March 4th, 2021


It's NOT 'One World' | The Job of the Researcher

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published June 29, 2016

It's NOT 'One World' | The Job of the Researcher

Sri Lanka has, as an "unwritten symbol of pride and culture," the world's highest per capita rate for eye donation, according to an Associated Press dispatch from Colombo.

Underpinning this national purpose is the country's Buddhist tradition that celebrates afterlives. "He's dead," said a mourning relative of a deceased eye donor, "but he's still alive. His eye can still see the world."

Doctors even report instances in which Sri Lankans consider giving up an eyeball while still alive, as a measure of virtue.

A new state-of-the-art clinic, funded by Singaporean donors, is expected to nearly double Sri Lanka's export of eyeballs.

Researchers already knew that masked birch caterpillars "rub hairs on their rear ends against a leaf to create vibrations," according to an April National Geographic report, but a forthcoming article by Carleton University biologists describes that "drumming" as actually part of their "sophisticated signaling repertoire" to attract others -- not for mating but for assistance in spinning their protective silk cocoons.

The researchers' "laser vibrometer" detects sound likely inaudible to humans, but when the caterpillars feed, it's clearly, said one researcher, "Chomp, chomp, chomp, anal scrape. Chomp, chomp, chomp, anal scrape." [National Geographic, 4-5-2016]