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SCIENCE
February 14, 2014 | By Amina Khan, This post has been updated. See note below.
Imagine a team of workers that can tirelessly build and rebuild complicated structures even under daunting and dangerous conditions. They already exist - they're called termites. Now, inspired by these mound-building insects, Harvard University scientists have created a mini-swarm of surprisingly simpleminded robots that can work together to construct buildings much larger than themselves. The findings, described in the journal Science, present an important step toward designing robots that may one day be able to build research facilities in the deep ocean, buildings on Mars or even levees at a flood zone during an emergency - jobs that are far too hazardous or expensive for human workers to do. [Updated 11:28 a.m. Feb. 14: "It's a very impressive accomplishment," said Hod Lipson, a roboticist at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study.
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SCIENCE
February 14, 2014 | By Amina Khan, This post has been updated. See note below.
Imagine a team of workers that can tirelessly build and rebuild complicated structures even under daunting and dangerous conditions. They already exist - they're called termites. Now, inspired by these mound-building insects, Harvard University scientists have created a mini-swarm of surprisingly simpleminded robots that can work together to construct buildings much larger than themselves. The findings, described in the journal Science, present an important step toward designing robots that may one day be able to build research facilities in the deep ocean, buildings on Mars or even levees at a flood zone during an emergency - jobs that are far too hazardous or expensive for human workers to do. [Updated 11:28 a.m. Feb. 14: "It's a very impressive accomplishment," said Hod Lipson, a roboticist at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study.
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REAL ESTATE
October 17, 1999
* The termites on Earth outweigh humans on Earth. * Termites have been around for 250 million years. * Termite kings and queens can live for 15 years, and the queen is capable of laying one egg every 15 seconds. * Termites rarely expose themselves to light. * Termites work 24 hours a day; they do not sleep. * A typically infested home may have three to four subterranean termite colonies around it, with as many as 1 million termites in each colony.
SCIENCE
April 5, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The Cthulhu lives! Sort of.  A recently discovered single-celled organism has been named after the Cthulhu, the massive winged monster with a head like a giant octupus conceived by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920s.  The newly discovered Cthulhu macrofasciculumque is tiny and harmless. It lives in the hind gut of termites with no desire to dominate all of existence -- as far as we know. Rather, this little guy is part of a vast and varied symbiotic ecosystem of microbes that help termites digest wood.
NEWS
August 2, 2012 | By Paul Whitefield
When did eating become so, well, complicated? Once, “What's for dinner?” was just a simple question Dad asked Mom. Now it's one fraught with implications. A chicken sandwich?  Welcome to the Chick-fil-A imbroglio . Honestly, did you ever think that a politician's career might hinge on how he answers the question, “Do you now eat, or have you ever eaten, a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich? And did you have waffle fries and a large soda with that?” PHOTOS: Chick-fil-A at center of controversy Plus, there's the whole issue of how those chickens who gave up their lives for that chicken sandwich were raised.
REAL ESTATE
June 24, 1990
I'm just a little termite Trying to eat my meal. So don't fry, freeze or gas me And make me squirm and squeal. I can't help it if my food Happens to be your home. Don't blame me but Mother Nature, So please leave me alone. KENNETH L. ZIMMERMAN Cypress
SCIENCE
August 4, 2012 | By Nika Soon-Shiong, Los Angeles Times
Esteemed biologist E.O. Wilson famously observed that "a principle difference between human beings and ants is that whereas we send our young men to war, they send their old ladies. " And so do termites. When they become too old to help their colonies perform risky foraging tasks, elderly members of a termite species called Neocapritermes taracua provide one final service by sacrificing themselves to defend against predators, researchers reported last month in the journal Science.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 27, 1996 | JULIE FATE SULLIVAN
City Hall is under siege, but officials aren't in a political battle. They're fighting off an invasion of termites. "We've got termites coming out of ceiling panels and dropping onto people's desks," said Mark Somerville, maintenance services manager. "We've had intermittent termite problems, but nothing this bad before." Half a dozen termite nests have been found in City Hall, Somerville said, with the accounting, human resources and city clerk's offices particularly hard hit.
REAL ESTATE
March 3, 2002 | From Associated Press
To discourage termites from entering your home, remove their welcome mat. Many homeowners not only invite termites, they unknowingly provide superhighways with improperly planned and planted trees, shrubs and mulch that create rush-hour traffic for the hungry hordes flowing into their home. Termites are attracted to plants, shrubs and trees. Don't plant anything within 18 inches of your home. Mulch is a problem, too. Use a layer of inedible gravel or flagstone instead.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 1995 | RUSS LOAR
Even when your house is 87 feet above the ground, it's still not safe from termites. Exterminators used a crane Monday morning to slowly lower a huge tent over the landmark Water Tower House, perched high above the beach on Anderson Street at Pacific Coast Highway. "They were going to use a helicopter, but that was too expensive," said real estate agent Elgin Johnson. "Termites have no respect, nibbling on this historic house."
SCIENCE
March 29, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Humans could learn a thing or two from lowly sand termites about managing the Earth's natural resources. Mysterious African "fairy circles," up to 55 yards across, are created by these creatures, according to a study published in Friday's edition of the journal Science.  Fairy circles are formations that appear along a 1,200-mile belt that stretches along the southwestern edge of Africa, from the middle of Angola to Namibia to the northern edge...
SCIENCE
August 4, 2012 | By Nika Soon-Shiong, Los Angeles Times
Esteemed biologist E.O. Wilson famously observed that "a principle difference between human beings and ants is that whereas we send our young men to war, they send their old ladies. " And so do termites. When they become too old to help their colonies perform risky foraging tasks, elderly members of a termite species called Neocapritermes taracua provide one final service by sacrificing themselves to defend against predators, researchers reported last month in the journal Science.
NEWS
August 2, 2012 | By Paul Whitefield
When did eating become so, well, complicated? Once, “What's for dinner?” was just a simple question Dad asked Mom. Now it's one fraught with implications. A chicken sandwich?  Welcome to the Chick-fil-A imbroglio . Honestly, did you ever think that a politician's career might hinge on how he answers the question, “Do you now eat, or have you ever eaten, a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich? And did you have waffle fries and a large soda with that?” PHOTOS: Chick-fil-A at center of controversy Plus, there's the whole issue of how those chickens who gave up their lives for that chicken sandwich were raised.
TRAVEL
November 20, 2011 | By Heidi Fuller-Love, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  As the sun set over Angkor Wat, the temple built for King Suryavarman II in the 12th century, I nosed my Vespa out into the line of three-wheeled tuktuks, bikes and cars. In my pink crash helmet and Gucci bike goggles, I felt as frivolous as an extra in the '60s movie "Quadrophenia," but my mission was a serious one: I was planning to travel the nearly 200 miles from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh in three days, stopping on the way to sample some of the weirdest and most wonderful foods Cambodia has to offer.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2010 | By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
Built for $12,000 as a do-it-yourself community project in 1957, rustic Libbey Bowl has always been the little concert stage that could. Russian composer Igor Stravinsky premiered a number of his works at the half-shell amphitheater. His American colleague, composer Aaron Copland, chose the sycamore-tangled setting to debut his conducting career. More recently, surf rocker Jack Johnson packed the bowl with fans of his popular tunes. But time and termites have taken a toll.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 11, 2009 | Susan Salter Reynolds
Falling in love with a writer requires commitment; the long haul, thick and thin. They get old, you get old. The relationship waxes and wanes. Most readers can recall times of perfect synchronicity -- when the book was the necessary enzyme, the catalyst, the missing piece. "Black Tickets," Jayne Anne Phillips' first collection of stories, published in 1979, was, for more than one earnest English major, such a book.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 23, 1997 | From Times staff and wire reports
More than 100 sandstone pillars in New Mexico reaching heights of 20 feet appear to be giant fossilized termite nests roughly 155 million years old, researchers from the University of Colorado told the geological society meeting. The pillars, up to six feet in diameter, were previously thought to be fulgurites, glassy mixtures of sand and rock fused together by lightning strikes.
BUSINESS
October 19, 2008 | Lauren Beale
In case you've seen blue framing and were wondering, Bluwood is a relatively new wood product being used on a number of projects in San Diego County as well as by Brad Pitt on houses in New Orleans and now in several projects in L.A. County. The Village at Northridge, a 240-unit assisted-living complex on Corbin Avenue, is using the product, which the maker says eliminates termites, fungus mold and rot and is "green." In fact, the company slogan is "Bluwood, the new green." According to SC Bluwood Inc. of Carlsbad, Calif.
REAL ESTATE
September 23, 2007 | From Associated Press
It's estimated that about 2 million homes will need termite treatment this year. Unfortunately, there is no insurance policy that covers termite damage. But there are things you can do to spot and correct this problem quickly. First, don't confuse termites with winged ants. Although similar in size and color, flying ants have a slim waist, hard body and double wings that are unequal in length; termites have a soft round body and two pairs of wings equal in length.
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