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Featured Article: Bumblebee

Bumblebee close up
Bumblebee is any member of the flying insect genus Bombus in tribe Bombini and family Apidae. Traditionally, and in some current taxonomic schemes, Psithyrus, the taxon of parasitic bumblebees, has been recognized as a separate genus of bumblebees within Bombini; however, most authors now list Psithyrus as a subgenus within Bombus.

Bumbleebees tend to be larger and more visibly furry than other types of bee. They typically are characterized by black and yellow body "hairs," often in bands, a commonality among the majority of the species of Bombus; however, some species are known to have orange or even red on their bodies, or may be entirely black. The soft nature of the long, branched setae (the hair-like extensions, called pile) that covers their entire body makes them appear and feel fuzzy.

Most bumblebees are important pollinators of flowering plants. Bumblebees also provide important value to human beings, being used as pollinators for agricultural crops (notably tomatoes), and prized for their beauty.

Popular Article: Gold

Raw gold from California (top) and Australia (bottom), showing octahedral* formations.
Gold (chemical symbol Au; atomic number 79) has long been valued as a noble metal and a symbol of purity, durability, and royalty. Its attractive yellow shine, resistance to corrosion, and relative rarity have made it extremely appealing for use in jewelry, ornaments, and coinage. Kings have chosen to wear golden crowns, and couples have expressed their undying love with gold wedding rings. Yet the attractiveness of gold has also brought out the worst of human nature, as it has been an object of thieves and conquerors. In recent years, gold has been incorporated in a wide variety of products, including computers, communications hardware, aircraft, and spacecraft, and newer applications continue to be tested.