Archive for October, 2001

Satellites Aid Sustainable Land Use in Amazon

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 31, 2001   View Article

Computers and satellites are being successfully harnessed to the problem of biodiversity conservation in the Amazon rain forest.

Scientists believe that at least half of the world’s animal, plant, and insect species reside in the rain forest, an area half the size of the continental United States.

Forty Thousand Children Help Build Space “Disco Ball”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 3, 2001   View Article

Disco isn’t dead; it’s just gone high-tech—very high tech.

A 200-pound (90-kilogram) satellite covered in 1,500 mirrors hand-polished by schoolchildren around the world was launched into a low orbit at the weekend to measure the effects of solar storms on the density of Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 4, 2001   View Article

“Aaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!” The mere sight of a snake or spider strikes terror in the hearts of millions of people.

A new study suggests that such fear has been shaped by evolution, stretching back to a time when early mammals had to survive and breed in an environment dominated by reptiles, some of which were deadly.

Snapping Shrimp Stun Prey with Flashy Bang

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 3, 2001   View Article

Among the fascinating creatures of the deep is a finger-size shrimp with an oversize claw—resembling a boxing glove—that it uses to stun its prey by snapping the claw shut. The snapping produces a sharp cracking sound.

When colonies of the shrimp snap their claws, the cacophony is so intense that submarines can take advantage of it to hide from sonar.

Does Racking in Packs Offer an Unfair Advantage

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 1, 2001   View Article

In cycling, triathlons, and other races, the leader of the pack may not be out ahead in terms of innate talent.

The “bunching” that often occurs in such events gives some racers an advantage that masks their individual ability. As a result, the person who crosses the finish line first isn’t necessarily the most physically and mentally fit competitor in the race.

Meerkats Become Fat Cats in Large Cooperatives

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 1, 2001   View Article

The fat cats in meerkat society are the ones that thrive on the backs of others. Researchers have found that the larger their social cooperatives the more they are able to spread the duties of rearing their young and standing guard against predators—giving individuals greater opportunities to look for food.

The foot-long (30-centimeter) mongoose that dwells in the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa and dines on everything from scorpions and grasshoppers to small reptiles and birds lives by a philosophy of sharing and caring. And the hallmark of a well-organized group of meerkats is a marked increase in the weight of the individuals.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach