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Just For The Tech Of It: Drone-snatching eagles and carnivorous plants that count

First up on Just For The Tech Of It: the Netherlands has a strange new approach to drone control. Instead of spending a bunch of money to develop some fancy new high-tech drone mitigation system, the Dutch National Police have actually started using trained eagles to snatch illegal drones out of the sky. It seems a little crazy at first (I mean, just look at what happened to Enrique Iglesias), but if they can figure out how to keep the birds from getting minced up by the propellors, this is actually a pretty brilliant plan. In addition to being cheaper, this method also allows authorities to move the drone so a safe landing zone and prevent it from plummeting down and hurting someone.

Next up: you might soon be able to blame your genes for being late to work. Ok, probably not — but scientists have found some interesting evidence after looking at genetic data collected by the DNA analysis company 23andMe. In a massive study that examined the genetic similarities in a group of 89,000 people, scientists discovered that there are actually 15 different genetic markers that seem to be associated with being a “morning person.” Obviously, your genes don’t totally dictate how early or late you wake up every day, but apparently they do play a small role.

And last but not least: venus fly traps. A recent study published in the journal Current Biology claims that venus fly traps have the ability to count. Scientists wanted to figure out how the plant avoided false alarms, so they wired up a few plants with electrodes so they could see the trigger process in action. What they found was that the plant actually has a very simple counting system. In their experiments, they found that the trap will only close if more than two hairs are triggered within a span of about twenty seconds, and it will only excrete digestive enzymes if more than three hairs are triggered. What’s ridiculous about this isn’t that it can count impulses, but rather that it can count to twenty, and reset if not enough hairs are triggered in that span of time.