jumping spider with spiderling
she is not eating it btw
The Monkey Business of Pure Altruism
I’ve been reflecting on how Bill and Melinda Gates resemble a pair of monkeys. Earlier this month, the Lasker Awards were announced. The prestigious prize, known as the “American Nobel,” is given annually to a few extraordinary biomedical scientists. A Lasker for public service is also usually awarded—this year to the Gateses.
Great move. They’ve given vast sums of money to medical research and have galvanized other billionaires into doing the same. They’ve targeted research about diseases that bring incalculable misery to the developing world. All with great wisdom.
Philosophers have long debated whether truly selfless altruism is possible. Some argue that pure altruism can occur, while others proclaim the jaundiced sound bite, “Scratch an altruist and a hypocrite bleeds.”
After all, altruism can be immensely fulfilling, and neuroimaging studies show that altruistic acts activate reward centers of the brain. Altruism also can enhance a giver’s reputation and prompt reciprocal gifts. And costly displays of prowess, evolutionary biologists have demonstrated, can serve to attract mates—”If I can afford to grow these gigantic antlers, I must have some studly genes.” Some scientists speculate that altruism evolved as a costly signal meant to impress prospective mates.
i have died friends
total and utter bliss
my idea of heaven
People who think it’s hilarious to tear down spiderwebs because what could be more fun than casually destroying an entire hour’s worth of precision and uninterrupted manual labour?!
Ingenuity takes on many forms → 1. A Bolas spider (Mastophora cornigera) captures a passing male moth by using a sticky line of silk as a lasso | 2. The fearsome-looking gladiator spider (Dinopis sp.) ensnares a cricket by casting a small but carefully constructed square web over it | 3. A diving bell spider (Argyroneta aquatica), the only kind known to live fully underwater, plucks bubbles of air from the water surface to build a ‘diving bell’ web, which is essentially a large air bubble inside which the spider can comfortably breathe and consume prey.
Spinybacked Orbweaver (Gasteracantha canriformis)
Also known as the crablike spiny orbweaver, jewel box spider or smiley face spider (along with like 12 other names), the spinybacked orbweaver is a species of orb-weaver spider that is found across the southern United States and Central/South America and some Caribbean islands. Spinybacked orbweavers will inhabit trees and shrubs and will feed on small insects that they catch in their webs. They have a very short life span and they will only live until reproduction, which takes place in spring.
This species is sexually dimorphic with males sporting white backs and females sporting a yellow back (red backs have also been observed). Males are also much smaller than females.
Spinybacked orbweavers will add little tufts of silk to their webs, these tufts serve as flags to prevent birds from flying into and destroying their webs
A recently emerged male comet moth (Argema mittrei) dries its wings in the forest understorey in the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar
Photo by Nick Garbutt
awkwardsituationist: "elephants are legendary for their memory and intelligence, including attributes associated with grief, making music, altruism and compassion. we came across this elephant whose corpse was overcome by vultures and jackals. from a distance we heard and then saw another elephant approaching at a fast pace. she was successful at chasing away the predators and then very slowly and with much empathy wrapped her trunk around the deceased elephant’s tusk. she stayed in this position for several hours guarding her friend." - photo and text by john chaney in botswana, 2007.
How gorgeous is this.
I’ve been waiting to see this again.