It's hard enough to catch a bite to eat when your prey consists of relatively quick moving land animals. But when you're dealing with tiny, lightning fast fish, what can you do to improve your odds that you'll get a meal? Turn yourself into a tentacled water snake. Scientists at Vanderbilt University used high-speed video to capture images of the snake performing an unusual trick in order to force prey to swim directly into its mouth. The snake will lie motionless, its body in a "J" shape, and wait for prey to swim close. When a fish swims by the curve of the "J", the snake flexes the lower part of its body. The fish senses the movement and turns to swim away from the perceived threat... only to end up directly in the snake's mouth. You can see the slow motion video here.
And you can read all about the study here.
Time to point our telescopes of weirdness at "the old country", methinks.
Speaking of old, recent research carried out by the University of Michigan has revealed that US seniors are smarter than their UK counterparts. The study, lead in the US by Kenneth Langa, measured the recall abilities of over 8000 elderly Americans and over 5000 elderly Brits, and found that the yanks scored 1.4 more on the memory tests, out of a possible 24. Langa suggests that part of the difference was due to higher average levels of education and income in the US group, and higher levels of depression in the UK sample, but points out that nothing is certain at the moment. "It's like a view from 30,000 feet" said Langa (New Scientist
And it's not just British brains that are shrinking, the UK's sheep are getting smaller as well. Because of a trend towards milder weather believed to be due to climate change, Sheep on the Outer Hebridean island of Soay are getting smaller at the rate of 100g/year, say researchers from Imperial College, London. Though it might seem that warmer winters and a greater abundance of food might make for bigger sheep, Tim Coulson, the professor leading the study, points out that fewer weaker and smaller lambs will die over winter, bringing down the average size (Telegraph
Now, in some good news, UK campaigners have won a second victory in a three-year battle... to bring back a chocolate bar. The "Wispa Bar", made by European confectioners Cadbury, was introduced in 1995 along with a caramel laced version called the "Wispa Gold", only for both to be discontinued in 2003. This prompted some die-hard fans of the bubbly chocolate bar to start a petition to have it go into production again, resulting in a "limited edition" run of the original Wispa last year. When the 40 million bars produced sold out in just 18 weeks, Cadbury decided to relaunch the brand. Not satisfied with just one bar, campaigners have kept up the pressure, causing Cadbury to start producing Wispa Golds "for a limited period," as before. However to some commentators, this latest move looks more like slick PR than grassroots victory (Sky News
magazine for April 4 1949.]
Here Peggy Lee plays Salome and Dean Martin plays John the Baptist.
What kind of food is this?
Answer after the jump!
One of the hardest hit businesses during this recession has been hotels. But the Marriott chain has a plan that will save them over 2 million dollars every year, using bacon and ice cream.
Research by the company has shown that guests can not taste a difference between cheaper and more expensive cuts of bacon, so they will now be using irregular cut strips.
A UK school has banned students from including bananas in their lunchboxes, because one teacher has a severe allergy to them. The teacher from the Plymouth school is said to have a "potentially fatal" reaction to bananas (so is presumably also unable to visit supermarkets or parks), causing her council employers to recommend the fruit be excluded from her work environment (Mirror
Somewhere that teacher may want to cross off her list of holiday destinations is Wilmington, Ohio as the town has just held its 15th annual Banana Split Festival in honour of the supposed invention of the dish, in Wilmington, in 1907. The festival also features the "Banana Split Master’s Competition", now in it's 5th year, won this year by Pete Kramme for his "Sweet and Salty Banana Split", which adds cream cheese and pretzels to the traditional recipe (Wilmington News Journal
Speaking of odd flavours, here's a two-fer. First up, the Double-Down Saloon is offering two-for-the-price-of-one on it's 'eye watering' bacon-vodka martini on Jun 19th, in celebration of National Martini Day (Examiner
). Also, a UK barman hopes to beat the credit-crisis this summer by selling beer flavoured ice-cream. The barman, David Wardleworth, is keeping the exact recipe a secret beyond saying that is does include "Thwaites Original" British cask ale. Despite a historic reputation for liking their beer warm, the ice-cream is apparently proving popular with the British public (Burnley Express
And it turns out weird flavours are not the only way the recession is impacting the world of ice-cream. The poor economy, combined with lower gas prices, has apparently fuelled a boom in ice-cream trucks, whose drivers stand to make from $100 to $200 a day. And it's not just the money and the lure of being your own boss that drivers find rewarding, according to driver John Jones "You get to see a lot of happy people, you get a lot of smiles." (Wichita Eagle
And the ice-cream business certainly looks about to boom in Linden, NJ, where police are preparing to hand out tickets for free ice-cream to any kids they see wearing a helmet when cycling; the tickets will also include information about a recent law change, that makes helmets compulsory for under-17s. Even better, no child will be left out as the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey is supplying free cycling helmets for children, also available from those friendly boys in blue (My Central Jersey