Web edition: February 8, 2001
ROBBER FLY MASQUERADES IN BUMBLEBEE'S CLOTHING
The villainous-looking hexapod that glares at you from the cover of this week's SCIENCE NEWS LETTER is as bad a citizen as he looks. He is a robber fly, who should by rights be called an assassin fly, for his practice is to pounce upon other insects in the air, pierce them with his sharp beak, and bear them away to his cannibal feasting place.
The robber fly is not only an assassin; he hides his deadly trade under a disguise borrowed from a formidably armed but law-abiding member of a quite different insect family, the bumblebee. Only a closer examination unmasks the cheat.
The photograph is by Cornelia Clarke.
LACK OF IRON MAY CAUSE COMMON MENTAL DISEASE
A lack of sufficient iron in the brain cells of people suffering from the mental disorder dementia praecox may make it impossible for them to utilize the oxygen they breathe, and the lack of oxygen may in turn account for their peculiar behavior.
This theory of the possible cause of a common mental disease was advanced by Dr. Walter Freeman of St. Elizabeth's Government hospital for the insane in Washington, in a report published in the Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry. Dr. Freeman was led to the discovery through following up the research of three other physicians who have been hunting a method of treatment for the disease.
FEBRUARY A "PERFECT" MONTH OF THE SIMPLIFIED CALENDER
The year 1931 contains a perfect month.
This month is February, say the proponents of the simplified calendar. It begins on a Sunday, and it has exactly 28 days, which this organization believes is a sufficient number of days for any month.
While more and more business organizations in the United States are adopting the simplified calendar for their business accounting, it is expected that a committee of the League of Nations will take some action on a new world calendar this year.