Checking Off the Boxes…

Borderline Personality Disorder, humorously animated and explained by Ofir Sasson

via, thecuriousbrain

Printables

polar-bear-grizzly

Should You Fear the Pizzly Bear? by Moises Velasquez-Manoff

As climate change alters habitats, once-disparate animals are shacking up, creating hybrids that challenge our notion of what it means to be a species.

March 16, 2880

asteroid-impact

The potential date for the end of humanity, when Asteroid 1950 DA could possibly collide with the earth. Given that this is 867 866 years away, and the chance of strike is only .3 %, you shouldn’t really worry much about it unless you’re a vampire. In which case, sorry dude. You better hope the scientists working on a solution can sprinkle some sparkly dust around the asteroid to let your biggest enemy, the sun, push the doom rock off its trajectory.

The Forest in the Trees

All about Stephen Sillett and his study of Aerial ecosystems.

The Tree of 40 Fruits

sam-van-aken-tree-of-40-fruits

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.

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GoldenPalace.com Monkey

goldenpalace.com.monkey

Odd Creatures is a recurring column about the world’s weirdest species written by award-winning science writer and author Bec Crew, and illustrated by the super-talented Aiyana Udesen

 

What a cool name. I wish I could have a name as cool as the GoldenPalace.com Monkey. Even its more serious name, the Madidi titi is pretty great. One of just a handful of new primate species discovered over the past decade, this little monkey was found in 2004, deep in the tropical forests of the Madidi National Park of western Bolivia.

Located at the foot of the Andes, the Madidi National Park is a little-explored area of Bolivia that scientists are calling the most biologically diverse piece of protected land in the world. Some 900 species of birds have been registered here, despite entire areas having never been explored by biologists. Between 1999 and 2004, six sites in the Madidi were surveyed by a team of biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bolivia, and their search turned up two unidentified adult monkey specimens – a male and a female. The team also captured video footage of a number of these monkeys interacting in family groups, and through physical, genetic and molecular analyses, was able to classify them as a brand new species.

The most recognizable feature of these monkeys is their dense, gorgeous pelt. They wear a crown of yellow-gold fur, and the grey that covers much of their bodies gives way to a lovely rusty brown colour along their backs. Their beards, chests and bellies are an unmistakable bright orange, and their long, grey tails taper out to a white tip. Their arms, legs, feet and hands are a dark burgundy, and they have little black naked faces with round amber eyes.

Faced with a new species that needed immediate attention from conservation groups, the research team auctioned off the naming rights in 2004. And who’s got more money than anyone to burn on a killer PR campaign? Internet casinos. Specifically, the GoldenPalace.com Internet casino. They paid $650,000 to win the naming rights, and the GoldenPalace.com Monkey was born. And because they paid the big bucks, they got the scientific name too – Callicebus aureipalatii. “Aureipalatii” means “of the Golden Palace”.

While it needs to be said that this is the same Internet casino that paid $28,000 for a 10-year-old partly eaten grilled cheese sandwich with the face of the Virgin Mary on it – that same year, no less – their monkey bid wasn’t as gross as it sounds. One hundred percent of the funds were put towards protecting the Madidi National Park, including the specific areas that these monkeys were known to live and breed.

Like other titi monkeys, GoldenPalace.com Monkeys are monogamous, mating for life and setting themselves up in a territory that they’ll fiercely defend from other titis through loud and constant threatening calls. Once an infant is born, it’s the male’s job to carry it around on his back, teaching it the rules of survival as he patrols and gathers food.

While individuals are sometimes killed by local hunters and used as fishing bait, the GoldenPalace.com Monkey has done pretty well for itself, and so far there are no major threats to any of its populations. Which is just as well, because the CEO of GoldenPalace.com, Richard Rowe, is counting on their longevity – “This species will bear our name for as long as it exist. Hundreds, even thousands of years from now, the GoldenPalace.com Monkey will live to carry our name through the ages.”

 

—Bec Crew / @BecCrew

White Plume Moth

white-plume-moth

Odd Creatures is a recurring column about the world’s weirdest species written by award-winning science writer and author Bec Crew, and illustrated by the super-talented Aiyana Udesen

 

Is anyone else feeling really uncomfortable right now? That moth looks like something you’d see hovering in the distance, and then you’d blink and it’s right there in front of your face, ready to crawl through your eye sockets to devour your soul.

Fortunately though, this is just a simple plume moth, and it doesn’t even know what souls are. Called the White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyl), this particular species hails from Europe and Central Asia, but members of the plume moth family Pterophoroidea are found all over the world. They all have those large shredded fairy wings, and when they’re not flying, they hold them high and perpendicular to the rest of their long, thin bodies. Sometimes they’ll fold them right up to create a perfect ’T’.

While the White Plume Moth only has a wingspan of up to 35 mm, it’s considered the largest plume moth in the world. They spend the winter months as caterpillars and transform into moths around May or June, and fly around gardens and grasslands in search of morning glory vines. They only come out at night, fluttering around with their feathery wing plumes, looking like tiny white ghosts. The ghosts of children perhaps?

In Romanian folklore, it’s believed that when someone dies, the soul lingers on Earth for at least 40 days before passing over to paradise. One version of the lore stipulates that the elderly remain for seven years, the young for five years, and children remain for three years. It’s thought that if you see a moth flying towards a lamp during the night, it’s carrying the soul of dead child, trying to return to the home it had when it was alive. To injure a moth means messing with a dead kid’s soul, so um, just don’t.

Unless of course it’s a Death’s-head Hawkmoth, which refers to all three species in the genus Acherontia – Acherontia atropos, Acherontia styx and Acherontia lachesis. Found in Europe and Asia, these moths are at the centre of another aspect of Romanian folklore that says they contain the soul of a vampire, who is trying to bring disease into your house. But the Romanians must be a forgiving people, and so advise that rather than killing a Deaths-head Hawkmoth, you should just gently put it outside to spread disease elsewhere, because no one deserves to die twice.

In a particular county in Romania, called Vâlcea, if a child has contracted some kind of “Deaths-head disease”, their parents will have to catch a moth, burn it, and make the child drink the gross moth ashes in water.

Moths have also found themselves at the centre of a more recent, and much less creepy mythology, surrounding the origins of that “bug” in your computer that needs to be “debugged”. Harvard computer programmer Grace Hopper once had to extract a moth from one of her team’s computer circuits, and 40 years later, was credited for coining the phrase. But neither moths nor Harvard scientists can match the greatness of “bug’s” true origin – it was none other than Thomas Edison, who complained of “bugs” holding up the progress of his great inventions.

 

—Bec Crew / @BecCrew

Violating the Law of Conservation of Momentum

em-drive

Fueled by the ability to convert electric power into thrust by bouncing microwaves around in a closed container, the “impossible” EmDrive has the opportunity to change space travel forever.

Fun Stuff…

Ebola: How the Virus Could Spread Beyond Africa

Notes From the Dinosaur Renaissance

dinosaurs-news
 
Fossilized news
 
A new discovery in Siberia suggests that nearly all dinosaurs had feathers

Dinosaurs became extinct because of “colossal bad luck”

Tyrannosaur gangs used to terrorize the earth

A four-winged dinosaur with a 21-foot wingspan was unearthed in China

According to one creationist’s lawsuit, dinosaurs roamed the earth 4,000 years ago

and

The Koch brothers are apparently “dinosaur fetishists”
 

The First Rhyme He Learned Was The Alphabet

GZA and the genius of science.

Vantablack, the blackest black of all blacks

vantablack

Absorbing all but 0.035 percent of visual light, Vantablack is a coating made of carbon nanotubes that is “so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing.”

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