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If you found a dead whale, how would you dispose of the body?

When whales die: Yesterday, a 20-30 foot whale washed up a shore in New Jersey. Officials are going to deal with it by cutting it up into small parts and burying it. In previous incidents, officials tried to explode it into bits that were meant to fall in the ocean and get eaten by seagulls, but that didn't work out [YT] so well, especially for nearby spectators. Even if you want to let it decompose naturally, you have to be careful for spontaneous explosions due to gassy buildup. Especially when transporting it in busy city streets. Oops. When whales die in the ocean, on the other hand, their bodies eventually fall to the sea floor and can start mini ecosystems, where female pink glowstick-like sea worms that harbor the male pink glowstick sea worms inside their bodies live, eat whale bones, and propagate. (Previously on Metafilter: Taiwan explosion)
posted by Salamandrous on Jul 28, 2009 - 46 comments

"Natural communities and ecosystems possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist, flourish and naturally evolve..."

Sued by the forest: Should nature be able to take you to court?
posted by homunculus on Jul 19, 2009 - 37 comments

World's Oldest Penis

Australian scientists have found the world's oldest penis. Published Monday in the online version of Nature, the discovery of the 400 million-year-old clasper in an ancient fish specimen shows that animals were gettin' it on earlier than previously thought. Says one study author, "We were surprised because it's so big. We were expecting something smaller." SFW
posted by Dilemma on Jul 16, 2009 - 34 comments

The Wealth of Nature

Recently, John Michael Greer has been exploring a little known idea of the deceased economist E.F. Schumacher (a student of the oft-discussed Keynes). "Schumacher drew a hard distinction between primary goods and secondary goods. The latter of these includes everything dealt with by conventional economics: the goods and services produced by human labor and exchanged among human beings. The former includes all those things necessary for human life and economic activity that are produced not by human beings, but by nature. Schumacher pointed out that primary goods, as the phrase implies, need to come first in any economic analysis because they supply the preconditions for the production of secondary goods. Renewable resources, he proposed, form the equivalent of income in the primary economy, while nonrenewable resources are the equivalent of capital; to insist that an economic system is sound when it is burning through nonrenewable resources at a rate that will lead to rapid depletion is thus as silly as claiming that a business is breaking even if it’s covering up huge losses by drawing down its bank accounts." [more inside]
posted by symbollocks on Jul 10, 2009 - 14 comments

"Dont let the fire rush to your head..."

Framed by a circle of clouds, this is a stunning illustration of Nature's powerful force. A plume of smoke, ash and steam soars five miles into the sky from an erupting volcano. The extraordinary image was captured by the crew of the International Space Station 220 miles above a remote Russian island in the North Pacific.
posted by KevinSkomsvold on Jun 26, 2009 - 22 comments

"...a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals."

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. " - Henry Beston, naturalist and writer. [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Jun 24, 2009 - 15 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

400 Years Ago

Have you ever wondered what New York was like before it was a city? Find out at The Mannahatta Project, by navigating through the map to discover Manhattan Island and its native wildlife in 1609. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jun 4, 2009 - 16 comments

A World in a Drop of Water

Microworld by Licht. More of Paul's macro droplet shots can be seen at his Flickr gallery and others' macro droplet shots in the Refractions in Liquid Drops group pool.
posted by Orb on Apr 29, 2009 - 5 comments

"Grab a chance and you won't be sorry for a might have been."

The Dzrtgrls explore mines, ghost towns, rockhounding spots, petroglyphs, geocaching and metal detecting sites, and take lots of great pictures in the process.
posted by rollbiz on Apr 26, 2009 - 12 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

Nature Cause by Human Culture

Next Nature is the nature caused by human culture. The technological world has become so intricate and uncontrollable that it has become a nature of its own. Scientific research into nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, ambient intelligence, tissue engineering... all of these young research fields radically interfere with our sense of what is ‘natural’. Here's a visual introduction into next nature. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Apr 19, 2009 - 13 comments

Wild Wonders of Europe nature photography

Wild Wonders of Europe "wants to show that Europe really is not about just highways and cities. But today, many seem to know more about nature in Africa or in America, than in Europe, because that is what’s on TV. The European natural wonders are still very little known to the World. We want to change that." 58 nature photographers are working on the project, and there are 29 galleries representing 16 countries thus far, with more to come. [via]
posted by cog_nate on Apr 17, 2009 - 14 comments

Requiem for the steppenwolf

The Berkutchi is a falconer who hunts with the Golden Eagle [more inside]
posted by hortense on Apr 8, 2009 - 19 comments

Little Armored One

What can jump 4 feet straight up, births identical quadruplet pups nearly every time, can curl itself into an armor-plated ball, walk underwater for up to six minutes and can swallow air until it bloats to double its size to float? [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Apr 2, 2009 - 39 comments

SpaceTime TV: Free Videos on Heaps of Topics

SpaceTimeTV collects and lets you watch all the best educational videos online from full length documentaries (such as the 50 minute long Is There Life on Mars) to short video clips such as this one on glaciers and global warming. There are hundreds of videos on topics including history, space, technology, and nature.
posted by Effigy2000 on Mar 31, 2009 - 6 comments

How Cities Hurt Your Brain

Recent research has found that living in a city may be bad for your brain. Compared with natural settings, cities over-stimulate us and impair our memory and cognitive functions.
posted by jon_hansen on Feb 17, 2009 - 84 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

The Solar Connection

Rethinking Earthrise. On the 40th anniversary of the NASA's Apollo 8 mission [caution: weird JFK animation], which answered Stewart Brand's epochal, LSD-inspired question "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?" with an unforgettable image of a seemingly fragile and isolated blue planet, Nature editor Oliver Morton -- author of a new book on photosynthesis called Eating the Sun -- disputes the notion that the Earth is fragile and isolated. "The fragility is an illusion," he writes. "The planet Earth is a remarkably robust thing, and this strength flows from its ancient and intimate connection to the cosmos beyond. To see the photo this way does not undermine its environmental relevance -- but it does recast it."
posted by digaman on Dec 24, 2008 - 39 comments

"...we see on the ground a number of spots of light, scattered irregularly, some large, some small..."

The Nature of Light and Color in the Open Air "Moreover, this book is written for all those who love Nature; for the young people going out into the wide world and gathering together round the camp-fire; for the painter who admires but does not understand the light and colour of the landscape; for those living in the country; for all who delight in travelling; and also for town-dwellers, for whom, even in the noise and clamour of our dark streets, the manifestations of Nature remain." - Marcel Minnaert [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Dec 23, 2008 - 17 comments

NorthWest Passage

Ice:A Victorian Romance, is an exhibition of fifty-five rare books and journals, with lovely illustrations. [more inside]
posted by hortense on Dec 21, 2008 - 8 comments

European Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The GDT's* European Wildlife Photographer of the Year; winning image is NSFW. (2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001) *Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen [more inside]
posted by Korou on Nov 14, 2008 - 22 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

Hoh River

Silence Like Scouring Sand. "One of America's quietest places, and the valiant effort to keep it that way." (Previously.)
posted by homunculus on Nov 3, 2008 - 24 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

Beyond the Reach of God

Beyond the Reach of God. Thought experiments involving the God-universe and the Nature-universe, the Turing-complete Game of Life, and a lot of insightful back-and-forth in the comment section, to boot. One of the most interesting and thought-provoking essays I've read on the Internet in a very long time, by Eliezer Yudkowsky on his blog, Overcoming Bias (via).
posted by WCityMike on Oct 9, 2008 - 64 comments

lions and other wildlife from the African bush

Brutal or Amazing? - this is just one of many fine posts on the Photo Africa Blog, an excellent source of in-the-wild animal and nature photos and reports from bush field guides. Also see: Madikwe Lions.
posted by madamjujujive on Oct 4, 2008 - 20 comments

buggy barbarity

Violent death in the insect world - grisly yet compelling macro photographs of bug-against-bug carnage.
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 8, 2008 - 23 comments

Graffiti for Butterflies

Graffiti for Butterflies [via mefi projects] Making signposts and rest areas to help monarch butterflies on their journey.
posted by NikitaNikita on Aug 3, 2008 - 16 comments

Go Play Outside!

Can you identify these common plants and animals? A study shows that increasingly, 9- to 11-year-old children can't. Quoth David Attenborough: "The wild world is becoming so remote to children that they miss out, and an interest in the natural world doesn't grow as it should. Nobody is going protect the natural world unless they understand it."
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] on Aug 1, 2008 - 164 comments

Leopard Vs Crocodile.

Pictures (and a video) of a leopard attacking and killing a crocodile.
posted by Effigy2000 on Jul 18, 2008 - 31 comments

Don't hang around 'cause two's a crowd

10 Rare Clouds. 20 Cool Clouds. NASA clouds. List of Cloud Types (wiki). previously
posted by swift on Jun 27, 2008 - 28 comments

Bruno's Art and Sculpture Garden

Full of contemplative creatures and sleepers, Bruno Torf's Australian sculpture garden began with just fifteen life sized terracotta sculptures. Today there are over one hundred and fifteen pieces on display and Bruno is still making regular additions. Dive on in. Via
posted by cashman on Jun 14, 2008 - 6 comments

For the birders

Stephen Burch's Birding Website is full of fine photos of feathered friends.
posted by owhydididoit on May 30, 2008 - 13 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

Gary Snyder, Speaking for the Trees

Gary Snyder, sublime and seminal poet of ecological awareness and activism [YouTube link], Zen appreciation of "ordinary mind" and American speech, shamanistic intimacy with the natural world, and surviving member of the Beat Generation (West Coast posse) at age 78, has won the $100,000 Ruth Lilly poetry prize. "Gary Snyder is in essence a contemporary devotional poet, though he is not devoted to any one god or way of being so much as to Being itself," said Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman. "His poetry is a testament to the sacredness of the natural world and our relation to it, and a prophecy of what we stand to lose if we forget that relation.” Previous recipients of the Lilly prize include Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and W.S. Merwin. [Previously mentioned here.]
posted by digaman on May 7, 2008 - 43 comments

This is a list of frogs.

This is a list of frogs. Look at pictures the frogs. Most importantly, listen (sounds like a fart) to (sounds like a baseball card in your bike tire) the (sounds like a sheep) frogs (classic frog sound). [more inside]
posted by bigmusic on May 3, 2008 - 21 comments

Kennan Ward Nature-Wildlife Photography

Kennan Ward Nature-Wildlife Photography -- “Being a nature-wildlife photographer is a demanding job … but all the hardship is forgotten when I make eye-to-eye contact with a wild animal, or experience the moment when a window in the clouds opens up, highlighting a landscape … I feel honored to be able to bring the inspiring beauty of nature to others.” [more inside]
posted by netbros on Apr 29, 2008 - 4 comments

wow - no more hanging out on craggy alpine pinnacles for me!

Dramatic footage of golden eagles hunting mountain goats. (alerts: rather gruesome; voiceover in Spanish)
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 16, 2008 - 46 comments

Wild Wolverines in Tahoe National Forest

Ferocious-looking mystery creature in Tahoe National Forest confirmed to be a California wolverine, thought to be extinct since 1922. A motion-detecting camera snapped a compelling photo behind the beast last month, and the California Department of Fish and Game just confirmed the discovery with a clear profile shot. Notably, both photos appear to show the same animal.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Mar 25, 2008 - 53 comments

The Nature Photography of E.J. Peiker

E.J. Peiker, Nature Photgrapher There are a lot of nature photographers out there -- some better than Peiker and some worse -- but what fascinates me about Peiker's site is the number of photos available. A birdwatcher's dream, it features pages of photos of over 500 different species of birds, including an index devoted solely to wild waterfowl. Maybe animals are more your speed? How about nearly 150 pages of photos of wild animals (including my favorite - a quite handsome, flower-eating porcupine.) There's also a section for scenic photography featuring 23 states and 20 countries (or you can search by national park.) The photos are, unfortunately, not that big but there a ton of them, many of them quite pretty.
posted by LeeJay on Feb 29, 2008 - 13 comments

Recent projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Over The River Project for the Arkansas River, State of Colorado. The Mastaba of Adu Dhabi Project for the United Arab Emirates [more inside]
posted by hortense on Feb 4, 2008 - 9 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

Planet Earth Parody

Fuck Planet Earth. The extreme beauty of the popular Planet Earth series comes alive with this comedic bit that simply repeats the F-bomb to great effect. [more inside]
posted by mathowie on Jan 26, 2008 - 106 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

limits

The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy - naked capitalism reprints (with added commentary) an FT article by Martin Wolf on why it's vital for (civilised) society to sustain a 'positive-sum' world, otherwise: "A zero-sum economy leads, inevitably, to repression at home and plunder abroad." Wolf's solution? "The condition for success is successful investment in human ingenuity." Of course! Some are calling for more socialism, while others would press on to build more megaprojects. For me, at least part of the solution lies in environmental accounting and natural capitalism :P
posted by kliuless on Dec 19, 2007 - 42 comments

Bejeweled beauties

Form and Pheromone - truly lovely beetle mosaics and insect art. (via recogedor) Previously: Living Jewels.
posted by madamjujujive on Dec 3, 2007 - 20 comments

Inside outside

Exploring nature ("Trees" by Myoung Ho Lee) and structure (installations by Esther Stocker).
posted by klangklangston on Nov 28, 2007 - 9 comments

formal and contemporary

The Young Gallery has an exceptional collection of photographs by both renowned and recently discovered photographers. The feast of visuals includes elegantly haunting images of African wildlife by Nick Brandt, Night Views of cities by Floriane de Lassée, salad vegetables by Viktor Polson, nudes and portraits by Patrick Demarchelier and images of Tibet, Mongolians and Tibetans by Richard Gere.
posted by nickyskye on Oct 27, 2007 - 8 comments

speculative landscapes and radical reconstruction

An interview with Lebbeus Woods -- designer and illustrator of speculative futuristic landscapes and buildings. Woods just set up his own website, which has an amazing quantity of drawings, photographs, and text focusing on his lesser known projects [for those willing to deal with a frustrating flash interface and sound. It's better in IE than Firefox.] [more inside]
posted by salvia on Oct 6, 2007 - 10 comments

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