Biology, Environment, News

Invasive ant has bear trap-like jaw which can propel it through the air

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An invasive ant has been sweeping through southeastern United States; it has a jaw like a bear trap, which close faster than almost anything in nature. Naturally, it packs quite a sting, and if that wasn’t enough, it can propel itself through the air like a rocket. “They look like little hammerhead sharks walking around,” said D. Magdalena Sorger. That amazing jaw is so powerful that you can use it as a surgical staple (when adequate medical equipment is lacking). Especially in military situations, these ants can be quite useful in suturing wounds. But more often than not, their interactions with humans are not pleasant. There are four species of…

Art, Climate

12 Insightful Climate Change Cartoons that put Things into Perspective

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Last month, the Niels Bugge Cartoon Award asked illustrators and cartoonists from around the world to submit drawings based on a basic theme: climate. Oceans are in our hands,” they proclaimed, and participants from all around the world put forth their best interpretations (often satyrical) of the current climate situation. You can check their website to see who won, but I won’t spoil that for you. Instead, I’ll share my favorites: Aside for the brilliance of these drawings, I think it’s really nice to see how artists from different countries see and depict climate change. Keep an eye out for the artists’ country as you browse the images.      …

Animals, Biology, News

Pianist plays the piano to old, injured elephants ontop of a Thai mountain

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Paul Barton, a 50 year old pianist fulfilled his dream, as he sat behind his piano just a few metres away from the gentle giants. He transported his piano up a mountain in Thailand – so he could play Beethoven for old, injured, and blind elephants. A lifelong dream “It was a 50th birthday present to myself, my wife and I have been working with blind elephants for many years, and I thought it might be something they would enjoy to listen to. I sat down and thought, what do you play to an elephant? You only get a short time, so I started trawling through my books and then Slow movement 2…

Animals, News

Not only do fish feel pain, but they also multi task and even have cultural traditions

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Do you still think that fish don’t feel pain? That we shouldn’t really care how we catch or treat them? If so, then you’re terribly wrong. In a new article published in Springer’s journal Animal Cognition, Associate Professor Culum Brown from Macquarie University concludes that not only do fish feel pain and are conscious of it, but they can also multi task, and exhibit cultural behaviour. Brown says that most people think of fish as food, or at best, pets. Not much is put in the way of fish cruelty, even though they are second only to mice in terms of the numbers used in scientific research, and the more than 32,000 known…

Renewable Energy

Elon Musk takes on solar panels, to build factories “an order of magnitude bigger”

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The energy industry simply isn’t keeping up with what Elon Musk wants to do. Musk, chairman of the solar installer SolarCity and founder of electric car company Tesla Motors announced that SolarCity will acquire a solar panel manufacturer and start building factories “an order of magnitude bigger” than those existing today. This comes just a few days after Tesla Motors released all their patents – for free. “If we don’t do this we felt there was a risk of not being able to have the solar panels we need to expand the business in the long term,” Musk said Tuesday in a conference call. For the future of both companies,…

Climate, Environment, Geology

Frozen underworld discovered beneath Greenland Ice sheet

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The former popular landscape was an expanse of warped shapes, out of which some were as tall as a Manhattan skyscraper, and it was discovered by an ice-penetration radar loaded aboard NASA survey flights. According to the scientists who made the discovery, this could deepen the level of understanding concerning the way in which the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica respond to climate change. Until recently, the scientific community believed that the the shapes they discerned beneath the ice sheet were nothing else but mountain ranges, according to the specialists studying the Greenland ice sheet for evidence of change under the circumstances of global warming. ‘Everything was just flat,…

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

Tesla release all their patents for free

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Today, Elon Must, the founder and owner of Tesla Motors announced that they were releasing all the patents they own, for free, for everyone to use. The release of over 200 patents was announced in style, through a blog entry called “All our patents are belong to you“. ” Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”, the entry starts. There are some mentions regarding the use of these patents however; for example, auto manufacturers using Supercharger technology…

Animals, Climate, News

Worth more in the oceans: fish save billions of dollars each year by storing CO2 in the oceans

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Whenever you’re eating a fish or some other marine creature, think just for a moment that it may actually be worth more as a CO2 storing machine than a food. First of all, let’s just make this clear: we’re unsustainably eating fish. If we continue current trends, we’ll soon be facing a massive fish crisis, as depicted in the image above. As you can see for yourself, there are virtually no more unexploited fish stocks, by now over a third of all fish stocks have already collapsed, and the situation is getting worse and worse every year. To add insult to injury, a new study has concluded that fish are…

News, Renewable Energy, Science

Parking lots charged by solar forest

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Electric vehicles started to rise in popularity, but we’re clearly not ready to make such a huge change at once, especially concerning the steady supply of energy that would have to come along with introducing them into massive production and consumption. Scientist Neville Mars has come with a great EV charging station which takes the form of an evergreen glade of solar trees. The concept of solar tree is both functional and has a pleasant design, looking like a decorative element. The tree’s modular sculptural look is created by detachable parts of the tree’s branches. Part of the innovativeness of the design includes enough room for the gadgets to lay in…

Animals

Understanding the Colorful Sexual Skin of Primates

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This is a guest post written by Dr. Jennifer Cramer, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at American Public University. In Darwin’s “The Descent of Man” he discussed the colorful faces and genitals of some monkeys and apes and wondered about the evolution and function of these stunning colors. Studies demonstrate that for some species of primates, colorful skin may be important for communication- signaling competitive ability, sexual receptivity, or mate quality. My work focuses on the colorful skin of wild and captive primates. Recently, I focused on vervet monkeys because males have vivid blue scrota which researchers have suggested may be related to male aggression and female mate choice….