This absolutely horrifying clip from forthcoming BBC documentary Wonders of the Monsoon shows a giant red leech sucking down a giant blue earthworm like spaghetti, deep in the forests of Borneo. [more inside]
US Creates Largest Protected Area in the World. Over 3x larger than California, the Obama administration has enlarged the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Fishing, dumping, and removal of coral are now prohibited.
"It was always assumed that V-formation flight was learned from the adult birds. But these guys are all the same age and they learned to fly from a human in a microlight. They learned V-formation flying from each other. National Geographic reports on some of the fascinating intricacies of the V formation observed in migrating birds.
"...it’s a world so full of carnal conflicts of interest and deception that only now are biologists getting to grips with all of its ins and outs, including an understanding of why human sex may be about pleasure rather than pain."[via BBC] [more inside]
I don't know what it is about fecundity that so appalls. I suppose it is the teeming evidence that birth and growth, which we value, are ubiquitous and blind, that life itself is so astonishingly cheap, that nature is as careless as it is bountiful, and that with extravagance goes a crushing waste that will one day include our own cheap lives. Every glistening egg is a memento mori.Annie Dillard ponders the disquieting thrall of the circle of life in her November 1973 essay for The Atlantic: The Force That Drives the Flower. [more inside]
...further, each species is shown upon its native hostplant and each composition aims to tell a story about its subject’s unique natural history.
Koryos, who previously explained how cats got domesticated using tumblr, now explains why homosexual pair-bonding can be a successful reproductive stratagem. Also, Coot Parenting Tips, Queen Cowbird Of The Brood Parasites , There's No Such Thing As An Alpha Wolf, and Can Animals Have Pets?
A time lapse of a Rose of Jericho (Selaginella lepidophylla). After being exposed to water, the plant turns from a dried tumbleweed to a green fern over the course of several hours.
The grandeurs and intimacies of nature will, I hope, encourage the spectator to seek for himself the inexhaustible sources of beauty in the natural world around him. Fortunate is he indeed who can see Mount McKinley against the summer midnight sky.... From a 1962 documentary about the photography of Ansel Adams produced by THIRTEEN/WNET. [more inside]
Norbert Wiener: The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again) - "The most direct reason for Wiener's fall to relative obscurity was the breakthrough of a young mathematician and engineer named Claude Shannon." [more inside]
Drew Chessie Nowhere is a bike punk who regularly takes leave from his job as a chef in NOLA to go on epic bicycle tours, full of camping with his dog in the woods, dumpster diving, and campstove cooking. He is covered with tattoos from artist Pauly Lingerfelt. He is also a fantastic photographer.
bike touring tumblr
bike touring F.A.Q.
The SmartMime whale tracker lets you know where Hawaii's diverse population of whales are right now (not actually in real time, but based on migration data).
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.
The American Museum of Natural History will unlock thousands of old photos from their vault, they announced this week. The new online image database (officially launching on Monday the 28th) will take you behind the curtain, delivering images that span the 145-year history of the Museum. The collection features over 7,000 images—many never before seen by the public—and includes photos, rare book illustrations, drawings, notes, letters, art, and Museum memorabilia. They say "it’s like stepping into a time machine and seeing a long ago NYC or just catching glimpses of ghosts from a forgotten world now seen only by researchers and Museum staff." Previously. [more inside]
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]
Such as Ulva lobata from Josie Iselin's new book An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed.
Feather boa kelp - Egregia menziesii
Sea grapes - Botryocladia pseudodichotoma [more inside]
Feather boa kelp - Egregia menziesii
Sea grapes - Botryocladia pseudodichotoma [more inside]
Arthur C. Clarke, Benoit Mandelbrot, Stephen Hawking, David Gilmour and many more trip the fuck out about Fractals, the Colors of Infinity.
Mefites are awfully fond of abandoned places, whether they be water parks, train stations or even entire communities. But how about golf courses? A look at what has happened to some of the abandoned courses in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (via Salon).
There Can Be Only One Snake v Crocodile in Northern Queensland
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 ;)
"First time I ever got beat up by a baby moose." -- Maine moose trapper/tagger Wes Livingston gets mauled by an ungrateful juvenile moose on video. [via 9MSN; TW: animal mauling; Livingston is ok] [more inside]
Joshua - a time-lapse tribute to the beauty of Joshua trees, native to southwestern U.S. Photographer Sungjin Ahn embarked on his project after learning that climate change could "eliminate Joshua trees from 90 percent of their current range in 60 to 90 years." via PetaPixel
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.)
Peacock Spiders don't hurt humans (they're tiny and 'insignificant'). Here's one on a human fingernail in Western Australia where they live. Peacock Spiders (Flickr image search results) are quite something. (Previously). The still images don't capture the mating performances properly. [more inside]
Marc Anderson, the winner of the Beautiful Now sound competition has a site called Nature Soundmap where you can listen to sounds from around the world. [more inside]
Minnesota Birdsong: An interactive poster Cute interface with birdsong content provided by the always amazing Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
You get some amazing pictures and yet another "everything around is beautiful at a level that is impossible to be aware of all at once" moment.
Patrick Stewart On Mooing Like a British Cow. Also explains regional differences for NPR's How To Do Everything podcast.
Utah3D. Highlights include the Bonneville Salt Flats, Goblin Valley and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Closing in on the twin prime conjecture (Quanta) - "Just months after Zhang announced his result, Maynard has presented an independent proof that pushes the gap down to 600. A new Polymath project is in the planning stages, to try to combine the collaboration's techniques with Maynard's approach to push this bound even lower." [more inside]
The U.S. Department of the Interior has an Instagram account, to which it posts some truly breathtaking photos.
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!
Deadly Asian giant hornets - aka Vespa mandarinia - kill at least 41 people in China. Hundreds more have been hospitalized by these 2+ inch beasts with a sting that packs a human-tissue dissolving neurotoxin. Survivor stories are terrifying. Think you are safe in the U.S. or Britain? Nope and nope. (via @BitterOldPunk)
Chemists at Duke University have developed a new plastic that becomes stronger with mechanical stress. [more inside]
My vacation to the set of Disney's "The Lion King." Via reddit, the real pictures were taken at the Mara Bushtop at the Masai Mara Manyatta Camp in Kenya.
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
Nature is neat, so let's all go on a Neature Walk! [slyt]
In The Realm of the Purple Emperor: As I’m sure many of His Majesty’s loyal followers will agree, there’s nothing we love more than to roll around in the mud, dust, dung, poo, shrimp paste, flies, spit and wee to get those highly coveted photographs. [more inside]
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
"This is a story, a picture story, of two very lucky people before whom was spread out the greatest of treasures, the planet Earth. We traveled aboard a magic carpet, the one with the yellow borders, National Geographic magazine. During four decades we wandered over all the continents and left wakes across the seven seas." [more inside]
One wasp can seriously ruin your picknick. A wasp nest in or near your home can be dangerous to your health. A yellowjacket wasp nest? Serious trouble. Now imagine a wasp nest holding a million yellowjackets.
A study published last year shows that teenage marijuana use can lead to decreased IQ in adulthood. According to Nature, "when their adult IQ was tested at 38 years old, the heaviest and most persistent adolescent-onset users in the study had experienced an average decline of eight IQ points from childhood to adulthood." [more inside]
Cheetahs’ Secret Weapon: A Tight Turning Radius [New York Times]
"Anyone who has watched a cheetah run down an antelope knows that these cats are impressively fast. But it turns out that speed is not the secret to their prodigious hunting skills: a novel study of how cheetahs chase prey in the wild shows that it is their agility — their skill at leaping sideways, changing directions abruptly and slowing down quickly — that gives those antelope such bad odds."
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.
Craig Ferguson seems to have a special liking for conversation with Stephen Fry. Previously. On Wednesday night, Stephen was back on the Late Late Show as the only guest. The naturally wide-ranging discussion includes Arthur Conan Doyle, America, mortality, religion, philosophy, science, homosexuality, Wagner, and more. Enjoy. [more inside]