Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sing It Baby

Sweet Harmony
A. aegypti mosquito

Excerpt from a Live Science article.

Mosquito duets

Ronald Hoy of Cornell University in New York and his colleagues tethered individual A. aegypti mosquitoes to the ends of insect pins and recorded wing-flapping frequencies. Mosquitoes produce their signature buzzes by flapping their wings at different speeds per second.

The male's wing-beat frequency (also called its fundamental frequency) ranged from about 550 to 650 Hertz while the female's ranged from 350 to 450 Hz (or wing beats per second).

When a tethered female mosquito was moved past a stationary male, the wing-flapping frequencies, and thus the buzzing sounds, changed a tiny bit, the researchers observed.

In nearly 70 percent of the pairs, both mosquitoes adjusted their wing-flapping speeds (fundamental frequency) so that their so-called harmonics matched up in a particular way. A harmonic is a multiple of a fundamental frequency. So the second harmonic of 430 Hz would be 860 Hz.

Basically, any time a mosquito buzzes, it generates a fundamental tone based on wing beats per second. But in addition to that dominant "buzz," harmonics are naturally generated. The same happens when a musician strikes a key on a piano or strums a chord on a guitar.

The A. aegypti mosquitoes changed their wing-flapping so that the male's second harmonic (two times its wing-beat frequency) matched the female's third harmonic. The result was a kind of mating duet of around 1,200 Hz.

Other tests of the mosquitoes' "ears," called the Johnston's organ, revealed the whining insects can detect frequencies at least as high as 2,000 Hz. Until now, scientists thought a male mosquito's hearing range went from about 300 to 800 Hz.

Choosy females

The researchers speculate this tone-matching is a form of sexual selection in which the females are testing the male's fitness before mating.

"We think what the females are doing is saying, 'Can you match this harmonic, and how fast does it take you to match it?'" Hoy told LiveScience. "If the male is slow or doesn't match it, she'll just fly away."

I have heard wolves, coyotes, owls, and songbirds harmonize as part of the mating ritual, so I am not surprised.

I have also heard recordings of whales, dolphins, and even fish singing love songs in harmony.

After all, what would mating be without love songs?

I Can See Mars, Again

Mars has not been visible for over a year.

In a long anticipated, return engagement on January 29, (mark your calendar), Mars will be in opposition, (when it will appear to rise at sunset and set at sunrise and will be visible all night). As a bonus, on opposition night, the Moon, just hours before officially turning full, will sit well off to the right of Mars as they climb the early evening eastern sky.

The Mars e-mail hoax
It wont look like this

This is from;

"Over the past six years, people have received an e-mail titled "Mars Spectacular" which has circulated widely on the Internet from an anonymous source. In turn, this message has ended up being passed along to others who simply couldn't resist forwarding it to their entire address book; a snowball rolling down a hill is a good analogy.

This e-mail declares that on Aug. 27, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has in the past 60,000 years, thereby offering spectacular views of the Red Planet. The commentary even proclaims, with liberal use of exclamation marks, that Mars will appear as bright as (or as large as) the full Moon.

The problem is that "Aug. 27" actually refers to Aug. 27, 2003. Mars did indeed make a historically close pass by Earth on that night. But, to the naked eye Mars merely appeared like a brilliant yellowish-orange star, certainly not anything like the full Moon!

This Mars e-mail is totally bogus. Yet it now seems that every year in the late spring or summer, this "Mars chain letter" gets revived."

So there you have it. Like the email with Obama's head photoshopped onto a guy at a party with the White House gatecrashers, not all information in emails is true.

You can always check whether it is true at

Many of these emails encourage forwarding, (Send this to 10 people in the next 5 minutes and God will let you into Heaven). They are meant to gather working email addresses that can be sold to spammers.

You don't have a wealthy uncle that has left a million dollars for you at a bank in the Bahamas. And if you did, you would not need to send money to get it.

Wall Of Sound

Grouping of old instruments at John's shop. 1/22/10

More experimentation
with the Panasonic Lumix TZ1 camera.

This time it was to see the difference indoors, with and without a flash.

You can see
the results for yourself, HERE.

Going Up?

Except for a leveling off
between the 1940s and 1970s, Earth's surface temperatures have increased since 1880. The last decade has brought the temperatures to the highest levels ever recorded.

What about this cold winter here?

Many Americans act
like the contiguous United States is the center of the universe, but we only account for a tiny 1.5 percent of the world area, so the U.S. temperature does not affect the global temperature much. There is another 98.5 percent out there. We really need to get over our inflated sense of self importance and open our eyes to the bigger picture.

It's a big planet
, and it's home to all earthly life. A lot of earths lifeforms are being driven to extinction by the actions of us humans. If we can reduce our air pollution, we might even prevent our own extinction.

So who would object
to clean air and the saving of lives?

Koch Industries is
the source of all the anti global warming propaganda. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to protect their fossil fuel conglomerate profits.

All Agog For Apple

Will the Apple tablet look like this?

The rumors surrounding
the January 27th unveiling of the new, game changing, Apple iTablet, (or, iSlate, iBook, iPad, etc.), include some innovative, and fun guesses. Some are saying it will have face recognition, so it will know who is using it, and automatically log them in. Great for the Family, or roommates. LINK.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree - Glenn Miller

Knowledge Helps

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