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SCIENCE
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.
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SCIENCE
July 2, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Science Now blog
As far as anyone knows for certain, brown widow spiders have only resided in Southern California for a decade or so -- the first in the region was spotted in Torrance in 2003. But a new survey conducted by California entomologists shows that the spider is now making itself quite comfortable in our neck of the woods.  In some Southern California habitats, including the outdoor areas around suburban houses, the brown widow far outnumbers its cousin the black widow - a California native long feared for its venomous bite.
FOOD
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
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?
NEWS
September 12, 1999 | ASHLEY ESTES, ASSOCIATED PRESS
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.
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