Curious Earthlings"Science is not perfect. It's often misused; it's only a tool, but it's the best tool we have. Self-correcting, ever-changing, applicable to everything; with this tool, we vanquish the impossible."
- Carl Sagan
This is a general science blog, covering all fields & topics, that's run & written by Mae who is a writer, aspiring journalist, amateur astronomer, science enthusiast, artist, & photographer. I love helping people discover the wonders of our universe through science; if you need any help, or just want to say hi, send a message here.
Twenty-eight people have died and hundreds have been injured in a wave of attacks by giant hornets in central China, according to reports.
Victims described being chased for hundreds of metres by the creatures and stung as many as 200 times.
The culprit appears to be the Asian giant hornet orVespa mandarinia, which grows up to 5cm long with a 6mm sting, although the area is also home to the smaller Asian hornet, Vespa velutina nigrithorax.
Cup Moth larvae are often highly ornamented and brightly colored. Two main types can be distinguished: larvae armed with rows of protuberances bearing stinging spines called nettle caterpillars, or non-spined forms where the surface of the larvae may by completely smooth, called gelatin or just slug caterpillars. The larvae of this family bear no prolegs on their abdominal segments. The larva attaches itself to the substrate by means of an adhesive ventral surface. The movement is like a slug hence their generic name.
A stinging slug caterpillar (like this one) generally bears warning colouration and stinging hairs. These hairs can inject a venom from poison sacs carried at their base that are used as defensive weapons. Reactions can range from a mild itching to a very painful sting.
Globally, the connection between adult cup moths and their caterpillars remains sketchy. Although many, and increasingly more, of the moths are being identified, their life cycles have not been studied or recorded. This is particularly apparent regionally. As fascinating as these caterpillars are, few can be linked to their night-flying mature forms. Hence, should you be browsing my Flickr set of Limacodid Caterpillars, the majority are generically named and only tentatively identified.
See posts on my tumblr blog, SINOBUG, featuring these magnificent caterpillars HERE.
Scientists have completed the first assessments of how readily the H7N9 flu virus in China can pass among ferrets and pigs. The mammals provide the best inkling of how dangerous these bugs may become for humans.
The news is both bad and good. They’ve found the new bird virus is easily passed between ferrets sharing the same cage.
“This is a more infectious virus — it has a higher intrinsic transmissibility [among mammals] — than most of the avian viruses we’ve seen in the past,” Dr. Richard Webby, a study co-author, tells Shots.
But the saving grace, so far, is that H7N9 doesn’t travel very well through airborne secretions from sneezing and coughing. It requires direct, intimate contact for infection.
Tiny spiders with oversized rumps have been discovered in China. The little arachnids, each about a mm long, represent two new species of orb-weaving spiders. They belong to the Mysmenidae family of orb-weavers, and were described on May 21 in the journal ZooKeys.
Found near giant panda sanctuaries in Chongqing and Sichuan, the mini-spiders live among leaf litter and in caves, making them incredibly hard to spot. Mysmenidae weave tiny webs in the cavities created by leaves and mosses on the forest floor, and they generally prefer humid climates.
Trogloneta yuensis, collected in April 2010, is about 1 mm long. Mysmena wawuensis, collected in June 2012, is even smaller — about 0.75 mm long — and named after the Wawu Mountains National Forest Park, where it lives. Scientists believe both spiders are endemic to their particular regions, meaning you’d need to travel to China to meet these adorable micro-arachnids.
Long ago, colorful sediments were deposited in western China, layer after layer, century after century. If you were there at the time, you would have seen unremarkable ground, a single hue of dirt no different from a thousand other places on Earth.
But after thousands and thousands of years subject to the forces of pressure and tectonic movement, the total of those layers has been pushed upward, letting us peek at a rainbow-hued slice of Earth’s past perhaps unmatched on this planet. The planet looks more like the cross-section of a jawbreaker candy than layers of rock in these photos, near Zhangye, China.
The Zhangye formation, not to be confused with this danxia, a UNESCO heritage site, reminds us how our crust is heaved and hurled throughout the ages, a slow evolution that will continue into the distant future. It’s yet another story of Earth’s past, written in stone, but perhaps with the same pen as a fantasy storybook.
The “Meridian Project,” a massive scientific research project that will monitor weather in space, became fully operational this week. The Meridian Space Weather Monitoring Project is the China’s first space weather monitoring project and will lead the field in multiple areas, according to a statement from the National Space Science Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
“The project will help China’s space program achieve major breakthroughs, enhance the country’s competence in space and safeguard the security of the nation’s space activities,” says Wu Ji, general manager of the project and director of the National Space Science Center.
“The reed flute cave is the largest and most scenic of the karst caves in the Chinese tourist city of Guilin. Guilin is an ancient picturesque city, located in southern China. The Chinese themselves call Guilin, the most beautiful city in the Middle Kingdom.
Guilin is a tourist center, thanks to the wonderful nature. On the north-west, seven miles from the center of town is Mount Guanminshan, on the southern side of which sits a rock ‘reed flute. In this rock is unique cave, Called the Cave of reed flutes.
According to a legend, Reed Flute Cave got its name because people believed that the reed by the cave’s mouth could be made into flutes. Its name is explained by the fact that reeds for making flutes and pipes have been grown in this region since ancient times. This dripstone cave is 790 feet deep.” [x]
Chinese Astronauts entered the Tiangong-1 Prototype Orbital Space Module early this morning, marking a significant milestone in Chinese Aerospace history. The three-member crew of Shenzhou 9, with the first Chinese female Astronaut, is seen here waving at a television camera shortly after the hatch opening. Commander Jing Haipeng is seen below immediately after opening the hatch between the two space crafts. Shenzhou 9’s orbital module will act as the kitchen, toilet, and living facilities of the two-ship complex, while Tiangong-1 will be primarily for research and on-orbit operations. The crew is expected to stay at the module for ten days. This is China’s fourth manned spaceflight, and first long duration mission, expected to last anywhere from 12-14 days.