What, actually, are figs?

I just found a new reason to dislike figs from the market. I don’t like them in the first place but they tend to come with the mixed nuts that I have as snacks. I bought the one with figs before realizing how hard to chew they are. Anyway, spoiler, figs have wasp:

Figs are not actually fruits but a mass of inverted flowers and seeds that are pollinated by a species of tiny symbiotic wasps. The male fig flower is the only place where the female wasp can lay her eggs, at the bottom of a narrow opening in the fruit that she shimmies her way through. The baby wasps mature inside the fig into males that have sharp teeth but no wings and females ready to fly. They mate, the males chew through the special fig pollen holders and drop them down to the females, chew holes in the skin of the fig to let the females out, and then die. The females, armed with the pollen, fly off in search of new male figs to lay her eggs in. In the process some of the female wasps land on female figs that don’t have the special egg receptacle but trick the female into shimmying inside. As the female wasp slides through the narrow passage in the fig her wings are ripped off (egg laying is a one-way mission) and while she is unsuccessful in laying her eggs, she successfully pollinates the female flower. The female flower then ripens into the fig that you can get at the supermarket, digesting the trapped wasp inside with specialized enzymes! (Source: ScienceBlogs)

A related video:

NATURE | The Queen of Trees | Wasps Inside the Fig | PBS

This is one part of nature that I am amazed about — that two species so different can be made so interdependent to each other. It almost seemed like perfect engineering.

Five common misconceptions

Okay apparently the article exists. I was feeling kinda bored today so I start my bad habit of reading trivia on the internet. There’re tons of them and I’m probably completed 0.01% of it.

Here’re some of the more interesting misconceptions (probably controversial) regarding history:

  1. The belief that gunpowder, even though it was a Chinese invention, was first used for war by the Europeans is a misconception. The Chinese used flamethrowers and gunpowder arrows for military purposes from the 900s onward.
  2. Al Gore never said he invented the Internet, rather he stated: “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”. Vint Cerf, often called ‘the father of the Internet’, has defended the statement: “VP Gore was the first or surely among the first of the members of Congress to become a strong supporter of advanced networking while he served as Senator. As far back as 1986, he was holding hearings on this subject (supercomputing, fiber networks…) and asking about their promise and what could be done to realize them.”
    (So sorry I made more than a thousand Al Gore jokes.)

And health of course:

  1. People do not use only ten percent of their brains. This myth is thought by some to have emerged after the discovery of glial cells in the brain, or it could have been the result of some other misunderstood or misinterpreted legitimate scientific findings, or even been the result of speculation by self-help gurus.
  2. There is no single theory that satisfactorily explains myopia—in particular, studies show that “eyestrain” from close reading and computer games does not explain myopia. There is also no evidence that reading in dim light causes vision to deteriorate.
    (That’s what I keep telling my mom, she doesn’t believe me!)

And this made me check Humpty Dumpty lyrics again:

  1. Nowhere in the actual nursery rhyme is Humpty Dumpty referred to as an egg.

It’s a slow news day.