Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guru Byte - How Does A Stinkbug Get A Date?

No matter how you might answer this question, you'll probably still be surprised. This great mystery along with several other fascinating facts concerning the world of bugs was examined in the film Bugworld. In the following segment from the film we get a close up look at many of the highly unusual ways that insects and arachnids attract mates. The segment is entitled "The Art of Courtship" and was presented by the host Irene.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Guru Byte - Mini Metal Moon Menaces the Minds of Millions!

Over 50 years ago the only thing that orbited the Earth was the Moon. But on October 4, 1957 that changed. A nation called the Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite into space. 

The Soviets named it Sputnik, which means “Fellow Traveler” in the Russian language. This metal sphere orbited the world once every 96 minutes. While it passed overhead, Sputnik emitted a radio beep every six-tenths of a second so people could track it on the ground. 
 Fear gripped millions of  people around the world. Many leaders predicted the Soviets would drop bombs from space. Or that Sputnik carried special cameras to spy on the US. Some thought that the tiny satellite would lure aliens from other planets.

Many people believed the Soviet Union would try to land a probe on the Moon and claim it for themselves. And there was even a rumor that the communist country was planning to launch a space ship that would explode on the lunar surface spreading paint over an area large enough to create a red spot that could be seen from the Earth.
Of course none of this turned out to be true. Except, of course, for the aliens.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Guru Byte - Earth's Toughest Creature Can Fit Up Your Nose!

The toughest creature on Earth has to be the Tardigrade.These eight-legged animals can withstand extreme temperatures as hot as 300 degrees Fahrenheit and as cold as 450 degrees below zero.

They can survive the crushing pressure of the deepest ocean and the airless vacuum of outer space.

They can even endure radiation exposure 100 times too deadly for humans.

Unfortunately for them though...

...they are only about one millimeter tall.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guru Byte - The Sneaky Rat and The Dumb Ox

Legend holds that to decide the order of the cycle, the animals would have a race across a river. 
Now the Ox was the strongest of the twelve and was expected to win, but another creature was the craftiest – The Rat.
Being the smallest of the animals, The Rat was able to climb onto the back of the ox without being noticed.

As expected, Ox crossed the river faster than all the others, but just as he was about to step onto shore Rat leaped onto the bank and was named the winner.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Guru Byte - Wilmer McLean Civil War Celebrity

On July 18, 1861 the first skirmish of the Civil War began on Wilmer McLean’s Farm in Virginia.  
The Confederate commander General P.T. Beauregard was about to have dinner at McLean’s house when a cannonball came through their chimney... 
... and exploded in the cooking pot... 
...sending stew all over the kitchen.

Needless to say the meal was ruined.
Soon McLean had had enough and moved his family 120 miles south to the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.  Here, despite a raging war, he and his family had three years of peace.  Of course that didn’t last.

One day a group of Confederate soldiers showed up and asked for a place for their Commander General Robert E. Lee to meet with the Union Commander General Ulysses S. Grant.  McLean was a bit anxious. The last time a general came to his home a war started and he ended up with a stew explosion all over his kitchen.  What would two generals bring?

It turned out they were there to end the Civil War. On April 9, 1865 General Lee surrendered his forces to General Grant in the front parlor of McLean’s house. 
But even this great event left a bad taste in McLean’s mouth. As the generals left, their soldiers took anything "not nailed down" as souvenirs. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guru Byte - Name That Planet!

That's right, for a short time there was a planet in our Solar System named Herschel.

In 1781 an Englishman discovered what would become the 7th planet in our solar system. At the time no one knew what to call it. French astronomers referred to it by the discoverer's last name - Herschel. British scientists called it Georgium Sidus after their king - George the third.

Finally it was decided to name the planet after Uranus... an ancient mythological god of the sky.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guru Byte - Wicked Weeds and Fiendish Flowers

If you think witches, vampires and devils are just in scary stories,then next time you’re outside, you might want to look at what’s creeping around your feet. You see, the plant world is full  of ghoulish characters. Such as this one. Its scientific name is Hydnora Africana but to most, it’s called 
The Vampire Plant

Instead of making its own food from the sun and soil...

...this subterranean parasite sucks the life out of nearby plants by attaching its “fangs” to the roots of its victims.

The only time the Vampire Plant emerges from the darkness beneath is when its alien looking flowerbud bursts up from the ground, splits open and emits a terrible smell like that of rotting meat.

This smell attracts unwary bugs and when one enters the bloom, the Vampire Plant traps it with its fingerlike fringes.  

The captive bug is released only after it has served the Vampire Plant by pollinating its pod-like flower.

Another ghastly sounding plant goes by many terrifying names such as Strangleweed, Devilguts, and Witch's Shoelaces. Officially known as the Dodder Vine, this plant creeps over to an unsuspecting tomato plant, wraps around its stem and sucks the lifeblood from it.