Archive for August, 2014

If Half of All Species Go Extinct, Will One of Them Be Us? – Facts So Romantic

August 29, 2014

Biodiversity JengaMartin Sharman

How many animal species do you think go extinct every year? Last week I conducted a highly unscientific polling of around 20 of my Facebook and Google Chat contacts, asking that same question. I’m not trying to brag, but I have some really smart friends, many of them with degrees in biology. Typical answers ranged from about 17 to a seemingly ludicrous 400. They were all wrong though—off by orders of magnitude*. In July, a summary article of nearly 80 papers, published in Science, stated that, “Of a conservatively estimated 5 million to 9 million animal species on the planet, we are likely losing ~11,000 to 58,000 species annually.”

If that finding is true, then every year, between .12% and 1.16% of all the animals on Earth vanish. Rodolfo Dirzo, the lead researcher on the Science study from Stanford University, points out that we’ve already lost 40% of the Earth’s invertebrate species in the last 40 to 50 years. Almost half the animals without skeletons have gone extinct within half a human lifetime. The wide range of these estimates reflects our own uncertainty on this subject, but even our low-end assessments are alarming.

Bugs and worms…
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Loyalty Nearly Killed My Beehive – Issue 16: Nothingness

August 28, 2014

Some time ago I read a short story by Roald Dahl called “Royal Jelly.” It’s the tale of a father desperately searching for ways to save his malnourished infant daughter who refuses her mother’s milk. This man is an apiarist, and while looking for answers, he picks up the latest article on royal jelly—the microbial mix that honeybees feed to their larva when they want to raise a new queen. “Royal jelly… must be a substance of tremendous nourishing power,” he eventually tells his wife when she discovers that he has been secretly feeding it to their child, “for on this diet alone, the honey-bee larva increases in weight 1500 times in five days!” Soon his daughter is rapidly gaining weight and ravenous for her milk.

I became fascinated with bees after reading this story. I bought guidebooks, joined beekeeping meet-ups, watched documentaries, and, last year, finally sent away for a nuc of 20,000 bees. I asked a friend if she thought this was a good idea, and after a telling pause, she said, “Well, you’ll have to be okay with being that guy.” Undeterred, I installed the bees on the roof of my Brooklyn apartment and began the…
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Iran’s Great, Dying Salt Lake – Facts So Romantic

August 27, 2014

As Urmia dries up, it leaves huge salt beaches behind.Giulio M via Flickr

The last time my cousin Houman traveled to Lake Urmia was 10 years ago. He and four of his friends piled into his car and drove for roughly 12 hours, snaking west from the capital of Tehran. Iran is shaped like a teapot; its massive saltwater lake is nestled high in the tip of its spout and flanked by the mountains that run along the Turkish border to the west.

They had heard a lot about it. The largest lake in the Middle East and one of the biggest saltwater lakes in the world, Lake Urmia at its peak was a popular draw for vacationers eager to float in its salty water—known for its healing properties—and sunbathe among the flocks of flamingos, pelicans, and yellow deer that made a home at the lake and its hundred-or-so islands.

This was the picture of Lake Urmia that Houman had gotten from my uncle’s descriptions of traveling to the lake 20 years before. But when he and his friends finally pulled up at Lake Urmia’s shores, all they saw was barren whiteness. Stripping down to bathe, their feet were pierced by the…
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How a Mental Disorder Can Disappear from the World Overnight – Facts So Romantic

August 25, 2014

The dinosaur long ago renamed Apatosaurus is still often called Brontosaurus.iStock

Over the past few decades, autism and Asperger syndrome have become prominent in the public consciousness, and that prominence has been reflected in popular art and entertainment. Autism, a mental illness characterized by repetitive behaviors and impaired social interactions, was brought to widespread attention by Dustin Hoffman’s famous performance in Rain Man. More recently, characters in contemporary television shows (think Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory and Abed of Community) have made the social quirks of people with Asperger syndrome more relatable. In the popular mind, Asperger’s is often thought of as a milder form of autism.

The American Psychiatric Association thinks of it this way too: In its new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (often called “the Bible of psychiatry”), what was Asperger’s is now a position on a severity scale of the broader “autism spectrum disorder.” Asperger syndrome as a separate category will officially disappear, a change that has generated no small amount of controversy

One of the jobs of science is, as Plato put it, to “cut nature at its joints.” But because our view of…
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A Material So Dark That It Looks Like a Black Hole – Facts So Romantic

August 22, 2014

Even when applied to a highly reflective surface like aluminum foil, Vantablack renders the entire surface, including creases, all but invisible.Surrey Nanosystems via Wikipedia

Color is such a powerful and evocative sensation—one of the first that we learn to describe as children—that we don’t often think about what it really is. In a sense, color is information: It’s whatever light isn’t absorbed by an apple, a leaf, or a page, reflected into your eye. What we call the color of an object is just whatever wavelengths of light it doesn’t soak up, rocketing into our corneas and telling us something about its properties. Most things, even things that are very dark, still reflect back some light, imparting useful information. You can see creases even in the blackest velour.

But a material called Vantablack, being refined in labs now, , traps light so completely that practically none escapes. The substance captures a full 99.96 percent of the light that hits it, which the human visual system perceives as deep, textureless blackness. Even when it’s applied to aluminum foil and then wrinkled, the part covered with Vantablack looks just as flat as can be, with no discernable silvery creases. It’s…
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Jim Marchbank to Lead Business Strategy Seminar

August 22, 2014

Call center veteran to lead The Capsim® Business Simulation for call center and TAS leaders Call center and TAS owners are invited to attend an ATSI-sponsored seminar on Business Strategy in St Louis on Sept 28-30, 2014 led, by Jim … Continue reading

Read the August 2014 Issue of TAS Trader

August 13, 2014

A Possible Messaging Opportunity Two common ways to grow a telephone answering service are through acquisitions and via sales and marketing. A third way is to provide additional services. With the announcement that Frontier will offer texting on business landlines … Continue reading

What is the Unconscious Mind? — Answered.

August 13, 2014

Your so-called unconscious mind is simply the side effect of your learning to focus, by excluding everything else. — Arthur Cronos
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Hey! Your Fortune for today says …

August 10, 2014

… and now for a completely different fortune –In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield. — Warren Buffett
PS:  New Amazon Book on 70th Birthday!

Answering Service Marketing Made Simple

August 9, 2014

Answering Service Marketing Made SimpleHere’s the video I did for Voltos Automatic Selling Systems website. Hope you like it!
Voltos Contact Information —

  • Voltos Industries / Automatic Selling Systems
    Voltos Plaza
    1209 Siskiyou Boulevard
    Medford, OR 97504 USA
  • By Telephone:
    (541) 201-2003