Friday, December 2, 2011

World’s biggest bug? Jobless rate down to 8.6%, and Professor is dumpster diving Robin Hood

     Good Morning Humboldt County!

I’m glad to see you made it this morning. I have the hot coffee on and plenty of seating room. This mornings selection of stories run the gamut from the world’s biggest bug to a dumpster diving college professor. Enjoy:

World's biggest bug? That depends...

Is this the world's biggest bug? As with all superlatives, it depends on your definition. But the sight of a New Zealand giant weta chomping down on a carrot surely has to give you the creeps, even if it's rivaled by other giant creepy crawlies.

This particular species of the cricketlike creature — known as a giant weta or wetapunga to the Maori, and as Deinacrida heteracantha to scientists — is found only in protected areas such as New Zealand's Little Barrier Island. That's where Mark ("Doctor Bugs") Moffett, an entomologist and explorer at the Smithsonian Institution, found the specimen after two nights of searching. "The giant weta is the largest insect in the world, and this is the biggest one ever found," Britain's Daily Mail quoted Moffett as saying. "She weighs the equivalent to three mice. ... She enjoyed the carrot so much she seemed to ignore the fact she was resting on our hands and carried on munching away. She would have finished the carrot very quickly, but this is an extremely endangered species, and we didn't want to risk indigestion."

Employment growth picked up speed in November; jobless rate fell to 8.6 percent

Employment growth picked up speed in November, pushing the nation’s unemployment rate down to 8.6 percent -- its lowest level since March 2009.

The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm U.S. payrolls increased by 120,000 last month, accelerating from October’s 80,000 gain and roughly matching analysts’ expectations. The U.S. jobless rate fell sharply from the prior month’s 9 percent level.


Jeff Ferrell, a professor of sociology at Texas Christian University, pulls discarded flowers out of a dumpster behind a florist shop in Fort Worth, Texas November 30, 2011.  REUTERS/Mike Stone

Professor is dumpster-diving urban Robin Hood

University professor Jeff Ferrell is something of a U.S. urban Robin Hood, although what he gives away is not stolen but the result of dumpster diving.

The Texas Christian University (TCU) professor of sociology sifts through dumpsters and gives the vast majority of what he finds to the needy or to friends.

He has also managed to furnish his living room with what is left, filled a tool shed with a collection of everything from screws to power tools and never pays for a bar of soap or office supplies.

Time to walk on down the road…

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