Animals, Biology, Materials

Claws of meanest crustacean inspire supermaterial design

The punching mantis shrimp is one of the meanest sea dweller. Photo: Carlos Puma

As the night covers the tropics, odd clicky sounds run about much to the annoyance of sailors stationed in harbors. These sounds are made by the punching mantis shrimp, a very small crustacean which doesn’t seem that much threatening but who definitely lives up to its name. Its claws are so powerful that it can clamp with a force up…

Eco tips, Environmental Issues, News, Technology

Condensing towers could make water from thin air in the driest places on Earth

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The Namib desert is one of the vastest and driest deserts in the world. There is little water to be found here, so the few critters calling the desert home had to learn to adapt in order to survive. One particular beetle species stands out through the ingenuity with which it manages to quench its thirst – it doesn’t need…

Animals, Environmental Issues

Bark beetles killing trees, affecting Rocky Mountains stream quality

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A Bark Beetle infestation are killing millions of trees in the Rocky Mountains, up to the point where the quality of the streaming water is affected. Some species of the beetles, such as the mountain pine beetle, attack and kill live trees. Others feed and thrive on the behalf of diseased trees. In Colorado alone, pine beetles have killed 3.4 million…

Environment, Geology

Frozen in time: Three-million-year-old landscape still exists beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet

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A geological study has revealed that the massive ice sheet has fixed the landscape in place, rather than destroying it. Ice is usually really good at scouring stuff away – it doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that. But according to this new study, some of the sub-glacial landscape may have remained unchanged for almost 3 million years, ever since the island…

Animals

Laboratory Chimpanzees Released Into Sanctuary After 30 Years Of Cages – Their reactions are heart melting

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30 years. They spent the vast majority of their lives in a lab, and after 30 years, they are released in a sanctuary. Their reactions say it all – this an exuberant, heart warming reaction, their joy and bewilderement can’t be captured in words. Watch the hug they have at 1:25… that just says it all! I don’t really want…

News, Pollution

China just admitted 20% of its farmland is polluted

Burning coal like there's no tomorrow!

The Chinese government sort of took everyone by surprise after it made a most unaccustomed  statement; it admitted the country isn’t fairing that well. Oh, no, don’t worry. They still got plenty of money and loads to collect still. What’s beginning to be revealed is the cost of China’s new found prosperity and accelerated industrialization: of course, it’s pollution. Apparently,…

News, Science, World Problems

Facebook activism rarely goes deeper than a single click

Refugee children in Chad.

While there’s nothing wrong in getting involved in Facebook campaigns… there’s nothing inherently good either. According to a new study, viral causes/pledges/petitions that spread via social media rarely go deeper than a single click on the “Like” button. Apparently, social media’s ability to mobilize the masses into action has been overrated – at least when it comes to Facebook. At one…

Eco tips, News, Technology

Toyota confirms confirms fuel cell launch for 2015; zero local emissions and 500-mile range

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Toyota has officially announced that it will launch a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car in 2015, but said sales volumes would be limited. The company announced they will use a high-density fuel stack which will have the potential to cover 500 miles on a single fuel tank. The technology will take a while to be implemented and accepted by the public, says European president,…

Animals, Nanotechnology

Nanoparticles make turkey eggs microbe-resistant

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Australian brush turkeys incubate their eggs in places most animals would stay clear of: moist piles of rotting vegetation. There are some advantages to this approach, most notably that the heat released by the microbes keeps the eggs warm but those same microbes can also get through eggshells and kill the embryos. However, even though the risks are apparently huge, only 9% of…

Animals, Health & Medicine

Over 70% of sea otters have H1N1 swine flu, and researchers don’t know how they got it

Photo: Mike Baird, via Flickr.

Sea otters have entered a select, but unfortunate club: they joined the ranks of ducks, chickens, pigs, whales, horses  elephant seals and humans – all of which can contact the influenza. According to a new study conducted by the US Geological Survey and the CDC, sea otters living in a remote area in Washington state were found to carry the H1N1 virus, the…