Saturday, 22 January 2011

Happy Tails - Charlie's Pets


Some people have a pet, other one or two. Charlie Boucher of Vancouver in Canada has literally hundreds.  One of the reasons for this is that he owns one of the biggest domestic fish tanks I have ever seen.  Here he gives his tips about how to maintain a perfect tank environment in the fish tank and how to deal with issues such as sick fish.

He also gives, simply by telling us what is involved, an insight in to the amout of time that is needed to set up and maintain a tank of this size - it really isn't something that should be entered in to lightly.

He also has a number of other pets, such as gheckos, and two adorable dogs.This is episode 7 of the Canadian TV Series, Happy Tails. New episodes can be found on Novus Channel 4 in Vancouver.  If you don't receive that channel - ie you don't live in Canada, then you can see this and other episodes of Happy Tails online from the official Novus YouTube channel.   Thanks to director Anthony Bortolussi for sharing this with us.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Army Ants Go Marching – Until…


By Guest Blogger Dan Lewis
Editor of Now I Know

Dan Lewis  is the force behind the free daily email service Now I Know.  Like the  old adage you learn something new every day, Now I Know feeds your mind  with a variety of different things each day with which you can impress  your work colleagues, friends and family.  Or not.  Whether you keep  this new knowledge to yourself is up to you. However, you should really think about subscribing - click the image to take you there or subscribe to his newsletter here.

At a young age, children in the United States learn -- via a common toddler tune -- that ants congregate and march, as a horde, toward a common destination.

Here is the first verse of the nursery rhyme.

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

While this isn't true for all ants, it is indeed the life of a few hundred species of ant, collectively known as "army ants." Army ants are typically nomadic, traversing great distances in search of food before setting up temporary nests, only to move again shortly thereafter.

The main foragers lead the way and emit pheromones -- chemical secretions other army ants can detect -- in order to give the rest of the clan a trail to follow. Those ants which can't detect the pheromones (a situation which commonly happens as armies grow large) simply follow a nearby ant. This allows for army ant brigades to extend for extraordinary lengths, at times observed to extend a half-mile long.

The children's rhyme goes on... and on, until it reaches its climax in its tenth verse.

The ants go marching ten by ten, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching ten by ten, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching ten by ten,
The little one stops to say "THE END"
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

So, that's a happy ending for those ants. But what happens when a group of ants loses the pheromone scent? Who leads? The answer: No one. Or everyone, depending on your perspective. The ants form an "ant mill" -- a continuously rotating circle of ants, each following one another, but going, net, nowhere, as demonstrated in the videos below.


The ant mill is, ultimately, fatal, as the ants die of exhaustion.


Bonus Fact
One type of army ant, those of the genus Dorylus, (seen above) are particularly dangerous. Native primarily to central and east Africa, armies of Dorylus ants can number up to 50,000,000 -- that'sa number 33% larger than the (human) population of California. By human standards, these columns move slowly, a mere twenty meters each hour, so in most cases, Dorylus are a significant nuisance -- but not much else. However, by sheer force of numbers, Dorylus have been known to overwhelm human victims too young or frail to move, causing suffocation and eventually, death.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy Feet LIVES!


Some kids just get a little over excited when the snow begins to fall.  So it was with this little guy who - much to the bemusement of his penguin friends - just had to jump about and dance when the snow began to come down.

In the movie, Mumble was an outcast from his peers because he can't sing to save his life.  However, he is soon back in favor when he discovered his ability to dance. 

This little guy seems to have the same idea - except his friends seem to think that he is something of an idiot by their non-reaction!

Hey kid, don't worry what the rest of the world thinks - just enjoy yourself!

Make 2011 the Year of Cat Videos


2011 looks like it is already going to be a special year - at least in terms of cat videos!  This special plea by YouTube user joskows (that's his cat name, his real name is Jonah Oskow) can hardly fall on deaf ears - can it?  Last year the human race collectively created a paltry 5 million cat videos.  That really isn't an adequate number, now, is it?

We must take up our video cameras, film our feline friends in to infinity (and beyond) and post up the results to whatever social networking and media sites that we can possibly think of!

So hurry!  Let's make 2011 the year when cat videos took over the internet!


(OK, whose tongue, whose cheek?  But we laughed anyway!).

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