Archive for August, 2009

Rat-eating Plant Found In The Philippines

rat-plant_1463666fAnimals that eat plants are a common sight, but plants eating animals? Well, there is the Venus fly trap. Then there are all those plants in fantasy and science fiction movies. In real life, though, it is rare that we hear about flesh-eating plants.

British botanists Alastair Robinson and Stewart McPherson headed over to the Philippine island of Palawan in 2007 to check out a pitcher plant they heard about from some missionaries. They discovered the plant in Mount Victoria, and published the report earlier this year in the Botanical Journal of Linnean Society.

The plant has been named Nepenthes attenboroughii, in honor of Sir David, the wildlife broadcaster. To this, Sir David replied:

“I was contacted by the team shortly after the discovery and they asked if they could name it after me. I was delighted and told them, ‘Thank you very much’. I’m absolutely flattered. This is a remarkable species the largest of its kind. I’m told it can catch rats then eat them with its digestive enzymes. It’s certainly capable of that.”

Indeed, the pitcher plant is unique in so many ways. More than catching flies and other small insects, it can devour rats! The botanists describe the plant as “immediately distinguishable from other Nepenthes by its great dimensions and trumpet-shaped lower and upper pitchers.” It is also unique in that it is the only member of its genus that “lives” at such a high elevation.

Can you imagine just how much more there is left to discover in the wild?

“Survivor Package” Provide A Unique Vacation

handheldsunmbeamShort on cash but need a vacation? Who doesn’t? For those who have been having trouble coming up with a plan for the summer due to cash flow problems, the Rancho Bernardo Inn in Southern California just might have the solution for you.

Contrary to what many other hotels and resorts are doing (that is to offer more perks, freebies, and amenities in a bid to attract more customers), the management of Rancho Bernardo Inn is making lemonade, so to speak. They are currently offering what is dubbed the “Survivor Package,” which is an adventurous way of saying that guests receive practically nothing.

Well, there is a room with no bed, no toilet paper, no towels, and no air-conditioning. At least there is a bed, right? Oh, and there is only ONE light bulb to go by. This is the most basic package, costing $19 per night. There are variations, with amenities being added to the list. Naturally, the price goes up with each upgrade.

At first glance, I think that any sane person would be horrified at the thought of having to pay for a room without anything in it. Then again, I have been wrong before – and it seems that in this case, I am. A lot of people are actually buying into this marketing idea. Families are delighted that they do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on a room and they do not seem to mind bringing their own toilet paper and towels with them. As one mother put it, the boys feel like they’re camping and she can still go to the spa.

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