Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Hundreds of tiny spiders, lice and more crawling through US homes, study says - 579 types of arthropods in 50 houses -

Hundreds of tiny spiders, lice and more crawling through US homes, study says - 579 types of arthropods in 50 houses - 

If you’re ever feeling lonely at home, you can now rest assured that you are far from alone. The average home is crawling with more than 100 species of invertebrates, such as spiders, lice and centipedes, according to research conducted by US scientists.

In what’s thought to be the first study to quantify exactly what is scurrying or flying around the standard American home, researchers scoured 50 houses and found they were inhabited by 579 different types of arthropods, as well as humans. Arthropods are invertebrate animals with segmented bodies and jointed limbs, such as insects and spiders.

The homes, on average, each had around 100 arthropod species. The most commonly found species were flies, spiders, beetles, ants and book lice. Cobweb-producing spiders were found in 65% of the homes.

Matthew Bertone, an entomologist at North Carolina State University, said he was amazed at the variety of species found in what he stressed were “clean and normal” homes in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“We were pretty surprised with what we found, such as the smallest wasp in the world, which is just 1mm long,” he said. “I saw a lot of things in homes that I had never seen in the wild before, things we’ve previously tried to trap. There is a weird species of beetle, called telephone pole beetles, where the babies can produce babies. And tiny crickets called ant-loving ants because they are found near ant nests. I’ve never seen one of those before.”

A team of entomologists found the species just by looking from floor to ceiling in each room, without prying open drawers or ripping up carpets. In one home, the presence of several flesh flies led to the discovery of a rotting rodent carcass killed by a pet cat.

The houses picked for the research were detached homes measuring up to 5,000 square feet in size. Apartments were ruled out for the research due to the shared bugs within apartment buildings.

Many of the small animals found in homes come in from outside and promptly die, while others live the life of predators.

“There are lots of cobweb spiders and also the house centipede, which is a really creepy looking creature to some people but I find them fascinating,” said Bertone. “They are very fast and if you’re a cockroach, you’re likely to be on their menu. Most of these things aren’t pests, they peacefully co-habit with people.

“I never thought I’d see such biology in homes that were clean, not filled with junk, just normal homes. My hope is that this doesn’t freak people out but people need to know their houses aren’t sterile environments.”

The research, led by Bertone with the aid of the California Academy of Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, was published in the journal PeerJ. The entomologists hope to build upon the research by learning more about the role that each species plays in the home and the significance of living so closely to them.

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10% of U.S. College Graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court of the United States -

10% of U.S. College Graduates think Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court of the United States - 

Nearly 10% of college graduates surveyed in a poll believe Judith Sheindlin, aka "Judge Judy," serves on the Supreme Court.

Sheindlin is an American lawyer made popular as the judge on a court show by the name of "Judge Judy." The show features Sheindlin handling small disputes in a courtroom, but Sheindlin does not serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The poll, conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in August 2015 but released in January 2016, concluded from the 1,000 surveyed that college graduates "are alarmingly ignorant of America's history and heritage."

The survey also found 28.4% of college graduates correctly identify the father of the Constitution as James Madison. About 59% of college students surveyed believe the father of the Constitution was Thomas Jefferson, who was actually the principal writer for the Declaration of Independence.

It also found that almost 60% of college graduates couldn't correctly identify a requirement for ratifying a constitutional amendment and 40% of college graduates didn't know that Congress has the power to declare war.

Additionally, the poll revealed that less than 50% of college graduates surveyed know that presidential impeachments are tried before the U.S. Senate.


Study: Expensive Hotels Have More Germs -

Study: Expensive Hotels Have More Germs - 

Think that fancy five-star hotel you just booked is cleaner than others? According to a new study, think again.

The new study titled “Hotel Hygiene Exposed” finds that the average hotel room has more bacteria than a typical home, airplane, or school.

“We’re definitely not trying to scare anyone,” project manager for Travelmath told Yahoo Travel.

Travelmath used teams of researchers armed with cotton swabs, and plastic bags to test rooms in nine different hotels.

They say they tested three-star, four-star, and even five-star hotels in a variety of locations for the study.

Their results show that all the hotel rooms had a lot of bacteria, and the four-star and five-star hotels actually tended to be dirtier than the less luxurious three-star hotels.

In the Travelmath study, each team swabbed the same four surfaces in each hotel room, the bathroom counter, the remote control, the desk, and the phone.

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