Tag Archives: mammals

Three grey squirrels squabble in my back garden

IN MY menagerie, here in Oxford, the birds squabble, the mammals squabble – is there any hope of peace in our time or Ahimsa? Δ

Silkworms could end up busting druggies

NIKKEI NET has an interesting article today on how Japanese boffins are studying insects to create cyborgs (cybugs?) that integrate electronics with bits of their bodies.

Junpei Kanazaki, of the University of Tokyo, thinks that he can use the ability of the silkworm moth to detect pheromes from a female moth over one kilometre away to detect narcotics instead.

His Frankenstein creation integrates the head of a moth with a 30 centimetre robot to detect the pheromones and point to where the source is.

Nissan is studying the bee’s ability to avoid obstacles in a hundredth of a second and hopes those principles can be applied to future motor car designs.

Mammals, according to Kanakazi, have brains that have 100 million neurons, while insect brains are hundreds of thousands of times simpler.

Kanakazi, however, should take note of Intel’s take on the humble bumble bee. According to an Intel executive in 1998, its CPUs would have enough transistors to equal the number of logical circuits of a bee family member by 2010.  The nikkei.net article is here – you will need a subscription.

If all of this comes to pass, it will be most interesting.

My Tabbysinian cat has diabetes

IT’S INTERESTING that other mammals are prone to the same diseases humans are. Every mammal with a heart is subject to a coronary, whether or not it eats deep roasted Mars Bars or not. Or smokes. Cats don’t smoke.

One of our two Abyssinians has diabetes. She started to shrink in size earlier on this year and although she didn’t show any particular signs of unwellness, her fur definitely started to stare, so it was off to the vet with  her to loud shriekings.

 Blood tests showed she was diabetic, so she wa sput on one milliletre of insulin a day. The nice vet explined that unlike humanoids, if you got the blood sugar level down, these here cats might stop needing insulin.

There is a god then. Because the little bottle of insulin is very, very expensive and one bottle would last a little thing like her about three months. But because it is a protein, it degrades. Or so the drug companies tell the vets. We thought there was a GM diabetes thingie. In India, where I am half the time, there are very few cats – “billi”. I’m told that’s because cats are thankless creatures, unlike dogs. I wil keep you informed on this insulin stuff.

I can tell you the treatment is working and the cat is just as irritating as it was before it got sick. I have suggested it goes out to work. But do you know what is says when I suggest this? It goes for me eyes. Thankless creature!  ξ