Nose Blowing

And other strange sounds

Sounds accompany many kinds of activities. The buzz of a mosquito in the bedroom comes to mind; and then there is the clashing of horns of mountain sheep in combat, the chewing of food, the knock on the door, sounds in courtship, territorial claims in birds, monkeys and other animals. etc. Come to think of it there aren’t really terribly many animals that are totally silent; worms perhaps and, with very few exceptions, spiders, but certainly not fish. —>


Star Gazers

When animals use celestial cues to navigate

In recent years there have been some spectacular astro-physical successes with the Cassini probe, the comet visit by Rosetta, the Pluto flyby etc. coming to mind. Successes, which were so fantastic that almost everyone must have heard of them. We do look at the stars and are fascinated by the world beyond our own. But animals, too, look at the heavens and see the stars, the sun and the moon – and many species actually make use of what they see up there. —>


Alcohol and Invisibility

Alcohol doesn’t make you invisible

I simply couldn’t believe it when I was little and my grandfather told me that the air was full of bacteria, spores and other microorganisms. If they were there, why could I not even see them when I strained my eyes? Were they so small or transparent or both? Invisibility has fascinated humankind since time immemorial and many fairytales and the popular TV series “The Invisible Man” corroborate that. While humans may never reach the goal of true invisibility through transparency, some body tissues and in fact some whole animals have achieved just that. —>