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"Sarcastic Fringehead?" Really?

Amazing territorial behavior by a fish bearing the rather odd name of "Sarcastic Fringehead," from the David Attenborough's BBC Life series via WTF, Evolution?
posted by Scientist on Mar 11, 2013 - 46 comments

Truck-surfing raven

While it's well known that dolphins will surf in the bow waves of ships, at least one wild raven has learned to 'surf' on the pressure wave in front of trucks (second video). [more inside]
posted by Pyry on Feb 20, 2013 - 38 comments

This is no domestic moggy.

Earthflight is a BBC nature documentary narrated by David Tennant that takes a breathtaking flight on the wings of birds across six continents and experiences some of the world's greatest natural spectacles from a bird's-eye view. There are some full episodes up on YouTube (including South America, Africa, and the Making Of), but in particular these two clips caught my eye: Feral Cat Hunting and Peregrine Falcon Hunting.
posted by lazaruslong on Feb 14, 2013 - 9 comments

Thankfully unrelated to the NIN song.

Head Like An Orange is a tumblr dedicated to posting beautiful gifs from various nature documentaries.
posted by flatluigi on Feb 8, 2013 - 24 comments

Raven in Snow

Happy snow day, superkids! Here's a raven, havin' a time. SLYT, about a minute long. Dig it.
posted by Greg Nog on Feb 8, 2013 - 36 comments

the power and beauty of mathematics

An eternity of infinities (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 2, 2013 - 23 comments

To caricature and simplify at the same time!

Charley Harper's "minimal realism" contributions to science and art are being celebrated by the graphic design blog Codex 99. Part 1 - Charley and Edie. Part 2 - The Birds. Part 3 - Tin Lizzie and Dinner for Two. Part 4 - The Golden Book of Biology. Part 5 - Bambi and Childcraft. Part 6 - The Animal Kingdom.
posted by ChuraChura on Jan 30, 2013 - 10 comments

welcome

MAN - a short animated history of man's time on earth by Steve Cutts. (Via Nag on the Lake)
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 27, 2013 - 14 comments

Evaluating the impact of international aid, scientifically

International aid projects come under the microscope Clinical-research techniques deployed to assess effectiveness of aid initiatives.
posted by infini on Jan 24, 2013 - 3 comments

Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It's Time To Die

Here's the surprise: There is a mathematical formula which says if you tell me how big something is, I can tell you — with some variation, but not a lot — how long it will live.
Yunfun Tan illustrates the heartbeat of mother nature in this post on NPR
posted by rebent on Jan 23, 2013 - 35 comments

Badass Mouse is badass.

The little mouse that eats scorpions AND adorably howls at the moon.
posted by Kitteh on Jan 21, 2013 - 32 comments

Wild Things

The Bronx Zoo is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which boasts of running more than 500 projects in sixty-five countries through global field offices whose employees work to advance sustainable development; address issues of global climate change, health and well-being, and natural-resource use; and pursue other noble-sounding objectives that attest to the totality of man’s dominion over the lesser beasts. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Jan 20, 2013 - 30 comments

DO NOT CLICK

Trust Me, You Do Not Want to See This Video of a Giant Parasitic Worm Slithering Out of a Dead Spider’s Stomach
posted by Artw on Jan 12, 2013 - 147 comments

Gravity is the only glue

"Rock balancing is an art, discipline, or hobby (depending upon the intent of the practitioner) in which rocks are balanced on top of one another in various positions". Here are a few practitioners:
Phillip A. Long
Renato Brancaleoni
Lila Higgins
Adrian Gray
Michael Grab
Terry Robison uses sticks beside stones
Dave Gorman
Peter Juhl shares basic principles
Team Sandtastic stacks rocks when they don’t build elaborate sand castles
Bill Dan has links to other balancers.
Extra: Balanced sand castles [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Jan 5, 2013 - 18 comments

I love nature. I hate pollution

Children's Eyes on Earth 2012 photography contest [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 5, 2013 - 4 comments

Frost Flowers

Frost Flowers: "...they are made of such thin sheets of ice, they will melt away as the sun rises higher in the sky. You may get frost flowers again the following day, but unless the conditions are just right the chances are your first glimpse may be your last."
posted by OmieWise on Dec 18, 2012 - 30 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

direct realism

The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2012 - 19 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

I've got the powa!

So, uh, apparently Jet Boards are a thing. Maybe you knew this? I did not. At first I just thought that video was kinda neat, and the idea was interesting. Then I looked at their website and found a ton of amazing photos, a lot more SCIENCE! explanations of stuff than I would have expected, and finally this promovideo which features both an endearingly cheesy original themesong, as well as lightning and explosions (GIF!). Soooooooooo yeah. Jet Boards. Apparently invented as early as 1965. Pretty sweet.
posted by lazaruslong on Sep 7, 2012 - 24 comments

This Is A Journey Into Sound

Exploring the audible world: [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 7, 2012 - 12 comments

Of ants and packets

The Anternet is always up. On the surface, ants and the Internet don't seem to have much in common. But two Stanford researchers have discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data. [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Aug 29, 2012 - 19 comments

There are fewer microbes out there than you think

There are fewer microbes out there than you think. New estimate reduces the number of microbes on Earth by around half. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Aug 28, 2012 - 38 comments

"Nature means necessity."

First Evidence Found for Photosynthesis in Insects: [nature.com] "The biology of aphids is bizarre: they can be born pregnant and males sometimes lack mouths, causing them to die not long after mating. In an addition to their list of anomalies, work published this week indicates that they may also capture sunlight and use the energy for metabolic purposes."
posted by Fizz on Aug 18, 2012 - 26 comments

Chicken of the trees

"I stood staring at the enemy's trophy, the familiar impotent rage rising. But the impulse to fall to my knees, gnash my teeth, and howl at the gods was stayed this time by a resolution I'd made earlier that spring. The squirrels may take my tomatoes and spit them back, but they would not go unanswered. The time had come to close the circle of life." (via)
posted by vidur on Aug 16, 2012 - 59 comments

A masing grace

Using spare chemicals, a laser bought on eBay and angst from a late-night argument, physicists have got the world's first room-temperature microwave laser working. [more inside]
posted by ancillary on Aug 15, 2012 - 49 comments

Oh hi! Nice camera!

Mark Peters was Albacore hunting off Santa Cruz, with a torpedo-shaped case enclosing a videocamera, and a pod of dolphins showed up. The footage is simply incredible.
posted by lazaruslong on Aug 10, 2012 - 111 comments

The top ten new species 2012

The top ten new species 2012 The International Institute for Species Exploration has come up with a list of top ten new species; among them the snub nosed monkey that sneezes when it rains, a wasp that attacks ants in less than 0.05 of a second, and a psychedelic jellyfish. (previously on MeFi)
posted by dhruva on Aug 8, 2012 - 32 comments

Enjoy Nature Electronically

The Psychologically Ultimate Seashore was the first in the Environments series of records, an early entry in the field of white-noise nature sound albums. One interesting aspect of the albums was that most were designed to be played on a loop at any speed; another was that selections were included on the Voyager Golden Record as "Sounds of the Earth". [more inside]
posted by 23 on Aug 7, 2012 - 17 comments

Bears

There is now a live stream of bears gathering to eat salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park. [more inside]
posted by charmcityblues on Jul 24, 2012 - 95 comments

Where will U go next?

North Americans may have noticed that U-Haul trucks and trailers are emblazoned with colorful SuperGraphics. First created in 1988 (previously), the mobile gallery now comprises 206 images. Most U.S states and Canadian territories and provinces are now honored by multiple designs, as are the U.S. armed forces and 9/11. The classic America and Canada's Moving Adventure series, seen on trucks and trailers, features an iconic image for each state, province and territory. The Venture Across America and Canada series, begun in 1997, presents "carefully researched rare findings, little-known facts and mysteries," exploring science and nature, technology and history. At the U-Haul website, the "Learn More" link on each Venture SuperGraphic page leads to a surprisingly exhaustive discussion of the subject of each graphic. [more inside]
posted by BrashTech on Jul 22, 2012 - 30 comments

noncommutative balls in boxes

Morton and Vicary on the Categorified Heisenberg Algebra - "In quantum mechanics, position times momentum does not equal momentum times position! This sounds weird, but it's connected to a very simple fact. Suppose you have a box with some balls in it, and you have the magical ability to create and annihilate balls. Then there's one more way to create a ball and then annihilate one, than to annihilate one and then create one. Huh? Yes: if there are, say, 3 balls in the box to start with, there are 4 balls you can choose to annihilate after you've created one but only 3 before you create one..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 21, 2012 - 78 comments

I would just show you my butt, right now.

Ze Frank previously and Rainn Wilson talk about the Teen Brain.
posted by lazaruslong on Jul 11, 2012 - 28 comments

Wave Wash

"A pod of orcas, or killer whales, cooperate to wash a Weddell seal off an ice floe. This sequence, filmed for Frozen Planet, marks the first complete filming of killer whale "wave washing" behavior." [more inside]
posted by vidur on Jun 26, 2012 - 73 comments

Rosemary Mosco - naturalist & cartoonist

Rosemary Mosco is a field naturalist who draws bird & nature comics: "bird and moon" (previously), "ghosts of the northeast woods", "bird sound mnemonics", "birds are gross", "evolution sucks". Her bi-weekly comic strip Wild Toronto ("It cleverly observed and taught us about the animals and plants that live in our city") ran on Torontoist for some months in 2008; she has an illustrated collection of 55-word stories as well (previously mentioned). Her website, flickr, & tumblr.
posted by flex on Jun 15, 2012 - 12 comments

Patient 23

"Adrian Owen still gets animated when he talks about patient 23. The patient was only 24 years old when his life was devastated by a car accident. Alive but unresponsive, he had been languishing in what neurologists refer to as a vegetative state for five years, when Owen, a neuro-scientist then at the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues at the University of Liège in Belgium, put him into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine and started asking him questions. Incredibly, he provided answers."
posted by jquinby on Jun 15, 2012 - 31 comments

Publish or Perish

Are bias and fraud damaging the existing public trust in scientific and medical research? (previously) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on May 13, 2012 - 35 comments

Christopher Alexander lectures at Berkeley

Legendary architect-philosopher Christopher Alexander delivers a fascinating lecture at Berkeley, in which he criticizes "modular" design and offers a radical new vision of architecture's relation to nature. Alexander is best known for A Pattern Language, which aimed to make buildings and towns more "alive" through a series of pleasing and comfortable patterns (five sample patterns can be found here). His most recent work, the four-part The Nature of Order, theorizes that life, whether organic or inorganic, emerges from a single simple process, which can be found on page 4 of Amazon's preview of the third volume. In the first volume Alexander lists fifteen properties that make a structure whole. Also worth reading: Alexander's classic essay A City is not a Tree.
posted by Rory Marinich on May 9, 2012 - 28 comments

Non-Glacial Glacier Videos

The Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska moves less than a foot a day, but thanks to Extreme Ice Survey you can now watch three years of movement happen in just over a minute complete with a glacier expert explaining what you're seeing. You can also watch giant glacier pieces break into the water and many other non-glacial glacier videos. Finally, some info to make you more of a glacier expert yourself.
posted by Defenestrator on May 4, 2012 - 5 comments

The Avian Flu: Transparency vs. Public Safety

"Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets." After an extensive, months-long debate, one of two controversial papers showing ways the H5N1 "avian" influenza virus could potentially become transmissible in mammals with only 3 or 4 mutations was published in Nature today. The journal included an editorial on the merits and drawbacks of "publishing risky research" with regard to biosafety. The debate included an unprecedented recommendation by The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication -- a decision they later reversed. (Via: 1, 2) Nature's special report has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
posted by zarq on May 3, 2012 - 37 comments

The Strangest Man

The trend of mathematics and physics towards unification provides the physicist with a powerful new method of research into the foundations of his subject, a method which has not yet been applied successfully, but which I feel confident will prove its value in the future. The method is to begin by choosing that branch of mathematics which one thinks will form the basis of the new theory. One should be influenced very much in this choice by considerations of mathematical beauty. [1939] [more inside]
posted by smcg on Apr 28, 2012 - 8 comments

This is Oregon

This is Oregon [video] showcases the natural beauty found within 90 minutes of Portland.
posted by OverlappingElvis on Apr 24, 2012 - 34 comments

That's right, baby hummingbirds

An Anna's hummingbird on a tiny nest, smaller than an ivy leaf, with two hatchlings therein. Watch it live. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Apr 16, 2012 - 58 comments

Soothing, captivating, fascinating. Underwater live cams.

Fishbowl, live cam at the Blue Cavern, Aquarium of the Pacific. Live cams at explore.org: Moon jellyfish | tropical reef live cam. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 14, 2012 - 8 comments

A (potentially) not so sunny day

Earth Faces 12% Chance of "Catastrophic Solar Megastorm" by 2020 The last gigantic solar storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred more than 150 years ago and was the most powerful such event in recorded history. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 29, 2012 - 75 comments

Clawdius Caesar

City of the Wildcats 1 2:
A documentary about the urban kitties of Rome narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
posted by lemuring on Feb 16, 2012 - 20 comments

How the zebra came by his stripes.

How the zebra came by his stripes. "Why zebras evolved their characteristic black-and-white stripes has been the subject of decades of debate among scientists. Now researchers from Hungary and Sweden claim to have solved the mystery."
posted by estherhaza on Feb 9, 2012 - 35 comments

A song 165 million years in the making

Chill to the re-created chirrups of Jurassic crickets.
posted by Laminda on Feb 7, 2012 - 15 comments

"You don't get to define my gayness for me."

Cynthia Nixon (of "Sex and the City" fame) told the New York Times last week that she chooses to be gay. Her comments generated a number of responses from gay bloggers, some angry, some not so much, and generated enough heat to be covered by the AP. In today's New York Times, Frank Bruni tries to make sense of it all.
posted by gertzedek on Jan 29, 2012 - 90 comments

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