What’s stopping insects from taking over the world?
Rob Standesh, via e-mail
Some believe they already have! Robert Furey, Ph.D., of Harrisburg University says there are 10 quintillion individual living insects in the world today—that’s the largest biomass of any group of terrestrial organisms and works out to be 300 pounds of insect for every pound of human flesh. So why haven’t they taken over our homes and women? There isn’t much insight into how insect brains work, says Case Western Reserve biologist Mark Willis, but they can certainly learn things that are important to them: Bees learn flower colors and scents, and cockroaches learn visual landmarks that help them skitter under your fridge when you turn on the light. However, this learning seems to be for a set of simple built-in rules, not the kind of learning that leads to face-painted, ax-wielding crickets.
DUMB QUESTION OF THE MONTH
One of you actually asked us this.
I was thinking of wearing a burgundy shirt and black pants with a black coat. I wanted to wear a white tie with this. That’s cool, right?
Tim Williams, via e-mail
Did a little event called Labor Day not occur to you? We nearly jumped out of our doeskin boots and more than practically spit out our Chablis after reading this question. We’ll just return to ironing our silk neckerchiefs now.
NOT-SO-DUMB QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Are people really hornier in the springtime?
Jesse Vaughn, Arlington, TX
According to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, an expert in human sexuality, people are no hornier in spring than usual. She does note that male testosterone levels are highest in fall and winter. Why? She postulates it may be easier for ladies to give birth in warmer months, hence the call to boning when the weather outside is frightful. Now, that’s porkin’ planning!