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What a wonderful world …

eye

The human eye, Darwin argued, could have evolved from a simple light-catching patch of tissue of the kind that animals such as flatworms grow today. Natural selection could have turned the patch into a cup that could detect the direction of the light. Then, some added feature would work with the cup to further improve vision, better adapting an organism to its surroundings, and so this intermediate precursor of an eye would be passed down to future generations. And, step-by-step, natural selection could drive this transformation to increased complexity because each intermediate form would provide an ad–vantage over what came before. https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-surprising-origins-of-lifes-complexity-20130716/

 

Come Fly with Me

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Amazing absolutely amazing.

 

The Eyes of Eagles

 

An eagle’s flight from the top of the world’s tallest building to his handler below. An eagle was fitted with a camera and released from the top of the 2,715 foot Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.
The eagle has no idea where the tiny speck of land was that his handler is standing on or what it looked like among all of the other islands and buildings and people. Somehow from that altitude, the eagle actually picks out and recognizes the trainer from all of the other objects, people, etc. You can see him looking, looking, looking for the trainer, completely invisible to a human eye and the camera, then fold his/her wings and drops like a bullet straight to his trainer.

What surprised the experts is not only how efficiently the eagle spots his trainer from that altitude, but how smooth its flight is with no camera shake whatsoever, even when it goes into a power dive.

 

 

Click on the link below to enjoy this record flight. https://www.youtube.com/embed/ 6g95E4VSfj0?rel=0

Smart Mrs Dragonfly

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In order to avoid males of the species bothering them for sex, female dragonflies fake their own deaths, falling from the sky and lying motionless on the ground until the suitor goes away.

 

aeshna-juncea

A study by Rassim Khelifa, a zoologist from the University of Zurich is the first time scientists have seen odonates feign death as a tactic to avoid mating, and a rare instance of animals faking their own deaths for this purpose. Odonates is the order of carnivorous insects that includes dragonflies and damselflies.

But you can read the article here – http://www.newsweek.com/female-dragon-flies-fake-death-avoid-sex-evolution-591494

Reminds me of :-

Thought from the Greatest Living Scottish Thinker–Billy Connolly.  “If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, How come they can’t have a headache and sex at the same time?”

A Gem

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The trout is a beautiful creature. His colouring is the most delicate brushwork on a
glistening sheen, exquisitely streamlined: now gold and olive, now blue and silver,
now mottled with spots red and black.
Peter Cunningham.

trout

The gem is the new author that I came across. Beautiful writing. The story does not really matter if someones writes as eloquently as this man. Obviously a lover of fly fishing of which I know nothing. But so far I love the story too….

The Trout

Alex and Kay began their relationship many years ago in Ireland where Alex was destined to become a priest. His father, a well-respected doctor, is immensely proud of him until the day Alex meets Kay, a meeting which changes Alex’s life and his relationship with his father forever. Rejected by his father and his friends, Alex and Kay eventually settle in Canada to lead a normal family life. Normal life, however, is only a thin veneer covering a world of childhood secrets and lies and a letter arriving out of the blue triggers a long-buried guilt in Alex, leading him to risk all to track down its secrets. In a spellbinding story of one man’s search for the crucial secret locked in his memory since childhood, The Trout bursts up through the conventions and falsehoods of the past and hangs, beautiful and shimmering, in the clear and vital light of truth.

 

Back to the future…

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LEFT CLICK , HOLD IT AND DRAG YOUR MOUSE GENTLY FROM LEFT TO RIGHT ON THE ORIGINAL PHOTOS AND IT WILL BECOME THE EXACT SAME LOCATION TODAY

 

DRAG IT BACK OVER AND YOU ARE BACK IN 1944 AGAIN.

 

 

http://interactive.guim.co.uk/embed/2014/apr/image-opacity-slider-master/index.html?ww2-dday

 

And now I wonder what if…. with all new terrorism, will we be back to war again?

 

Beware of Amber Valley…

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Pietermaritzburg – The Amber Valley body corporate in Howick wants Mr Cat out, but the ageing feline’s owner is determined to keep him – even if it means going to court to stay his eviction.

The 15-year-old cat is at the centre of a legal spat, after lawyers representing the body corporate sent a letter of demand to Penny Reid giving her two weeks to “remove” her companion.

An online petition to stop the body corporate forcing Reid to remove her cat has gone viral, receiving nearly 10 000 signatures in under a week.

You can read here:- http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Claws-out-in-fight-over-retirement-village-cat-20150216

Sounds like a real witch hunt to me!

Mr cat

But the 5 star comment came from Don Clark who wrote

MORON OF THE MONTH
My first message is to the people at Amber Valley, Howick who complained about 88-year-old Sylvia Reid’s 15-year-old cat. Although you are elderly, it is clear that your hearts have died long before the rest of your organs. Are your lives really so small that a visit from an old cat takes on the proportions of an invasion of man-eating tigers?! When you gaze out your windows in that beautiful environment are your old souls so full of bitterness and bile that you notice only a single cat instead of the wonderful birds, plants and rolling green lawns? Have you nothing better to do than plot the murder of an old feline and the subsequent murder of an old woman’s soul? Why don’t you just clean your dentures more often or sharpen your kitchen knives? Are you not aware that there are people starving to death out there, children dying in wars, people being murdered for their possessions, and millions living with AIDS or dying from Ebola? No, probably not. The biggest problem in your tiny, useless little lives is a visiting pet cat!
Shame on you, and shame on you again. May your callous, heartless, petty actions render you sleepless at night. And should you manage to dream, may they be filled with the sobs of a heartbroken old woman and the smell of pentobarbital; the solution used by vets to euthanise animals.
My second message is to the Body Corporate of Amber Valley. You decision to evict Sylvia Reid’s cat was not based on rules per se. You have made it clear that residents are allowed pets, but that it’s a privilege, not a right. So it would seem that Sylvia Reid’s “privilege” was violated on the strength of her neighbour’s complaint. And this complaint was precipitated by the cat simply “visiting” them.
At the end of the day, what I would like to know is whether the “pain” of a cat visiting them could possibly exceed the pain of an old lady being permanently separated from what may be her only loving companion? Did you even bother to take that into account? This is a moral and ethical situation, not a legislative one. I do hope you searched your consciousnesses deeply before making such a dreadful decision. 
So, to the cruel neighbours for their pedantic, overbearing attitude towards an old cat, and the Amber Valley Body Corporate for taking the easy way out, you are quite deservedly my morons of the month.

Fighting Cancer – new perspectives

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I have just lost a friend so this is of interest to me.

James P. Allison is the chairman of the immunology department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His seminal research opened up a new field in cancer treatment: immunotherapy. Instead of poisoning a tumor or destroying it with radiation, Dr. Allison has pioneered ways to unleash the immune system to destroy a cancer.

Two years ago, Science magazine anointed immunotherapy as the “Breakthrough of the Year.” More recently, Dr. Allison, 66, won the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, often a precursor to a Nobel.

Something from the interview… on a different note if you will excuse the pun.

On a less serious subject, is it true you once sang with Willie Nelson?

Only once. I was a postdoc in La Jolla, Calif., and I had this little band that played local bars. He came by and we sang “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” Seeing someone survive cancer because of something I’ve been part of is about as good it gets. But at that time, singing with Willie was big.

James Allison

James P. Allison in his laboratory in Houston. He discovered an alternative to using radiation to fight cancer, finding a way to set T-cells loose on the disease. CreditScott Dalton for The New York Times

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Here  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/science/arming-the-immune-system-against-cancer.html?_r=0  you can find an interview with Dr Allison on getting the body’s t-Cells to do the work. This is probably the way to go in the future.

This is probably becoming the focus now because here is another article http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-human-leukemia-cells-harmless-immune.html on new directions in treatment of cancer (with a difference to the one above)..

Majeti and his colleagues have some reason to hope that when the cancer cells become macrophages they will not only be neutralized, but may actually assist in fighting the cancer. Like a bloodhound owner who gives the dog a sniff of an object that was associated with the person or animal he wants to track, macrophage cellspresent recognizable bits of abnormal cells to other immune cells so that they can launch an attack. “Because the macrophage cells came from the cancer cells, they will already carry with them the chemical signals that will identify the cancer cells, making an immune attack against the cancer more likely,” Majeti said.

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