Friday, October 31, 2008

The insect world never ceases to amaze. These colorful bugs boast familiar patterns like faces or tribal masks on their shields. While potential predators waste prescious time wondering whether it's food, enemy or prey, the masked creatures plot their protection tactics or escape.

We take a look at seven of these insects that prove: Bug is beautiful!

These mini warriors have pretty smart warfare defences. Shield bugs, or stink bugs, have glands in their thorax (the part between the head and the abdomen) between their first and second pair of legs that produce a foul-smelling liquid, which is used for defense and released when the bug feels threatened.


This is a picture example of how the sheild pattern resembles a face. Like a huge sign saying "don't even think about it" to predators - including humans - the casperonian looks slightly grumpy, and for good reason. Just recently, scientists have discovered the nutritional value of edible stink bugs. They're a good source of protein, fat, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Stink bug stew, anyone?


In the photograph, this barca branca stink bug looks huge but it is only about 1 cm long in real life, making the markings on the mask all the more intricate.
Barca Branca

This too-sexy-to-be-eaten bug with his/her sunglasses is actually a crop pest. Known as cotton stainers, these bugs feed on cotton and get crushed with it during harvesting. Their red bodies leave stains, which are hard to remove.
Wesley Sng

These firebugs seem to huddle together to discuss their strategy. They are common in Europe and are also part of the cotton stainer family. Their scientific name is pyrrhocoris apterus.

The Tomasz Gorny is another stink bug, also found in Europe, whose shield looks like it is made of leather.
Tomasz Gorny

This stink bug from Singapore looks like it's carrying a gorilla-mask on its back. Amazing, isn't it?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Ring of Brodgar is located in the outskirts of Orkney, Scotland. One of the many rock circles across Britain, The Ring of Brodgar is the third largest of them all, with 27 stone monoliths ranging from 2.1 to a maximum of 4.1 meters in height.

It was one of the first ceremonial places in the British Isles and it was first recorded in the 16 century, in one of Jo Ben’s writings. The exact date of the site is unknown and there hasn’t been any digging inside the stone circle to determine its age, but it is believed it dates back to 2500 BC.

There were originally 60 stones in the Ring of Brodgar but only 27 still stand tall today. the last research was conducted here back in the 70s.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008


They are definitely not "ducks", nor do they have any relation to "geo"-logy. In fact, they seem alien enough to be "from Mars" and, for all I know, possess a malign intelligence.

They are found mostly around Pacific Coast of the US and Canada, and in Japan they seem to serve as inspiration for "manga" of certain tentacled variety.
Modern biologists easily classify it as large saltwater clam, a bivalve mollusk with a huge "neck", or a "siphon". How huge, you'll ask? Up to two meters in length.
Deep Diggers of the Depths : Even their name is wrong, because it's pronounced "GOOEY duck". You'd think an epithet "gooey" would seem more appropriate for this bizarre creature, but it's not gooey in any sense. The name comes from a misspelling of "gweduc" (a native word), which means to "dig deep". Also, the "Elephant Trunk Clam" monicker fits them quite well.
You'd need to hook up with your buddy to dig them out, especially if you're going to use the "hold-breath" method. It's not so easy to spot the protruding siphon, either.
Sometimes they are confused with "piddocks", which are smaller mollusks.
But once spotted, they can't escape you, or dig further down. In fact, the body of an adult geoduck remains in one spot for its entire life. Sea stars would nibble at them, but once they bury themselves almost a meter deep, no predators can get at them - so they end up living REALLY long.
Old and Wise : Treat them with respect. They'll outlive any of you - they get up to 160 years old . It's the second longest-living organism on Earth (after giant tortoises, which can live almost 200 years). As they grow, they accumulate rings on their shell, much like a tree does.

The average adult geoduck that you'll likely to meet will be the same age as you - 25 to 50 years old, but it hardly has the same experiences as you are, being buried all its life in one spot.
Here is a good-sized geoduck on display in a curiosity shop in Seattle.

"Their large, meaty siphon are prized by some for its savory flavor and crunchy texture." It is a delicacy in Asia, each costing $200 - $300, so if you ever considered opening a private geoduck farm... be also ready to deal with their reputation to increase the "male potential".

The average female produces up to 5 billion eggs in her lifetime. Here is a picture of a bunch of geoduck-like mollusks clinging to a log of wood in Ardmore.

Geoduck is an official mascot for the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington - which also has a (very appropriate) motto. "Let It All Hang Out".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

At just 2ft 9in, Indian muscleman Aditya 'Romeo' Dev is the world's smallest bodybuilder.

Pint-sized Romeo is well-known in his hometown of Phagwara, India - for his ability to lift 1.5kg dumbbells - despite his overall 9kg body weight.

Every day, crowds flock to the local gym to the see the mini-muscleman in training.