@scicurious Bethany Brookshire, Science writer
Scientists have found that the nutritional properties — in particular the protein content — of plant pollen has reduced by a third (down from 18 per cent to 12 per cent) over the past 172 years. In the same period, carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased from around 280 parts per million to close to 400 ppm, researchers said. These scientists, according to an article tweeted by science writer Bethany Brookshire, feel that the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is responsible for the sapping of the nutritional quality of pollen, a trait that bees have heavily relied on for their protein intake. The bees use the protein in the pollen to feed their larvae, maintain their immune system and for many other functions. This change is almost the equivalent of us shifting to a diet of more junk food, from a balanced diet. “It’s like you’re eating a starchier diet — what would that do to us?” said Joan Edwards of Williams College, Massachusetts. “Bees aren’t so different.” The drop in one-third of the bee’s intake of protein is enough to shorten the bee’s lifespan significantly, he adds.
Heavily armed escape
@sapinker Steven Pinker, Cognitive scientist
An octopus in New Zealand’s National Aquarium became an international celebrity last week when the news of his daring and stealthy day-light escape hit the press. Inky the octopus snuck out due to a small gap left in the top of his enclosure tank by a maintenance worker, according to an article tweeted by cognitive scientist Steven Pinker. After getting out of the tank, Inky slithered his way across the floor and managed to find a six-inch-wide drain hole that led directly to the nearby ocean. A few hours later, when the aquarium staff walked into the room, they found Inky’s inky trail on the floor leading to the drain. “He didn’t even try to cover his tracks… He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean. And off he went,” Aquarium manager Rob Yarrall joked on Radio New Zealand. “And he didn’t even leave us a message.”