From the BBC: Cyphochilus beetles are whiter than paper or any artificial material produced so far. But researchers are only now starting to fully explain the beetles’ trick. Understanding the physical mechanisms could allow manufacturers to produce whiter paper, plastics and paints.
From the BBC: British scientists have successfully revived mosses that have been frozen under the Antarctic ice for 1,500 years. The researchers thawed out the ancient vegetation and were surprised to see new shoots rapidly appear. While bacteria of a similar age have been recovered before, the scientists say these are the oldest plants to be […]
And God said, “Let there be light.” But in the early universe, it could not be seen. When the universe was young, before the formation of stars and planets, it was denser, much hotter, and filled with a uniform glow from a white-hot fog of hydrogen plasma. As the universe expanded, both the plasma and the […]
“Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia is the oldest freshwater lake on Earth, and one of the largest and deepest, containing around one-fifth of the world’s freshwater. In winter, it freezes over, and these beautiful transparent, turquoise masses of broken ice appear momentarily in March, caused by the unequal structure, temperature and pressure in the main […]
Glaucus atlanticus, one of the world’s rarest and most beautiful mollusks.
They’re intelligent: Unlike other parrots, wild African Greys have been documented imitating the calls of several other species. Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s research with captive African Greys, most notably with a bird named Alex, has scientifically demonstrated that they possess the ability to associate simple human words with meanings, and to intelligently apply the abstract concepts of shape, […]
From the BBC: Queen Sofia’s husband, King Juan Carlos, had already declined his invitation to the lunch at Windsor Castle on Friday. He is recovering from surgery last month after he fell and broke his hip while hunting elephants in Botswana. Good. This isn’t the 1850s. What kind of asshole goes around hunting elephants? Oh, […]
Read more at the BBC: The virus used in the research was an M13 bacteriophage, which attacks bacteria but is benign to humans. The Berkeley team used genetic engineering techniques to add four negatively charged molecules to one end of the corkscrew-shaped proteins that coat the virus. These additional molecules increased the charge difference between […]
Guiness says it is the largest wave ever surfed: 78 feet high.
In case you were wondering: The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (Capsicum Chinense), endemic to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago, is currently the world’s hottest Chili pepper. The New Mexico State University’s Chili Pepper Institute has identified the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as the newest hottest chili pepper in the world as of February 2012. […]
From the BBC: Around 58 million years ago, a monstrous snake slithered out of the swampy jungles of South America and began a reign of terror. Weighing more than a tonne and measuring 14m (approximately 50ft) the giant reptile could swallow a whole crocodile without showing a bulge. But a few years ago, scientists never […]
From The New York Times: LONGWOOD, Fla. — Back, way back, before King Tut was born and Alexander the Great roamed his empire, the Senator sprouted in a swamp here in central Florida, one of thousands of its kind. So on Monday, when word got out that the huge, 3,500-year-old bald cypress had burned and […]
From the BBC: A Japanese researcher has used thousands of strands of spider silk to spin a set of violin strings. The strings are said to have a “soft and profound timbre” relative to traditional gut or steel strings. You can actually listen to the violin-with-spider-strings on the BBC website.
Some amazing before-and-after pictures of the Japanese tsunami are available here.
Again, from the BBC: Scientists in Russia have grown plants from fruit stored away in permafrost by squirrels over 30,000 years ago. The Institute of Cell Biophysics team raised plants of Silene stenophylla – of the campion family – from the fruit. Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they note this […]
From the BBC: A Swedish man has survived being trapped in his snow-covered car for two months without food, police say. The car was found on Friday at the end of a forest track more than 1 km (0.6 miles) from a main road in northern Sweden. Police say the temperature in the area had […]
The BBC reports that: One of the world’s tiniest lizards has been discovered by keen-eyed researchers in Madagascar. The miniature chameleon, Brookesia micra, reaches a maximum length of just 29mm. They found the smallest species on a remote limestone islet and believe it may represent an extreme case of island dwarfism. This phenomenon occurs when […]
Click through to the BBC for more. Changmao the ram and Chunzi the doe’s “unconventional relationship” have made them popular with the public. The pair were forcibly separated last year but were eventually reunited. But Changmao has not been exactly faithful to Chunzi. He fathered a baby lamb with the zoo’s only female sheep. That […]