Bees are Addicted to Caffeine

I’m a big fan of caffeine. So much so that I have a caffeine molecule tattooed on my left forearm. caffeine photoBut it turns out that humans aren’t the only caffeine aficionados. Bees like caffeine, and spend more time gathering nectar from flowers which naturally produce caffeine.

Scientists at the University of Sussex said they thought the plants produce the caffeine in their nectar to fool bees into thinking it contains more sugar than it actually does. The insects will repeatedly visit those flowers, helping the plants maximize pollination.

Francis Ratnieks, a professor of apiculture at the university, said bees communicate by moving their abdomens a certain way — or, as he calls it, “dancing.” He said the caffeine increases that dancing.

Photo by Hey Paul Studios

Photo by paulscott56

Lobsters Don’t Live Forever

So there’s a meme going around (at least, I’m seeing it on Facebook and Instagram) that suggests jellyfish and lobsters are basically immortal. lobster photoWell, Smithsonian Magazine is here to teach us that no, lobsters are not immortal.

The viral scientific tidbit can be traced back to a brief 2007 news story that reports that lobsters don’t show typical signs of a phenomenon known as senescence. In plain terms, the report says that lobsters don’t age the way other living creatures do—they don’t lower their reproductive ability, slow their metabolism or decrease in strength. This led to extrapolations that lobsters, if left undisturbed, can’t die.

So it’s a fun story to read, but it’s sadly false. And it makes me hungry.

Photo by stu_spivack

New Zealander Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up

For a little more fun in science, we head to New Zealand, where Nigel Latta blows stuff up. The Science Learning Hub provides links to TV New Zealand, where, with a little proxy magic, you can watch this science aficionado do exactly what the title says he will.

Latta confesses, in pre-show publicity, a love for science and a fascination for many of the big questions it poses. He has two science degrees – a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a Master of Science in Marine Science – and in this new series, he provides a fun and engaging gateway into the sciences.

EDIT: In case you can’t find a proxy to support viewing the NZTV videos, here’s a YouTube video showing a sample of Nigel’s work: