Archive for November 2009

Primarily-Vegetarian Spider

I have for a long time been fascinated by the symbiotic relationship between some species of acacias and ants. Honestly, I have also for a long time been fascinated by ants alone. Now some researchers have observed interesting behavior by a species of jumping spider, Bagheera kiplingi, that lives on the same acacia plants.

In many of these ant-plant relationships, the ants are provided food — called Beltian bodies — by the acacia plant. The researchers observed the spider B. kiplingi “hunting” and eating the Beltian bodies as its primary source of food, making this spider the first known to have a primarily vegetarian diet.

Read a summary of the research here. The research manuscript is at doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.08.049, but you will need an individual or institutional subscription to get the full text.

Shun Wang’s Website

I wrote a while ago about my old workstation being taken down. My (old) website was not the only one being hosted there; Shun Wang also had his site there. He has relocated, though, and his new site is at


I was confronted this weekend by a friend — let’s call him “Kiran” — who was faux-irritated that I never told him about this blog. Sorry about that, and I am also sorry to anyone else who has landed here and felt similarly. This whole thing started as an experiment, and I believe I only told two people about the blog (one being my mom).

Here are possible explanations for having never advertised this:

  • The blog never left experiment mode.
  • I did not think it would appeal to a wider audience.
  • I was too lazy to say anything.

Posting Gap: A Rambling Return

One or two people have probably noticed that I have not posted for a while. September gone. October gone. Most of November gone. Well, a lot has been going on, but I am not going to go into details now.

An important role that this blog plays for me is that I post news and articles that I find interesting here. This serves the dual purpose of sharing with friends and family and also organizes thoughts and articles that I find noteworthy. Before posting here, I do record interesting things that I find, but not in a consistent way. I tag articles in my RSS aggregator or mark them in some other way. More often than not, I never see those articles again, but the most disorganized thing that I do is to record links as drafts in my email account. During long periods of not posting here, the drafts folder in my email account swells. The worst property of the draft emails is that I do not bother including any information about the links that are pasted there, so I just have many dozen drafts with raw links in them. Often, I never bother to figure out what the drafts are after they have been there for a while.

That previous paragraph is kind of funny, since in many other ways I am very organized with information that I come across. I like to know that I can find things again.

There is another force (other than simply having a lot going on) that keeps up the disorganization. Sometimes I hesitate to post something that I find in the news or on other blogs simply because I feel silly writing about things that everyone has possibly already seen. That concern, however, seems irrelevant given my self-centered goal of organizing my thoughts.

Stopping this rambling post short, I am going to dig out a few of those draft emails.