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Spider Collector In A Web Of Trouble

Main picture: Santa Rosa Press Democrat/ZUMA

With great passion comes great trouble: This could be the lesson learnt by a spider-and-bug-lover in northeastern France after he was suspected of trafficking the creepy crawlies.

Investigators were puzzled by how the fifty-something man could afford his many trips to Guyana, Brazil and Madagascar despite living off state benefits, so they searched his home and found some 140 live tarantulas and close to 3,000 dead ones. Not to mention the scores of scorpions and dozens of dead butterflies, as well as other insects, French newspaper Le Républicain Lorrain reported.

European Wolf Spider or False Tarantula — Photo: VW Pics/ZUMA

According to Le Figaro, the live tarantulas could fetch up to 2,000 euros ($2,800) apiece, while the dead arachnids are estimated at 1,000 euros each. The man, however, denies accusations of trafficking, saying that he only exchanged some of his insects with other collectors and sold others in order to pay for his travels. Investigators will now check if any of the specimens he kept are protected or endangered species. He could be fined up to 9,000 euros ($12,500).

Here's a glimpse of his collection, filmed by French public TV channel France 3.

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Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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