this is merely a collection of pictures, songs, articles, videos, and objects that i find interesting. all known sources are provided (i think). feel free to contribute with a citation or author/ artist if known. these are all things i just don't want to forget.
The distinctive red and orange pigment make this hydrozoan easy to distinguish (if you happen to find yourself in its neighborhood, below 1000 meters in the Arctic or North Pacific) but that’s not the most unusual thing about it. Crossota millsae, unlike most Hydrozoa, has only a medusa stage, never forming a sessile, polyp stage. They reporoduce sexually, and mothers brood their young within their bell, until they are ready to fend for themselves in the vast bathypelagic zone.
Though this could be the largest freshwater fish on the planet, accounts of its existence only emerged in Thai newspapers in the early 1980s. It’s exceedingly rare to see one, in part because it destroys all but the strongest fishing rods and lines. Even if you have the right equipment, the giant freshwater stingray tends to take exception to being hunted and buries itself in the river bottom when hooked.
In 2010, 15 anglers working in shifts reportedly spent six hours reeling one in, which either says something about the stingray’s strength or the group’s collective fishing skills. The fish can drag boats for miles, and even pull them under…
A new study calculates Earth could continue to host life for at least another 1.75 billion years, as long as nuclear holocaust, an errant asteroid or some other disaster doesn’t intervene. Somewhere between 1.75 billion and 3.25 billion years from now, Earth will travel out of the solar system’s habitable zone and into the “hot zone,” new research indicates…
A new snail species with a beautifully translucent shell was recently discovered more than 3,000 feet (914 meters) underground in a Croatian cave.
A team of cavers and biologists with the Croatian Biospeleological Society discovered Zospeum tholussum in the Lukina Jama-Trojama cave systems of western Croatia — one of the 20 deepest cave systems in the world — on an expedition to determine the cave’s depth. The team collected all animal specimens found along the way, since deep cave crevices are often promising places to find new species, and happened upon one live sample of the new snail, along with eight empty shells.
Find out what we know about this new little species here…
Natural history of the quadrupeds; skeleton of a monkey, engraving in the 200-and-some-volumeMethodical Encyclopedia by Order of Subject Matter, a 50-year-long re-edit of Diderot’s Encyclopédie that began in 1782.
"One simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe."
That is the blunt 1969 assessment of Parker F. Jones, the then supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories, in a newly declassified document that sheds light on a 1961 accident in which the United States almost nuked North Carolina.
The document was given to The Guardian today by author Eric Schlosser, who came upon the document doing research for a new book.
The story of Goldsboro, N.C. is well known. It was the Cold War and the U.S. had B-52 bombers in the air as a precaution, ready to strike if the Soviet Union made a move. As Rudolph Herzog explained it in his book A Short History of Nuclear Folly, one of the B-52s was carrying two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs, which are many times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Like the others, the B-52 flew huge circles around the U.S. and the Atlantic, needing to be refueled along the way.
The plane had reported an oil leak in its left motor.
"The third time [it was filled up], a filler neck broke off the plane ... and kerosene began pouring from its right wing," Herzog writes.
To make a long story short, the plane disintegrated and the two bombs fell from the sky onto American soil.
But this document says that in the Goldsboro incident, the U.S. was one step away from a massive nuclear disaster.
To be fair, as Herzog notes in his book, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara did say in 1983 that the bomb had gone through six of the seven steps needed for detonation.
Of course, in his memo, Jones puts it more dramatically.
"The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for airborne alert role in the B-52," Jones wrote.
In its review of Schlosser's new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety, Bloomberg reports that the North Carolina accident was one of many. npr
Eight new arthropod species and a new hibernating site for Townsend’s big-eared bats have been discovered in New Mexico lava-tube caves, adding to the limited ecologic understanding of this unique habitat type.
Lava-tube caves form when underground offshoots of lava flows spill downslope but cool around the edges, emptying hollow, arterylike cavities that can span many miles long. More than 200 such caves extend beneath El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico and sometimes support ecosystems distinct from more commonly known limestone caves, which can develop different shapes and air current patterns…
… grow to about 60 cm (2 feet) long and are shaped like large, flabby tadpoles. They eat crabs, sea pens, and other small animals that live on the seafloor. MBARI researchers have seen groups of blob sculpin brooding nests of eggs on undersea ridges off the coast of Northern California.
Previously the idea of cleaning up the world’s oceans with their vast accumulations of disposed plastic material was considered an impossibility. Now a 19-year-old inventor says he and his foundation has a way to clean up the world’s oceans, and not only does he say we can do it, but that we can do it in five years time and produce a profit from it. Now a 19-year-old inventor by the name of Boyan Slat says we can remove nearly 20 billion tons of plastic waste with his concept he calls an ocean cleanup array. It is made from a massive series of floating booms and processing platforms that gradually suck in the floating plastic like a giant funnel.
The angle with how the array is set up allows all of the plastic to go to where the platforms processing centers are floating. At the platform processing area it would separate the naturally occurring life such as plankton an only keep the plastic materials to be recycled.
Siphonophores are a class of invertebrates belonging to the phyla Cnidaria, which means they are related to corals, hydroids, and true jellyfish. Although a siphonophore appears to be a single organism, it is actually a colony composed of many individual animals. The majority of siphonophores are long and thin, consisting mostly of a clear gelatinous material, but all siphonophores are predators, and use their many tentacles to capture crustaceans and small fish.
Recently, a team of researchers including MBARI’s Steven Haddock published a paper describing two new species of siphonophores using samples collected on the Western Flyer. These species of the genus Apolemia are abundant and conspicuous in Monterey Bay.