Category Archives: Nature, Science, Animals, Earth

Tigers in the Himalayans

BBC’s Natural History team have discovered tigers living in the Himalayan mountains high above the tree line. Because the outlook for tigers living in the wild is so grim, any news of a new population  is exciting but to find them living in such extreme conditions is mind-blowing.

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The King of Ants

This weekend I ran into this delightful video by NOVA about  E.O. Wilson, an entomologist, conservationist and one of my favorite humans ever. Wilson’s child-like enthusiasm for  ants has translated into a couple dozen books and a pile of prestigious awards, including 2 Pulitzer prizes and the 2007  TED prize.

Coincidentally I was also learned this weekend that he recently published a new book… a novel! In Anthill, warring ants function as commentary on the behavior of human society. Hmmm… sounds like another favorite book of mine, Watership Down.

E.O. Wilson is the reason why I clap in delight when I see a cool bug and why I protect scorpions from my silly freaked-out friends when we’re camping. Hopefully one day I’ll get to hear him lecture and shake his hand.

It’s good to have heroes.

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BBC/Discovery: LIFE

The BBC and Discovery have done it again. They’ve created another insanely beautiful animal documentary, Life, following Planet Earth and Blue Planet. The 11-part series debuted in the US last month and purchases start shipping June 1st. This latest series focuses on the extreme behavior and specialized strategies which have evolved in certain animals.

If you’re looking for a teaser, check out the trailer below or these clips off of the Discovery site. I just watched the cuttlefish clip where a couple of males battle over a lady. Not only are their color shows amazing but its a little humorous watching what appears to be a couple of submerged rugs throwing down.

You can pre-purchase a copy here. Although, I bought my copy off of Amazon so that I could have the UK version with narration by David Attenborough instead of Oprah Winfrey. I do love Mr. Attenborough so… and sorry Oprah but I can’t respect anyone who vouches for The Secret no matter how philanthropic you are.

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Tiny Ocean Oddities

Sunday the Census of Marine Life released some amazing images of the oceans’ tiniest creatures.. everything from amoebas to larval cephalopods. Among the minute animals, scientist photographed this pink sea cucumber which may be a newly discovered species and is blowing my mind.

Pink Sea Cucumber

Larval Tube Anemone

Angler Fish

Squid Worm

Tube Anemone Larvae

Young Cephalopod

Fish Egg - Near Hatch

Tornaria Larvae

Spider Crab Larvae

Snowflake: The White Gorilla

I just finished watching this delightful but sad Nature video about the albino gorilla, Snowflake, who died in 2003. It was a really interesting look at our history and relationship with gorillas but it didn’t make me like humans more, that’s for sure. I was stoked to find out about the Congo Gorilla Forest at the Bronx Zoo. It’s a 6.5 acre recreation of the native rainforest of the western lowland gorillas. Gorillas are under great threat of extinction due to logging and the bushmeat trade. You can help to preserve these amazing apes by contributing to organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Click to watch via Nature

The Scale of Everything

This interactive site, The Scale of Everything, is totally saweeet! You can zoom in and out to see the size relationship of everything from quarks to red blood cells to the Eiffel Tower to our galaxy. It’ll make you feel gigantic and minuscule at the same time!

Jiggly Atoms

In December the TED site started a video section called Best of  the Web to highlight inspiring talks from elsewhere. I love these talks by physicist, Richard Feynman. I wish I’d had this warm and animated man as my grandpa to nerd-out with and teach me about jiggly atoms as a kiddo.

The Bloom Box

My friend, Ashley, tossed this my direction yesterday. It’s pretty incredible. A cheap small box that produces power using natural, bio or landfill gas? Sounds too good to be true but companies like eBay, Fed Ex and Google have been testing the product which so far has delivered on its promise.

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more about “Bloom Box“, posted with vodpod

Forever Young

Turritopsis Nutricula is anything but a quitter. This little jellyfish is the only animal we know to be immortal. It spends its infant stage as a polyp then becomes a sexually mature medusa. But unlike other jellies, after it reproduces it refuses to die and instead returns back to the polyp stage through a process called transdifferentiation. This cycle can continue indefinitely; however, the animal can still succumb to disease or being eaten. I like its scientific name too.. it makes me think of a vampire triceratops (which may be my new favorite hybrid animal).

One of my little bunnies, Squirrel, is in the animal hospital tonight and I miss her dearly. If she makes it out I must remember to teach her this transdifferentiation thingamajig.

The Lil’ Mold That Could

Image by Ron Wolf via Flickr

I’m fascinated by creatures who navigate the world with a collective, rather than individual, intelligence. Slime molds are social amoebas, slithering in somewhere between being a plant and an animal. Like ants, a slime mold will send out  scouts from the larger body to hunt for food, then use pheromones to relay information back. This primitive form of intelligence is effective enough that the organism can  find the shortest way to food through a maze. And beyond that, they can be absolutely stunning! If I were a set designer for a fantasy movie I would totally create ginormous slime mold replicas and clump them together to make lush, plump, alien forests.

Image by Myriorama via Flickr

Image by chris10eyck via Flickr

Image by myriorama via Flickr

Image by myriorama via Flickr

Image by Sea Moon via Flickr

Image by Sea Moon via Flickr

Image by Ron Wolf via Flickr

Image by mountainamoeba via Flickr

Image by Myriorama via Flickr