Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2009


Last friday we visited an old friend who has some land out in the country: a nice little island split up by the Genesee River.
Swallowtail

Swallowtail

Wall of clouds

Wall of clouds

The grill!

The grill!

Rainbow

Rainbow

Cool looking clouds

Cool looking clouds

The Cosmic Perspective

According complex systems, emergent properties arise as a result of changes in the web of relationships.  A tiny tug somewhere, can result in a huge shift elsewhere.  The same applies in real-life personal relationships.  Sometimes we forget about people: old friends, schoolmates, colleagues.  It is an unfortunate truth that we simply cannot keep in contact with everyone we know.  But, it is still nice to hear from people you have not spoken to for many years.  Sometimes it only takes that much to make somebody’s day, or change their life.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


I must admit that I have nothing for you today, but out of force of habit I found myself in the New Post page.  So, like so many other wonderful websites out there, I’ll just post a video from Youtube! 

Read Full Post »


The tarsier is a small primate native to southeastern Asia.  This is one strange animal. 

  • The animal’s most noticeable feature is its large eyes.  Each eye is over 1.5 centimeters in diameter at full maturity, which is the same size as the creature’s brain.  This helps them with their nocturnal activities.  
  • If our eyes were as large as those of the tarsier, they would be the size of grapefruits.
  • Another anomalous feature on this creature is its strangely long back legs and feet.  Tarsiers received their name for their long tarsus bone. 
  • The tarsier’s first three fingers have fingernails, but the fourth and fifth have claws for grooming. 
  • Its neck can be rotated 180 degrees. 

 

Tarsier

Tarsier

They are mainly insectivorous, but will also hunt snakes, bats, and birds.  They move quickly by jumping from tree to tree.  They have the ability to climb and leap one day after they are born.  During the day tarsiers sleep in tree trunks and shrubs. 

The Cosmic Perspective

Although the tarsier is a primate, it is not a monkey.  However, the only other tree-dwelling mammals that have circular nostrils that project sideways like the tarsier, are monkeys.  To this day, scientists are trying to understand the exact taxonomy and connection between the two genuses.

Read Full Post »


Global rice production has decreased due to drought, climate change, and a dwindling amount of land available for rice paddy farming.  Many scientists now believe that using genetically modified rice is the only way to continue current levels of rice production in this new scenario. 

Rice

Rice

Rice is the staple foodof approximately three billion people around the world.  Unfortunately, it is dependant on a steady water supply.  It is becoming more and more difficult to provide that water due to the fact that 70 percent of the rice producing lands are currently in or are descending to drought-like conditions.   

Biotechnology can be used to make rice plants that need fewer nutrients, tolerate dry conditions, and are resistant to insects and disease. 

The Cosmic Perspective

Biotechnology tends to scare people.  Perhaps it is because some people think that we are playing God, or that there is an inherent risk with changing something’s core genetics.  But, I fear that we are quickly running out of options.  Obviously we do not want to constantly expand over further expanses of land for use for farming.  But we must continue to feed the billions of people on this planet.  Biotechnology is not an unfounded, untested science.  It is a tool, and like all tools, it has the power to do amazing good, and amazing evil.  A knife can be a wonderful device.  It has a plethora uses that have helped us throughout history.  It is good for cutting tough materials, it can be used for slicing meats for food, etc.  But it can also be used for hurting other people.  But, the tool itself is not evil, it is the intentions and actions of the people who wield it.

Read Full Post »


The Hubble Space Telescope photographed atmospheric debris from a collision between Jupiter and an unknown object.   The resulting impact left a large gash in the clouds of Jupiter.  The object was probably the diameter of multiple football fields. 

Jupiters New Scar

Jupiter's New Scar

This is the best quality image of the resulting scar, meaning that Hubble’s repairs were successful. 

The Cosmic Perspective

We are a bumper in a cosmic pinball game.  Gargantuan chunks of rock careen through space.  One never quite knows what will go where.  Hopefully we will avoid calamity, but episodes like these remind you, we must be prepared…

Read Full Post »


The Jewelled beetle, or Chrysina gloriosa, is coloured a brilliant green.  Interestingly, they have no green pigment in the cells of their exoskeleton.  Only now have scientists discovered how the beetles have this colour.  Microscopic cells on the outer layer of the exoskeleton make the beetle appear green under light that is polarized in one direction. 

Jewelled Beetle

Jewelled Beetle

So now let’s do a little physics.  Polarisation is the certain orientation of light waves.  White light is a mix of randomly polarised light. 

The microscopic cells on the beetle are helical to reflect light polarised in the same direction of the spiral.  The colour produced by the cells is determined by the size between the turns of the helices, and obviously the distance between the turns on these cells corresponded to green. 

The Cosmic Perspective

The scarab sparkles:

a jewel amongst the dust.

Green under the blue.

Read Full Post »


Last week, I went to the Botanical Gardens.  They have undergone a large number of renovations which have made the gardens very interesting.  They are now divided out by habitat: swamp, tropical, desert, cloud forest, decidous, etc.  Here are a few assorted photos from the day.
Bromiliad

Bromiliad

My Attempt of Magnifying Glass Photography

My Attempt of Magnifying Glass Photography

I honestly don't know what this was

I honestly don't know what this was

Orchid

Orchid

Orchid 2

Orchid 2

Orchid 3

Orchid 3

Orchid 4

Orchid 4

Artsy Shot of the Garden Roof

Artsy Shot of the Garden Roof

The Cosmic Perspective

Flowers smile with joy:

enjoying the sun’s soft rays.

A rose e’er blooming.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: