And I think this guy gets to stay.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
All-American Boy [tlrd]
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There's something fun about scientists being completely stumped--it's a little reminder that, despite everything we humans have figured out about our world, the Earth is far more diverse and mysterious than we can imagine. One such enigma has cropped up this week in South America, as WIRED explains:
Something in the Peruvian Amazon is making weird, intricate structures that resemble white picket fences surrounding an Isengard-like spire.
No one has any idea who the mysterious craftsbug (fungus? spider?) is, or what the structure is even used for, excepting the fence part, which almost makes sense. Nobody, not even the scientists. We asked.
Troy Alexander, a graduate student at Georgia Tech, spotted the first of these structures on June 7. The little, seemingly woven fence was parked on the underside of a blue tarp near the Tambopata Research Center, in southeastern Peru. He later spotted three more of the bizarre enclosures on tree trunks in the jungle.
Photos of the mysterious structures were first posted to Reddit's "What's this bug?" section 10 days ago, and biologist Phil Torres, who works in the Tambopata area, tweeted a link to the photos last week.
WIRED reached out to a smattering of scientists to ask for hypotheses about the structures' origins and got back...well, not many answers:
“I have no idea what made it, or even what it is,” said William Eberhard, an entomologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
“I’ve seen the photo, but have no idea what animal might be responsible,” echoed Norm Platnick, curator emeritus of spiders at the American Museum of Natural History.
“I don’t know what it is,” said arachnologist Linda Rayor, of Cornell University. “My guess is something like a lacewing, but I don’t really know.”
Towleroad scientists--anyone have a theory as to what these tiny towers might be?
Check out some more photos of the formations, AFTER THE JUMP...
(photos courtesy of Troy S. Alexander and the Tambopata Research Center)
FREEDOM TO MARRY'S EVAN WOLFSON: For Christine Quinn.
MIMI IMFURST: She won't have "Another Lie".
WE CAN'T STOP: A doo-wop cover of the Miley Cyrus hit.
ASAP SCIENCE: Can you still trust your eyes?
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James Clementi: A brother's pledge to stand up to love.
'SuperPier' slated for NYC's west side: "The $200 million project, set to break ground in October and to be completed in 2015, will also include a food bazaar akin to a Southeast Asian night market, with noodle pullers and sushi bars. There will also be 400 shipping containers housing some 200 stores and start-up companies. The developer, Youngwoo & Associates, is designing an approximately two-acre public green space for the roof."
Joe Manganiello (gasp!) without a beard (spoiler: still hot)!
Thanks, Japan: "The Japanese government said Friday that it has no issue with the U.S. military allowing same-sex spouses to accompany servicemembers or civilian workers stationed here."
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie caucuses with House Dems on same-sex marriage: "The lawmakers were scheduled to meet Friday morning at the Hawaii Capitol as Abercrombie considers a special session for a bill to legalize gay marriage.
Despite overwhelming majorities for Democrats in both legislative chambers, the issue doesn't have enough support among Senate and House lawmakers for the lawmakers to call a special session themselves."
Matt Bomer responds to petition for him to replace Charlie Hunnam in 50 Shades of Grey.
Just Jared does a track-by-track preview of Katy Perry's new album Prism.
Prop 8 mastermind Frank Schubert back for the California transgender student bill? "The religious conservative Capitol Resource Institute freaked out and has filed for a referendum (see below) under the campaign name Privacy for All Students. The Sacramento-based lobbying group used to be well-funded by right-wing conservatives in the 1990s, but as Democrats became the legislative majority in the state—and as times and attitudes changed—the CRI shrunk in size and importance."
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka buy $3.6 million Harlem townhouse: "Harris just bought a stunning $3.6 million townhouse at 2036 Fifth Ave., between West 125th and 126th streets. The five-story stunner has five bedrooms, five bathrooms and measures a sprawling 8,000 square feet. The sun-filled home includes two terraces, a backyard, chef’s kitchen and lots of space for a playroom and gym. The home is significantly bigger than the couple’s previous home, which was also in Harlem."
Paul Walker strips down for a Davidoff photo shoot.
Michelangelo Signorile speaks with Russian journalist and activist Masha Gessen. "It's high time to talk about asylum," she said. "The only way at this point that the U.S. can help Russian gays and lesbians is get us the hell out of here."
Ryan Kwanten set to play a Viking in Northmen.
Lebanon's rainbow economy: "Lebanon’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has reasons to cheer and some to boo. Beirut has a reputation of being a gay friendly city in comparison to other Middle Eastern capitals such as in Saudi Arabia and Iran where execution of homosexuals is not uncommon. The capital’s tolerance toward homosexuality has allowed an increased gay presence across industries, countless gay tourists to flow into the country and has seen numerous businesses — from department stores to bars and clubs — striving to attract the burgeoning gay community. Yet all this is against a legal backdrop that presents a less than rosy human rights picture — especially among the more vulnerable socioeconomic classes. "
Jon Stewart looks at the candidates looking to fill Mayor Bloomberg's "tiny tiny" shoes in NYC and wonders why in the world they're being asked about composting. But Stewart seems most interested in one candidate - the gaffe-plagued sexter Anthony Weiner and his anger issues.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has brought in outside help to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage in a federal lawsuit, the AP reports:
Corbett's Office of General Counsel said Thursday that West Chester lawyer Bill Lamb (pictured), a former Supreme Court justice, was hired to be lead counsel at a rate of $400 an hour. His associates will be paid $325 an hour.
The case filed two months ago seeks to overturn the 1996 ban on same-sex marriage. Pennsylvania is the only northwestern state that doesn't allow gay marriage or have a system of civil unions.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said she won't defend the law because it's unconstitutional.
Pennsylvania's response in the case is due September 16.