March 21, 2007

The Biggest and the Best

Filed under: ephemera, nature — ted @ 10:34 am

I am loving this list, complete with stunning pictures, of the 10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World.

Here’s the Montezuma Cypress, which came in at number 4:


March 5, 2007


Filed under: nature, photos, science — ted @ 11:19 am

This composite-picture traces the way the sun’s position in the sky changes, even though each picture was taken at the same time each day:

Here’s the full explanation.

March 2, 2007

It’s Ugly–Let it Die!

Filed under: animals, nature — ted @ 2:13 pm

An interesting article on treehugger discusses the problem conservationists have drumming up public support for animals that are ugly — like the aye-aye:

My, what big ears it has! In all fairness, not all of them are quite this unseemly.

February 26, 2007

On the March

Filed under: nature, photos — ted @ 12:45 pm

A mess of sea cucumbers, all heading in the same direction:

February 22, 2007


Filed under: nature, photos, science — ted @ 5:47 pm

Fisherman in New Zealand have hauled in the largest giant squid ever captured. It’s over 32 feet long and weighs close to 1000 pounds:

UPDATE: The Associated Press has released more pictures.

Dolly Redux

Filed under: nature, research, science — ted @ 11:17 am

A special feature in Nature revisits the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep, which sparked a media frenzy ten years ago. The article explains how the science of cloning has shifted into stem cells and other research, instead of wholesale cloning.

Back in early 1997, none of Wilmut and his colleagues, the referees who reviewed their paper, or the Nature editors who oversaw it, anticipated the huge public reaction to the cloning of Dolly. Scientists in the field saw her birth as an incremental advance — in large part because one year earlier, Nature had published a paper from Wilmut’s group reporting the cloning of two lambs, Morag and Megan, using nuclei from embryonic cells.

“I always maintained that Dolly was expected and Morag and Megan were truly surprising,” says Davor Solter, director of the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Freiburg, Germany. Solter wrote a News & Views article in Nature about the paper on Morag and Megan, suggesting that it was time to start thinking about the implications and uses of cloning mammals from adult cells.

The feature also has a sweet Cloning Timeline.

February 15, 2007

Yes Way

Filed under: animals, nature, photos — ted @ 12:44 pm

Flying manta rays!

February 13, 2007

Ways to Kill a Lobster

Filed under: nature — ted @ 11:08 am

Lobster’s have a “secret life”? Apparently. Via The Secret Life of Lobsters, a fascinating story about how Whole Foods has employed a giant machine that removes the shell from the lobster, while simultaneously killing all the bacteria — all in the name of humanity.

You press the start button on an Avure machine. Powerful pumps whir, and inside a narrow tube in the center of the machine, the water pressure is compressed to several times the pressure found in the deepest trenches in the ocean. The microscopic bugs in your meal all die, giving the food extended shelf life, and reducing the need for artificial preservatives.

These machines have been in use for a while already. If you’ve ever eaten Avoclasic guacamole or Hormel Natural Choice deli meats, you’ve eaten HPP food. HPP machines turn out to be handy for shucking shellfish, too — the pressure causes the meat to separate from the shell.

What’s new is using these machines to process live lobsters. The animals are locked inside the tube, alive, and the pumps whir and the water pressure is compressed around the lobsters to three times the deepest trenches in the ocean. The lobsters die, of course — just think what the pressure on your ears is like when you dive a few feet underwater.

At the same time, all the muscle flesh inside the lobsters conveniently separates from the shell. For the first time in human history, people have finally devised way to extract the meat of a lobster without cooking it.

After it’s been processed, the lobster looks like this:

This is very foolish: just because you’re not the one dropping the lobster into the boiling pot and hearing it scream doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been harmed between the ocean and your table. Out of sight…

February 8, 2007


Filed under: nature, photos — ted @ 2:52 pm

I’m loving these awesome pictures of poisonous frogs.

January 29, 2007

Frilled Shark

Filed under: nature, photos, science — ted @ 1:45 pm

From National Geographic, a rare picture of the primitive frilled shark:

The video is a must-see.

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