Wanting a big butt may be deadly!

The demand for bigger buttocks in Venezuela means some women will even have banned injections to achieve them, putting their health at risk.

It is with tears in her eyes that Denny recounts how she woke up one day to find a bump the size of a football in her lower back…She could not walk or bend down, and the pain was intense.

Even before she saw a doctor, Denny, a 35-year-old Venezuelan lawyer, knew the bump must be a side-effect of liquid silicone that had been injected in her buttocks.

It had moved into her back and was putting pressure on her spine…

Buttock injections are one of many common cosmetic procedures Venezuelan women undergo to achieve what society deems to be beautiful.

The injections were banned by the government in 2012, six years after Denny had them…

But the practice continues in spite of the ban. Up to 30% of women between 18 and 50 choose to have these injections, according to the Venezuelan Plastic Surgeons Association…

The injections are made using a biopolymer silicone. The fact that this is injected freely into the body makes it more dangerous than implants, where silicone gel is contained within a shell.

The big attraction is that they are much cheaper than implants. An injection can cost as little as $318 and the whole procedure doesn’t take more than 20 minutes.

But the risks are incredibly high.

“The silicone can migrate into other areas of the body, because it doesn’t have any barriers. The body can also react immunologically against a foreign material, creating many problems,” says Daniel Slobodianik, a cosmetic surgeon…

Figures are unclear, but the Venezuelan Plastic Surgeons Association fear that at least a dozen women die every year from these injections.

RTFA. Many more personal examples. A decent discussion of the social pressures, the beauty queen ideology that seems to have taken hold across the whole of Venezuelan society.

And, of course, symptoms of the same silliness appear around the world.

Insects migrate at high speed in wind highways

Migrating insects use highways in the sky to speed their journey, according to a study published in Science magazine.

Researchers say moths and butterflies use sophisticated methods to find winds that will take them in certain directions for thousands of kilometres.

The little creatures travel on winds of up to 100km (60 miles) per hour. They use internal compasses to find these fast moving winds to carry them to their journey’s end…

The scientists say that each insect uses the same complex methods to whisk them to their wintering water-holes in the Mediterranean and back to more northerly climes in the summer.

“We were surprised by the scale of the movements, although we wouldn’t have started the research without some idea of what was happening,” says Dr Jason Chapman of the Rothamsted Research Institute in Hertfordshire, UK, who is the lead author of the report.

What is also surprising is that very few of the insects end up going the wrong way“.

But most moths and butterflies look like they can hardly make it across the garden. So how to they avoid getting ripped to shreds in these fast moving winds?

“When you are flying within the windstream you don’t feel it” says Dr Chapman. “Having said that, we think the way they choose the winds that are fastest is through some sort of turbulence mechanism…

The group that published the research is one of only three is the world using special radar that can detect insect movement up to a kilometre in the air.

Too bloody inspiring for a reclusive old geek like me. I have enough hobbies.

Yet, this is work where I might provide a small measure of record and data within the boundaries of Lot 4 and the adjacent bosque. Tempting.

Little birdy backpacks don’t slow the critters down at all!

Little songbirds cover more than 300 miles a day on their annual migrations, flabbergasting researchers who expected a much slower flight. For the first time, scientists were able to outfit tiny birds with geolocators and track their travel between North America and the tropics, something only done previously with large birds such as geese.

New tracking equipment, weighing only a little more than a paper clip, is now allowing the tracking of purple martins and wood thrushes, researchers report…

“We were flabbergasted by the birds’ spring return times. To have a bird leave Brazil on April 12 and be home by the end of the month was just astounding. We always assumed they left sometime in March,” said Bridget Stutchbury, a professor of biology.

I don’t think anybody had an idea that these little songbirds could travel that fast,” she said.

The purple martins migrated to the Amazon basin in Brazil for the winter, while the wood thrushes wintered in a narrow band of Nicaragua and Honduras. Some of the birds took pauses along the way, spending a few days in the southeastern United States or in Mexico’s Yucatan area.

Stutchbury said she initially worried that the tracking devices would slow down the little birds, “but those worries kind of ceased when I looked at their spring migration speeds.”

Look! Up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman! Nope – it’s a very fast wee bird.