Monday, September 15, 2014


via whyevolutionistrue:

The Asian giant hornet

In WEIT, I begin the chapter on natural selection with a particularly gruesome example of an adaptation: the predatory Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarina), the world’s largest wasp and a viscious killing machine.
They are horribly fricking huge, with a two-inch body (tipped with a quarter-inch stinger that injects a potent venom) and a three-inch wingspan. Their stings kill several dozen Asians yearly.

I won’t recount the whole story here, except to say that a small band of these wasps, incited by a single scout wasp, who finds a nest and marks it for doom by depositing a drop of pheromone that attracts its confreres, can decimate a colony of 30,000 Asian honeybees in a few hours, decapitating the hapless bees with their slashing jaws. They then raid the bee colony of honey and grubs, which they bring back to their own nests to deposit in the maws of their own voracious larval wasps. Here’s a video of a wasp raid:

But the local honeybees have evolved a marvelous counter-adaptation: they mob the first scout wasp that tries to mark the beehive with a pheromone, covering the wasp with a thick ball of bees that vibrate their abdomens, raising the temperature inside the ball so high that the hornet is cooked to death (the bees can survive that temperature). Here’s a video of the cooking process:

As one might expect, the introduced European honeybee, which hasn’t coevolved with the Asian wasp, has no counteradaptation.

A relative of the hornet, the not-quite-so-dangerous species Vespa veluntina (also a predator of honeybees) , has invaded Europe in the last few years, as reported this week in the Telegraph:
The bee-eating hornets, instantly recognisable by their yellow feet, are rapidly spreading round France and entomologists fear that they will eventually cross the Channel and arrive in Britain.
Hundreds of the insects attacked a mother on a stroll with her five-month-old baby in the Lot-et-Garonne department, southwestern France, at the weekend before turning on a neighbour who ran over to help. The baby was unharmed.
They then pursued two passers by and two Dutch tourists on bikes. The victims were treated in hospital for multiple stings, which are said to be as painful as a hot nail piercing the skin
. . .The Vespa velutina, which grow up to an inch in length, is thought to have arrived in France from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004.
So far the honeybees in Europe, like the European honeybees in Asia, have no defenses against the wasp. It will be interesting to see if, over time, they evolve a cooking behavior (or, in the case of some honeybees in Cyprus, a variant in which a mob of bees surrounds the wasp and suffocates it by preventing it from expanding and contracting its abdomen).


Even if intentionally stupid, that reason to start the bloodshed is stupid... I just... can't get behind it...

However, once the killin' starts, it looks awesome!!


2 down, 3 to go!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Did you know that your fellow JimSmash Reader JOHN TATARELLI JR is a fantastic artist and sculptor.

Today he went to RESINTOPIA and entered 5 of his sculptures into the MODEL Contest; Chatterer Cenobite, Rock Biter, Cthulhu, Pumpkinhead and Matango, sculptures.

He won 2 GOLD KEY TO RESINTOPIA AWARDS and 3 SILVER AWARDS! He also won a Trophy and 2 model kits for overall achievement on his sculptures! Yea!!!!

So do two things:

1) Go congratulate your fellow JimSmasher on facebook!

2) Go to his online store The Art of John Tatarelli Jr and buy some sculptures! They kickass and the Holiday Season approaches! * (I want the Pumpkinhead and Swamp Thing, myself!)

Congratulations again, John! 

You rock!


JimSmash Reader LOUIS BERNAL is a badass artist and toy sculptor/customizer. Check out this NAUTICA he put together!

He posts:
I've become a big fan of the IDW Transformers comic books, especially the "Dawn of the Autobots" story. I like the character Nautica a lot. I know that Hasbro has a Windblade figure out and Arcee and Chromia coming out in the near future, but I couldn't remember if Hasbro was going to make a Nautica figure.

So, I went ahead and made my own. She's not accurate to the comic book -- she's missing her visor and helmet antenna. I frankenstein'd her from different 'bots --> the torso and legs are from AOE Slug, the head is Generations Skids, the arms are from movieverse Bumblebee, the wings are from movieverse satellite Soundwave, and the wrench is from Animated Ratchet.

I drew the box art to reflect my custom toy. And the rear box's text is taken from the comic (edited).

Thanks for checking this out. It was a fun project, hope you like it...

--Louis Bernal


Thursday, September 11, 2014


Bill McBride, 42, boasts the world's largest collection of Darth Vader memorabilia and is on a 20-year mission to turn his bedroom into a museum dedicated to the Sith Lord.

Mr McBride, who has spent more than $284,000 on buying Darth Vader merchandise, has spent most of his adult life amassing a collection of more than 60,000 items including figurines, artwork and replica lightsabers.

Mr McBride has collected anything to do with his favourite character Darth Vader and has spent an estimated $284,000 for his 60,000 piece Darth Vader collection. Sorry kids, you're not going to college or inheriting anything. 

'The moment Darth Vader burst on screen in Star Wars, I was immediately a fan of the character,' he said.

'But when you have the imposing, powerful presence of David Prowse, the other-worldly voice of James Earl Jones, all wrapped up in one of the coolest, most amazing costumes in movie history, you can't help but fall in love.'

The hoarder, whose Darth collection contains everything from original movie props, pre-production items, original works of art and modern merchandise, said a 'market value' doesn't exist for some of his rarer items.

And although some of his items could fetch for up to $16,500, he's reluctant to part ways with his cherished Vader relics.
He said: 'I just had someone make one of the more interesting trade offers I've received over the years.

'A gentleman contacted me about trading for a select group of five or five items from my collection.

'Astonishingly, he offered the keys to his Porsche 911, but I turned him down, of course.'

Despite his best efforts, Mr McBride says the collection will never be complete as he looks forward to the new saga in the Star Wars franchise, Episode 7.

'The hobby of Star Wars collecting is mind bogglingly vast, and it's easy to get lost.

'But if anything has changed over the decades, I am more passionate today than when I started.

'Needless to say, the entire world is now becoming fully engaged in Star Wars mania again and I for one am dying to head back into that galaxy, far far away.' 

Some individual items in Mr McBride's collection are worth up to $16,500 to the right collector

* thanks to Willie (who has a more impressive ALIENS collection)



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


In the current story arc of AMAZING X-MEN, the X-Men must fight a legion of Wendigos....

....which is what HULK had to do just 5 years ago in 2009:

 Marvel loves to take a character and run it through their usual formulas:

* make multiple versions
* make a clone
* make an offspring
* make an alt-future version
* make a gender swap version
* make a diff't color version (optional)
* combine any of the above

I grow tired of the same shit recycled. Give me something new and original, Marvel, and I'll gladly give you my money.


Berserker Predator is not amused.

Monday, September 08, 2014