Tuesday, August 10, 2010

3050 Teaching, Honey, suicidal caterpillars

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Education is what survives when what has been learned
has been forgotten."
-- B. F. Skinner --


The above quote is so true! When I taught, I used to tell the kids, especially the general math classes when we covered "word problems", that I am only superficially teaching them math, that I am actually teaching them how to think, how to approach a problem, how to determine what is important to the solution and what is extraneous, and how to apply known facts and logic toward the solution, and that this will serve them well throughout their lives, with all types of problems, including romantic, political, and social problems. Believe it or not, the kids liked that explanation, stopped complaining, and applied themselves.

I also reinforced it by giving points for good or creative thinking, especially in geometry proofs, even if they arrived at an incorrect solution.


News flash! My new house has electricity! This is a photo of the electric company cherry-picker trucks outside the house on a recent evening, photo taken by SIL Hercules:
Still no driveway, lawn, or porch railing, though.


Last Wednesday I did a "Honey of the week" post. I'm going to try to do one every Wednesday. I've set up six more already, as drafts, to be published on coming Wednesdays, but I'm running into trouble finding more.

I enjoy other people's hunk-posts, but they tend to frequently select guys from static photos, like print ads, especially of the men's underwear model variety. Eye candy. They're ok to look at, very pretty, but don't really "do anything" for me, if you know what I mean.

I guess my sexual response isn't stimulated by a nice face or body. I need to see a man move. I need to see how he uses his eyes. I need to hear his voice. I need to see his reactions to situations, get some idea of how his mind works. I need to know how he carries himself. Some combination of all that will make my tummy tickle.

So my selections will be different from the usual.

I decided to call mine "Honeys" rather than "Hunks", because as will become obvious by my choices over the next few weeks, the guys who elicit a sexual response from me are not necessarily pretty. They're allover sexy - to me, anyway.

Heh. Wait 'til you see tomorrow's Honey. You'll see what I mean. Maybe I'm weird.


Don't believe everything you read on the internet - or in field guides, either.

When researching Jimson weed (Datura stramonium), several respected sources informed me that no animal or insect is known to eat Jimson weed, it's that poisonous.

So, experts, explain this:
That's a tomato hornworm, larva of the five-spotted sphinx moth (a.k.a. hawk moth), a major pest of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and tobacco, all of which, by the way, are related to Jimson weed. It has already eaten two full leaves down to stubs, and is making major headway on the third. So much for no insects known to eat it.

The white things on it are the cocoons of larvae of the braconid wasp. The wasp lays its eggs under the caterpillar's skin. The eggs hatch inside the caterpillar, and the wasp larvae feed on the caterpillar's innards! Ick! When they get big enough, they cut holes in the caterpillar's skin, emerge, and spin cocoons to pupate in for about five days (I seem to remember five as the number), and then they emerge from the cocoons as adult wasps. Then the caterpillar dies.

The dead caterpillar husk is called a "mummy" because it's dried up and empty.

What I don't understand is why the caterpillar lives that long! I mean, when the wasp larvae emerge, all the damage has been done, and the caterpillar hasn't got much left inside. I wonder if it's aware it's been eaten up inside! How does it even live long enough for the wasps to emerge from its body, let alone five more days?

Maybe this caterpillar is eating the Jimson weed in an attempt to commit suicide.

No comments: