Anonymous said: Asexual granny weatherwax tho
Asexual but panromantic Granny Weatherwax who wasn’t just excluded by the girls in the village because all she wore was black, but also because she never ever ever had kissed a boy, and it was the century of the leopard gecko for Io’s sake. Asexual but panromantic Granny Weatherwax who looked down on Nanny Ogg’s series of husbands not only because a witch should focus on her art and perhaps a cat or two if really necessary, but also because Granny had never understood why anyone would want to engage in the sex act (which she read about in a book she definitely did not steal from Nanny’s cottage) especially not with that many husbands. Asexual but panromantic Granny Weatherwax, who despite all her aversions to sex, had a secret, deep, dark, hidden desire for a sunlit picnic and a charming, suavely-dressed person giving her flowers and chocolates and complimenting her on her latest kingdom-saving escapade.
Granny Weatherwax, bro.
And Nanny Ogg understanding better than anyone else, better than she lets on, and being a steady good friend while the husbands come and go.
I can’t tell what my favorite part is, but it’s either
- scientists wasting budget and time to see if ants count their steps
- the idea to put ants on stilts
- there had to be a guy who made ant stilts and put them on the ants
- confused ants
OMG this isn’t even the beginning of what scientists have done to ants. Gather round bbs while I tell you some stories.
There was one entomologist down the hall when I was in undergrad who wanted to figure out what goes down in the habitat when new species of ants appear.
So naturally the solution was to take a bunch of colonies (conveniently housed in tupperware containers), give them names like Moria and Mordor, and set them all up in an “arena” with food. There were notebooks full of lines like “2:36pm Two Mordor ants attack Moria ant” “2:37 pm Moria ants send reinforcements; first ant sent alarm call?” scattered all over the table because they managed to convince undergrads that sitting around taking handwritten notes on what ants are doing today was good science experience (partially because it’s true).
Now in the entomology dept at my current uni there’s an entomologist who studies ants and one who studies termites and they’re married to each other and they’re adorable. Also back in grad school they liked to take extra leftover colonies of their research bugs and make them fight. The ants always won.
But the BEST is this guy at our local USDA research station who’s working on parasitoids for fire ants.
So you know how there are wasps that lay their eggs in caterpillars and eat them from the inside? bitches that is only the BEGINNING of what Mother Nature has in store for insects.
There are flies that lay their eggs on fire ants. The larvae hatches out and burrows into the fire ant’s head and eats the insides and straight-up turns the ant into a behavior-controlled zombie. Right before it’s ready to pupate, it pops the ant’s head clean off. And then when it’s done pupating it crawls out between the ant’s jaws. It’s AWESOME.
Now the thing is before you can release these parasitoid flies into the wild, you have to raise a bunch of them in the lab. That turns out to be really tricky because fire ants FREAK OUT when they hear the flies coming. They all run and hide in their nest like a bunch of losers. That means the scientists have to find some way to get the fire ants out of their nests so the mama flies can get some victims to lay eggs on.
The scientists came up with the perfect solution. They figured out that the only thing that can motivate fire ants to run around when there are phorid flies around is the need to SAVE THE BABIES!
So what they do is take both adult ants and a nice big scoop of brood (the part of the nest that has all the baby ants in it) and stick them all in this tray. Over this tray there’s some homemade mechanical gearing that controls two shelters. They switch between being down flat on the surface where ants can hide under them, and being picked up and exposing all the ants underneath. Every five minutes it alternates which one is up or down. Whenever it switches the fire ants zoom around frantically trying to run the babies to the other shelter that’s now down, and while they’re doing that MUHAHAHAHAAAA IT’S EGG-LAYING TIME for the flies.
And when I say “shelters” I mean “Solo cups” because this is college, folks.
Anyway, watching this thing at work is 75% soul-deep satisfying because if you’ve lived with fire ants in their ecologically-uncontrolled plague state you know what I’m talking about; and 25% utterly horrifying. Also it makes me glad to not live in medieval times because there was no such thing as entomology back then and people with that kind of imagination would have had to find other ways to use it.
(Source: memewhore, via strangeparticles)
Imagine Loki doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge without flinching or even moving an eyebrow, and then nominating Odin and Hogun.