The Upshot
  • 'Zombie ants' may sound like the title of an Ed Wood movie, but, according to National Geographic, they are quite real.

    Oddly, there's nothing very zombie-like about the actual ants. It's only when a particular fungus takes over the ant's brain that things get weird.

    Once the "stalk of the newfound fungus species Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani infects an ant, the ant gives up control over its own body. After the fungus is in control, it forces the ant to scamper toward "a location ideal for the fungi to grow and spread their spores." Then, it's lights out for the ant. Who knew a fungus could be so diabolical?

    These wild discoveries were made by a group in Brazil headed by entomologist David Hughes. National Geographic published a series of pictures of ants that have "lost their minds" to the fungus. You can check out a sample of them below. Not for the squeamish.

    Click to see more "zombie" ants

    Photo courtesy David Hughes/National Geographic

    Read More »from “Zombie” ants fall victim to mind-control fungus
  • What happens to lakes in an area hit by forest fires and floods? Some will glow in the dark.

    For a cluster of lakes in Australia's eastern Victoria, the combination of the fire and then the rain washed ash and nitrogen-rich soil into the water. The Gippsland Lakes experienced a rise in sea level. That caused the lakes to mix with sea water, which also raised the salinity.

    This recipe led to the introduction of a species of algae called Noctiluca scintillans, commonly known as "sea sparkle." The bioluminescent brew gave the water a nocturnal glow.

    Click to see more incredible photos of glowing algae

    Phil Hart/

    Bioluminescence -- when a living organism lights up at night -- is a natural phenomenon. Australian photographer Phil Hart caught the eerie light of the lakes and shared his snaps.

    The shutterbug runs Night Sky Photography workshops in Australia, where he teaches the art of capturing images like these.

    Read More »from Lake Lights Up at Night
  • Locke-cropPresident Barack Obama plans to nominate Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next U.S. ambassador to China, to succeed Jon Huntsman, ABC News reports.

    Locke is a former governor of Washington state and is of Chinese-American descent, ABC's Jake Tapper writes:

    Locke is the first Chinese-American to be Secretary of Commerce. The former two-term governor of Washington state, Locke's father and maternal grandfather emigrated from China to Seattle.  As a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Locke co-chaired the firm's China practice.

    "The president asked him to take this job because Locke had the experience and relationships necessary to take on this key post," a senior administration official tells ABC News. "With more than two decades of experience dealing with China, Gary Locke has forged important relationships with China's top political leadership. There is simply no one better positioned to advocate for American interests

    Read More »from Obama to name Commerce Secretary Locke envoy to China


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