The Weekly Round Up: June 25- July 1

Happy Canada Day!  I know you’re all excited to celebrate the big 150 (unless you understand that the Indigenous people who have been using this land long before Europeans showed up are still being disenfranchised and ignored- so maybe you’re excited to protest it), but either way, before all of that gets underway, some news.  Here are all of the environmental news stories that caught our attention this week- let’s dive in! Continue reading

I’m Starting With The Ant In The Mirror!

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Myrmica rubra

How many times have you looked in the mirror today? Or not even in a mirror, but in a tinted window, at the reflection in your computer screen, or checked yourself out using your phone-camera? We’re all guilty of being far too vain, but this behaviour is a very special thing. Our ability to recognize ourselves in the mirror is a unique quality that many animal species do not have. Of those species that can recognize themselves (that we know of), the majority of them are mammals. The most extensive research on self-recognition has been conducted on apes, dolphins, dogs and magpies. Well we can now add a new species to the list of self-recognizing animals…ANTS!  Continue reading

8 Animal Babies That Are Better Than Human Babies

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As a species, humans are pretty shitty.  Even at our strongest we’re not really that gifted at anything.  Sure we’ve got a super powerful brain, but ignore that and we’re really just sacks of meat and blood.  We’re not fast, our eyesight is awful, as is our hearing and sense of smell, we don’t have a tough skin, and we really have no inherent way to protect ourselves.  Honestly, it’s kind of surprising that we’ve made it this far with just a good brain.  But we’re not really going to talk about that today.  Instead, so that we can all feel really awful about ourselves as a species, we’re going to talk about how even as babies, we’re comparatively awful.  So here are 8 animal babies who are, in no particular order, just better than us. Continue reading

The Weekly Round Up: May 4-8

TGIF!! It’s that time of the week again where we round up some of the biggest environmental articles! So, let’s get to it!

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Researchers at Festo, a German Robotics company, are looking to animals and nature to inspire the next generation of robots. More specifically, these researchers are inspired by ant colonies, butterfly swarms, and chameleon tongues. The ants provide a template for a group of smaller entities networking and communicating with each other while following orders from a higher level, the butterflies inspired a prototype of robots that can move in the air and communicate with one another to avoid collisions, and the chameleon’s sticky tongue, used to capture insects, has been reworked into a prototype robot that can grab small objects! Festo’s goal is to one day allow these robots into a factory setting.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/06/tech/mci-bionic-insects/

Continue reading

Just How Super is Daredevil?

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So I recently started watching the new Netflix series Daredevil, and two things hit me.  One, it’s possibly the most brutal super hero show ever made, and two, echolocation is pretty badass.  If you haven’t seen Daredevil, or don’t know what echolocation is, simply put it’s using sound to see.  In the animal world the most well known animals that use this form of “sight” are bats and dolphins, but there are actually a bunch of animals that use sonar, such as the oilbird and some shrews.  But what about humans?  Can we too use sonar to see, just like the titular character from Daredevil?  In short, yes. Continue reading