Posts

August 27, 2014

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6:50 PM | American bison return to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
  In honor of its 125th anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is once again home to American bison, the animal that began the Zoo’s living […] The post American bison return to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo appeared first on Smithsonian Science.
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9:42 AM | Eggcellent citizen science: evolution of camouflage in bird eggs | @GrrlScientist
How an online video game relies on citizen scientists to test the evolution of avian egg camouflage colours and patterns.Ive been enviously following the events at the recent International Ornithological Congress, held in Tokyo, Japan. One of the many interesting things that I ran across in my communications with the congress attendees was an online video game that challenges the viewer to spot a camouflaged bird egg in a short period of time. This video game, which is entertaining and rather […]

August 23, 2014

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6:30 PM | How The Zebra Got Its Stripes, With Alan Turing
Where do a zebra's stripes, a leopard's spots and our fingers come from? The key was found years ago – by the man who cracked the Enigma code.Read more...
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10:44 AM | True Facts About Marsupials | @GrrlScientist
A snarky caturday video by ZeFrank, who spoofs Morgan Freeman talking about Australias marsupials Just in time for Caturday! Fans of the talented Morgan Freeman, the witty ZeFrank and of course, all of the worlds amazing animals, can indulge all three passions at the same time in this delightful, and somewhat irreverent, video that shares (some) facts about (some) Australian marsupials. Continue reading...

August 22, 2014

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11:00 PM | True Facts About Marsupials, Nature's Cutest Animals With Three Vaginas
The latest installment in Ze Frank's always-excellent "True Facts About ________" nature series (previously here and here ) is all about three of everyone's favorite marsupials: kangaroos, wombats, and koalas.Read more...

August 21, 2014

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4:01 PM | Discovery: Deadbeat ant species branched off as parasite inside its own colony
A newly-discovered species of ant supports a controversial theory of species formation. The ant, known to live only under a single eucalyptus tree on the […] The post Discovery: Deadbeat ant species branched off as parasite inside its own colony appeared first on Smithsonian Science.

August 20, 2014

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12:00 PM | Because He Is The One
Biology Concepts – ommatidia, reflex, fly, arthropod, sensory receptors, sensilla, metabolic rate, life spanNeo (Keanu Reeves) learned that he could dodge bullets at one point in The Matrix. This was before he learned he didn’t have to. Was he speeding himself up so the bullets looked to be going slower, or was he actually slowing down time?Neo from the Matrixfilms had the ability, once he learned to accept it, to react so fast that everything around him seemed to be moving slowly. […]

Muijres FT, Elzinga MJ, Melis JM & Dickinson MH (2014). Flies evade looming targets by executing rapid visually directed banked turns., Science (New York, N.Y.), 344 (6180) 172-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24723606

Healy K, McNally L, Ruxton GD, Cooper N & Jackson AL (2013). Metabolic rate and body size are linked with perception of temporal information., Animal behaviour, 86 (4) 685-696. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24109147

Jumpertz R, Hanson RL, Sievers ML, Bennett PH, Nelson RG & Krakoff J (2011). Higher energy expenditure in humans predicts natural mortality., The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 96 (6) 6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21450984

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August 19, 2014

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2:28 PM | Butterflies, beetles and banknotes: tuning colour efficiently | Athene Donald
Structural colours are more visible and vivid than those that use pigments as many examples from the natural world demonstrate. But sometimes pure white is what is requiredIn the South American rainforests, a blue flash of colour visible from hundreds of metres away is likely to signify the presence of one of the Morpho genus of butterflies. Although the colours of many animals arise from pigmentation, for Morpho and a range of other insects (including iridescent beetles) the origin of their […]
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1:41 PM | International Orangutan Day: support our red-haired cousins before it's too late | Carole Jahme
As orangutans are added to a list of the worlds 25 most endangered primates, we are discovering that these great apes are more like humans than we supposedTuesday is International Orangutan Day. This year it follows hot on the heels of exciting genetic results from Sumatra made public at the International Primatological Societys biannual conference on Sunday which suggest the discovery of a new species of the ape.Dr Michael Krützen of Zurich University studied the most southern population, […]

August 18, 2014

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4:40 PM | This Microscopic Footage Shows What Happens When A Jellyfish Stings You
Cnidarians like anemones and jellyfish extend nematocysts, stinging organelles capable of shooting venom into another creature. The nematocysts are too small and move too quickly to be seen by the naked eye—but now they've been captured through a microscope with a high-speed camera.Read more...
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11:33 AM | The amazing world of flyingfish by Steve NG Howell | review | @GrrlScientist
Written by a professional pelagic birding tour guide and photographer, this book presents a popular account of what is known about the enigmatic flyingfishes, and its illustrated with an abundance of breathtaking full-colour photographs.After browsing through shelves and shelves of field guides in a typical nature bookshop, you might suspect theres a field guide for absolutely every group of anything you can find on the planet -- birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, plants, […]

August 17, 2014

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3:14 PM | Promiscuity Breeds Efficiency: Mouse Mating Systems Affect Sperm Sprints
Sperm is constant joke-fodder. From the opening credits of the movie "Look Who's Talking" to various Shakespeare passages, we humans never seem to tire of laughing at hordes of competitive little sperm powering past each other in the race towards their final destination. They're unbelievably tiny, simple entities, and yet the outcome of their performance is huge. Or perhaps we just stay fascinated by the dramatic fact that all of our lives began when one of […]
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3:14 PM | Promiscuity Breeds Efficiency: Mouse Mating Systems Affect Sperm Sprints
Sperm is constant joke-fodder. From the opening credits of the movie "Look Who's Talking" to various Shakespeare passages, we humans never seem to tire of laughing at hordes of competitive little sperm powering past each other in the race towards their final destination. They're unbelievably tiny, simple entities, and yet the outcome of their performance is huge. Or perhaps we just stay fascinated by the dramatic fact that all of our lives began when one of […]
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2:00 PM | This Is What The Rattlesnake "Combat Dance" Looks Like
Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes are a common sight in the forests and hiking trails in Southern California, so it was no surprise that a group of mountain bikers - who were also National Park Service volunteers - came across a pair of the rattlers last week. They were, however, treated to a unique bit of snake behavior.Read more...

August 16, 2014

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2:00 PM | This Worm is Truly, Deeply Terrifying
This unsettling creature is called Eunice aphroditois, or colloquially the Bobbit worm. These critters can grow up to three meters long and have pincers capable of slicing its (sometimes larger) prey right in half. Also? It injects a toxin into its prey to make it easier to digest. Yum.Read more...
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10:27 AM | True facts about anglerfish | @GrrlScientist
To the female anglerfish, the human male is a very loud, annoying and unnecessarily complicated pair of gonads.Caturday has arrived once again, so it is time to watch some animals doing stuff! Today's caturday animal is the anglerfish, an ancient taxonomic order of bony fishes that arose sometime between 100 and 130 million years ago. (In contrast, humans are mere evolutionary babies, having appeared sometime between just 2 and 6 million years ago.)Anglerfishes got their name from their method […]

Miya M., James W Orr, Rachel J Arnold, Takashi P Satoh, Andrew M Shedlock, Hsuan-Ching Ho, Mitsuomi Shimazaki, Mamoru Yabe & Mutsumi Nishida (2010). Evolutionary history of anglerfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes): a mitogenomic perspective, BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10 (1) 58. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-10-58

Widder E.A. (2010). Bioluminescence in the Ocean: Origins of Biological, Chemical, and Ecological Diversity, Science, 328 (5979) 704-708. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1174269

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10:08 AM | The Mata mata turtle
Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ReptiliaOrder: TestudinesFamily: ChelidaeGenus: ChelusSpecies: Chelus fimbriataConservation Status: Least ConcernCommon Name(s): Mata mata, Mata mata turtle, Matamata and other similar variationsMata mata, a strange name for what is sure one of the world's strangest turtles! This large, South American river turtle is the only surviving species of the genus Chelus and is easily one of the most unusual creatures you are likely to encounter in the […]

Lombardini ED, Desoutter AV, Montali RJ & Del Piero F (2013). Esophageal adenocarcinoma in a 53-year-old mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus)., Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 44 (3) 773-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063112

Wang L, Zhou X, Nie L, Xia X, Liu L, Jiang Y, Huang Z & Jing W (2012). The complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Chelodina rugosa and Chelus fimbriata (Pleurodira: Chelidae): implications of a common absence of initiation sites (O(L)) in pleurodiran turtles., Molecular biology reports, 39 (3) 2097-107. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21655955

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10:08 AM | The Mata mata turtle
Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ReptiliaOrder: TestudinesFamily: ChelidaeGenus: ChelusSpecies: Chelus fimbriataConservation Status: Least ConcernCommon Name(s): Mata mata, Mata mata turtle, Matamata and other similar variationsMata mata, a strange name for what is sure one of the world's strangest turtles! This large, South American river turtle is the only surviving species of the genus Chelus and is easily one of the most unusual creatures you are likely to encounter in the […]

Lombardini ED, Desoutter AV, Montali RJ & Del Piero F (2013). Esophageal adenocarcinoma in a 53-year-old mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus)., Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 44 (3) 773-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063112

Wang L, Zhou X, Nie L, Xia X, Liu L, Jiang Y, Huang Z & Jing W (2012). The complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Chelodina rugosa and Chelus fimbriata (Pleurodira: Chelidae): implications of a common absence of initiation sites (O(L)) in pleurodiran turtles., Molecular biology reports, 39 (3) 2097-107. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21655955

Citation
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10:08 AM | The Mata mata turtle
Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ReptiliaOrder: TestudinesFamily: ChelidaeGenus: ChelusSpecies: Chelus fimbriataConservation Status: Least ConcernCommon Name(s): Mata mata, Mata mata turtle, Matamata and other similar variationsMata mata, a strange name for what is sure one of the world's strangest turtles! This large, South American river turtle is the only surviving species of the genus Chelus and is easily one of the most unusual creatures you are likely to encounter in the […]

Lombardini ED, Desoutter AV, Montali RJ & Del Piero F (2013). Esophageal adenocarcinoma in a 53-year-old mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus)., Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 44 (3) 773-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063112

Wang L, Zhou X, Nie L, Xia X, Liu L, Jiang Y, Huang Z & Jing W (2012). The complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Chelodina rugosa and Chelus fimbriata (Pleurodira: Chelidae): implications of a common absence of initiation sites (O(L)) in pleurodiran turtles., Molecular biology reports, 39 (3) 2097-107. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21655955

Citation
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10:08 AM | The Mata mata turtle
Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ReptiliaOrder: TestudinesFamily: ChelidaeGenus: ChelusSpecies: Chelus fimbriataConservation Status: Least ConcernCommon Name(s): Mata mata, Mata mata turtle, Matamata and other similar variationsMata mata, a strange name for what is sure one of the world's strangest turtles! This large, South American river turtle is the only surviving species of the genus Chelus and is easily one of the most unusual creatures you are likely to encounter in the […]

Lombardini ED, Desoutter AV, Montali RJ & Del Piero F (2013). Esophageal adenocarcinoma in a 53-year-old mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus)., Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 44 (3) 773-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063112

Wang L, Zhou X, Nie L, Xia X, Liu L, Jiang Y, Huang Z & Jing W (2012). The complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Chelodina rugosa and Chelus fimbriata (Pleurodira: Chelidae): implications of a common absence of initiation sites (O(L)) in pleurodiran turtles., Molecular biology reports, 39 (3) 2097-107. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21655955

Citation
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10:08 AM | The Mata mata turtle
Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ReptiliaOrder: TestudinesFamily: ChelidaeGenus: ChelusSpecies: Chelus fimbriataConservation Status: Least ConcernCommon Name(s): Mata mata, Mata mata turtle, Matamata and other similar variationsMata mata, a strange name for what is sure one of the world's strangest turtles! This large, South American river turtle is the only surviving species of the genus Chelus and is easily one of the most unusual creatures you are likely to encounter in the […]

Lombardini ED, Desoutter AV, Montali RJ & Del Piero F (2013). Esophageal adenocarcinoma in a 53-year-old mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus)., Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 44 (3) 773-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063112

Wang L, Zhou X, Nie L, Xia X, Liu L, Jiang Y, Huang Z & Jing W (2012). The complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Chelodina rugosa and Chelus fimbriata (Pleurodira: Chelidae): implications of a common absence of initiation sites (O(L)) in pleurodiran turtles., Molecular biology reports, 39 (3) 2097-107. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21655955

Citation
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10:08 AM | The Mata mata turtle
Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ReptiliaOrder: TestudinesFamily: ChelidaeGenus: ChelusSpecies: Chelus fimbriataConservation Status: Least ConcernCommon Name(s): Mata mata, Mata mata turtle, Matamata and other similar variationsMata mata, a strange name for what is sure one of the world's strangest turtles! This large, South American river turtle is the only surviving species of the genus Chelus and is easily one of the most unusual creatures you are likely to encounter in the […]

Lombardini ED, Desoutter AV, Montali RJ & Del Piero F (2013). Esophageal adenocarcinoma in a 53-year-old mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus)., Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, 44 (3) 773-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063112

Wang L, Zhou X, Nie L, Xia X, Liu L, Jiang Y, Huang Z & Jing W (2012). The complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Chelodina rugosa and Chelus fimbriata (Pleurodira: Chelidae): implications of a common absence of initiation sites (O(L)) in pleurodiran turtles., Molecular biology reports, 39 (3) 2097-107. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21655955

Citation
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9:15 AM | Frogs that grow tadpoles in their mouths appear not to be territorial
As a field researcher of primarily mammals, I often encounter highly enthusiastic amateur and expert herpetologists at the same sites at which I work. As you would expect, they all conduct their investigations into ‘herps’ in different ways, but one unifying methodology always stands out to me – not for it’s distinctiveness, but because it would be […]

August 15, 2014

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12:30 PM | Crowdsourcing the Olinguito
One year ago, the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) stepped out of the forest shadows into the spotlight and onto the pages of science—the first carnivore species […] The post Crowdsourcing the Olinguito appeared first on Smithsonian Science.

August 14, 2014

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5:21 PM | Two-Headed Dolphin Washes Ashore In Turkey, Current Whereabouts Unknown
A rare, two-headed dolphin calf was discovered on a beach in Dikili, Turkey last week – now local marine biologists are trying to track it down.Read more...
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1:30 PM | Competition for ecological niches limits evolution of new species | @GrrlScientist
A recently published study finds that competition for ecological niches limits the evolution of new species. Further, this study finds that speciation rate slows or even stops as available ecological niches fill up. Why are there so many more species in some regions than in others? According to a recent study, competition for ecological niches limits the evolution of new species. Further, this study, which analysed the genetic and evolutionary relationships between all 461 species of Himalayan […]

Price T.D., Hooper D.M., Buchanan C.D., Johansson U.S., Tietze D.T., Alström P., Olsson U., Ghosh-Harihar M., Ishtiaq F. & Gupta S.K. & (2014). Niche filling slows the diversification of Himalayan songbirds, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature13272

FJELDSÅ J. (2013). The global diversification of songbirds (Oscines) and the build-up of the Sino-Himalayan diversity hotspot, Chinese Birds, 4 (2) 132-143. DOI: 10.5122/cbirds.2013.0014

Richman A.D. & Price T. (1992). Evolution of ecological differences in the Old World leaf warblers, Nature, 355 817-821. DOI: 10.1038/355817a0

Kennedy J.D., Weir J.T., Hooper D.M., Tietze D.T., Martens J. & Price T.D. (2012). Ecological limits on diversification of the Himalayan core Corvoidea, Evolution, 66 (8) 2599-2613. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01618.x

Alström P., Hooper D.M., Liu Y., Olsson U., Mohan D., Gelang M., Hung L.M., Zhao J., Lei F. & Price T.D. & (2014). Discovery of a relict lineage and monotypic family of passerine birds, Biology Letters, 10 (3) DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.1067

Harmon L.J., Schulte J.A., Larson A. & Losos J.B. (2003). Tempo and Mode of Evolutionary Radiation in Iguanian Lizards, Science, 301 (5635) 961-964 . DOI: 10.1126/science.1084786

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August 13, 2014

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12:00 PM | Getting High On Life
Biology concepts – bacteria, climate, respiratory, birds, arthropods, astrobiology, cloudsCarl Sagan wasn’t just the host of the original Cosmoson TV. He solved the riddles of Venus’ high temperature, the seasons on Mars, and the color of Titan. He also wrote one of my favorite speculative fiction novels, Contact. The movie is good; the book is better.The astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put […]

Pawar SP, Dhotre DP, Shetty SA, Chowdhury SP, Chaudhari BL & Shouche YS (2012). Genome sequence of Janibacter hoylei MTCC8307, isolated from the stratospheric air., Journal of bacteriology, 194 (23) 6629-30. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23144385

Dillon ME & Dudley R (2014). Surpassing Mt. Everest: extreme flight performance of alpine bumble-bees., Biology letters, 10 (2) 20130922. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24501268

Hawkes LA, Balachandran S, Batbayar N, Butler PJ, Chua B, Douglas DC, Frappell PB, Hou Y, Milsom WK, Newman SH & Prosser DJ (2013). The paradox of extreme high-altitude migration in bar-headed geese Anser indicus., Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280 (1750) 20122114. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23118436

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12:00 PM | Getting High On Life
Biology concepts – bacteria, climate, respiratory, birds, arthropods, astrobiology, cloudsCarl Sagan wasn’t just the host of the original Cosmoson TV. He solved the riddles of Venus’ high temperature, the seasons on Mars, and the color of Titan. He also wrote one of my favorite speculative fiction novels, Contact. The movie is good; the book is better.The astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put […]

Pawar SP, Dhotre DP, Shetty SA, Chowdhury SP, Chaudhari BL & Shouche YS (2012). Genome sequence of Janibacter hoylei MTCC8307, isolated from the stratospheric air., Journal of bacteriology, 194 (23) 6629-30. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23144385

Dillon ME & Dudley R (2014). Surpassing Mt. Everest: extreme flight performance of alpine bumble-bees., Biology letters, 10 (2) 20130922. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24501268

Hawkes LA, Balachandran S, Batbayar N, Butler PJ, Chua B, Douglas DC, Frappell PB, Hou Y, Milsom WK, Newman SH & Prosser DJ (2013). The paradox of extreme high-altitude migration in bar-headed geese Anser indicus., Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280 (1750) 20122114. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23118436

Citation
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12:00 PM | Getting High On Life
Biology concepts – bacteria, climate, respiratory, birds, arthropods, astrobiology, cloudsCarl Sagan wasn’t just the host of the original Cosmoson TV. He solved the riddles of Venus’ high temperature, the seasons on Mars, and the color of Titan. He also wrote one of my favorite speculative fiction novels, Contact. The movie is good; the book is better.The astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put […]

Pawar SP, Dhotre DP, Shetty SA, Chowdhury SP, Chaudhari BL & Shouche YS (2012). Genome sequence of Janibacter hoylei MTCC8307, isolated from the stratospheric air., Journal of bacteriology, 194 (23) 6629-30. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23144385

Dillon ME & Dudley R (2014). Surpassing Mt. Everest: extreme flight performance of alpine bumble-bees., Biology letters, 10 (2) 20130922. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24501268

Hawkes LA, Balachandran S, Batbayar N, Butler PJ, Chua B, Douglas DC, Frappell PB, Hou Y, Milsom WK, Newman SH & Prosser DJ (2013). The paradox of extreme high-altitude migration in bar-headed geese Anser indicus., Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280 (1750) 20122114. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23118436

Citation

August 12, 2014

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10:59 PM | Bad New Benzos: Anti-Anxiety Drugs Increase Fish Survival . . . Why is This a Problem?
This question seems unnecessary, but let's ask it anyway: Why do we care about water pollution? There are myriad reasons, of course, but a common answer is that we are concerned about poisoning wildlife. Chemicals in both industrial and residential wastewater are potentially toxic to an array of species and can alter the functionality of entire food webs. We should not toxify nature. Of course poisoning wildlife is bad. We are (rightfully) so concerned about how many animals […]
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