Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Science Blog


Meet the Panda Ant (which isn't actually an ant, but a wingless wasp):




Panda Ant


Cute and cuddly as a panda?  Well, no:


The Panda Ant is a most unusual species of insect. Their name derives from the obvious resemblance to a panda in its markings. This remarkable insect is not even an ant. The Panda Ant is actually a variety of wingless wasp! They were first discovered in 1938. Very little is known of this little seen insect. They are only known to exist in coastal regions of Chile. Their sting is exceptionally powerful for their size. They have been seen to bring down animals as large as cows with only a few dozen stings.



It's a fascinating insect for many reasons not the least of which is its dimorphism:


Panda Ant Physical Characteristics and Behavior The Panda Ant displays extreme sexual dimorphism. The difference in both appearance and behavior is so pronounced, the two sexes are often mistaken for entirely separate species! 

The male is several times larger than the female. He may attain a length of approximately 0.3 in (mm). The males are winged, but the females are wingless. The males are nocturnal. The females are typically active during the day. The Panda Ant feeds primarily upon nectar. After mating, the female seeks the nest of a ground dwelling insect, such as a bee or wasp. There she deposits her eggs. When they hatch, they will feed upon the larva present.




More about mutillidae HERE.


And HERE.



Saturday, August 1, 2015

It's that time of year again!



That means my immediate neighborhood in the North End will be filled with hundreds of people celebrating Saint Agrippina di Mineo this weekend, and next weekend it'll be the feast of the Madonna della Cava.

During the month of August more festivals and feasts will be held in other parts of the North End.  Two of the biggest:  The Fishermen's Feast and St. Anthony's Feast, at the end of August.


These commemorations of saints come from southern Italy, mostly Sicily, and have been celebrated here in Boston's "Little Italy" since the early 1900s.


"Summer festivals and feasts abound in the North End. Saint Anthony’s Feast is the most popular, which has filled the streets of the North End with colorful food, costumes, and song every last Sunday of August since 1919. It is the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England and was named the “Feast of all Feasts” by National Geographic Magazine. The cobblestone streets come alive with parades, strolling singers, pushcarts full of authentic Italian foods, live entertainment, and more. The highlight of the feast is the 10-hour procession of the Statue of Saint Anthony through the streets, complete with marching bands and floats."


The celebrations are loud, raucous, and a combination of the sacred and profane: Colorful statues of saints are festooned with hundreds of dollars pinned to ribbons and are paraded through the streets followed by bands playing "Ave Maria" mixed in with the singing of "Viva Saint Agrippina," sung to the tune of "Deep in the Heart of Texas!" Later in the evening live bands fill the streets with hellishly loud heavy metal music.   It's all a jumble of noise, aromas of grilled sausages and peppers, and people yelling for you to feast on their raw oysters and clams, arancini, pasta dishes, and freshly made cannoli!  

Mamma Mia!




What Trump Billionaires Do For "Fun."





Trump defends his big-game hunting sons as they are shamed on Twitter for posing with their trophy kills - including a leopard and an elephant 







"Donald Trump today leapt to the defense of his sons for hunting endangered wildlife in Africa. The Republican frontrunner was questioned about his sons Eric and Donald Jr after Mia Farrow tweeted a picture of them The property magnate made his remarks while giving a press conference at his Trump Turnberry golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, during the Women's British Open.

Trump spoke for a full 30 minutes, giving an insight into his future diplomacy skills. But when questioned about photographs of his sons with a dead leopard in relation to the killing of Cecil the lion, Trump simply said his 'sons love to hunt'.

[skip]


[Trump] said: 'My sons love to hunt. They are members of the NRA, very proudly. I am a big believer in the Second Amendment. 'But my sons are hunters, Eric is a hunter and I would say he puts it on a par with golf, if not ahead of golf. 'My other son, Don, is a hunter. They're great marksman, great shots, they love it. 'I em, like golf. I don't do that.' But he could not be drawn into comment on the specific issue of shooting endangered animals. 

The pictures of his sons surfaced three years ago and showed them taking part in a hunting trip to Zimbwawe - the same type of trip which resulted in the death this month of Cecil the lion."







They hunt for food, say the Trump brothers in the article.  I wonder how they cooked that beautiful leopard,  the waterbuck they paid $2,000 to kill, or the tail they sliced off the elephant they slaughtered.  

Creep runs deep in the Trump family.




IN OTHER NEWS:


"MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" says Trump, by importing thousands of foreign workers to take away jobs from Americans!


Donald Trump Empire Sought Visas For At Least 1,100 Foreign WorkersWhile touting his hardline on immigration on the campaign trail for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump's companies have been recruiting foreign workers.



 "The analysis of Trump's history of actively importing foreign workers comes as he has emerged as an early front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination in the November 2016 presidential election. Trump has positioned himself as a champion of American workers whose livelihoods are threatened by illegal foreign laborers and the offshoring of U.S. jobs. “I will be the greatest jobs president that God every created," he said in announcing his candidacy on June 16. 


TRUMP:

"I will bring back our jobs from China, Mexico and other places. I will bring back jobs and our money."



Says the Trumpster whose clothing lines are outsourced and manufactured in China and Mexico.