For the cicada-obsessed, a place to watch them in action around the clock


You looking at me? Watch cicadas crawl, fly and mate online. (ISTOCKPHOTO)
May 27, 2013
Cicada Invasion
Go on bug watch with ‘Cicada Cam’
Science Channel (science.discovery.com)

There’s no shortage of warnings, horror stories and even recipes relating to the Great Cicada Invasion of 2013, although many people in the D.C. area have yet to spot one of the critters.

But bug enthusiasts now have a place to get their Brood II fix.

The Science Channel has launched “Cicada Cam,” a Web channel devoted to live, round-the-clock coverage of the animals. But don’t worry, these particular bugs won’t be landing in your hair, molting on your doorstep or waking you from a deep sleep with their signature roar.

Science Channel producers found their cicadas this month when the insects began to emerge from their underground lairs to the south and west of the District. They dropped the insects into a terrarium decorated with Washington landmarks. On a recent day, a gang of them seemed to be trying to tear the top off a model of the Capitol. But mostly they can be seen crawling, flying and mating en masse. It’s both riveting and revolting.

The site’s creators hope the streaming video will give people a better understanding of the life cycles of these insects. Be forewarned, though: Sudden close-ups of cicadas are not for the faint of heart.

CONSERVATION
Looking at people who look at animals
“Wild Ones” by Jon Mooallem

How far would you go to save a polar bear? Would you dress up as a giant bird to teach a whooping crane to fly? Or set up drones to monitor pygmy rabbits?

“Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America” takes a hard — and sometimes amusing — look at the efforts by conservationists, marketers and do-gooders to save the world’s threatened animals.

“I didn’t realize the lengths to which humankind now has to go to keep some semblance of actual wildlife in the world,” writes the author, Jon Mooallem.

“Wild Ones” focuses on efforts to save the polar bear, the metalmark butterfly and the whooping crane. The stories of these North American species, the book says, represent the reliance of animals on the humans who disrupted “the machinery of their wildness.”

Mooallem meets a colorful cast of characters that includes aging biologists, amateur scientists, an actor-turned-butterfly-enthusiast, a woman who counts fish and a flock of pilots who dress as birds and teach real birds how to fly. Even Martha Stewart has a cameo, chasing polar bears across the Canadian tundra to shoot a segment for her daytime TV show.

Despite these preservation efforts, the author admits, many animals are in danger. There are no quick fixes for these at-risk bears, butterflies and birds — even with costumes or drones to protect them.

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