Human

Where Do Cockroaches Live When There are No Houses Around?

Soshi K. asks: What do cockroaches eat and where do they live when not in our houses?

American-Cockroach

Sneaky and skittering, invasive and indomitable, the disgusting peridomestic cockroach is a formidable enemy for anyone unlucky enough to live among them. Interestingly, however, they are surprisingly delicate, and at least one species is utterly dependent on humans for its survival.

Of the 5,000 known species of cockroaches, those that most plague people are the American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) and the German cockroach (Blattella Germanica).

American Cockroach

Americana is the largest cockroach encountered in human constructions, growing to an average length of 1.5 inches (4 cm); it is not common in homes in the northern U.S., preferring a warmer environment, although it will be around – especially in larger, particularly commercial, buildings like grocery stores and restaurants.

Unlike their German counterparts, the American cockroach will live outdoors (in warmer climates), and in places like Florida, they can be found around garbage, in trees and in woodpiles. During periods of heavy rains, this species is known to “mass migrate,” and overrun a building. The bugs are managed around homes by caulking cracks, removing rotting vegetation and keeping areas around the structure as dry as possible.

Indigenous to Africa, the American cockroach was introduced across the pond in the 17th century and is usually found below ground in drains, steam tunnels, sewers and basements. Prolific, one community of Americana that was discovered in a single sewer manhole consisted of 5,000 members.

On average, each female of the species will produce 150 eggs over a 10-month period and will deposit them, in clusters inside a hard-shelled case, near a food source – sometimes “gluing” the case to the source with her spit.

After hatching, the American cockroach goes through several stages of development, but during each it actively forages for food. Opportunistic, they enjoy whatever is at hand and will eat decaying matter, as well as bread and fruit, paper and clothes, hair and even shoes.

Because of their proclivity for sewers and human waste, the American cockroach spreads over 22 species of organisms that cause disease in humans, including protozoans, viruses, fungi…

Some Misconceptions About Robots

Robots are omnipresent in pop culture. Since the term was coined nearly a century ago, robots have played the role of sidekick, villain, and protagonist in some of the greatest science fiction works of all time. But there’s a lot that books and movies get wrong about our mechanical companions. Here are 11 myths about robots that your favorite TV shows and films have helped spread.

1. ROBOTS ARE A MODERN INVENTION.

It’s hard not to associate robots with visions of the future, but we’ve been building artificial helpers to complete tasks for us for thousands of years. In 400 BCE, long before the advent of electricity, the inventor of the pulley and the screw built a wooden pigeon capable of flight. Centuries later the Roman writer Petronius Arbiter built a doll that moved like a person and in 1557, inventor Giovanni Torriani constructed a wooden bot to pick up the Holy Roman Emperor’s daily bread. Some early concepts more closely resembled the metal machines we know today, including designs for a mechanical knight published by Leonardo da Vinci in 1495.

2. THE MAJORITY OF ROBOTS ASSEMBLE CARS.

If you had cited this as fact a few decades ago, you would have been correct: The automotive industry once accounted for 90 percent of all robots in use. But today they’re good for a lot more than assembling cars. Half of the world’s robots can be found in diverse environments including hospitals, labs, and energy plants, with the other 50 percent still working in auto manufacturing.

3. ROBOTS ARE EXPENSIVE.

Home robots have been around for a while, but the steep price of some flashier products has put the technology out of reach for many households. Believe it or not affordable home robots do exist—buyers just have to know what they’re looking for. Smaller, simple robots like kids’ toys, rolling alarm clocks and smart security cameras can all be purchased for less than $50. If you’re willing to set your price ceiling a little higher, more interactive robots that do everything from keeping you company on walks to encouraging you to exercise can be found for under $200.

4. ROBOTS WILL LEAD TO MASS UNEMPLOYMENT.

While it’s true that increased automation will lead to the extinction of many jobs, this issue often gets blown out of proportion. Americans have had anxiety over being replaced with new technology since the 1800s. As has been the case throughout history, future technological developments will likely also play a hand in job creation. So while bank tellers, telemarketers, and loan officers may be taken over by computers in the not-too-distant future, new jobs we can’t yet predict will likely take their place.

5. ONLY PROFESSIONALS CAN BUILD ROBOTS.

You don’t need an engineering degree to build a robot of your own. With the right tools and an urge to tinker, anyone can build a basic robot at home for around…

NASA Is Looking to Make a Mobile Water Factory on the Moon

Water has long been the limiting factor for humans in space. But now, NASA is developing a rover that can make water on the Moon. Such a capability will be necessary for any serious attempt at the permanent settlement of Mars, or any other long-term space voyage. If successful, it will inaugurate a new, critical area in space exploration, where resources from other worlds can be harnessed and used.

Presently, everything we use in space is made on Earth. Consider the big, visible parts of human exploration of the solar system, rockets like the Space Launch System (SLS), under construction and set for its maiden voyage in 2018. There’s also the Orion capsule, tested previously and set to fly atop SLS (without astronauts). Then there’s work on habitats: Scientists are currently working on manufacturing artificial habitats for the International Space Station, but soon will be working on one for the Martian surface. A huge part of this kind of pioneering the solar system, however, concerns not just what we bring to other worlds, but what we leave behind. The Lunar Resource Prospector is the first big step in striking that balance.

The real problem of colonization is mass. It’s very expensive to send something to space, and the heavier it is, the more it costs. It takes hundreds of kilograms on the launch pad to put a single kilogram on the surface of Mars, and Martian settlers will need many, many metric tons of commodities to survive. Practically speaking, they can’t take everything they will need from Earth. To colonize the solar system, they will have to learn how to use the resources of the solar system.

The good news is that everything in the solar system is a potential resource for settlers. In-situ resource utilization, or ISRU, is the concept of mining resources on other worlds and turning them into useful commodities, as well as recycling waste created on other worlds. (Waste conversion solves two problems: It creates new useful things and eliminates garbage. The ISS dumps its garbage, allowing it to burn up in the atmosphere. But surface dwellers on Mars won’t have such a convenient disposal service.)

Energy is an important part of ISRU, and from a settlement perspective, energy is very cheap. The Sun is a giant fusion reactor in the sky, after all, and to harness it, all pioneers need are a few solar panels that they bring from home. Those panels will provide energy for a very long time—energy that can be used for ISRU.

Mars is the most likely current spot for future human settlement, so consider what resources might be available there: Settlers could extract oxygen from Mars’s soil, known as regolith. Water could be extracted from volatiles in the soil, essentially baking them off. There is also carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere. Combine carbon with electrolyzed water and settlers can make methane, which could be used as fuel.

Settlers won’t need to take building material to Mars; they could easily glue soil together and make bricks. Metals could also be extracted from Martian regolith to build things. Because Mars is rich with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, settlers could even make plastic. What would they build first? Probably greenhouses, for starters. Growing crops for food will also be useful for water purification and oxygen generation.

For…

A List Of Common Misconceptions About Robots

Robots are omnipresent in pop culture. Since the term was coined nearly a century ago, robots have played the role of sidekick, villain, and protagonist in some of the greatest science fiction works of all time. But there’s a lot that books and movies get wrong about our mechanical companions. Here are 11 myths about robots that your favorite TV shows and films have helped spread.

1. ROBOTS ARE A MODERN INVENTION.

It’s hard not to associate robots with visions of the future, but we’ve been building artificial helpers to complete tasks for us for thousands of years. In 400 BCE, long before the advent of electricity, the inventor of the pulley and the screw built a wooden pigeon capable of flight. Centuries later the Roman writer Petronius Arbiter built a doll that moved like a person and in 1557, inventor Giovanni Torriani constructed a wooden bot to pick up the Holy Roman Emperor’s daily bread. Some early concepts more closely resembled the metal machines we know today, including designs for a mechanical knight published by Leonardo da Vinci in 1495.

2. THE MAJORITY OF ROBOTS ASSEMBLE CARS.

If you had cited this as fact a few decades ago, you would have been correct: The automotive industry once accounted for 90 percent of all robots in use. But today they’re good for a lot more than assembling cars. Half of the world’s robots can be found in diverse environments including hospitals, labs, and energy plants, with the other 50 percent still working in auto manufacturing.

3. ROBOTS ARE EXPENSIVE.

Home robots have been around for a while, but the steep price of some flashier products has put the technology out of reach for many households. Believe it or not affordable home robots do exist—buyers just have to know what they’re looking for. Smaller, simple robots like kids’ toys, rolling alarm clocks and smart security cameras can all be purchased for less than $50. If you’re willing to set your price ceiling a little higher, more interactive robots that do everything from keeping you company on walks to encouraging you to exercise can be found for under $200.

4. ROBOTS WILL LEAD TO MASS UNEMPLOYMENT.

While it’s true that increased automation will lead to the extinction of many jobs, this issue often gets blown out of proportion. Americans have had anxiety over being replaced with new technology since the 1800s. As has been the case throughout history, future technological developments will likely also play a hand in job creation. So while bank tellers, telemarketers, and loan officers may be taken over by computers in the not-too-distant future, new jobs we can’t yet predict will likely take their place.

5. ONLY PROFESSIONALS CAN BUILD ROBOTS.

You don’t need an engineering degree to build a robot of your own. With the right tools and an urge to tinker, anyone can build a basic robot at home for around…

‘Lucy’,Our Early Human Ancestor, Spent A Lot of Time in the Trees

We started from the branches; now we’re here. Researchers say the remains of the human ancestor nicknamed “Lucy” include heavily built arms and weaker legs more like those of tree-dwelling chimpanzees than like those of modern humans. They published their findings in the journal PLOS One.

Lucy’s remains have captivated scientists since they were first unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974. She and other Australopithecus afarensis were the first human ancestors to walk upright. Aside from this, Lucy’s day-to-day life has remained something of a mystery, as has her death.

Some researchers think she met her demise after falling out of a tree. A controversial study published earlier this year concluded that a fracture in Lucy’s upper arm could have been caused by a fall from a great height. Project leader John Kappelman said Lucy’s transitional existence may have been her downfall. “It may well have been the case that adaptations that permitted her to live more efficiently on…