Latest Caterpillar Poll: Woolly Bears Are Undecided

With the third and final debate over, those┬ávoters who haven’t yet made up their minds will be focusing on their choice for President. But what do the woolly bear caterpillars of Bodega Bay have to say about the election?


Woolly bear caterpillars are having a hard time picking the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. (Eric Lo Presti/UC Davis)

The caterpillars shot to fame a few months ago when UC Davis graduate student Eric Lo Presti pointed out in a blog post that cycles in the caterpillar population tracked with the fortunes of political parties in presidential election years. Going back as far as 1984, Democrats won the White House in years when the caterpillars were abundant in March, and Republicans when the caterpillars were less prolific.

Hella News Roundup

Hella jpegPhysics student Austin Sendek’s campaign to get “hella” designated as an official SI prefix (for 10 to the power 27) might be the media hit of the year so far. On Monday, the Sacramento Bee ran a story, followed by a nice piece from CBS-13’s Steve Large. Yesterday other local TV stations Fox 40 and News 10 followed up with their versions of the story, affiliates nationwide have picked up those local pieces and the story has been covered by news sites in the UK as well. The Guardian provides a handy Q&A for Brits to decode American English (“What’s a sophomore again?”).

The LHC: safe.

CMS abort buttonSwitching on the Large Hadron Collider will not create a planet-gobbling Black Hole or any other threat, according to an updated report from the LHC Safety Assessment Group. The report reiterates past assessments and the opinion of just about every physicist that the new accelerator is safe, pointing out, for example, that much more powerful collisions between cosmic rays occur all the time without destroying the fabric of the Universe.

BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow notes that a physicist recently told him, “Look, it’s a 10 (to the power minus) 19 chance, and you’ve got a 10 (to the power minus) 11 chance of suddenly evaporating while shaving.”

And now, Bigfoot. Or not.

Following February’s tale of the Chupacabra that was actually a mangy coyote, Egghead will once again venture into cryptozoology to note the announcement that a Bigfoot corpse had been found by a couple of guys in Georgia (the state, not the country).

“It was brown and fuzzy and looked very much like irrefutable evidence of a man in a gorilla suit,” writes Steve Rubinstein in the San Francisco Chronicle. Apparently, a dead man in a gorilla suit, which is a bit alarming if you think about it.

I like it but I don’t believe it: “Survivor: Geologist”

Highly Allochthonous reprints a column from South African humorist James Clarke on a supposed attempt by “a big American TV company” to make a Survivor-type reality show with geologists working in the field.

But the camera crew noticed that even after drinking “gallons” the camera crew continued talking in “an obscure jargonised language about “breccia”, and “lahars”, none of which made for good reality TV.

The only rise in tension came when the seismologist and the structural geologist got into a yelling match over the best recipe for chilli.

Whole thing here. Which scientific discipline would make for a good reality show? “Survivor: Large Hadron Collider?”

An engineer’s guide to cats

Oscar makes use of the Earth’s gravitational field to keep himself firmly attached to the floor.