This is wonderful. There’s a guy on YouTube, going by the name of Primer, who uses a computer model to explore evolutionary concepts, which he discusses on his YouTube channel.
Visually, it’s all very simple but there is something remarkably appealing about watching these amorphous blobs evolve and survive as he discusses the concepts being displayed.
It gets better though. Jasper Palfree at MinuteLabs have taken Primer’s simulator and made an online gadget that allows you to play around with the initial settings and watch the blobs evolve.
The blobs have three traits — speed, sight and sense range — all of which mutate at a predetermined rate. You can choose both the initial values for these traits and the rate of variance, and then you let it run and see what happens.
Another heatwave is upon us and I should probably be staying in the shade rather than obsessively meeting my daily exercise target. But if I had stayed indoors, I wouldn’t have seen this guy sunning himself.
This sent me down something of an internet rabbit hole. While the French are normally famous for eating frogs legs, I remember seeing somewhere that archaeological evidence points to the English having come up with this idea first — by a few thousand years. While trying to confirm this, I came across something much better.
This is the final post from our backyard bestiary (for now) but we do, of course, have a European garden spider loitering among the caterpillars and stink bugs. The photos I have aren’t great but I posting them anyway, (a) because I have them and (b) as a reminder to myself to go and see if we have any spiderlings in May.
Following on from yesterday’s caterpillar post, the reason I had my camera with me in the garden was that I’d previously noticed a number of black and red beetles at the back of the garden. I only found one out there yesterday, and here he is:
It turns out he’s a Graphosoma lineatum, also known as the Italian Striped-Bug or Minstrel Bug.
The question mark in the title of this post is deliberate and in place because I have never made an entomological attempt before today. But while outside this afternoon, I noticed that the nettles still clinging to our back fence were covered in caterpillars. And I do mean covered:
Obviously, I wanted to know what species of caterpillar these are and, after some searching, I have managed to convince myself that these are Red Admiral larvae.
I couldn’t find an exact photographic match but this is a native species and this does seem to be the right time of the year for them. And, of course, they were all over the nettles, which is the sole diet of Red Admiral caterpillars.
We could be in for quite a colourful autumn this year.
Some bunch of utterly childish anti-GM crops activists have taken it upon themselves to destroy (via) years of publicly funded research into a genetically modified wheat that can repel insect pests by emitting a repellent-smelling substance.
Matt Thomson, from Take the Flour Back, told The Independent yesterday that action against the Rothamsted site would go ahead as planned.
“The concerns that we have are not addressed in this letter,” he said. “The way that Rothamsted have publicised this trial has been patronising. This wheat contains genes that are not naturally occurring.”
Frankly, anyone who seriously thinks that going out and vandalising years worth of research into a staple food – research that will help us avoid crop failure and famine – because they didn’t like the publicity has no sense of proportion, no idea what they are talking about and no concept if the impact of their actions.