Naked Mole Rats: Surviving Oxygen Deprivation.

Rats, ever extraordinary!

Deprived of oxygen, naked mole-rats can survive by metabolizing fructose just as plants do, researchers report this week in the journal Science.

Understanding how the animals do this could lead to treatments for patients suffering crises of oxygen deprivation, as in heart attacks and strokes.

“This is just the latest remarkable discovery about the naked mole-rat — a cold-blooded mammal that lives decades longer than other rodents, rarely gets cancer, and doesn’t feel many types of pain,” says Thomas Park, professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who led an international team of researchers from UIC, the Max Delbrück Institute in Berlin and the University of Pretoria in South Africa on the study.

In humans, laboratory mice, and all other known mammals, when brain cells are starved of oxygen they run out of energy and begin to die.

But naked mole-rats have a backup: their brain cells start burning fructose, which produces energy anaerobically through a metabolic pathway that is only used by plants – or so scientists thought.

The full story is here.

Attaining Red.

I was a bit disappointed that the red hydrophilic beads weren’t actually red, but an odd pink. So, a bit of paint in the water took care of that one. :D By the way, if you have rats, don’t forget to secure them, because apparently, they make fabulous toys, and disappear completely, to no observable ill effect. Click for full size.

© C. Ford.

Badger Buries Cow Carcass.

Warning: If you don’t want bad Benny Hill skits in your head, mute video immediately. Badger buries cow.

After scientists set up cameras to keep tabs on the behavior of scavenger animals in Utah, they were surprised to discover a badger buried a small cow carcass, according to a new study published Friday.

While badgers, which are small, omnivorous mammals, were known to scavenge and store small food items underground, this was the first evidence of the critter storing an animal carcass larger than itself, according to the study, which was led by undergraduate students from the University of Utah.

You can read all about it here.

Cool Stuff Friday.

all photos courtesy parnassus.

all photos courtesy parnassus.

Located roughly an hour north from central Tokyo is a fairly nondescript government building: Itakura Town Hall in Gifu prefecture. The building houses a small gallery that counts among its collections various obscure pottery work and paintings as well as a glass-enclosed sculpture of a Buddhist deity made from roughly 20,000 beetles in numerous varieties. If you have any form of entomophobia or insectophobia I suggest you don’t read on.

The sculpture was made almost 40 years ago in 1978 by a man named Yoneji Inamura, who was in his 50s at the time. We recently learned that Inamura had passed away earlier this year in January at the age of 98, which is what prodded us to look into his work.

Although Inamura created several sculptures out of beetles, he spent 6 years in the 1970s constructing this one, which has become his masterpiece and the largest sculpture he ever made. When it was done he donated it to the city.

The sculpture, made from rhinoceros beetles, winged jewel beetles, drone beetles, longhorn beetles and other types of local beetles, depicts the senju kannon bosatsu (1000-armed bodhisattva), a popular Buddhist deity in Japan.

You can see and read more at Spoon & Tamago.

Jade suit, unearthed from Tomb 2, Dayun Mountain, Xuyi, Jiangsu (2nd century BCE) (photo © Nanjing Museum).

Jade suit, unearthed from Tomb 2, Dayun Mountain, Xuyi, Jiangsu (2nd century BCE) (photo © Nanjing Museum).

Exceedingly wealthy, the royalty of the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) lived indulgently, and these aristocrats were determined to enjoy their accustomed luxuries in the afterlife as well. While their strong affinity for the extravagant is largely unrecorded in historical texts, modern archaeology has immensely helped to shed light on these lifestyles from 2,000 years ago. Since 2009, archaeologists have uncovered thousands of telling treasures buried in royal tombs that date to the Jiangdu kingdom. They found not only exquisite mortuary objects and finely crafted domestic wares but also artifacts that speak to the body’s needs and desires — including a number of ancient sex toys.

You can see and read more at Hyperallergic.

And last, an animal so Disneyfied it makes Disney animals look woefully inadequate:



You can see more of a Japanese Dwarf Flying Squirrel here.

The Farce That Is “The Wall”.

Ryan Zinke (Twitter).

Ryan Zinke (Twitter).

Just when you think rethuglicans really could not possibly go lower or more regressive, *bam*. Ryan the fink Zinke has a problem with the stupid wall – placing it on U.S. land would cede the Rio Grande, oh no wtfbbq!!!11!1 The solution? Doesn’t seem to be one right now, outside of making sure endangered animals are endangered right into extinction. It seems the only way to keep the Rio Grande would be to either steal land from Mexico, or build it on Mexico’s land and claim it for uStates. Or something. Jesus Fuck. There’s that Colonial mindset at work.

E&E News reports that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talked about the logistics of building a border wall while speaking at an event held by the Public Lands Council this week, and he said the Trump administration didn’t want to build the wall on American soil because it would mean ceding the entire Rio Grande river to Mexico.

“The border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall,” Zinke said. “The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall? We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

Zinke didn’t elaborate on how the wall would get built if it wasn’t located on America’s side of the Rio Grande or in the middle of the river, which implies that it would be built on the Mexican side of the border.

Elsewhere in his talk, E&E News reports Zinke said the Trump administration will seek a waiver to the Endangered Species Act so it can build the wall in jaguar habitats that are for now protected from “destruction or adverse modification.”

Via Raw Story. And, Ryan fucking idiot Zinke has now said there’s no such thing as clean energy. Nope.

Nemo’s Megalodon! And Giant Squid! And Cycloptopus! And…

Oh, the work of Nemo Gould is so many things. Wonderful. Awesome. Imaginative. Out of the Box. Fun. Every good thing. His outlook relates very much to mine, and I love that, but it’s hard to see how anyone wouldn’t take joy in his work. Also, he has a thing for tentacled beings, what’s not to love? He even did work for the Monterey Aquarium!

Nemo Gould.

Nemo Gould.

The Megalodon is Gould’s latest work, a 16-foot-long salvaged fuel tank from an F-94 bomber plane’s wing. The shark has working propellors for fins, and a tail that glides back and forth ominously. A cutaway on the side reveals various boiler and control rooms, each with their own delicately installed moving parts. It’s packed full of tiny human figures and whimsical creatures alike, all in mid-task as they operate their predatory underwater vessel.

The project took Gould a little over two years to finish. “I’d wanted to make a cutaway vessel for years, and had been putting objects aside for that purpose,” he explains. “I know it sounds backwards, but the tank was the last missing piece.” He found it at an aircraft salvage business, and from there he was able to assemble the final sculpture.

Gould says his process is a lot like solving a puzzle. “I maintain an extensive collection of things that I feel strongly about one way or another,” he says. “The challenge is to find which of the million potential relationships between these things could lead to the best art.” More so than his skills as an artist, machinist, fabricator, woodworker, et al., Gould says that “maintaining a vast, organized library of seemingly random objects is the real trick.”

Megalodon 2016 (extended) from Nemo Gould on Vimeo.

Just two more, and it’s killing me to not post all of them, and there are so many, so you’ll have to go visit!

Nemo Gould.

Nemo Gould.

Cycloptopus is a fearsome hybrid of two of my favorite monsters, one real, one mythical.  This creature is particularly dangerous because of its irritability.  You’d be irritable too if you were powered by an open flame and your body was made of wood.


Radio cabinets, rocking chairs, fake fireplace, decorative clock elements, cabinet knobs, wall paper, chair parts, lamp parts, wheel hub, motors, LEDs.

Nemo Gould.

Nemo Gould.

I have been fascinated by the Giant Squid for quite some time. A real life, terrifying mystery of the deep.

I have posted a step-by-step essay of this piece with lots of process photos over at


Street light covers, belt wheels, railing sections, brass fireplace hardware, candle sticks, drawer pulls, chandelier parts, wood planks, vanity mirror frame, timing motor, gear motor, LEDs, lawn sprinkler, pop rivets.

There are videos for most all the wondrous creations, showing them in their full glory and movement! Fair warning, you’ll be lost in Nemo’s world for a long time, but that is in no way a bad thing!

Oh, and don’t miss Octovarius! * Nemo Gould, Kinetic Sculpture from Found Materials. Go visit!

Via Make.