Anatomy, Did you know?, Health & Medicine

These rocks in your head keep you balanced

calcium_carbonate_ear

The beautiful colored image above might look like beach pebbles, yet in reality it shows a glimpse from an even tinnier world – it’s a colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of calcium carbonate deposited on the surface of an otolith, found in the Acoustic Macula. These tiny debris also fit a purpose, helping the body stay in equilibrium, whether in static (position of the head) or dynamic equilibrium (relative position function of linear acceleration)…

Feature Post, Great Pics

AstroPictures of the day: Mind blowing pictures taken by Reid Wiseman from the ISS.

lhhsVFn

The people onboard the International Space Station have been spoiling us with a lot of amazing pictures – and this one is no exception. Here, we see Africa embracing its northern neighbor, the Mediterranean sea. Reid Wiseman (which you can also follow on Twitter) often posts mind blowing pictures, like the ones above and below. All pictures taken from his Twitter, with his captions.    ……

Great Pics

Photographer Takehito Miyatake – the brilliant light shows of Japan

takehito-miyatake-2

Japanese photographer Takehito Miyatake is known for his breathtaking pictures, especially long exposure takes on fireflies, volcanic eruptions, and beaches awash in bioluminescencnt firefly squid. He likens his meditative photography to poetry, explaining that the exposure for his pictures can last anywhere between 15 seconds and half an hour. But the time spent on the exposure isn’t in vain. iyatake recently won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Nikkei National Geographic Photo Awards. You can see more of his photography on his website. Via This is Colossal…….

Design, News, Technology

Ultra-white beetle could inspire next generation of paper and paints

Image via Cambridge University.

The physical properties of the ultra-white scales on certain species of beetle could inspire researchers to make better, whiter paper, plastics or paint, using far less material. The Cyphochilus beetle, native to South-East Asia, is whiter than paper or even milk teeth. The whiteness of its body is caused by a thin layer of a highly reflective natural photonic solid in its scales. A new team investigation the beetle and its scales found that the white scales are able to scatter light more efficiently than any other known biological mechanism, which is how they are able to achieve such a whiteness. In nature, there are several animals which are very white;…

Feature Post

Featured Researchers: This Week in Science

portrait_williamstringfellow

We talk a lot about science and research, but we don’t spend enough time talking about the people who actually do the research. In case you haven’t followed our previous feature, here is where we share some of the most interesting studies from the week, and share a bit of information about the scientists who made them. One third of fracking chemicals are of unknown toxicity Article Featured Researcher: William Stringfellow Affiliantion: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Research Interests: The major focus of his research is the study of environmental biokinetics (the study of movements of or within organisms).  In an open system, the state of the microbial community is determined by the physical…

Fossil Friday

FossilFriday: giant, fossilized dino footprints in Portugal

DSC01570

Pedreira do Galinha (literally “The chicken’s quarry”, but more on that later) is one of the most important paleontological sites in Portugal and one of the most amazing places that I had the opportunity to visit. So, what is this magical (from a paleontological point of view) place? Well, here lie the fossilized footprints of the biggest beings on Earth that ever existed: the Sauropod Dinosaurs. It seems that the area between Leiria and Fatima, was a marsh field where these big herbivorous dinosaurs used to travel 175 million years ago in the Jurassic period. Because of the highly sedimentation processes that occurred in the area, those footprints were trapped…

Environment, Great Pics, News

Antarctica from Pole to coast, captured in stunning detail

antarctica1

A mosaic of more than 3,150 high-resolution satellite images creates the best continent-wide view since 1997. The result is the one you see below: The over three thousand pictures were taken in the Southern Hemisphere’s autumn of 2008, and tiled together into a coast-to-coast view of the entire continent with its coastal waters. The result is not only lovely to look at, but it’s also very useful – enabling researchers to better study the ice changes that occurred in Antarctica, says Ellsworth LeDrew, director of the Canadian Cryospheric Information Network and a professor at University of Waterloo. This will enable a better understanding of how climate change affects Antarctic ice, and will…

Did you know?, Great Pics

Satellite image shows the massive impact of forest fire

dnews-files-2014-08-carlton_oli_20140819-jpg

Big forest fires almost always hit the news and you hear about the destruction an carnage they cause – but you rarely hear about how difficult it is to treat their aftermath. This image highlights what remained behind the  huge compound wildfire triggered by multiple lightning strikes erupted in Washington state. The wildfire is reportedly 96 percent under control, and the image depicts a burn scar that stretches for hundreds of square miles. People living in the area, even those not affected directly by the wildfire will face threats from accentuated erosion, ecosystem degradation and flooding. A study of a massive 1970 forest fire in the Pacific Northwest showed that 34 years…

Animals, Videos

Meet an awesome blonde penguin

all-white-penguin-spotted_46843_990x742

Seafarers on a 2012 National Geographic-Lindblad expedition to Antarctica found this amazing and rare “blond” penguin on a colony on Aitcho Island. < The penguin actually suffers from a condition called isabellinism or leucism – not albinism.Though technically separate conditions, isabellinism and leucism are used interchangeably In albinism, there is a complete or partial lack of the skin pigment called melanin (responsible for the color black). In leucism however, there is a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin. A further difference between albinism and leucism is in eye colour. Due to the lack of melanin production, albino animals and humans often have red eyes – while in…