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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.

 

Alzheimer’s in a Petri dish

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This is fiction but very good fiction from a very talented author

still alice

Neuroscientist and debut novelist Genova mines years of experience in her field to craft a realistic portrait of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alice Howland has a career not unlike Genova’s—she’s an esteemed psychology professor at Harvard, living a comfortable life in Cambridge with her husband, John, arguing about the usual (making quality time together, their daughter’s move to L.A.) when the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin to emerge. First, Alice can’t find her Blackberry, then she becomes hopelessly disoriented in her own town. Alice is shocked to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s (she had suspected a brain tumor or menopause), after which her life begins steadily to unravel. She loses track of rooms in her home, resigns from Harvard and eventually cannot recognize her own children.

 

But this is fact!

Breakthrough Replicates Human Brain Cells for Use in Alzheimer’s Research

 

For the first time, and to the astonishment of many of their colleagues, researchers created what they call Alzheimer’s in a Dish — a petri dish with human brain cells that develop the telltale structures of Alzheimer’s disease. In doing so, they resolved a longstanding problem of how to study Alzheimer’s and search for drugs to treat it; the best they had until now were mice that developed an imperfect form of the disease.

The key to their success, said the lead researcher, Rudolph E. Tanzi ofMassachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was a suggestion by his colleague Doo Yeon Kim to grow human brain cells in a gel, where they formed networks as in an actual brain. They gave the neurons genes for Alzheimer’s disease. Within weeks they saw the hard Brillo-like clumps known as plaques and then the twisted spaghetti-like coils known as tangles — the defining features of Alzheimer’s disease.

The work, which also offers strong support for an old idea about how the disease progresses, was published in Nature on Sunday. Leading researchers said it should have a big effect.

You can also read more here:-

 

stephen gould6_n

 

 

Compassion, in our DNA?

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Is Human compassion part of (some of) the human race’s DNA? And of course the animal DNA, let’s not leave animals out please!

Read an interesting article in Live Science about a 100 000 year old human skull of a child that was so badly brain damaged that he /she could not possibly have looked after itself. Yet it lived with care for another decade.  Which means there must have been compassion to care for the helpless?

 skull-fracture

Read more about it here 

If you find this one on hoax slayer go shout at the BBC

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dinosaur

 

Fossilised bones of dinosaur believed to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth has been unearthed in Argentina, palaeontologists say.

Based on its huge thigh bones, it was 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall. Weighing in at 77 tonnes, it was as heavy as 14 African elephants, and seven tonnes heavier than the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus. Scientists believe it is a new species of titanosaur – an enormous herbivore dating from the Late Cretaceous period. Read more: http://ow.ly/wXCu1

Image credit: BBC Natural History Unit

What do You do with an empty glass bottle?

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In the early 1900s, Fort Bragg residents threw their household garbage over the cliffs above what is now Glass Beach. It is hard to imagine this happening today, but back then people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean, including old cars, and their household garbage, which of course included lots of glass.

Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump, and locals referred to it as “The Dumps.” Sometimes fires were lit to reduce the size of the trash pile (up to 30 feet high), however in 1967, the city leaders closed the area. Various cleanup programs were undertaken through the years to try to correct the damage, but without success.

Over the next 30 years the pounding waves cleaned the beach, by breaking down everything but glass and pottery. The pounding waves washed the trash up and down, back and forth. Tons of polished, broken glass were created by the pounding surf. These smoothened, coloured glass particles then settled along the sea shore in millions, and so a magnificent beach was formed. The name was changed from, “The Dump” to what we currently know as, “The Glass Beach”.

The sea glass that was created is the product of a very long and interesting process.  It can take anywhere from 10 to 30 years to make sea glass, the name for any piece of glass that finds its way to the ocean and tumbles around in the water long enough to frost and smooth its surface. Once it makes its way into the ocean, the glass is broken up into shards and is tumbled around in the water, where sand and other rocks act like sandpaper to smooth out its rough edges. Sometimes as the sea glass is passed through fire, it becomes “fire glass”, the rarest of sea glass with certain “inclusions”, just like precious gems.

In 1998, the private owner of the property determined that Glass Beach should belong to the public and in 2002 it became part of MacKerricher State Park, open to the public.

Within a period of few years the Glass Beach won fame, attracting a large number of tourists every year. Way back in time, people wanted to dump their glass products on this shore; now they would try to get one of these pieces to take home as a souvenir. It is ironic but true that where once it was illegal to dispose the glass on the shore, it now is a crime to remove it.

Visiting the Glass Beach today is a unique experience. What makes it even more remarkable, are the sounds produced by the glass pebbles as they are being washed away by the gentle waves.

Glass 1

Happy Belated albeit Birthday Jane Goodall

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My favorite image is the one where Jane is with Gregoire and she’s out of focus. She doesn’t have to be in focus to be recognized because she’s so symbolic,” says photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols. In honor of Jane Goodall’s 80th birthday, Nichols shared his experiences capturing Goodall and the work she does.

National Geographic

 

jane

 

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