Contributions have nearly stopped lately, but the legal bills are still piling up...
In the event you're stopped by overzealous law enforcement or security officials attempting to enforce fictitious laws, I've designed these fictitious and official-looking Photographer's Licenses. If you have Adobe Illustrator, you can download the vector art EPS file and print your own. You'll need a photo of yourself, and OCR or an equivalent-looking font to fill in your personal information.
The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out "active shooters," like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.
"Put him on his face and put a knee in his back," a Border Patrol agent explained. "I guarantee that he'll shut up."
Cathy Noriego, also 16, said she was attracted by the guns. The group uses compressed-air guns -- known as airsoft guns, which fire tiny plastic pellets -- in the training exercises, and sometimes they shoot real guns on a closed range.
"I like shooting them," Cathy said. "I like the sound they make. It gets me excited."
You're going to be the most popular mom in the trailer park, Cathy.
Two kinds of hungry pests gnaw away at the pilings that hold up structures like the FDR Drive, the U.N. school on East 25th Street, and the Con Ed plant at 14th. Teredos, which start life looking like tiny clams, grow up to be worms "as big around as your thumb, and nearly four feet long, with little triangular teeth," says commercial diver Lenny Speregen. Like underwater termites, they devour wood. And Limnoria tripunctata, a.k.a. "gribbles," are bugs about the size of a pencil dot that look like tiny armadillos, and eat not only wood but also concrete. Speregen says he's seen fifteen-inch-diameter columns that have been gnawed down, hourglass style, to three inches. The city has tried jacketing pilings in heavy plastic to keep the critters out, but it hasn't worked well: Floating ice tears up the jackets in winter. "I never said this wasn't a war," says Speregen.
Researchers in Texas are trying an unusual approach to combat fire ants -- deploying parasitic flies that turn the pesky and economically costly insects into zombies whose heads fall off.
[...] But now the researchers are trying a tiny phorid fly, native to a region of South America where the fire ants originated. The flies lay eggs on the fire ants, and the eggs hatch into maggots inside the ant and eat away at the pest's tiny brain. The ant will get up and wander for about two weeks while the maggot feeds, said Rob Plowes, a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin.
"There is no brain left in the ant, and the ant just starts wandering aimlessly," he said.
About a month after the egg is laid, the ant's head falls off -- and a new fly emerges ready to attack another fire ant.
Testing new cardiac techniques and devices on live animals requires proper oversight, regulation, and considerable expense. To overcome this, researchers at North Carolina State University developed a machine, specifically intended for study of mitral valve repair, that can pump a pig's heart straight from the slaughterhouse. "Researchers can obtain pig hearts from a pork processing facility and use the system to test their prototypes or practice new surgical procedures," says Andrew Richards, a Ph. D. student in mechanical engineering at NC State who designed the heart machine.