Sunday, March 30, 2014
Prodigiosae species monstrorum (Amazing Monsters), 1575, Gerard Janssen van Kampen and Antoine van Leest, printmakers. Woodcut in De naturae diuinis characterismis… by Cornelius Gemma. The Getty Research Institute
Crystal Skull vodka is probably known for its distinctive bottle. Forensic scientists used the bottle as a base and reconstructed its face - straight out of a crime drama!
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Dave Brockie, singer and mastermind behind shock rock innovators GWAR, has died at the age of 50. Initially reported by Style Weekly late last night and confirmed by Richmond, Va., police early this morning, Brockie was found dead in his apartment early Sunday evening.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
by Zoë Shribman
You’ve seen DNA analysis on every forensic criminology show on TV. Normally, it leads detectives to the killer, but in another case—this one on the open ocean—it has led scientists to a hybrid dolphin.
The clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) is something of a biological riddle. Though these animals were first declared their own species by the American Society of Mammalogists in 1981, they were originally thought to be a subspecies of the spinner dolphin (S. longirostris), despite their similarities to the striped dolphin (S. coeruleoalba). DNA analysis has solved the puzzle, conclusively stating that clymene dolphins are a distinct species.
In her study, Ana Amaral at the University of Lisbon collected both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from 72 individuals of the three similar dolphin species. Mitochondrial DNA is passed on through the organism’s mother, whereas nuclear DNA comes from both parents. Here, analyzing both was key. In her analysis, Amaral found that the DNA from the nucleus was most similar to the spinner dolphin, while DNA from the mitochondria was most similar to the striped dolphin…
(read more: PBS - NovaNext) (photo: NOAA)
by AG Staff
A new drug from cone snail venom could offer hope to chronic pain sufferers
AN EXPERIMENTAL DRUG made from cone snail venom has shown early signs of promise in numbing pain, raising hopes in the hunt for new, non-addictive medications, an Australian researcher says.
The drug, which has not been tested yet on humans, is judged to be about 100 times more potent than morphine or gabapentin, which are currently considered the gold standard for chronic nerve pain.
The active ingredient, conotoxin, comes from carnivorous cone snails, which are common in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean…
(via: Australian Geographic)
Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to five feet wide, weigh over 400 pounds, and live for 100 years! They power all that bulk by filter feeding microbes and particles from the water, siphoning hundreds of gallons of water per day. Like corals, they also have a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae calledzooxanthellae that live in the fleshy part of the clam and provide it with food.
Sadly, because they are so beautiful, people like to collect giant clam shells for aquaria and eat the meat inside. The largest giant clam in the Indo-Pacific (Tridacna gigas) was believed to be extinct in Fiji due to overharvesting—but they are being reintroduced. Read more at the Global Reef Expedition blog from the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Sunday, March 16, 2014
I want to tell you the story of three rocks, starting with the oldest one ever found. That one is so small, if you put it in the palm of your hand you'd need a magnifying glass to spot it. It was found buried inside a hunk of sandstone near a sheep ranch in a remote part of Western Australia called the Jack Hills. It's not really a rock. It's a crystal, a zircon crystal, formed when the world was very, very young — about 4.374 billion years ago, as my NPR colleague Nell Greenfieldboyce recently reported. We know its age because we can measure how much uranium in it had decayed to become lead, and measure the movement of individual atoms (see Nell's story for details). Scientists are convinced that this crystal is so ancient it froze into place not too long after the moon was formed. It's that old.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Monday, March 10, 2014
100 photos showing the work of 60 artists from around the world who, under the leadership of Isidora Paz López and with the assistance of the amazing Chilean team, completely transformed the Town Hall into a Magical Garden.”
The first same-sex couple to publicly marry in Myanmar tied the knot in a ceremony on Saturday, in a symbol advocates hailed as progress for the predominantly Buddhist Southeast Asian nation.
After 10 years together, Tin Ko Ko and Myo Min Htet exchanged vows in an upscale hotel in Rangoon Saturday, dressed in traditional Myanmar clothes and adorned with garlands of jasmine, reports the Bangkok Post.
Although their union is not legally valid in Myanmar, the couple acknowledged that the public ceremony — the first of its kind in the nation, also known as Burma — was a significant milestone in a country that still technically criminalizes homosexuality under colonial-era penal codes. Same-sex marriages have taken place before, but this was the first public celebration in the nation, which neither expressly allows nor bans such unions.
"My family accepted me," Tin Ko Ko, 38, said in an emotional speech, according to the Post. "I am so glad that my parents were understanding ... but [my husband] had to overcome many difficulties from his family." advocate.com
by Nastia Voynovskaya
Based in Thorp, Washington, Justin Gibbens describes himself as a nature boy. The various creatures that abound in the Evergreen State as well as his imagination find their way into Gibbens’s paintings, which often combine media such as watercolor, gouache and tea. Gibbens has formal training in both Chinese painting techniques and scientific illustration — two influences that do not seem so disparate when combined in his sparse yet impactful artworks.
“It’s probably no surprise that much of my inspiration comes from all things that scamper and poke about in the thickets and undergrowth, inhabit the tide pools and ocean depths and fly through the ether,” said the artist in an email to Hi-Fructose. “Field guides, natural history museums and David Attenborough documentaries are also good.”…
(read more: Hi-Fructose)
Australian born artist Howard Tangye is a contemporary figurative artist who is best known for his portraits created in a mixture of pastels, water colour, and ink. His works are characterized by fluid lines that suggest movement and depth of character, as Tangye is able to perfectly capture his subject’s personality with only a few strokes of his pen. Tangye’s background is in fashion, having completed a degree at Central Saint Martins before carrying out a post-graduate degree at Parsons School of Design in New York. Tangye is now a senior lecturer and director of Womenswear on the BA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins, and has worked with some of the most renowned designers in the fashion world, drawing collections for Dior and John Galliano.