"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center
, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America.
" [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Jan 23, 2014 -
Bowerbirds, a family of 20 species in eight genera
, are a fascinating bunch of birds who range from New Guinea and Australia. Some are flashy, others drab
, but all are named for the "bowers" (avenues, huts, or towers of sticks
) that the males craft and decorate
to attract a mate. There are regional styles
(PDF) in the design of the bowers, and the male Greater Bowerbirds even employ optical illusions
. Some, like the Vogelkop Bowerbird
, add mimicry vocal to their repertoire of courting methods. Add accidental cultivation to the list of fascinating features of the bowerbirds
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 26, 2012 -
Cyborg Spy Beetles
are no longer a thing of the future. UC Berkeley (funded by DARPA) has created cyborg beetles guided wirelessly via laptop. These spy beetles were created with the intent of bugging actual conversations, literally acting as the "fly on the wall". [more inside]
posted by scrutiny
on Oct 27, 2009 -
Best. Transformers. Video. Ever.
CGI render of a new VW Beetle transforming into a transformer with live background [1.5 meg mpg video]. Makes me wonder if a live-action Transformers TV show would work, with real actors and CGI rendered robots. I'd certainly watch it.
posted by PWA_BadBoy
on Jun 9, 2002 -