A list of curious facts
One: Did you know bats are just as important as bees—at least to that margarita in your hand? That’s because tequila uses agave as its base. And agave needs bats for pollination. In fact, the desert succulent is one of the few plants that pollinates at night:
[They] use their long tongues to actually dig into the flower and get out that really awesome nectar for them to eat… So they literally get their heads covered in this pollen. And as they're going from agave plant to agave plant, they're pollinating them at the same time.
Two of these bats—Mexican long-nosed bat and the lesser long-nosed bat—are endangered. That’s because of a second curious and related fact: due to the high demand for tequila, companies have started using ‘cloned’ agave—which are cheaper to grow in mass quantities. What this also means: there are fewer agaves for the bats to feed on:( Something to think about when you chase your next shot of tequila. You can see these creatures in action in the lead image above. (NPR)
Two: Sticking with animals, hear about the wacky sex lives of snails? These creatures redefine what it means to be ‘gender fluid’. They are male and female at the same time—and can take turns producing sperm or eggs. What’s even wackier: the designated male shoots ‘love darts’ at the female to ensure his sperm stays in her reproductive tract—and doesn’t end up as a yummy meal in her tummy instead.
CNN has lots more on the strange things animals gotta do to make babies—while this blog post has everything you need to know about love darts. Of course, we’re going to force you to see a photo of two snails mating… C’mon, that was the whole point of this item!
Three: Scientists at MIT have developed an Augmented Reality headset that gives you x-ray vision! It uses radio frequency (RF) signals which can pass through materials like cardboard boxes, plastic containers, or wooden dividers to find hidden items. But the items must have RFID tags. The headset will be mostly used either by ecommerce companies—where employees have to find products in giant warehouses. Or it can help factory workers to quickly find parts:
The system doesn’t need to visually see the item to verify that you’ve picked up the right item. If you have 10 different phones in similar packaging, you might not be able to tell the difference between them, but it can guide you to still pick up the right one.
That’s pretty cool if you’re on a warehouse floor. You can see how it works below. The MIT blog has all the nerdy details.