Category Archive: nature

Jan 16 2012

Evolution marches on, and sometimes its adorable


  Well, maybe not evolution per se, but the stuff of evolution, i.e., genetic diversity manifested as morphological variance, and this is a pretty cute example if indeed it’s a product of heritable genotype. Click image for the skinny on this adorable little guy from Nat’l Geo.

Jan 15 2012

Updated: Phobos-Grunt reentering upper atmosphere


Update 12:10 AM CDT: nothing official but it seems to have reentered and crashed into Pacific Ocean a few mins ago. Click image above for latest info. Follow the latest events on Twitter using the hashtag #PhobosGrunt and follow @PHG_Reentry. The ill-fated Phobos-Grunt mission, which would have returned samples from the tiny Martian satellite Phobos, will …

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Jan 12 2012

World’s tiniest vertebrate


If a princess were to kiss this tiny amphibian and turn it into a person, she would have a pygmy for a prince.

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Jan 10 2012

Guess I’ll go eat worms

This image from a scanning electron microscope shows the upper leaf surface several nematodes (arrows), stalked glands, and adherent sand grains (arrows).  Image Rafael Oliveira PNAS

Title partially inspired by the post below about careers and non careers, but mostly by this newly discovered plant that chows down on annelids – correction from comments, Phylum Nematoda, aka roundworms: (MSNBC) — The rare plant Philcoxia minensis is found in the tropical savannahs of Brazil, areas rich in biodiversity and highly in need of conservation. Although some of …

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Jan 04 2012

The “Lost World” of Antarctica


The thing about Antarctica is it’s cold. Really cold. As in an average temperature of about 15 F on the warmer coastline and even more frigid in the interior. So maybe it’s no surprise that warm seeps and hydrothermal vent communities in that neck of the woods would march to their own beat. That’s exactly …

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Dec 08 2011

Cambrian predator was a real horror show


The already rather fearsome anomalocaris just got even more ferocious. Paleontologists found a well preserved specimen with detail on the eye arrangement, and this top predator of the Cambrian Explosion had eye stalks: (MSNBC) — When you look at the animal it has these really gnarly looking grasping claws at the top of its head, for …

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Dec 02 2011

New paleo-climate research threatens treasured wingnut trope

Who are you gonna believe, thousands of thermometer readings compiled by NASA experts over decades, or Tricky Rick's Perrytales?

Alas, a favorite climate change denial trope is on its deathbed. Specifically, the zombie lie that modern polar ice sheets formed during a period of rising carbon dioxide. New analysis of CO2 levels from the time, about 33 million years ago, show the greenhouse gas dropping sharply and the ice caps forming right along side:

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Dec 01 2011

Grandma got run over by a gamma ray burst

The Hypernova model of a gamma ray burster, click image for more GRB info

On July 2, 1967 two top secret US survelliance satellites, Velas 3 and 4, spied an alarming phenomenon. The Vela sats were designed to detect the telltale radiation of nuclear tests by the USSR. But on that day these two picked up a flash of gamma rays from the other direction, not here on earth, but …

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Dec 01 2011

The most magical time of the year

Solar noon marked voder the course of a single year as seen from the Urkraine. The figure is called an Analemma, featured on APoD

Believe me, if you grew up in Texas, where summer heat tops the century mark for weeks on end and even the morning lows offer little relief, you’d feel December was pretty damn magical. This month dawn and dusk stretch out, as the sun marches steadily to the Winter Solstice. The solstice was  a magical time for …

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Nov 29 2011

Amateur astronomer wows professionals with photo of exosolar disk


An amateur astronomer using a homemade 25 cm (10 inch) telescope has recorded an exquisite image of a nearby star and surrounding planetary disk. Beta Pictoris is 63 light-years away and resembles a slightly more massive, hotter version of our sun and primeval solar system in the early stages of planetary formation. The New Zealand star-gazer, named Rolf …

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