spiracles can be opened and closed.
Scutigera coleoptrata are not so lucky. Their spiracles are stuck in the open position, which is sort of like only being able to pant, rather than breathe normally. One of the reasons dogs pant is to increase evaporative cooling of the body—walking around with your mouth open exposes the liquid in your body to relatively drier air, the liquid evaporates, and you get a nice cooling effect. But if your mouth is stuck open, you're at risk of dehydration and, sometimes, you're cooler than you really want to be. Scutigera coleoptrata live in damp places because they really need easy access to water. As a bonus, basements and bathrooms maintain a pretty constant temperature year-round, something else that's rather nice if you can't control your own body temperature very well.
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]