Fantastic Images of Deep Sea Life

24 11 2009

A flashlight fish, one of the many denizens of the deep.

Top DTC reporter Sam alerted me this morning to a press release by the Census of Marine Life with some new photos of deep sea critters. Go to their site and have a look! The organization has lots of photos of amazing creatures, and video too!

There’s some seriously cool stuff down there.

-Neil

Advertisements




NASA Confirms Solar Tsunamis

24 11 2009

The sun. It's big, hot, and apparently, occasionally subject to some serious turbulence.

Scientists at NASA have confirmed earlier observations of wavelike events on the solar surface as being truly stellar tsunamis. NASA is good at putting out really great press releases, and they know a heck of a lot more about this than I do, so I’m just going to point you to their site. Make sure you check out the videos!

The sun is awesome. “Some matter in a ball,” indeed.

-Neil





Water on the Moon Confirmed

13 11 2009
Full_Moon_Luc_Viatour

You can spot the water, can't you?

And another layer of the cosmic onion is peeled back! Scientists from NASA’s LCROSS project have confirmed their previously hesitant assertion that water exists on our moon in the permanent shade of its impact craters. I’m going to defer to the public relations folks at NASA on this one and just send you to their press release, which contains nice charts and pictures to help bring the issue into focus.

So go ahead, and click this link!

I’m hardly qualified to speak on the full implications of the discovery of water on the moon, but I suppose I could outline at least one provocative point. The existence of water on the moon makes human settlement there far more simple. With accessible frozen water (and ample sunlight for hydrolysis), we have a source of oxygen (for breathing) and hydrogen (for fuel). We also of course have the water itself that can be melted and used for drinking or for any of the other myriad purposes water can fulfill. The moon is of course still relatively inhospitable, and I would not expect resorts to start springing up there any time soon, but the presence of frozen water does make the prospect of limited colonization or the establishment of permanent bases a bit more likely.

Until next time, Earthlings!

-Neil
P.S. The lovely photo of the moon was taken by Luc Viatour.





New Ring of Saturn Discovered

7 10 2009

With an astonishing 12.5 MILLION kilometer radius, the ring is the biggest of its kind known in the solar system. Check out Scientific American’s discussion of the discovery by clicking this pretty little line!

As our technology develops, we see more and more. As we see more, our technology develops. As our technology develops, we see more and more. As we see more…

Neil

PS Leaf color changing post coming soon! Soon you will know the why and how of fall colors! Hooray!





Rat Eating Plant Discovered on Slopes of Mt. Victoria!

7 09 2009
This pitcher plant, Nepenthes muluensis, is closely related to the newly discovered species. Note the slippery lip and the deep cavity.

This pitcher plant, Nepenthes muluensis, is closely related to the newly discovered species. Note the slippery lip and the deep cavity.

This is pretty cool. Researchers on an expedition to the Philippines’ Mt. Victoria have discovered a type of pitcher plant that specializes in rats. The pitcher plant is an awesome organism that lures prey with the promise of sweet smelling nectar. Once the victim climbs up on the lip of the plant, a waxy coating on the plant’s surface causes it to slip into the pitcher, where it drowns. Slowly, digestive enzymes or symbiotic creatures digest the captured animal, breaking it down into its constituent parts. These nutrients are then absorbed by the lining of the pitcher and used by the plant. This newly discovered organism, named Nepenthes attenboroughii after the wonderful David Attenborough, can be seen in a video on the Sun’s website here. Click the link for hot plant-on-rat action.

A plant that consumes rats. Awesome… Just imagine what other fantastic organisms remain to be discovered!

-Neil

P.S. I tried to think of a way to work this joke in but I couldn’t, so here it is. “I guess in this case, curiosity killed the rat!” Ha ha ha ha ha! I hope you treasure this joke… and may it fill you with gleeful laughter long into the night.