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June 15, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
The next time you kill an insect, you might want to do it quickly - for the sake of the environment. New research shows that whether an animal lives in safety or is terrorized by a predator can change the biochemical trajectory of the local ecosystem where it dies. The findings point to an expanded role for both predators and prey in their local environments, and may affect which species conservationists believe are most important to keep around. The total mass of animals on the planet is puny compared with that of plants and bacteria.
March 17, 1999 | CHARLES PERRY
Little Miss Muffet's first name was probably Patience. The heroine of the nursery rhyme is assumed to be Patience Moffat, the daughter of Thomas Moffat (d. 1604), an Elizabethan physician and author. He wrote a famous book about insects, which is thought to explain the spider who sat down beside her. Now, about that dish of curds and whey she was eating. Curds are basically casein, a milk protein that coagulates in the presence of the enzyme rennet.
August 21, 1985
J. P. Devine's account of a father's love for his daughter ("Eeeeek!" Op-Ed, Aug. 12) becomes less appealing on closer examination. Devine says that he did not want to kill any of the spiders, but he did it anyway--out of love. Does this mean that his daughter would not have been satisfied with anything 'less' than the spiders' deaths? Would she not have given him hugs and kisses if he had simply taken them out of the house unharmed, thereby teaching her that mere aversion to a creature does not justify killing it?
Rounding a curve on U.S. 43, a pirate's sneer is one of the first things motorists see. Complete with eye patch and earring, the snaggletoothed raider sits by a leisurely, reclining turtle with its reading glasses on. Nearby, a bullfighter waves a red cape at a charging bull. No, they're not real. They're made entirely of hay, wood and other materials by landowner Jim Bird. His creations have delighted passersby from across the nation--and beyond--for years.
January 6, 1985 | Associated Press
The giant spider crab of Japan dwarfs all other crustaceans with a span of 11 feet between outstretched claws. The spider crabs reach adult size within 10 years and may live 50 years or more.
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