The size of this year’s “giant’s penis” blossom at the University of Basel’s botanical garden. Officially known as the titan arum or “corpse flower,” the plant is native to the rainforests of Sumatra and is the largest flower in the plant kingdom. This is the third time that this specific flower has blossomed in its 20 years of cultivation in Basel, and is the biggest yet.
A new report from the Living Planet Index states that world wildlife populations have been reduced to half of what they were 40 years ago. The population of wild mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish is down by an average of 52%, while the population of freshwater species is down 76%. No word on house pets and zoo animals, because nobody tracks that sort of thing, but those numbers are probably holding steady.
To protect wilderness areas from “being exploited for commercial gain,” the U.S. Forest Service is taxing any professional nature photographer or member of the press wanting to take pictures in National Parks by making them apply for a special permit that can cost up to $1500. Those who do not wish to apply face a fine of up to $1000. Sounds like the USFS is exploiting wilderness areas for their own commercial gain.
Meanwhile in Texas… a court has upheld the right for old men to take creepy photos of kids in public with the option of being free to capture an upskirt of the child’s mother as well.
All in all, it sounds like a tricky situation for a budding professional upskirt photographer whose specialty is hikers in the Texan wilderness.
A random benefit from last month’s earthquake in Napa Valley? Water. Lots of it. Seems all that shaking in the earth opened up fissures in the rocks that have allowed massive deposits of groundwater to reach the surface, turning once parched land into pockets of green. At one creek north of Vallejo, an estimated 200,000 gallons of water are flowing daily down the tiny waterway into the bay. Like all good earthly things though, the surplus is bound to stop. As one hydrogeologist said: “There is only so much water in there. As the water table lowers, the water flow diminishes. It’s like a bank account. You’ve just reached into the bank account and borrowed some money, but the spending spree will eventually end.”
‘Yarn bomber’ turned underwater activist, Olek, is wanted by Mexican environmental authorities after she crocheted over sculptures at the environmentally protected Cancun Underwater Museum, resulting in the possible deaths of marine life growing on the subaqueous works of art. While Olek explained that her stunt was performed “to bring awareness to the state of the world’s oceans and promote the preservation of #marinelife” she herself became part of the problem. As noted by the museum director “believe it or not, there is a lot of marine life growing, incrusted in the sculpture, and we gather that this has killed it.”
In a buzzworthy move… all of the proceeds from the sale of these ‘Disappearing Bees’ print boxers from druthers go to support the ‘Pollinator Partnership,’ which is the “largest organization in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.”
By grafting together branches from various stone fruit trees, Syracuse University art professor and artist Sam Van Aken has, over the course of 9 years, created a unique tree that produces over 40 different types of stone fruits including heirloom peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds.
In the charming countryside of gaseous Turkmenistan sits a fiery crater that was created 40 years ago upon the collapse and subsequent burning of a Soviet gas-drilling rig. No one had dared to enter the inferno until 2013, when extreme adventurer George Kourounis rapelled in. This is his story
“Since the 1970’s Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC. His forest has transformed what was once a barren wasteland, into a lush oasis.”
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