Gobar Times
Cowpats

Cowpats - April 2005

Wild guess!

In medieval Europe, fortunetellers did not read tarot cards... but trees.As they appeared in a person’s dreams. So  dreaming of a green oak tree spelt a long life; a cypress indicated problems in business.

Bad days ahead if one had dreams of pine trees. But images of palm trees were the best of omens and signalled loads of luck coming by!

Smog dogs

In some countries in Europe, car owners may now have to worry about the "smog dog," a device designed to "sniff" tailpipes to detect air pollutionI Formally known as the AccuScan Remote Vehicle Emissions Testing System, the smog dog will look for exhaust from cars as they pass roadside monitors.

A camera close to the smog sensors will take pictures of the cars' license plates. And the owners will be notified later...

Jet-set ink

Did you know that we get sepia ink from a fish? Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) lets out the ink as a smoke screen to confuse its enemies in the sea.

It moves by ejecting water from a muscular funnel present between its head and mantle—pushing them backward, the way jet planes operate.

Sipping fog

In the Skeleton Coast of Namibia, a particular beetle quenches its thirst by drinking fog. Whenever it feels like a swig of water, it climbs to the crest of a dune and faces the breeze until the fog condenses on its body. Droplets then trickle down narrow grooves on the shell and fall into its mouth.

Spring in the Spittlebug's Step

Spittlebug, an insect about the size of a pencil eraser, is the world's best ‘jumper’. The bug can leap more than two feet high in a single jump.

It uses the muscles in its hind legs to take off into the air in a giant burst of energy. Just think..if basket ball star Michael Jordan borrows the bug's springs, he would be able to jump 500 feet above the basket!

Cuddly Rattle

The deadly rattlesnakes are a friendly lot..when they are with their kith and kin. Scientists say that they have a great social sense! They can recognise their brothers and sisters who were born in the same litter even if they were separated at birth.

Sister snakes spend almost half a day with their bodies wrapped together. They are so sharp that with a flick of their  tongue, they can identify a relative, other snake species or a member of the opposite sex.

Mime Rhyme

Birds too have music lessons like us. The Australian songbird, zebra finch uses infant-like ways of learning ‘adult’ songs. Some finches repeat "syllables". Others practise longer patterns called motifs.

Their strategy seems to depend on what their siblings are doing. The song of a zebra finch lasts one second and has five or six differentsounds. With their one-gram brain, zebra finches make great music.

 

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Cowpats