Category Archives: Science!

Tree Lobsters On Ball’s Pyramid

 No, it’s not a Roger Dean album cover.  It is a real place right here on Earth.  Ball’s Pyramid rises like a wizard’s hat out of the Pacific Ocean 12 miles off the coast of Lord Howe Island between Australia and New Zealand.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and probably warrants a post all to itself.  But the remarkableness of this remarkable piece of rock isn’t the most remarkable thing about it.  This is:

That is a pair of Dryococelus australis, aka the Lord Howe Stick Insect, aka the “Tree Lobster,” aka the world’s rarest insect.  It was believed to have been  extinct since the 1930s.  But in 2001, two Australian scientists scaled sheer face of the tiny island on a hunch that perhaps a few of the insects were hiding out there.  On their first excursion, they found an encouraging sign– bug poop.  They returned at night to find about 30 of the handsome critters gathered around a single plant.

I recommend reading the entire story of the expedition at Robert Kurlwich’s NPR science blog.

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Filed under Nature, Science!


Live Science has a nice gallery of deep sea creepies, including the sea cucumber pictured above.  It’s called the Halloween Holothurian, but I call it Destroyer of Worlds.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s a face not even a mother could love.

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Filed under Nature, Science!, Uncategorized

The Museum Of Life

My mom tipped me off to this really nice BBC series about the Natural History Museum in London and how it functions as not only a repository of artifacts, but as an active research facility.  I have to say the star of the show is the building itself.  Built in 1881, its impressive facade and exhibition halls only tell part of the story.  Many of the museums real treasures are housed in the labyrinthine halls, corridors, and basements, which are not open to the public.  The series gives a decent look at what goes on behind the scenes in the building and in the field.  If you enjoy visiting natural history museums, this series is pretty hard to beat.

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Filed under Nature, Science!

Marcin Jakubowski: Open sourced blueprints for civilization

From TED:

Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that’s only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).

Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing a set of blueprints for 50 farming tools that can be built cheaply from scratch. Call it a “civilization starter kit.”

I don’t know if it’s specifically a product of the recession or if it’s a periodic generational thing, but I find it very encouraging to see more and more young college-educated people going into these very idealistic endeavors such as sustainable farming at exactly a time when small family owned farms are being put out of business left and right by large corporate owned farms.

I contrast this “be the change you want to see” kind of idealism with the cynicism of my own generation and it makes us Gen X’ers seem like a bunch of pessimistic blowhards. While I do think that the spirit of DIY was very much a part of Generation X, that spirit always seemed to be aimed at criticism and destruction rather than optimism and construction. We had the bad luck of being born at the ass end of a previous age of optimism, idealism and great social change, but the party of the 1960’s was over and Gen X was the hangover.

Recently though, it does seem like there has been another sea-change in the general mood of the entire world. People are angry, certainly, and things are bad, yes, but there is also this feeling that the tiny individual can actually change the world for the better. This is the feeling that was almost completely absent during the formative years for many people from my generation X and I am glad to see it here once more. Whether it be the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, or these young college-educated people buying small farms, I am really glad to see a return of the idea that the individual can make a difference.

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Filed under Counterculture, Design, Politics, Science!

Something From Nothing ? A Discussion between Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss

It is definitely worth your time this weekend to sit down with this discussion. Two of my favorite thinkers hold a two-hour discussion on the really big topics of life and the universe, as well as thoughts on the ever-expanding frontiers of those two hefty subjects.

Join critically-acclaimed author and evolutionary biologist Richard
Dawkins and world-renowned theoretical physicist and author Lawrence
Krauss as they discuss biology, cosmology, religion, and a host of other

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Filed under Atheism, Nature, Science!, Uncategorized

Meet The Micro-meleon

Whachoo lookinat? The newly discovered Nanosaurus Rex

Via Live Science— Scientists announced the latest contender for the title of World’s Smallest Vertebrate (competition includes the world’s smallest frog and the world’s smallest angler fish) in the shape of this micro-mini dinosaur.  Pictured on the match head above is a juvenile Brookesia Micra, one of four new species discovered on a tiny island off the coast of Madagascar.  The adults reach a staggering half an inch in length.


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Filed under Nature, Science!

What is up with Noises? (The Science and Mathematics of Sound, Frequency, and Pitch)

I like this person’s youtube posts quite a bit. She explains very complex mathematics and physics in a way that can hold the attention of even a thirteen year old… And that’s difficult to do.

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Filed under Music, Science!, Sound + Vision