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This episode’s vocabulary
- Eusocial (adj.) — living in colonies (groups) with one animal or group producing young and the others working to care for them.
- Emergent behavior (adj.) —behavior of a system that does not depend on its individual parts, but on their relationships to one another.
- To observe (verb) — to watch carefully the way something happens or the way someone does something, especially in order to learn more about it.
- To infest (noun) —(of animals and insects that carry disease) to cause a problem by being present in large numbers.
- To trigger (verb) — an event or situation, etc. that causes something to start.
- Primal fear (verb) — An instinctive fear that has been common to humanity throughout time, possibly invoking a fight or flight response in some, or a deep trembling feeling of anxiety in others.
- To buzz (verb) —to make a continuous, low sound such as the one a bee makes.
We have also added these words to a “Quizlet” set for you to study and revise in your free time: bit.ly/quizlets03e13
Questions and Answers
Maria: Do you like insects?
Rory: Not as much as when I was younger. But I’m still quite into looking at bugs whenever I come across them. I always think they’re really interesting to see.
Maria: What’s your favorite insect?
Rory: I don’t know if I have a favorite insect. I have a favorite kind of insect. It’s mostly the eusocial ones, like ants and bees. I really like the idea that they can all work together in one big super organism. It’s like a real contrast to individual human beings working together. Of course, they’re not really intelligent. It’s just emergent behavior, but it’s still fascinating. It’s so cool what you can observe them doing.
Maria: What insects do you dislike?
Rory: Oh, things like mosquitoes and horseflies. Any biting insect, really. I also used to have arachnophobia, but I got over it after living in a house that was infested with spiders. But I suppose arachnids don’t count since they have eight legs and aren’t six legged like insects.
Maria: Or what kinds of insects make some people scared?
Rory: I think anything so large you can see their legs moving… well, for some reason it triggers this primal fear in a lot of people. My cousin used to say it looked really unnatural when she saw spiders moving with all their legs. And I think that’s what a lot of other people think about insects, especially the big ones.
Maria: Yeah, some people think that insects are disgusting. And what kind of sound do you make when you see something disgusting? Do you say “yuck”?
Rory: I don’t see “yuck”. I just usually scream really loudly. I’m not a very manly at all when it comes to insects. But I’m usually quite calm. It’s usually just the ones that I dislike that bother me.
Every other one is fine.
Maria: Do you think insects are useful?
Rory: Well, I think most people see them as pests, but I’m pretty sure they can be used as a food source, and some people farm insects and harvest what they produce, like bees, for example. One of the weirdest things I’ve seen people doing with insects is some people used ant heads as sutures. So I think they can definitely be useful. Maybe not all the time, but they can be.
Maria: Have you ever eaten insects?
Maria: Which ones? Cockroaches?
Rory: I ate a scorpion.
Maria: Oooooh, scorpion? The whole thing?
Maria: How was it?
Rory: It was crunchy. It’s not something that I would encourage a lot of people to do. Not because it’s… I don’t know… Not because it’s dangerous, but just because it’s a bit it’s boring, to be honest with you. Certainly it’s not what I expected it to be. And if you’re thinking about doing it, thinking it is going to be a thrill ride then I have some disappointing news.
Maria: Are many different insects in the place where you live?
Rory: I hope not, because I live in an apartment in a pretty well developed city. I think there’s so
much biodiversity in Moscow or any city in Scotland, to be honest. Maybe outside in the countryside, but I’ve not been out recently enough to say for sure.
Maria: What is the last insect you saw?
Rory: Oh, it was a fly. It was buzzing around my kitchen. I have to leave the windows open sometimes to let the air in because it’s really hot right now. So sometimes flies or wasps wander in and I have to chase them out.
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