Did not know this other definition

A gamergate (/ˈɡæmərˌɡt/) is a mated worker ant that is able to reproduce sexually, i.e. lay fertilized eggs that will develop as females. Gamergates are restricted to taxa where the workers have a functional sperm reservoir (‘spermatheca’). In various species, gamergates reproduce in addition to winged queens (usually upon the death of the original foundress), while in other species the queen caste has been completely replaced by gamergates. In gamergate species, all workers in a colony have similar reproductive potentials, but as a result of physical interactions, a dominance hierarchy is formed and only one or a few top-ranking workers can mate (usually with foreign males) and produce eggs. Subsequently however, aggression is no longer needed as gamergates secrete chemical signals that inform the other workers of their reproductive status in the colony.


Ants are interesting.

The term “gamergate” derives from the Greek words γάμος (gámos) and ἐργάτης (ergátēs) and means “married worker.” It was coined in 1983 by geneticist William L. Brown and was first used in scientific literature by entomologists Christian Peeters and Robin Crewe in a 1984 paper published in Naturwissenschaften. The definition typically found in entomological dictionaries is “mated, egg-laying worker,” and is drawn from the glossary of Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson’s 1990 book, The Ants.


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Blog I Endorse

cuckoo gif

Tex Avery gifs


He turned to animated television commercials, most notably the Raid commercials of the 1960s and 1970s (in which cartoon insects, confronted by the bug killer, screamed “RAID!” and died flamboyantly) and Frito-Lay’s controversial mascot, the Frito Bandito.


Frito Bandito

dogs gif

Very positive way to spin the death of Tiffany 2

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from the Guinness Book of World Records, exciting news from Oregon:

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4,835 words on Ta-Nahesi Coates and Gawker controversy and Donald Trump

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 7.49.32 PM; ) just kidding!  Instead here:

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“My mother told a funny story,” says Caroline Kennedy, who is now the US ambassador to Japan, but was once – a little over 50 years ago – a toddler growing up in the White House.

“She was sitting next to Khrushchev at a state dinner in Vienna. She ran out of things to talk about, so she asked about the dog, Strelka, that the Russians had shot into space. During the conversation, my mother asked about Strelka’s puppies.

“A few months later, a puppy arrived and my father had no idea where the dog came from and couldn’t believe my mother had done that.”

The puppy was Strelka’s daughter, Pushinka, listed on her official registration certificate as a “non-breed” or mongrel.

“Pushinka was cute and fluffy,” says Ambassador Kennedy – in fact the Russian name translates as Fluffy.



From the Traphes L. Bryant oral history over there at the JFK Library:

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Charlie and Pushinka:

Charlie and Pushinka

Videos discussed last night

from a conversation about whether my friends should get a goat:

from a conversation about Tinashe:

When was the last time somebody got killed by a wild bear in Los Angeles?

Prompted by a recent conversation about the movie Grizzly Man.  (Forgot that Timothy Treadwell named one of the bears Mr. Chocolate.)

Andy Sublette, 46.

An experienced bear hunter who hunted and killed many bears, Sublette shot and wounded a bear after being separated from his hunting party near present-day Santa Monica in 1854. He was then mauled but stabbed the bear to death with his knife and with the help of his dog. His dog survived, but Sublette died seven days later due to his injuries.

So says Wikipedia citing Gary Brown’s The Bear Almanac.  I wonder if they mean, like, Santa Monica Santa Monica or the Santa Monica mountains (even, like, Malibu).

Anyway.  Heard it took the bear an hour and a half to drive back to Silverlake — the 10 was a nightmare!

World’s oldest wombat

Swam into my Internet ken a picture of the world’s oldest wombat:


I wondered how old Patrick was, and quickly found the answer:


The name ‘wombat’ comes from the now nearly extinct Darug language spoken by the Aboriginal Darug people who originally inhabited the Sydney area. It was first recorded in January 1798, when John Price and James Wilson, a white man who had adopted Aboriginal ways, visited the area of what is now Bargo, New South Wales. Price wrote: ‘We saw several sorts of dung of different animals, one of which Wilson called a Whom-batt, which is an animal about 20 inches high, with short legs and a thick body with a large head, round ears, and very small eyes; is very fat, and has much the appearance of a badger.


He loves his wheelbarrow.

Happy Birthday Patrick the Wombat! This 29 year old is the world’s oldest living wombat. Given that Patrick has never had children, or any partners in general, probably makes him the oldest living wombat virgin as well! Congrats mate!



(stealing these pictures from Buzzfeed and on backwards through Internet eternity to Tourism Australia)

Pope News [updated]

photo found here by googling “cute dogs” http://pichost.me/1457531/

From USA Today:

Pope Francis continues to show he’s anything but traditional. During a recent public appearance, Francis comforted a boy whose dog had died, noting, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

Theologians say Francis—who took his papal name from the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi—was only speaking conversationally.

If that’s how the Pope speaks conversationally that’s rad.

** UPDATE **

Apparently, not true.

How great is the Washington Post’s photo for this story?:

In this photo provided by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets members of the Italian national council for the blind and visually impaired, at the Vatican on Saturday. (AP)


The tallest cow in the world

Blosom lives in Illinois and was recently declared the world’s tallest cow.

She says she knew Blosom was special when she was a calf.

I found it a little disappointing, but thanks to Tyler Cowen for the ht.   Please send any agricultural oddities to helphely at gmail.

Silent movie.

It is called “Pasadena Bear Encounter.”

Himalayan Marmot

In an effort to juice my stats before this blog’s valuation next month by Standard & Poor’s, I’m getting into the cute animal game.

Counting Puffins

from The Big Picture.







Nice work boys.


Wilson got his start doing a survey of all the ants in Alabama.

There’s the question of, why did I pick ants, you know? Why not butterflies or whatever? And the answer is that they’re so abundant, they’re easy to find, and they’re easy to study, and they’re so interesting. They have social habits that differ from one kind of ant to the next. You know, each kind of ant has almost the equivalent of a different human culture. So each species is a wonderful object to study in itself. In fact, I honestly can’t…cannot understand why most people don’t study ants.


Plus look at the wild coolness on Bert Hölldobler:


Bert Hölldobler:


I found this fellow in an old issue of Life magazine


It was this issue.



That cover is “Mercenaries mop up a Red-armed rebel position in the Congo”

Here’s his friend.


Encounters With The Great Dogs Of History

This is FDR’s dog Fala.  He was famous in his day.

FDR was accused of sending a destroyer back to fetch him after accidentally leaving him on an Aleutian island (why did the President bring his dog to Alaska in the middle of wartime?  I don’t know).

Here is FDR’s zinger of a response, playing on the fact everyone knew back then that Scots are “tight with a penny” as Norm Macdonald put it:

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!


Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking to a woman who once had lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt at Hyde Park.  She said Fala sat on her feet the whole lunch.

“A picture of Musashi engaged in fantastic combat”

That’s wikipedia’s caption for this picture by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)



via SDB via SL

The Chernobyl Ant

A famous flyfishing fly, the Chernobyl ant was designed (it appears, research cursory) by Mark Forslund and Allen Wooley, guides on the Green River below Flaming Gorge, Utah.

That picture is from the website of Elburgon Flies Supply, “a leading fly fishing flies supplier in Africa.”