Various articles on science

It is not a wasp, it is a hoverfly mimicing a wasp


An article about a Manitoba man who died after being attacked by a swarm made it to the CBC today.

The image attached to the article was not that of a wasp though, but rather, a hoverfly. These are dipteras, meaning "two wings", as all other true flies. Also the bulging eyes and very short antennae are very characteristic of all flies.

Exposure to incense causes cancer


For the longest of time, I have had this aversion to incense. It is occasionally used in the Middle East, in homes, mosques, wedding halls, guest reception areas in homes, and the like. My chest and my tummy do not like the smell of incense, and the smoke it produces.

I have long thought of incense as being identical to second hand tobacco smoke, minus the foul smell.

Now a study published in the journal: Cancer, confirms that incense is indeed a cause for cancer, after prolonged exposure. 

Northwest passage now open: shipping boon and global warming evidence?


Sea ice in the Arctic has sunk to its lowest level since satellite record-keeping began, fully opening the most direct route through the Northwest Passage, the European Space Agency said Friday.

The much-coveted shortcut connecting Asia to Europe through the Canadian Arctic has been historically impassable.

This could save around 5,000 kms per trip from Europe to Asia, as opposed to the Panama Canal route. This also adds to the growing evidence of global warming.

University of Guelph intends to identify species via DNA barcoding


The University of Guelph developed a technique called DNA barcoding that can identify species. They intend to catalog the world's estimated 10 million species via this technique.This is cool stuff, given that when I was studying biology in high school and university, identifying a species and putting it in a place in the taxonomy involved morphology and anatomy, and nothing more. Very similar to what Linnaeus did in the 18th century.Now there is a more accurate way!

NASA's Earth Lights map: Interesting observations


NASA's Virtual Earth has many interesting images.One of them is a composite night time earth lights. Some interesting observations on this image:

  • Look at the Nile as it traverses Egypt. See how dense the population is along its shores.
  • The same density is on the southern coast of France, and east coast of Italy, but not to the same continuity on the West coast.

Crayfish introduction to the Nile Delta and its effects


Crayfish are fresh water crustacean that look like a tiny lobster, to which they are closely related. Out of 250 species in the South-East United States, the species Procambarus clarkii, known as Louisiana red swamp crayfish, is the most well known.In places like Louisiana it is farmed commercially and consumed in various dishes.


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