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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
A seasoned developer's little discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Nature stories from the book "The Case of the Bonsai Manager"

The book The Case of the Bonsai Manager uses a number of Nature stories and correlates them with Management topics. Some of the fascinating biology facts excerpted and paraphrased from the book:
- A vervet monkey categorizes its predators and gives suitable signals to other vervets
- The human brain is under three percent of the body weight but consumes a quarter of the energy used by the body
- The neo-cortex or the "cabbage part of the brain is the repository of complex emotions. For example, it can hold multiple and opposite emotions simultaneously. This is why you can hate someone's guts, yet appear polite and loving towards him. An animal cannot do that. It either loves you or hates you. Dogs are loved because they cannot feel one way and behave another way towards you; they always appear faithful in exactly the same way.
- The growth of a crocodile can be stunted by confining it to a small enclosure soon after it has emerged from the egg. Bonsai crocs are created thus.
- In the early stages of evolution, crocodiles used to be 15 metres long. Today the longest crocodile is only half that length
- When a crocodile has torn a chunk of flesh off its victim and is swallowing it, pressure is exerted on the thin, flexible roof at the back of the reptile's mouth. This squeezes the tear glands which are just above, causing tears to well up in its eyes. Hence the expression 'crocodile tears'.
- Blue tits and robins picked cream from milk bottle tops that were delivered by milkmen with no caps in the early 1900s. Within a decade of the introduction of aluminium seals for milk bottles, the entire population of blue tits learned how to pierce the seals through an institutional learning process but not the robins.
- Training of a falcon in Arabia takes three weeks, just half the time it takes in other countries
- Snakes and turtles are cold-blooded. The parents don't protect their eggs after they are laid (the Australian green tree python is an exception). Despite a low survival rate, turtles have existed for 150 million years.
- Elephant calves thrive on long-term care
- Australia has the least fertile soil on earth among all the ecosystems. Yet it is host to some 12,000 species of plants, a biodiversity that can rival a rainforest.
- Australia's Queensland coastline has the world's largest collection of coral reef. Marine vertebrates there protect themselves by producing some of the world's most potent toxins. As many as one-fourth of the chemicals derived from natural products at the US Cancer Institute are from Australia
- Eucalyptus trees in Australia develop large holes in their bases to provide shelter for possums which leave nutrient-rich droppings as a sort of a rent!
- Magellanic penguins spend 80% of their time swimming.
- When 60% of a group of red deer stand up, it is a signal for the whole lot to start moving.
- A typical bee colony can search up to 6km from the hive. When a scout bee finds a source of nectar, it does a waggle dance whose intensity is proportional to the richness of the nectar source he has found.
- Before a caterpillar becomes a pupa, it gains 3000 times its original hatching weight
- Eyeless, cave-bound cricket has 'feelers' or antennae up to 4 times the length of their body
- Pigeons fly fast (almost 90-100km per hour) and for long distances (over 10,000 km) and have a unique sense of precision in navigation. This can be attributed to the fact that they are good at detecting very low frequency sounds, called infra-sound from ocean waves which gives them a map sense. They also have a compass sense as they sense the magnetic north.
- The common house fly's eye is made up of about 4000 tiny, hexagonally packed lenses.

Also see: Book Review: The Case of the Bonsai Manager

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