The Urban Pantheist
is the livejournal of Jef Taylor, where he works out articles for his two zines: The Urban Pantheist: Loving Nature while Living in the City
and Urban Nature Walk
. The LJ became a bit more as he embarked on a project called 365 Urban Species
, where he'll post a current photo and short article about a different living thing found in the city each day.
Birds As Art:
Photographer Arthur Morris
shares his dazzling
(mostly) feathered creatures
in his (up
to 196 so far
) email bulletins
. It's quite
the new urban jungle
. . . is a growing movement led by cities like San Francisco
, New York
, and Leiden
to restore active and vibrant natural systems in urban areas. Far from the eden-like depictions of nature of yesteryear, i.e. the garden of earthly delights
(nonetheless, still attracting some dynamic new christian converts
), the movement has morphed into today's backyard and grassroots environmental movement which is more and more a picture of hybridity, compromise, mixed-use, and ultimately, taking nature out of the walled islands of zoos, aquaria, national parks and other thick-walled institutions and offering a different kind of everyday "unmediated"
community experience with the new urban wilderness
A good resouce for bird idenification / watching: USGS's Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
includes calls, photos and population coverage maps and seasonal birding checklists
. And on a completely unrelated note, they have a sweet guide on the morphology of tadpoles.
A Week of Kindness
is an online sketch comedy group; among their bits, I found Nature Footage: The Musical
to be the most amusing (albeit, a bit of a one note symphony).
Sexual ornaments grow out of all proportion
It seems that men will be men throughout the animal kindom, not just our little lonely corner of of it.
Most body parts grow proportionally with the rest of the body as individuals of a species become larger, although scientists have long known that visual cues of reproductive prowess are a special case.
But is this the case with everyone
A NOAA report
says Earth's surface and atmosphere
are both warming
, and that earlier work that found otherwise contains flaws. In other news, global warming has started
to weaken an important wind circulation pattern over the Pacific Ocean, a study suggests. The change could alter climate and the marine food chain in that area; polar bears
and walrus pups
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
Searchable Ornithological Research Archive
a site containing back issues of avian journals dating back to 1884. Some highlights: The landing forces of domestic pigeons
, [pdf] an 1889 comparison of bird brains
Dancing with demons
- riveting underwater adventure about a close encounter with a giant, hungry Diablo Rojo. Also see filming the Humboldt squid
. Past squid threads:1
, and 4
. Via Squidblog
, Satan's Little Helper
, and the incredibly colorful cast of characters
that populate photographer Igor Siwanowicz's world. (via Mira y Calla)
As the Pentagon ousts plans to turn insects into cyber war machines
you'd be forgiven for asking the question: Where does the real digital end
and the faked life begin?
Are we simulating life synthetically
? or just speeding up
an entirely natural process
? Technologically engineered life is here to stay
. Its not far fetched to speculate
may become all there is.
The Natural World
is yours to play with now courtesy of the BBC
, but only if you live in the UK!
The BBC have released their wildlife archives as part of the Creative Archive Licence
, including unseen clips from the new Planet Earth
Unfortunately, it's only available to those who live in the UK because "the member organisations who supply the content are funded with public money to serve the UK population."
Ground-based astronomy could be impossible in 40 years because of pollution from aircraft exhaust trails and climate change, an expert says.
takes beautiful photography of people and places in southeast Asia. Also, some fantastic nature and wildlife work. (flash, sound alert)
Wasp performs roach-brain-surgery to make zombie slave-roaches
"Ampulex compressa is a wasp that has evolved to tackle roaches, insert a stinger into their brains and disable their escape reflexes. This lets the wasp use the roach's antennae to steer the roach to its lair, where it can lay its egg in it.
Seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a roach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative. "
Via Boing Boing
Songs of Brazilian Birds
A fantastically diverse collection of .au files, including the beautifully evocative Organ Wren
or Uirapuru, the mooing of the Capuchinbird
, the sci-fi minimalism of the Short-tailed Antthrush
and a duet of Laughing Falcons
(they'll make you laugh at the end).
The Niagara Fortissimo.
“Mahler was to conduct in Buffalo, New York, and we took advantage of the trip to visit Niagara Falls. We spent hours near and even under the roaring falls... and then with that roar still in his ears Mahler went to conduct Beethoven’s ‘Pastorale’. I was waiting for him as he stepped off the podium. ‘Endlich ein fortissimo!
,’ he said, ‘At last a fortissimo!’” The fortissimo in question is Beethoven's, not Niagara's. The point, as Alma elaborates it in her memoirs
, is that music can offer experiences more overpowering than Nature itself — a kind of extreme aestheticism that Oscar Wilde also propounded in "The Decay of Lying
" when he said that most sunsets are attempts at second-rate Turners. More inside.
How To Have A Ton Of Fun Raising Baby Squirrels
. Husband and wife document their adventures raising these little spazz-monsters with many photos and some Flash movies
. Via Cute Overload
of wild things. Whales, Eagles, and more. Flash interface, but it's not too bad to navigate. Every time I think I'm getting good at taking pictures, I see something like this and just drool.
National Geographic Video
of 7 lions attempting to kill & eat a full grown elephant. embedded wmv, amusingly hyperbolic narrator
Life on Mars is looking less likely.
Two new papers published today in Nature
argue that vulcanism and meteors, rather than standing water, are a better explanation for the results found by the Opportunity Rover
, despite previous excited announcements
by NASA in 2004.
The journal Nature: "Wikipedia comes close to Britannica
in terms of the accuracy of its science entries."
Nature had experts review articles from both encyclopedias. (Also, 10% of Nature authors contribute to Wikipedia.)
National Wildlife Magazine's 35th Annual Photography competition
. [via Fark]
Mating Leopard Slugs entwine
- one of the untold wonders of the animal kingdom captured on video....
The BBC gets up close and personal
with Life in the Undergrowth
in their new wildlife documentary. A must see for any animal, insect or
David Attenborough fan...
(If the main vid link doesn't work for you try it from here
- realplayer needed)
Everything I Know-Buckminster Fuller
During the last two weeks of January 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave an extraordinary series of lectures concerning his entire life’s work. These thinking out loud lectures span 42 hours (audio and text available) and examine in depth all of Fuller's major inventions and discoveries from the 1927 Dymaxion house, car
, through the Wichita House
, geodesic domes
, and tensegrity structures
, as well as the contents of Synergetics
a beautiful flash of birds,
poetry imbedded 435 clicks
Pine Lake Films Steven Dempsey
(bio) makes gorgeous short nature films
) in the wilds around Seattle using a digital videocamera and techniques that give video a film-like appearance. The videos linked on the bio page are also worth viewing.
Never store your honey
in a birdfeeder for safe keeping. That's the FIRST place they look!
The Biologia Centralia Americana Project
(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
Left Behind: Bush's Holy War on Nature.
Chip Ward enumerates the bizarro-world logic and Orwellian language of current American environmental policy.
Even as Katrina's aftermath is focusing attention on links between global warming and more severe hurricanes
, and studies of arctic sea-ice suggest that we may be 'past the point of no return'
of climate change, the Department of "Justice" seems intent on blaming the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups
This War on Terra
may not end in our lifetimes (despite the number of lives it will end...)
- A neat little piece playing with reverse motion shots.
[Quicktime - via fazed]
For the sake of your sanity, for five minutes this week forget the memos, the autopsies, the celebrity verdicts, and the rest. Go outside and look at the full moon, which will hang in the sky at its lowest point in 18 years over the next three nights, says NASA, creating the "summer moon illusion."
If you're a US resident, calculate your local moonrise time here
I'd call it Zaphod.
A kitten has been born with one brain, one skull, but two faces. Picture here
Incredible feat of engineering
or environmental disaster in the making
? Despite continued protests, the Karahnjukar project rumbles onwards
. Some people
are desperate to see it stopped, although the Icelandic public aren’t so sure
. In fact, Alcoa
- the US company driving the project – is proud of its environmental achievements
. Whatever the truth
, there’s no denying that the area under threat contains some stunning scenery
. Take a look while you still can.
The Faroe Islands is
North Atlantic archipelago, which is small and sparsely populated, but rich
. Not to mention dramatic scenes
of natural beauty
. (More inside)