Join 3,363 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

48 posts tagged with biology and nature. (View popular tags)
Displaying 1 through 48 of 48. Subscribe:

When a man loves a woman very much...he goes blind and dies

The short life of the male marsupial known as antechinus, which always ends due to his body crashing after a multi week testosterone fueled breeding season.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 3, 2014 - 31 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

John Baez on the maths of connecting everyone (and everything) on earth

Network Theory Overview - "The idea: nature and the world of human technology are full of networks! People like to draw diagrams of networks. Mathematical physicists know that in principle these diagrams can be understood using category theory. But why should physicists have all the fun? This is the century of understanding living systems and adapting to life on a finite planet. Math isn't the main thing we need, but it's got to be part of the solution... so one thing we should do is develop a unified and powerful theory of networks." (via ;)
posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2014 - 17 comments

Network Nonsense

Open warfare erupts in the world of mathematical biology, as Lior Pachter of UC-Berkeley writes three blog posts attacking two papers in Nature Bioscience, accusing one of them of being "dishonest and fraudulent": The Network Nonsense of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, The Network Nonsense of Manolo Kellis, and Why I Read the Network Nonsense Papers. Kellis (MIT) and his co-authors respond (.pdf.)
posted by escabeche on Feb 12, 2014 - 53 comments

Terror from the Deep

CreatureCast - Rhizocephala - a charmingly animated look at the lifecycle of rhizocephalan barnacles, one of the more horrifying (non-charming) parasitic crustaceans (likewise). NOT a practitioner of parasitic castration but still disturbing: The bobbit worm. Happy swimming!
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2013 - 21 comments

Here comes a tall, thin, yellow human!

After more than 25 years of studying the calls of prairie dog in the field, one researcher managed to decode just what these animals are saying. And the results show that prairie dogs aren't only extremely effective communicators, they also pay close attention to detail.
posted by cthuljew on Jun 2, 2013 - 33 comments

Intelligence Tests

Is Psychometric g a Myth? - "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 11, 2013 - 113 comments

Make love, not war.

Humon's illustrated (and explained) animal mating habits. [somewhat NSFW]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 15, 2012 - 15 comments

Nudibranch of the Forest

The Translucent Jewel Caterpillar, the Nudibranch of the Forest. Gorgeous caterpillar covered in break-off gumdrops that may help it escape predators. Turns into a bright orange furry moth.
posted by AceRock on Dec 11, 2012 - 18 comments

Sex crazed, but not too picky

Nature constantly engineers new and creative solutions to all sorts of problems—turning our stereotypes about sex upside-down along the way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 17, 2012 - 16 comments

Arboreal Art in Nature

"Magnificent and Weird Trees" Also see, Living, Growing Architecture.
posted by zarq on Jul 10, 2011 - 18 comments

Loom

Loom. (SLVimeo) (Youtube version) (Arachnophobes should definitely skip this one.) (Via)
posted by zarq on May 26, 2011 - 14 comments

Nature Special Issue on the Future of the PhD

Mark Taylor. Reform the PhD system or close it down. Nature 472, 261 (2011) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 26, 2011 - 54 comments

The Definitive Look at the Diversity of Our Planet

Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 7, 2011 - 69 comments

Creature Feature

The dhole, the maned wolf, and the Tibetan sand fox are just three of the creatures featured at The Featured Creature, a neat (and not overly serious) wildlife blog. There are even some that aren't canids, I think. [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog on Oct 28, 2010 - 31 comments

nom nom nom OH MY GOD

You know what's great about Hawaii? Its isolation can produce interesting forms of life, such as Eupethecia staurophragma i.e. carnivorous caterpillars! Don't believe it? Watch the video or view the photos (via boingboing).

Aww, are you giant carnivorous centipede lovers feeling neglected? No, problem Mefi has covered that.
posted by nomadicink on Aug 18, 2010 - 21 comments

Gamers Are Credit To Team!

Today's issue of Nature contains a paper with a rather unusual author list. Read past the standard collection of academics, and the final author credited is... the FoldIt multiplayer online gaming community. Even though most of them had no biochemistry experience, the human players of FoldIt turned out to be better at identifying three-dimensional protein structure patterns than the algorithms of Rosetta@Home. (Previously on MeFi)
posted by zarq on Aug 5, 2010 - 12 comments

Nature / Nurture / Talent

Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 21, 2010 - 18 comments

Life, rekindled.

How does an ecosystem rebound from catastrophe? Thirty years after the blast, Mount St. Helens is reborn again. Interactive Graphic: Blast Zone. Also see National Geographic's feature article from 1981, chronicling that year's eruption. Previously on MeFi [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 20, 2010 - 18 comments

You can never win a game of slaps with a squid

I am a giant squid. I swam up from the briny ocean depths. I have a computer, with a specially-modified tentacle-friendly interface. I have a fast internet connection. I seek to learn about humans and about the world. I have read much on the internet. Yet still, I have many unanswered questions. And you must have questions of me. We have much to learn from one another. To this end, I have developed the assortment of quizzes, games and activities you find before you. They form part of my ongoing campaign to facilitate improved human-squid relations. Try them out, you will most certainly learn something about squid.
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 5, 2010 - 42 comments

Whence Altruism?

A new study suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion in human history, as well as more complex economies. (Via). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2010 - 49 comments

Nature's Elegant Solutions

Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function, so you can enter "filter salt from water" and see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without fossil fuels. That's the idea behind AskNature, the online inspiration source for the biomimicry community. The featured pages are a good starting point. Cross-pollinating biology with design. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jun 5, 2009 - 13 comments

Swamp Thing, I think I love you

Slime Molds Show Surprising Degree of Intelligence - A creature with no brain can learn from and even anticipate events. (via)
posted by kliuless on Apr 22, 2009 - 59 comments

I, for one, welcome our new mycological overlords

Mushrooms Save the World (long form) -- Paul Stamets on mycelia. Previously: 1 2 3 [bonus: slime molds]
posted by kliuless on Dec 31, 2008 - 20 comments

On Growth and Form and Constructal Theory

On Growth and Form (1917) was D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson's pioneering effort to explore the mathematical principles that underlie biological form. He studied the similarity between the shapes of a jellyfish and a drop of ink, a splash and a hydroid, between dragonfly wings and bubble froth, the growth of radiolaria and snowflakes, the spirals of nautilus and mollusk shells and sheep horns. More recently, Adrian Bejan's Constructal Theory aims to explain all biological shape from one thermodynamic principle. This month there is an interview with Bejan for the layman. [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Nov 13, 2008 - 16 comments

you really should watch this.

Hunting the Hidden Dimension. You may be familiar with fractals, but in this PBS Nova episode, divided online into 5 parts, fractals go beyond the impossible zoom of the Mandelbrot set. Scientists are using fractals to describe complex natural occurrences, like lava, capillaries, and rain forests. In part 5, scientists measure one tree in the rain forests, and the distribution of small and large branches mirror the distribution of small and large trees. Fractals, it seems, are nature.
posted by plexi on Nov 2, 2008 - 43 comments

The hyena, "our favorite animal"

"With most animals, males duke it out and the winner gets the girls," says Holekamp. "But with hyenas, females have 100 percent say." They decide when and under what conditions they will tolerate deferential sperm donors. At age 2 or 3 a male leaves his natal clan and wanders off to beg acceptance into another clan. After vicious rejections, he eventually succeeds and reaps his reward: brutal harassment as the clan's nadir, one of the last in line for food and sex. This probation, which biologists call "endurance rivalry," is a test, Holekamp explains: "The guy who can stick it out the longest wins." The trial lasts about two years, after which some females may grant him access. "You do not want to be a male hyena," Holekamp says.
-From an article in Smithsonian Magazine, Who's Laughing Now? Professor Holekamp's hyena site. Also, hyena pictures and The Hyena Pages, a fine site about this fascinating animal.
posted by Kattullus on May 7, 2008 - 32 comments

The Immortal Species

While the dream of immortality might be as old as mankind, the jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula (image) seems to be living it:
The hydrozoan Turritopsis nutricula has evolved a remarkable variation on this theme, and in so doing appears to have achieved immortality. The solitary medusa of this species can revert to its polyp stage after becoming sexually mature (Bavestrello et al., 1992; Piraino et al., 1996). In the laboratory, 100% of these medusae regularly undergo this change. Thus, it is possible that organismic death does not occur in this species!
An in-depth research paper.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jan 30, 2008 - 48 comments

A Genetic Basis for 'Race'

'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 23, 2008 - 101 comments

Nature gone Wild

Birds that rap and cows with accents. The big picture is urban adaptation, which is pretty cool. (...and the egg wins.)
posted by ewkpates on Dec 28, 2006 - 17 comments

Obesity and Diabetes

Obesity and Diabetes - another free supplement by Nature
posted by Gyan on Dec 15, 2006 - 17 comments

That shit is deep.

Dude, there are some fucked up creatures crawling around on the ocean floor.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 5, 2006 - 66 comments

The Micropolitan Museum

The Institute for the Promotion of the Less than One Millimeter proudly presents The Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms. [via]
posted by mediareport on Oct 22, 2006 - 7 comments

Beautiful old German zoological wall charts

Beautiful, occasionally abstract, old German zoological wall charts. [via]
posted by mediareport on Oct 3, 2006 - 17 comments

thanks mom!

Bacteria Roll Out Carpet Of Goo That Converts Deadly Heavy Metal Into Less Threatening Nano-spheres. This microbe joins another reported not too long ago. We certainly could use their help.
posted by owhydididoit on Aug 17, 2006 - 9 comments

Learning can be fun.

Science sites of all kinds for kids. Archeology. Entomology. Natural Symphony. Baseball in Space. Philosophy. Process or Content. Science songs. Physics songs, relativity. String theory. Science and Art.
posted by nickyskye on Jun 26, 2006 - 9 comments

GATTACA

The Promise and Perils of Synthetic Biology
posted by Gyan on Jun 16, 2006 - 14 comments

Sisotim?

Mitosis reversed. Incompletely, but still... Here's the Nature paper(PDF). Here's the video (direct link to QT). Oh, and we can print organs now. O brave new world! (via, via)
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 14, 2006 - 19 comments

The Biologia Centralia Americana Project

The Biologia Centralia Americana Project Using taXMLit (pdf) to document biological life in Central America. Explore the contents in both pictures and words. For pictures, zoom doesn't seem to work yet but enlarge does.
posted by obedo on Oct 5, 2005 - 1 comment

You have evolved to like this interview.

The fitness of evolutionary psychology
posted by daksya on Jul 4, 2005 - 22 comments

Secrets of the X chromosome, revealed!

Female X chromosome 'cracked' - "The discovery, by an international consortium of scientists, shows that females are far more variable than previously thought and, when it comes to genes, more complex than men." Nature reports two new studies; one on the complete sequencing of the X chromosome for humans, which sheds some light on how sex evolved and how women differ from men, and another on how women express many genes from X chromosomes previously thought dormant.
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2005 - 31 comments

Seabirds skull gallery

Seabirds Skull Gallery An amateur birder in Holland is fascinated by the internal structure of various seabirds. [via Incoming Signals]
posted by mediareport on Feb 19, 2005 - 7 comments

Infrasound animals

"Infrasonic Symphony" Intrigued by reports of tsunami-avoidance behavior in Sri Lankan wildlife? Science News offers a timely antidote to simplistic mumbo-jumbo about the "mythical power" of animal earthquake detection with a detailed look at the latest research into low-frequency sound. The Elephant Listening Project is particularly interested in elephant rumblings that produce Rayleigh waves. "Mammals, birds, insects, and spiders can detect Rayleigh waves," notes The Explainer. "Most can feel the movement in their bodies, although some, like snakes and salamanders, put their ears to the ground in order to perceive it."
posted by mediareport on Jan 3, 2005 - 15 comments

Cock-a-doodle-doo. What, what?

20,000 genes and splices: the Colonel's Secret Recipe revealed! Even the fanciest chickens won't be able to ignore their genetic cousins now.
posted by naomi on Dec 12, 2004 - 32 comments

Biodiversity Hotspots

The 25 richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth. Of the 25, here are the hottest of the hotspots. An interactive map. And the latest news about how companies like Office Depot are helping Conservation International protect threatened animals who don't get to vote in even the world's [cough] most enlightened democracies.
posted by mediareport on May 3, 2004 - 3 comments

Exotic Entomology and Fabulous Beasts

Exotic Entomology. 'Provided for your delight are a small number of the world's butterflies and moths, taken from Dru Drury's three-volume monograph entitled Illustrations of Exotic Entomology.'
Related :- Schreber's Fabulous Beasts. 'In 1774 Johann Christian Dan Schreber authored a multivolume set of books entitled Die Saugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. Focusing on mammals of the world, these books were lavishly illustrated with 755 hand-colored plates ... '
posted by plep on Jul 5, 2003 - 8 comments

Crows better than chimps at making tools?

Crows better than chimps at making tools? British scientists were reportedly "astonished" when a captive crow named Betty "spontaneously bent a straight piece of wire and used it to retrieve a snack." But another scientist says crows have been seen making two kinds of hook tools in the wild, although he's not sure we should say they have "insight." It's clear that there are lots of different kinds of animal intelligences, so why are humans so surprised when dolphins recognize themselves in mirrors, chimps demonstrate culture and lions engage in social problem-solving? What explains the reluctance to admit that animal "consciousness" exists?
posted by mediareport on Aug 9, 2002 - 72 comments

Buddhist mandalas?

Buddhist mandalas? Abstract doodles? Alien snow crystals? Nope. Just some amazing scientific art from Art Forms in Nature, published between 1899 and 1904 by zoologist Ernst Haeckel. Lots more early biological art at this scientist's public domain archive. Unfortunately, Haeckel also helped provide the philosophical foundation for Nazism. Hey, no one's perfect.
posted by mediareport on May 24, 2002 - 13 comments

Page: 1