Friday Coffee Break


Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte. Or sitting down to afternoon tea.

From Noah: Plant-protecting ants construct ambush corridors to trap prey—and anyone who tries to take that prey.
You could look at this in two ways. On one hand, the ants are susceptible to theft by other insects that can exploit their effective traps.  Alternatively, the traps are doubly effective because they allow the ants to eat not only the insects that blunder into the trap, but those that try to feed from them. It’s a trap for thieves as well as passers-by.
From Sarah: In the case of octopus v. seagull, the seagull loses.
 As the group headed out along the walkway, Ginger noticed a gull acting strangely a short distance ahead of her. The bird was on the inside of the breakwater, where the water is clear and can be quite still. The gull appeared to be feeding on something underwater, but it didn’t raise its head. As they approached, they could see a red-orange shape in the water below the gull. When they got to the spot directly above the gull, they could see that it was an octopus. And Ginger’s camera was in her hand.
And from Jon: Facebook is encouraging members to post their status as organ donors—and boosting organ donor registration as a result.
They say people declaring on Facebook that they are organ donors could spur others to sign up at motor vehicle departments or online registries. But these experts say Facebook could create an informal alternative to such registries that could, even though it carries less legal weight, lead to more organ donations.
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