clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

JOURNALS REPORT ON SPACE SHOT, PLANTS, CATERPILLARS AND ANTS

The following are new developments in the scientific and medical worlds, as reported in various technical journals:

- News Report (National Research Council, May):Salt-tolerant plants may help feed hungry countries. In India, "seedlings of bajra - pearl millet - are being planted in the sand and nurtured with seawater. The yields are promising: up to one-and-a-half tons per 2.5 acres. . . . Their ability to do so can be vital in combating poverty and malnutrition, since millions of acres of land in developing countries suffer from high salt content, making them unsuitable for cultivating many life-sustaining crops.

- Space News (June 3):

"Asian Nations Poised for Space Expansion," declares a front-page headline in this weekly, based in Springfield, Va. Japan will take a major step toward entering the commercial launch market (for satellites) July 5, when 77 large Japanese aerospace corporations, insurance companies and banks will incorporate a new (launch) company and begin to issue stock.

Meanwhile, South Korea plans to enter the international space arena by building and launching remote-sensing and communications satellites with the help of foreign companies. The country intends to spend $100 million through 1993 to place its first spacecraft into orbit and to start development of an independent launch system.

- Science (June 1)

Butterfly caterpillars emit "calls" to attract ants, says P.J. DeVries of the University of Texas at Austin. The butterfly-ant relationship is symbiotic: that is, "caterpillars provide ants with food secretions in exchange for protection against predators," he writes. Hence a caterpillar is likelier to survive if it maintains "a constant cadre of ant guards." How does it do so? According to DeVries' research, it does so by emitting "acoustic calls" that lure ants. Interestingly, some caterpillars can't produce calls, DeVries found; as a result, they "attract fewer ants."

- Nature (May 24):

New fossil evidence indicates "many if not all of the so-called archaic primates from the early Cenozoic (era) are not primates at all, and that their closest living relatives are the flying lemurs or cologus."