Friday, May 31, 2013

The cicadas on film- a great video

The 17-year cicadas you've probably seen or read about (if not, check out the links on my May 21 post!) have reached the mid-Atlantic states of the US.

If you live in this region and/or want to learn more about these bizarre and amazing insects and how their alternative life cycle helps them maintain high biological fitness, have a look at that post, but even more fun, have a look at this video I just came across:




It's by Samuel Orr, who's worked on it for several years and now has a Kickstarter crowd-sourcing project to help fund it. It has great time-lapse videography, excellent close-ups, and a super easy explanation of their living and reproductive strategies - which is, basically, show up by the billions and predators can't eat all of you. Safety in numbers!

It's a great portrayal of these big-eyed buzzy climbers! Have a look, even if it's just to grasp the immensity of the emergence and the precision of billions of individual animals coming together in the same few-week period, knowing how to find each other, mate, and lay eggs and their offspring knowing how to find their way to the soil, bury themselves, and figure out life for the next 17 years!

Also, according to this updated (May 31-June 1, 2013) map of magicicada siting reports, it looks like the DC area and central New Jersey are this week's hotspots, but check your town!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eating right requires more diligence than ever

Most of us try to eat right, right? By all accounts, eating right includes eating fruits and vegetables to obtain necessary vitamins and minerals. And we as a species have been able to change and adapt many plants into crops that are used worldwide.

Yet it turns out that our agricultural practices over the past 10 millennia have gradually decreased the nutritional value of the foods we have produced.

diversity as the spice of life vegetable eating
image:  Victoria Maw, Etsy

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Goals for the New Year...revisited

Live in Earth’s northern hemisphere? Summer’s (almost) here, and the time is right, for reviewing your fitness goals dancing in the streets...in your finest beach wear, right?

In my naively optimistic New Year’s resolution post, I included some tips from various sites in the blogosphere to help us all try to achieve our New Year’s fitness goals (aka resolutions). Eating and exercise resolutions are broken far more than they are followed, so how about a mid-year review?


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Buzzing their way into your kitchen, in more ways than one

an adult periodical cicada not so sure s/he's ready for dinner
photo: Bundschuh, Wikimedia
Looking for a low-cost, low-fat, high-protein supplement to a gluten-free diet? Want to help the U.N. fight world hunger by eating more insects?

If you eat lobsters or crabs and live in the eastern United States, you might want to try a new shrimp-sized treat that is currently popping out of the ground by the millions.

The 17-year periodical cicadas are showing their faces in places across the eastern United States (where? here's a peak) and have taken center stage among those hoping to discover the next entomological culinary delight.

But even if / when snatching up wild insects is all the rage, there is still no such thing as a free lunch.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Size does, in fact, matter, but size of what?

Size matters

Bigger is always better Down Under, right? Right.

A recent study at the Australian National University in Canberra of women’s preferences for male anatomy made news mainly because it found that penis size affects men’s attractiveness – the bigger the better. (Duh!?)

I’m late in posting about The Penis Size Story, but since this blog talks about biological fitness, and since my recent post discussed female choice (albeit in birds), I think it’s still relevant!

Researchers asked 105 women to rate the sexual attractiveness of computer-generated male bodies (no test animals used in this study!), which varied in three ways: height, shoulder-to-waist ratio, and (flaccid) penis size, each with 7 possible sizes, resulting in 343 different images.

These days, women don’t get a chance to compare like that, as clothing gets in the way. However, the researchers believe that the relatively long penis of human males, which, BTW, is far larger than it needs to be to perform its essential biological role, is actually the result of many generations of prehistoric women choosing well-endowed men.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A toast for the graduates! And then another for you!

As we raise a toast to the new class of high school and university graduates this month and next, I have good news for all you lushes aficionados of fine beverages. Perhaps you've heard that a small, regular consumption of red wine or dark chocolate may be good for you. And if you haven't, you are now checking these links and paying attention, right?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good-looking AND a good dancer? Female choice in action

I just visited a fantastic exhibit on the birds of paradise at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC. I wish I’d known about it earlier – this was its last week in DC – but it is headed on tour, and you can check on it and other NatGeo exhibits here and here.

What’s so great about the birds of paradise? (Hint: hot guys and choosy chicks)

Here’s a preview (warning: this post is heavy on videos because I couldn't say no to any of them!):




Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Half-marathon success (a tad behind schedule!)

Ooops. I realize I never posted results from the Khao Yai Half Marathon that I ran in early March, together with about 20 others from our Bangkok Runners group. It's not like I do this every weekend, so here is a brief rundown:


Monday, May 6, 2013

Benefits of body hair: it won't let the bedbugs bite

Beach season approaching!

Time for women (and some men) to break out the razors, hot wax, and even lasers to say goodbye to unwanted hair in strategic parts of their bodies, so I figured body hair might make for an interesting post.

We’re mammals, and mammals have hair – it’s one of our defining characteristics. Even if we sometimes try to fight it, body hair plays a key role in our health and comfort.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monarchs, again - they need your help!

If you live in North America, you may soon be seeing the monarchs!

monarch butterflies resting. photo credit:
Clinton & Charles Robertson-Wikimedia
Those in the southern states may have already caught some of the lovely orange-and-black butterflies that have journeyed north from their winter homes in Mexico. The butterflies that arrived in the U.S. are nearing the end of their lives, but along the way, females have been laying eggs so that their kids can take the baton and continue the migration north.

Those in the northern states will be seeing this next generation arrive at their summer breeding grounds within the next month. I hope it is a good year with lots of sightings!


Fabulous but fragile

I know I’ve posted about the monarch’s migration and their amazing navigation abilities recently, but I also wanted to point out that the phenomenon is not only cool, it’s fragile.