Wayne's Trivia Notes #2
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Wayne's Trivia Note #44 (28 March 2013)

Puffball steaks anyone! Collected in the hills south of Poway. By the way, they taste like tofu.


Wayne's Trivia Note #45 (30 March 2013)

Flashback down memory lane to the Oregon Coast Range: Overindulging on fresh harvest of King Bolete mushrooms (Boletus edulis)!


Wayne's Trivia Note #46 (6 April 2013)

Ever wonder who makes the holes in your wool sweaters? The culprit is a clothes moth, but the one who actually eats your cloth is the larvae inside its protective case. In a simple experiment I gave the larvae a choice of textiles and they preferred Quaker oatmeal flakes!


Wayne's Trivia Note #47 (10 April 2013)

Whenever sleeping outside in rattlesnake country, always check your underwear each morning!


Wayne's Trivia Note #48 (12 April 2013)

Focus on the dot in center and move your head toward and away from the monitor. See Wikimedia for more optical illusions.


Wayne's Trivia Note #49 (12 April 2013)

Miniature fruits & vegetables from California's Santa Ynez Valley!


Wayne's Trivia Note #50 (14 April 2013)

Is this a very large penny, a miniature apple fruit (called a pome), an altered Photoshop image, or all of the above? See which of the statements are correct: Answer To Question


Wayne's Trivia Note #51 (26 April 2013)

On a recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park I came across this desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in a sandy wash. Based on its size, it may be around 25 year old. This seldom-seen species is now listed as rare and endagered.


Wayne's Trivia Note #52 (10 May 2013)

Greetings from the Salton Sea. My latest quest is to photograph the remarkable honeypot ant that lives in this scorching area. See the Amazing BBC Video About Honeypot Ants In Horseshoe Canyon, Arizona.


Wayne's Trivia Note #53 (12 May 2013)

Remarkable honeypot ant at the Salton Sea. Special workers (called repletes) with swollen abdomens store honey to feed the colony during times of famine and extreme drought. Photo of repletes by Greg Hume 17 Sept. 2006, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. More Images On Wayne's Word


Wayne's Trivia Note #54 (14 May 2013)

Relative sizes of 3 household objects: U.S. Penny, grain of table salt & dust mite from my couch. See following website for the relative sizes of many more objects in our visible universe: Relative Sizes Of Objects


Wayne's Trivia Note #55 (20 May 2013)

A male California tree cricket (Oecanthus californicus) "serenading" me outside my window. Click on the following link to hear its call (wait a moment for sound file to load): Click To Hear Song Of The Above Cricket. More Information about crickets on Wayne's Word: Wayne's Cricket Page.


Wayne's Trivia Note #56 (25 May 2013)

An astonishing variation in ant sizes, from tiny ants barely visible without magnification to huge ants up to two inches long. What they lack in size they make up for in sheer numbers of individuals. It has been estimated that ants comprise 15-20% of the terrestrial animal biomass. See Wayne's Index Of Ant Images.


Wayne's Trivia Note #57 (26 May 2013)

A tasty edible weed (Malva parviflora) in vacant field near my home in Twin Oaks Valley, San Marcos. Fresh leaf blades are placed in a little water and stir fried in olive oil with chopped garlic, black pepper, onions and tofu. See Wayne's Malva Page.


Wayne's Trivia Note #58 (30 May 2013)

This cute creature was looking through my kitchen window last night at 11:00 P.M. Picture taken from my sink through the glass window. More images of this moth.


Wayne's Trivia Note #59 (8 June 2013)

This is not a prehistoric monster from the dinosaur era. It is a "bulldog ant" native to Australia and definitely high on my list of species that I would like to see first hand. A related species called the "jack jumper" (Myrmecia pilosula) has only 2 chromosomes. In fact, haploid males have only one chromosome per cell, the lowest of any animal. See Wayne's Ant Index.


Wayne's Trivia Note #60 (12 June 2013)

Although plant-eating dinosaurs are usually depicted with ferns, cycads and conifers, some Cretaceous dinosaurs had microscopic silica bodies called phytoliths in their dung. Phytoliths only occur in grass leaves and are responsible (in part) for the wear on the teeth of grazers. So, it looks like some dinosaurs may have grazed in grasslands. Science Volume 18: 1177-1180 (2005). See Wayne's Word: Dinosaurs Dined On Grasses


Wayne's Trivia Note #61 (20 June 2013)

Wolffia: My Favorite Plant & The World's Smallest Flowering Plant! To appreciate its minute size, a thimble filled with wolffia plants (mostly Wolffia columbiana) is compared with multicolored candy sprinkles used for decorating cakes & cookies. The average diameter of a globose wolffia plant body is about 1/25th of an inch (1 mm). Some wolffia species are even smaller! Each tiny green ball actually produces a minute apetalous flower. See Wayne's Word: World's Smallest Flowering Plant


Wayne's Trivia Note #62 (23 June 2013)

The shiny green "bubbles" are actually plants of Wolffia columbiana in Oso Flaco Lake (San Luis Obispo County). In terms of successive orders of magnitude (based on powers of 10), an average wolffia plant is roughly intermediate in size (volume) between a water molecule and the planet Earth! See Wayne's Word: World's Smallest Flowering Plant


Wayne's Trivia Note #63 (26 June 2013)

How about a bowl of nutritious, crispy weaver ants for breakfast. These dehydrated, high-protein ants are imported from rain forests in Thailand. They make nests in trees by weaving leaves together. See Wayne's Word: Edible Weaver Ants From Thailand


Wayne's Trivia Note #64 (28 June 2013)

This black widow spider made her web next to the exhaust pipe on my truck. Each day she retreats into the frame and then rebuilds her web at night when I park! More black widow images on Wayne's Word.


Wayne's Trivia Note #65 (30 June 2013)

Can you spot the ground mantid photographed a few days ago on Owens Peak? If you take your eyes off of it when it runs, you may never see it again! More Ground Mantid Images on Wayne's Word.


Wayne's Trivia Note #66 (3 July 2013)

While testing the flash on a Nikon D-3200 SLR the other night, I almost walked into this orb weaver under my pepper tree. Her name is Araneus gemma or possibly A. andrewsi. More D-3200 test Images.


Wayne's Trivia Note #67 (7 July 2013)

My new ant goggles with compound eyes for photographing ants. The colonies are more tolerant of my presence when I am wearing these; however, they are not too good for driving! Index Of Ant Images.


Wayne's Trivia Note #68 (9 July 2013)

This large tarantula hawk wasp with orange antennae landed at my feet at the summit of Owens Peak. Males have straight antennae and don't sting, but I didn't have the nerve to test this hypothesis. Females have an excruciating sting and coiled antennae, but can occasionally straighten their antennae! More Images.


Wayne's Trivia Note #69 (17 July 2013)

I'm glad this tick in my abdomen is not the black-legged deer tick (Ixodes) that carries Lyme Disease (See Insert)! More Images.


Wayne's Trivia Note #70 (21 July 2013)

Not a typical Facebook entry--but very noteworthy discovery! Illustration showing Mn Center (manganese-protein complex), the site of water oxidation in a cyanobacterial cell where water is split into electrons, hydrogen ions (protons) and molecular oxygen. Photosynthetic cyanobacteria are ancient life forms on Earth, dating back more than 2 billion years. They produce oxygen by the splitting of water, a complex and significant step in the evolution of life. One of the biggest mysteries in studying the origin of life is how and when oxygenic photosynthesis first began. Scientists at Caltech have recently discovered a more primitive manganese-oxidizing photosynthesis (without the splitting of water) that occurred long before cyanobacteria, and long before oxygen filled our atmosphere. Instead of water, manganese supplies the electrons for photosynthesis and this process could potentially be duplicated in a laboratory. This new discovery could have enormous implications on the depletion of fossil fuels and global warming of our planet. This is particularly true when you consider the possibilities of energy production from artificial photosynthesis. More Information On Wayne's Word Evolution Page.


Wayne's Trivia Note #71 (1 August 2013)

I am going to be more careful about which photos I upload to Facebook. Unbeknown to me I have granted Facebook a license to use my images anyway they see fit for free. This means they could actually sell my copyrighted images to others! As a published author and photographer this is simply unacceptable. If anyone wants to see any of my images that were once on Facebook they are available at the following index on Waynes Word: Wayne's Facebook Trivia Index.


Wayne's Trivia Note #72 (1 August 2013)

Which of the following are NOT true: (a) Vincent Van Gogh and King George III both had reddish or purple-colored urine. (b) Both had neurological abnormalities, including psychoses and hallucinations. (c) Both cut off part of their ears. (d) Both suffered from the genetic disease Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP). (e) Van Gogh's affinity to the color yellow was caused by his excessive consumption of absinthe. Answer: All are true except (c) and (e). More Information On Wayne's Word Medical Alkaloid Page.


Wayne's Trivia Note #73 (2 August 2013)

Mystery of "Death Valley Desert Seeds" finally solved: What is the origin of these colorful morsels sold at Furnace Creek Ranch? Please click on the following Wayne's Word link to find out: Trivia Note Link.


Wayne's Trivia Note #74 (5 August 2013)

Ants use the same algorithm as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) in computers. They follow a simple set of rules that tell each ant, "If this happens, do this." The TCP algorithm sends out a large number of data packets at the start of a transmission over the Internet to determine available bandwidth and then adjusts the speed accordingly. Harvester ants do the same thing by sending out a large number of foragers. If few return with food ("low bandwidth") then the number of foragers sent out ("rate of transmission") is greatly reduced. It all boils down to a question of bandwidth--except in the ant's case, they've been doing it for millions of years! More information & reference:

Harvester Ant Images      See The Following Reference On-Line

  • Prabhaker, B., Dektar, K.N., and D.M. Gordon. 2012. "The Regulation of Ant Colony Foraging Activity Without Spatial Information." PLOS Computational Biology 8 (8): e1002670. doi: 10. 1371/journal.pcbi. 1002670.


Wayne's Trivia Note #75 (8 August 2013)

Be careful when climbing around the boulders on Owens Peak north of Palomar College. When searching for ants, look carefully before placing your hands under shrubs or between boulders! Ants On Owens Peak.


Wayne's Trivia Note #76 (12 August 2013)

When southern fire ants on Owens Peak clash with foraging orange desert ants (Forelius), they wag or vibrate their rear ends (gasters) to repel the invading Forelius ants. In the following video they are protecting the Nature Valley Granola that I gave to them! Watch My YouTube Video.


Wayne's Trivia Note #77 (15 August 2013)

Professor emeritus Wayne Armstrong in a biology laboratory at Palomar College: He was discussing the recent meteor showers over San Diego, and how some meteorites may carry the precursors of complex biological molecules, including amino acids and DNA bases. Unfortunately, Professor Armstrong got a little too close to one of these "balls of fire." The following image was caught on an iPhone by the distinguished Professor James Gilardi. See The YouTube Video Of This Shocking Event.


Wayne's Trivia Note #78 (18 August 2013)

The peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus) has grasping predatory appendages that can move over 50 mph and accelerate like a .22 caliber bullet. They actually have the force to break a glass aquarium, BUT THEY ARE NOT THE FASTEST! According to researchers at UC Berkeley, the long, widespread jaws of the trap-jaw ant (Odontomachus) move up to 145 mph and close shut in 0.13 milliseconds. The peak force exerted is 100,000 times the force of gravity or 300 times the ant's body weight. More Information On Wayne's Word.


Wayne's Trivia Note #79 (25 August 2013)

Walking along the Union Pacific railroad tracks in Tucson, Arizona. The five approaching locomotives collectively generate about 20,000 horsepower! More Train Images On Wayne's Word.


Wayne's Trivia Note #80 (1 September 2013)

See assortment of Wayne's Word calendars at the following link. Click on caption below each image to connect with CafePress. Be sure to click on pull-down menu below price and then click on 2014 (January 2014). I have no idea why 2013 is the default! Wayne's Word Calendars Available On-Line.


Wayne's Trivia Note #81 (1 September 2013)

I just discovered a large, unusual ant on Owens Peak near Palomar College. It is a nocturnal carpenter ant native to the Gulf islands and Baja California peninsula. Its home on Owens Peak is quite remarkabel More Images Of Camponotus fragilis.


Wayne's Trivia Note #82 (1 September 2013)

Ever wondered what a forest without fire suppression looks like? A forest with periodic lightning fires that clear out the forest understory? Above image was taken in 1971 in the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja California. Forest In Baja California With Natural Fires.


Wayne's Trivia Note #83 (1 September 2013)

Massive cumulonimbus clouds over mtns & desert of San Diego County. They produce humidity, monsoonal rains and flash flood in desert riverbeds. Wildflower That Blooms During Monsoonal Rains.


Wayne's Trivia Note #84 (1 September 2013)

Two commonly asked questions during the summer 2013 monsoonal season in southeastern California and Arizona: 1. Do you think it is raining up in those mountains? 2. I wonder if it is safe driving up this desert riverbed?


Wayne's Trivia Note #85 (1 September 2013)

Gee, I wonder if you can catch any pathogens from lemurs?


Wayne's Trivia Note #86 (2 September 2013)

The world's largest sperm does not come from the largest animal. It comes from the plant Zamia roezlii, a cycad endemic to rain forests of Colombia. It is about 0.4 mm in length and is visible to the unaided eye. In fact, it is roughly the size of an average grain of table salt or a dust mite. At one end are several spiral bands of 20,000 to 40,000 cilia. The pulsating beat of cilia help to propel the sperm through the pollen tube on its journey to fertilize the egg. More botanical record-breakers on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/BotRecords1.htm


Wayne's Trivia Note #87 (4 September 2013)

During these very hot & humid days of August & September 2013, San Diego County's desert region has been getting hit by heavy rainfall and flash floods. We have had this before! In early September 1976, the I-8 freeway was washed out by a powerful flash flood resulting from Hurricane Kathleen. Massive concrete slabs were washed down the riverbed, along with cars, trucks and the San Diego-Arizona railroad tracks. I took the above picture 37 years ago while driving down the Mountain Springs Grade toward Ocotillo!


Wayne's Trivia Note #88 (5 September 2013)

A microbiology professor once told a former student of mine that he would not eat peanut butter because of the risk of carcinogenic aflatoxins. According to Jon Krampner's new book "Creamy & Crunchy: An Informal History of Peanut Butter, The All-American Food," the odds of getting liver cancer from aflatoxins in peanut butter (in the U.S.) is about 1 in 10,000. This is also the probability of being struck by lightning during a lifetime of 80 years, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), based on averages for 2001-2010. Actually, eating peanut butter in moderation is probably a wise decision. I was also asked about eating peanut butter on an airplane--does this increase the risk of dying! More information on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/chemid2.htm#pnut


Wayne's Trivia Note #89 (5 September 2013)

If all of the species of plants and animals were lined up at random, every fifth one would be a beetle. In other words, a conservative one-fifth (20 percent) of all the named (described) species of plants and animals on earth are beetles. Even more amazing, according to Camilo Mora, et al. [PLOS 9 (8) 2011], 86% of existing eukaryotic species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean still await description. More beetles on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0502.htm

Mora C, Tittensor DP, Adl S, Simpson AGB, Worm B (2011) "How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?" PLoS Biol 9(8): e1001127. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127


Wayne's Trivia Note #90 (10 September 2013)

It's a Bee...It's a Wasp...No, it's a Giant Flying Ant!


Wayne's Trivia Note #91 (16 September 2013)

The latest spider to take up residence in my backyard in San Marcos. The body looks like it is coated with Sterling silver. More images of this beautiful spider on: Wayne's Word Spider Page #1


Wayne's Trivia Note #92 (20 September 2013)

Hanging by a thread: A preying mantis looking through my kitchen window last night! It is hanging by the single strand of a spider web next to the glass. More images of preying mantids: Wayne's Word Mantid Page


Wayne's Trivia Note #93 (22 September 2013)

A solpugid (sun spider) encountered on my Owens Peak walk near Palomar College. This is a smaller version of the ferocious "camel spider" described by troops in Iraq. More images of sun spiders: Wayne's Word Solpugid Page


Wayne's Trivia Note #94 (24 September 2013)

Brazil nuts are produced in a large, woody seed pod on a tall, rain forest tree. This is one of the few economically important plants that are exclusively harvested in their natural rain forest habitat. The flowers require certain species of bees for pollination, and the bees require a certain orchid species to survive. Approximately one nut (seed) provides the MDR for the valuable trace element selenium needed for an antioxidant enzyme that protects cellular membranes and organelles. More than a dozen seeds may be too much selenium per day. Wayne's Word Brazil Nut Page.


Wayne's Trivia Note #95 (25 September 2013)

Near my home in Twin Oaks Valley, San Marcos there is a weed called pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). In 1969, when astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a popular song on the radio was "Polk Salad Annie" by Tony Joe White. The song depicted a poor southern girl who picked a wild plant called pokeweed for a vegetable. I have yet to try this plant because some parts are poisonous! Polk Salad Annie.

Note: I will no longer upload all of my image files under Facebook's current policy: By posting your pictures and videos, you grant Facebook "a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to to use any (IP) content that you post on or in connection with Facebook." In other words, Facebook can use your images any way they want for free and without your permission. They can give them away or sell them to other persons or websites! As a published author and photographer this policy is not acceptable.