Why We Need Bugs

Fun fact: humans cannot survive without bugs. Yep, those things that creep into your sleeping bags and go splat on your windshield are vital to the health and survival of our ecosystem. The honey bee is a simple example of why bugs are critical to human life: They pollinate plants that produce crops. Without bees, there’s no pollination, without pollination there’s no crop… you get the idea. Bees are just one of thousands of insects that are pulling more than their tiny weight. That’s why we love bugs (from a distance). Here are some of the reasons why:

Bugs add an estimated $57 billion to the US economy.

According to the Cornell Chronicle, insects are a primary food source for fish, birds, and mammals, and they do a heck of a job at keeping things clean. The study found that “native insects are food for the wildlife supporting a $50 billion recreation industry and provide more than $4.5 billion worth in pest control. They also provide crop pollination valued at $3 billion and clean up grazing lands, saving ranchers some $380 million a year.” Well, that sure puts our yearly savings to shame!

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Bugs make great models.

When engineers need to create a spacesuit for Mars, or create a damage resistant car, they look to nature. In this TedTalk, Robert Full explains how examining cockroaches can inform how robots learn to stabilize on rough terrain, walk upside down, do gymnastic maneuvers in air, and run into walls without harming themselves. Way cool.

 

Bugs are highly civilized.

In a human world that can seem increasing more separatist, some insect societies are a shining example of teamwork. Take ants. Ants live in colonies that will grow and flourish for decades. In this TedTalk, Deborah Gordon explores how ants successfully collaborate, delegate, and even multitask – all without language, memory or visible leadership. Understanding these complex systems can help humans better understand our own complex systems from the human brain to high speed computer networks.

 

Bugs are delicious and nutritious.

In Mexico, you can buy a bag full of fried grasshoppers. In Japanese cuisine, bamboo caterpillars are a celebrated appetizer. And in Sardinia and Corsica, Casu Marzu is cheese that’s inhabited by live maggots, and (apparently) it’s divine. Listen to this TedTalk by Marcel Dicke on why insect delicacies are nutritional and eco-friendly additions to our daily diets. Mmmm.

 

Bugs are beautiful.

There’s inspiration all around, but sometimes it’s the little things that can be the most delightful – seeing the twilight dance of fireflies, watching a spider make its masterpiece, listening to the flight of the bumblebee… Bugs just bein’ bugs are some of Mother Nature’s finest works of art. Whether you capture the magic with your fancy human contraptions or just soak in the moment, pause for a moment to witness the beauty of bugs.

 

Bugs are buddies.

Like even our best friends, bugs can really be a pain in the neck sometimes. When ants invade your hammock or gnats keep you awake (and don’t even get us started on mosquitos), bugs can be a real buzz kill. Luckily, we’ve found a way to coexist: Our Toad&Co Debug styles featuring Insect Shield® Technology. Our Debug styles have a bug deterring fiber woven into the fabric, creating an odorless, non-lethal repellent that’s safe for humans and furry friends alike (and a billion times more pleasant than DEET or Citronella). Now we can appreciate bugs without being their lunch.

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Ride On: The Origin of Scrambler Motorcycles

We all know the old adage that “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” That said, there is potentially an even stronger catalyst for ingenuity… humankind’s insatiable need for speed. Therein lies the conception of arguably the greatest genre of motorcycles on planet Earth: The Scrambler.

The origin of the Scrambler goes back the turn of the 20th century in jolly old England where a bunch crazed Englishmen began to dabble in a new form of motorcycle racing, one that took place far from the beaten path. Instead of racing upon a specific route, they were tasked with simply making it from point A to point B alive, in the shortest possible time, by any means necessary. Rumor has it the phrase “Scrambler” came from a British race announcer describing the act playing out before his eyes as “quite a scramble.” Those brave (or insane) enough to accept the scramble challenge quickly found their everyday, stock, road-going motorcycles far from up to the task. Sliding, bounding and tearing up-and-over the British countryside demanded something with a much greater adventurous disposition.

What these blokes did next was nothing short of necessity: they chopped, welded, grinded, jiggered, jerry-rigged and modifying their street bikes into dirt, rock, and hill-devouring barbarians. The punch list went pretty much as follows: taller suspension, fenders and exhaust pipes for clearance, and some spoked and knobby tires to help put the power down. When the dust settled, the Scrambler Motorcycle was born.

These Darwinistic beasts would evolve over the coming centuries and eventually take on legendary popularity in the 1960’s. Manufacturers like Honda began to offer models right off the showroom floor that were ready, willing and able to have some rough and tumble fun. Steve McQeen’s exploits on his early 60’s Triumphs helped forge the Scrambler in the annuls of epicness. Here’s to the Scrambler, the patron saint of madness and invention.

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When you want something badly enough, sometimes you have to make it yourself. The Brits wanted epic motorbikes, we wanted durable jeans without the stiff attitude. We started with a durable organic cotton denim, revved up our use of recycled polyester, and topped it off with a water- and stain-resistant finish. The results: Our New Wingman Denim. Form, function and flexibility in one simple package. Offered in Lean and Regular fits for the modern man.