Letters: Closing Libraries, Insects & Syria Update

It's mail day. Our listeners have open minds, but they sure don't want to hear about closing libraries. We read some of your letters defending libraries from budget cuts and hear your thoughts on the other stories of the week as well.

Part Two of The Current


It's Thursday and that means it's mail day. We've got a mixed bag today... everything from libraries to bugs.

Syria Update: But first, we wanted to follow up on a story we brought you yesterday - about the situation in Syria. Since March, civilians there have demonstrated against the regime of Bashar al-Assad - and have faced a violent crackdown as a result. In all, an estimated 1,700 people have been killed. And in recent days, the city of Hama, in central Syria, has been particularly hard hit by government forces.

We spoke with a resident of Hama yesterday who was fleeing the city, and heading for Damascus. We reached him again this morning to get an update on his situation. We are withholding his name for security reasons.

Mail Bag

To help Jim Brown with the mail today in studio was The Current's Tina Pittaway.

Closing Libraries: The City of Toronto is considering closing public libraries to balance the books. And it's not the only municipality weighing that decision. On Tuesday's show, we looked at why municipalities are so quick to look at libraries for cuts - and whether it's a good idea. This segment prompted many of our listeners to write in with their added comments on this discussion.

Wicked Bugs: A little while back, we spoke with Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napolean's Army and Other Diabolical Insects. She explores all creatures disgusting in the insect world... bat swallowing centipedes, disease-laden cockroaches, and - horrors of all horrors - Asian hornets the size of swallows.

But just how might those Japanese honeybees have been feeling as their colony came under attack? It's long been thought that 95% or so of the invertebrate world, doesn't experience emotions of any sort. But provocative new research suggests that, at least with bees, there is some semblance of an emotional life. Scientists in Britain simulated an attack on a bees nest by shaking it in the same way that a badger would when it's rummaging about for food. And by following the bees reaction, they found some surprising results.

For more on what the researchers did to draw out the emotive side of bees, we were joined by lead researcher Melissa Bateson, reader in Ethology at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. She was in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK.

Please do send us more of your thoughts ... on bugs, or anything else you hear about on The Current. Contact Us here.

Last Word - The Thing from Another World

We've been talking today about what constitutes an invasive species. These are questions no one had to ask in the 1950's. Just watch the 1951 film, The Thing from Another World.

Other segment from today's show:

Comments are closed.