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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

So, Chris, which one does have more hair?

The contestants, please?

Mr. Grey Squirrel

Ms. Honey bee.
The question came about when the Georgia Institute of technology was about to spend 3 quarters of a million bucks from the National Science Foundation (NSF, one of several acronyms we will be using to indicate "your wallet") on the function of the hairs between an insect's eyes and found that nobody had done a quantitative study of just how many hairs that might be.

The fun part is, they realized that you get more hairs with more surface area, and the surface area of some animals is astounding.  For instance:

Honey bee SA= a slice of toast SA
House cat SA= Ping pong table
Chinchilla SA= SUV
Sea otter SA= hockey rink

Now at this point, I'm already saying, "Hell yeah, I'll kick in $5 for this one!"  (Actually, we'd all be kicking in about half a penny, so it's all good.) So who has the MOST hair?  Butterflies and moths rack up about a 100 BILLION hairs to top the list;  among mammals, a beaver has one for every man, woman, and child in the US of A.

And our little contest?  They tied at roughly 10 million.  In other fun stories:

SOMEONE WAS MOST DEFINITELY DRUNK WHEN COMING UP WITH THIS ONE:  Once again it was the tag team of GIT and NSF who came up with the question:  How long does it take to pee like a racehorse?  So they went to the zoo with stop-action cameras and measuring cups to see how fast and how much it took for various animals to relieve themselves- I suspect Noah was standing by for the results on this one!

Yeah, I know.  But it's still funny!
 Anyway, they found out most animals, regardless of size, can usually empty themselves in somewhere between 17 and 21 seconds.  Whether you are the housecat, which pees about 5 kg, or an elephant who can fill a large trash can in one shot.  And this very necessary information took only $331,000 of your money.

COMING SOON TO A PICKUP BAR NEAR YOU:  Bowdoin College siphoned almost $4 million from the NSF and NIH trough to put tiny electrical caps on male goldfish, and then injected them with testosterone to see what sexual behavior they would exhibit.  Because of this research, we now know that he can tell the difference between genders even through a plexiglass barrier just by sight.  At higher doses, we learned he could leap a two-foot high partition.

BUT IS IT A GATEWAY TO HARDER STUFF?  The U of Illinois teamed with an Australian school and the NIH to see if COCAINE would affect the dance bees do to alert the hive of nectar-containing flowers.  This quarter-million grant tells us that yes, they get 25% more excited than they should- but only in the context of the dance.  Removed from the dance floor (the area where the hivemates watch the dance), the bees did... well, nothing much.  And what is the takeaway from this study?  That even though they say honeybees are dying off and we'll soon be in big trouble foodwise, they are still willing to make addicts out of the poor bastards for no reason.

And with that, I have exhausted Sen. Jeff Flake's list of stupid crap your money gets spent on.


  1. Chris:
    ---Cripes almighty, and here I thought I might be wasting some $$$ by getting an action figure for $15, or a vintage comic for a bit more.
    WTH was I thinking???
    That's some weird-ass stuff you found.
    ---Cocaine and bees...explains a LOT about behaviors in MY part of the city (and not when it comes to pollinating flowers)...LOL.
    ---How FAST animals can pee?
    Hey, I can speak from takes AS LONG AS IT HAS TO,...period!
    (precision is NEVER rushed)
    Now, about that study that has to do with SQUIRRELS and CAFFEINE...

    Excellent post.

    Stay safe (and well-informed) up there, brother.

    1. I think Scrappy broke the dog record when the two of us and little sister (see Monday post) went out to fetch Dixie...

  2. Lucky goldfish. All I got when I injected testosterone was a ton of acne and testes like walnuts.

    (to anyone reading this, that's clearly a joke. if you saw either of us, you'd understand)

    Also, without spamming your page, just wanted to let you know paperback is officially ready to go (finally!). They look damn good, too. Link is going to be on the blog.

    1. I am halfway or so through, and I promise to post a review soon!

  3. Isn't it amazing the sh#$ sorry I mean crap they can come up with to waste tax payer money with all the drug addiction in this country. :( Great post btw!!!!

    1. Give me one year of doling out the monies currently going to these agencies... just one...

  4. *sigh* Our government in action. I need my backyard remodeled and landscaped - think I can find a way to make the government fund it for me? I'm sure there's a grant out there somewhere with my name on it. Goodness!

    1. Perhaps you can tell them about the new species of nearly hairless bees in the yard...