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An assassin bug killed a cow!

I couldn’t find that story online. I don’t think it’s true.

Here are some British assassin bugs:
http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/gallery/heteroptera/Reduviidae/reduviidae.html

They are not poisonous – that is, a cow wouldn’t die from eating one.

But they are venomous – that is, they inject deadly digestive saliva
into their prey – but their prey is other insects, and even if they can kill an insect bigger than themselves, a cow wouldn’t die if it was bitten by one.

Few insects are venomous, and those that are, won’t kill a cow, at least, not on their own. [A big swarm of bees could kill just about anything that didn't run away, I think, and the same with a colony of army ants.]

Some spiders are deadly, like the Black Widow spider:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_widow_spider

Some scorpions are deadly, like the Fat-tailed Scorpion:
http://www.orkin.com/stinging-pests/scorpions/deadly-scorpions/

One octopus is deadly:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/interactives-extras/animal-guides/animal-guide-blue-ringed-octopus/2177/

Some jelly fish are deadly:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_jellyfish

I don’t think any insects are deadly.

What insect stings are, is painful. How painful? You measure the pain of an insect sting according the Schmidt Index, named after a man who having been stung hundreds of times in his career as an entomologist decided to write some notes on it.

http://scienceblogs.com/zooillogix/2008/01/29/the-schmidt-sting-pain-index/

According to his scale, the very worst stings of all are the stings of the bullet ant. Also very painful is being stung by a velvet ant (a type of wasp). The sting of a velvet ant is so painful that it is nicknamed the ‘cow killer’, as the sting is so painful that it was supposed it would kill a cow. It didn’t kill Schmidt and I don’t think one has ever killed a cow, but that might be where the assassin bug story got started.

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/cowkiller.shtml

But there is one way an assassin bug bite could kill a cow. Insects that carry diseases can be deadly. I think the Anopheles mosquitos that carry malaria have killed more people than died in all the wars since recorded history. Still do, millions every year. And so tsetse flies and other insects that carry diseases of cattle, can kill a cow that way.

I mentioned Sir Vincent B Wigglesworth:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Wigglesworth
who studied a bug called Rhodnius. Rhodnius is an assassin bug http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodnius_prolixus
It feeds mostly on armidillos, but it can bite humans, and when it does, it can give them Chagas’ Disease, and you can die of it. In fact, these bugs can give Chagas’ Disease to about 150 different animals. So if a Rhodnius bit a cow and the cow later died of Chagas’ Disease, then maybe you could say that a cow died because it was bitten by an assassin bug. But it can take 10-20 years to get Chagas’ Disease…

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The great necklace-with-cross-ban hoax

Dear Mr Clegg

I was disappointed to hear you on the radio this morning, furthering the idea that at some time a person was forbidden from wearing a cross at work.

I believe there are two cases you may have had in mind when mentioning this, and in neither case was the cross pertinent. However, the cases have been used to promote a myth of Christian persecution in this country.

In the case of Eweida, she chose to contravene her employer’s no-jewellery uniform policy (since rescinded) by wearing a necklace (with a cross). In the case of Chaplin, she chose to contravene her employer’s no-loose-jewellery rule, by wearing a necklace (with a cross). Both women took their case to the ECtHR complaining that their rights to manifest their religion had been denied. Clearly nonsense in both cases. Chaplin was even offered the chance to wear a cross as a brooch, but no, it had to be a necklace.

http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2013/01/17/chaplin-eweida-ladele-and-mcfarlane-the-judgment/

If you ever find an example of discrimination against Christians I promise I will join you on the picket lines, but this one is a myth that has been mischievously used to create a false impression.

Meanwhile, I don’t understand why parents of any religion who want to indoctrinate their children deserve any help from tax-payers. State-funded schools should surely be entirely secular places, where religions (plural) can be studied from a neutral perspective.

yours sincerely

David Regis

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11-plus: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042j8y7

- reeling after reading ‘Show More’.

Why do we trust teacher judgements so little, and tests so much?

D

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Caption competition

I think I’m being watched… if he makes a sudden movement I may scream.

D

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Is there anything more joyous than PigBag?

(Recently re-formed, long-lost music now available on CD)

D

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Capitalism for Beginners.

For Sale. Reusable Shopping Trolley Release Key

For those annoying occasions when you don’t have a pound coin.

Cost £1.47.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/231121308563

D

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