2016年4月14日 星期四

Pulling Up a Chair for Solo Diners/攬客新招 為獨自用餐的客人備妥一切

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紐時周報精選 Pulling Up a Chair for Solo Diners/攬客新招 為獨自用餐的客人備妥一切
Tracking a Parasite That Turns Bees Into Zombies/恐怖寄生蠅附身 蜜蜂變「殭屍 」
Pulling Up a Chair for Solo Diners/攬客新招 為獨自用餐的客人備妥一切
Charu Suri

With the growing number of solo diners, hotels and resorts are making sure they are comfortable.

The Plume restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C., created a program for solo diners last fall (from $98 a person); several of its 18 seats are dedicated to diners who want a sense of privacy yet a feeling of inclusion. "The seating for this type of diner doesn't include being in the center of the room," said the restaurant's manager, Sean Mulligan. "We make sure they are not near the entrance or exit for discretion and privacy while making sure the diners have items like newspapers and magazines delivered to their table if they need it."



At Metropolitan by Como, Miami Beach, a dinner-for-one menu ($70) made its debut earlier this year, with recommended seating at the corner of the hotel's terrace and the Traymore bar positioned for people-watching along a pedestrian area of Miami Beach Drive. Solo diners are also able to log into PressReader, where they can read their favorite magazine in their preferred language from their phone or tablet.

The new "Just Cook for Me Chef!" program ($150 a person) at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, was designed to bring together several solo guests in the kitchen so they can enjoy samples from the daily menu. This option was designed to be a smaller version of the communal-style tables that are enjoying a wave of popularity.



Other hotels are taking a similar approach. At the Atwood Restaurant in the Hotel Burnham in Chicago, which was renovated last year, the general manager, Damian Palladino, said an extension of the bar area was intentionally blended into the lobby to attract the solo diner.

Bjorn Hanson, a clinical professor of hospitality and tourism at New York University's Tisch Center, said he has observed a recent increase in solo dining among those traveling on their own. "This type of experience continues to become more of a desire, and much of the stigma is less of an issue for younger travelers," he said in an email.



Tracking a Parasite That Turns Bees Into Zombies/恐怖寄生蠅附身 蜜蜂變「殭屍 」
Nicholas St. Fleur

Call it "The Buzzing Dead." Infestations of what scientists have dubbed "zombie bees" have spread across both the West and East coasts in recent years.

The honeybee hordes, while not actually undead, are the unwilling hosts to a parasite infection that researchers think drives the drones to act erratically, or "zombielike," in the moments before they die.



To better understand the parasitized swarms, John Hafernik, an entomologist at San Francisco State University has recruited people countrywide to join his hunt.

"The big question for us was, 'Is this a San Francisco thing?' Or something that is taking place all over the country that has not been noticed by biologists before," he said.



Hafernik first discovered something eerie was happening to the bees on his campus in 2008 when he stumbled upon several of them staggering in circles along the sidewalk. For weeks he picked a few up and placed them in a glass vial with plans to feed them to his pet praying mantis.

One day he came across a vial he had forgotten on his desk for a couple of weeks. The bees inside were dead, but the vial was overwhelmed with small brown fly pupae. He came to the realization that the bees were parasitized.



After further exploration across San Francisco Bay, he and his colleagues found several bees that were also behaving strangely. They would fly from their hives at night, which was something bees would normally never do, and then circle around a light fixture. After their nocturnal dance the bees would drop to the ground and start walking strangely. They were succumbing to their overlord, larvae of the fly Apocephalus borealis.


The life cycle of the parasitic fly is straight from a horror story. The female fly uses something called an ovipositor, which is like a hypodermic needle, to inject her eggs into the abdomen of the honeybee.

About a week later the larvae lurking within the abdomen wriggle into the bee's thorax and start liquefying and devouring its wing muscles. Then, like in the movie "Alien," they burst through the bee's body, erupting from the soft space between its head and shoulder area.



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