Weird science facts, February 15 — February 21

Another week of Twitter #weirdscifacts!  This is the final month; in mid-March I’ll have done two continuous years of weird science!!!

704. Feb 15: Bee lice: the parasite that feeds by making bees throw up.  Scroll down the linked article to get to the description of bee lice; tip o’ the hat to @TheAtavism!

705. Feb 16: #weirdscifacts via @David_Bressan : New fossil crustacean named after the king of pop!  Researchers have some flexibility in naming new species; we’ve noted in previous weird science facts the beetle named after Hitler!  Obviously, Jackson is a better choice.  (h/t @David_Bressan!)

706. Feb 17: The nest-building habits of the mason bee!  I was unaware that there even existed bees that constructed individual nests!  You can watch a video of the nest construction here.  (via @bug_girl!)

706a. Prototaxites: a 26-foot tall ancient fungus, or something else?

707. Feb 18: Optical physicist Fresnel made major optics discoveries due to being forced out of his job & put under police surveillance.  I learned this from Fresnel’s biography, written by Arago!  Apparently Fresnel started some preliminary optics research, but his work had hardly begun when he tried to join the military to prevent Napoleon from becoming Emperor again.  Napoleon did regain power, however, and Fresnel was forced out of work and put under constant surveillance.  The only thing he could do to keep busy — was optics!

708. Feb 19: The Sargasso Sea — not quite the “death of ships”, but a fascinating region of the Atlantic ocean.

709. Feb 20: Via @bug_girl: The wild jumping of springtails!  A video can be seen here; as noted in another post by @bug_girl, springtails are not even technically insects!

710. Feb 21: Via @majda72: 30,000 year-old perma-frosted plant is revived and blooms again!

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