Wikipedia articles of interest

1. Avian IQ. Don’t know how good the sources are, but some of this stuff I found quite interesting. A few sentences from the article:

“Parrots have been shown to count up to 6.”

“New Caledonian Crows have been observed in the wild to use stick tools with their beaks to extract insects from logs. While young birds in the wild normally learn this technique from elders, a laboratory crow named “Betty” improvised a hooked tool from a wire with no prior experience.” [Apparently crows are very intelligent animals.]

“the brain-to-body size ratio of psittacines and corvines is actually comparable to that of higher primates.”

2. Land mine. From the article:

“Explosive land mines were being used in 1277 AD by the Song Dynasty Chinese against an assault of the Mongols, who were besieging a city in southern China.”


“Many mines combine the main trigger with a touch or tilt trigger to prevent enemy engineers from defusing it. Land mine designs tend to use as little metal as possible to make searching with a metal detector more difficult; land mines made mostly of plastic have the added advantage of being very inexpensive.” […] “Whereas the placing and arming of mines is relatively inexpensive and simple, the process of detecting and removing them is typically expensive, slow, and dangerous.”


“Anti-personnel mines are designed to kill or injure enemy combatants as opposed to destroying vehicles. They are often designed to injure rather than kill in order to increase the logistical support (evacuation, medical) burden on the opposing force.” [another reason why War Is Hell..]


“Placing minefields without marking and recording them for later removal is considered a war crime under Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which is itself an annex to the Geneva Conventions.”

3. Meyer Lansky.

4. Coral Reef.

“Often called “rainforests of the sea”, coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They occupy less than one tenth of one percent of the world ocean surface, about half the area of France, yet they provide a home for twenty-five percent of all marine species”


“Live coral are small animals embedded in calcium carbonate shells. It is a mistake to think of coral as plants or rocks. Coral heads consist of accumulations of individual animals called polyps, arranged in diverse shapes.[25] Polyps are usually tiny, but they can range in size from a pinhead to a foot across. Reef-building or hermatypic corals live only in the photic zone (above 50 m depth), the depth to which sufficient sunlight penetrates the water for photosynthesis to occur. Coral polyps do not themselves photosynthesize, but have a symbiotic relationship with single-celled organisms called zooxanthellae; these organisms live within the tissues of polyps and provide organic nutrients that nourish the polyp. Because of this relationship, coral reefs grow much faster in clear water, which admits more sunlight. Indeed, the relationship is responsible for coral reefs in the sense that without their symbionts, coral growth would be too slow for the corals to form significant reef structures. Corals get up to 90% of their nutrients from their zooxanthellae symbionts.”

5. Map projection.

“A map projection is any method of representing the surface of a sphere or other three-dimensional body on a plane. Map projections are necessary for creating maps. All map projections distort the surface in some fashion. Depending on the purpose of the map, some distortions are acceptable and others are not; therefore different map projections exist in order to preserve some properties of the sphere-like body at the expense of other properties. There is no limit to the number of possible map projections.”

Here’s a two-point equidistant projection of Asia (and Europe, and a big chunk of Oceania, and part of Africa – anyway…):

6. Operation Freakout. The Fair Game article has more. Lawsuits and character assasination attempts, using an elaborate scheme to try to frame the individual for a crime she didn’t commit. Now that’s the a Western way of doing things. Radical muslims just send a guy armed with an ax to your house.

February 9, 2011 - Posted by | biology, Geography, history, IQ, wikipedia

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