A list of pesky insects
One: Did you know that the first computer bug ever found was actually… a bug? As in: a dead moth. Back on September 9, 1947, a Harvard team found that their computer, the Mark II, was acting up. When they opened the computer’s hardware, they found a moth trapped inside. The lead image is a photo of the engineering report recording this historic find—alongside the culprit:)
Bonus fact: One of the team members was Grace Hopper who was one of the first computer programmers—and invented the first English-language data-processing compiler and developed the programming language COBOL. Below is the cool Google Doodle that marked her birthday in 2013. (National Geographic)
Two: Researchers in Kerala discovered an unexpected prime suspect who may be responsible for the spurt in cases of vehicles catching fire. It’s the alcohol-loving ambrosia beetle aka Xylosandrus crassiusculus. Ok, it doesn’t have a weakness for actual booze but for ethanol—which is the active ingredient in it. So it burrows into fuel pipes—attracted by ethanol-blended fuel—leaving a hole that creates a petrol leak.
The ironic bit: “Contributing to the growing menace, rather inadvertently, has been the national policy to promote the use of ethanol blended petrol for various purposes including to reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports and mitigate vehicular emissions.” We need more research to establish a solid link, but the hypothesis is already making oil companies very unhappy. No, we're not sharing icky photos of the beetle. (Economic Times, splainer gift link)
Three: True fact: flies love the colour blue. This is the reason why places like Uganda are dotted with bright blue fly traps—designed to lure and kill tsetse flies that cause lethal diseases. Just changing the colour of these poisoned traps has helped reduce the population by 90% in some regions. Why these work so well: due to the photoreceptors in their eyes, flies mistake blue traps for animals—and therefore potentially delicious hosts to bite. Something to consider when you are next plagued by makkhees. Nope, we’re not providing a pic of the tsetse fly either. (NPR)