Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Kangaroos hopping through the Australian snow

August 25, 2019

This video was shot about two weeks ago in New South Wales, Australia, where it is, of course, winter.

I understand that it’s a mistake to attribute human emotions to animals, but these guys sure look like they’re having a good time.

Peregrine falcons are feathered fighter jets

August 24, 2019

Peregrine falcons have a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour.

I found this video from KQED Deep Look on the Boing Boing web site.

Light shining through hummingbird wings

July 13, 2019

Photographer Christian Spencer shot these pictures of jacobin hummingbirds from his verandah in Rio de Janeiro.  The translucent wings act as a kind of prism that turns each bird into a tiny rainbow.

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Flying with migrating birds

April 27, 2019

Hat tip to kottke.org.

A giant floating ice disk forms in Maine

January 19, 2019

This video, taken last weekend, shows a massive spinning ice disk in the Presumptscot River near Westbrook, Maine, which is just west of Portland.  Local residents say it is 100 yards across, which would make it possibly the largest such ice disk on record.  Wonders never cease.

Click on A Massive Naturally Occurring Ice Carousel by Jason Kottke for more information.

From the Big Bang to the origin of humanity

December 22, 2018

This 10-minute history of the universe shows all the amazing things that had to happen in order for the human race—that is, for you and me—to exist.

It’s quite a story.  My question is: Where are we in the story?  Are we near the end?  Or at the beginning?  Or somewhere in the middle?

I grew up reading science fiction, and envisioned the human race spreading out to the planets, then to other solar systems and perhaps other galaxies.  I now realize this can’t be taken for granted, but I also know I don’t have the knowledge to set limits on the future.  If life is a rare event in the universe, could it be the destiny of humanity to spread life beyond its point of origin?

Or are we at the end of the story?  Is it the destiny of the human race to use its intelligence to wipe itself out—through nuclear war, through plague, through runaway global warming or just through loss of the will to live.

Or is the history of civilization is just a blip in the life of a species evolved to be hunter-gatherers?

Migratory birds hitch rides on merchant ships

November 17, 2018

Caterpillars on parade

November 10, 2018

I can’t help but find this funny.

The total weight of life on earth

August 18, 2018

A group of scientists have written a paper for the U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimating the weight of the different kinds of life on earth.

The total carbon in all living things amounts to 550 billion metric tons, they wrote.  A metric ton is 2,200 pounds.

The weight of all the world’s plants is an estimated 450 billion metric tons.

The world’s bacteria weigh 70 billion metric tons.

All the world’s animals weigh only 2 billion metric tons, of which 1 billion tons consists of arthropods (including insects).

All the world’s humans total a mere 60 million metric tons.

Put another way, life on earth is, by weight, 82 percent plants, 13 percent bacteria and 5 percent everything else, of which 0.01 percent is human life.

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The awesome beauty of a lightning storm

August 11, 2018

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Gabriel Zaparolli took this striking long-exposure photo of a lightning storm over the outskirts of Torres, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, during the evening of June 10, 2018.   I found it on the kottke.org web log.

A brave little kidney bean becomes a plant

August 4, 2018

I found this video on the kottke.org blog.  It is a time-lapse photo of a kidney bean sprouting into a plant, shot at the rate of one shot every 9 minutes 36 seconds and played at the rate of 30 frames per second.

The little bean seems strangely gallant to me.  It makes me feel proud to be a carbon-based life form.

Hellgrammites

November 18, 2017

Hellgrammites were much prized as bait when I was growing up in western Maryland along the Potomac River, but I never knew exactly what they were.   Now I do.

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What the Heck Is a Hellgrammite? by Jeffrey Hahn for the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

Fall foliage in New York’s Central Park

September 23, 2017

These time-lapse photos were taken by Jamie Scott. over a period of six months in Central Park in New York City.  He visited 15 locations, two days a week, just after sunrise, from August, 2011, through January, 2012.   The music is by Lower Dens.  I found this video on the Colossal website.

Flowers that bloom in the spring

May 13, 2017

These time-lapse photos were taken by Jamie Scott over a period of three years.  The background music is an original composition by Jim Perkins.   I found this video on the Colossal and kottke.org web sites.

Siberian tigers hunt and capture drone

March 11, 2017

Click on boing boing for details.

The beauty of fog

February 18, 2017

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I never thought of fog as beautiful.  Or that it could come in waves.

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These photographs were taken by Nick Steinberg over an eight-year period in the San Francisco Bay area, using high peaks such as Mount Tamalpais as his vantage point.  What a labor of love that must have been!

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It’s good to remember that there are other things in the world besides politics and economics.

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Seeing with an eye of an eagle

February 4, 2017

An eagle with a Sony video camera flew off the top of Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, in Dubai, enabling us to (sort of) see what an eagle in flight sees.   It’s too bad there is no footage of the eagle’s last few feet of flight before landing, but the footage is still something to see.

Winning underwater photography of the year

March 5, 2016

Organizers of the 2016 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest shared some winning entries with The Atlantic’s In Focus feature.

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Davide Lopresti’s photograph of a seahorse was the overall winner.  It was taken off Trieste, Italy, in a part of the Mediterranean set aside for the restocking of this endangered species.

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‘Despite all our accomplishments …’

November 26, 2015

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And also to those who farm the land.

Source: The Grey Enigma.

Hat tip to The Tin Foil Hat Society.

The wonders of weather

September 30, 2015

1. Brinicle

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Brinicles are the underwater equivalent of icicles. They form beneath ice when a flow of saline water is introduced to ocean water.

2. Volcanic Lightning

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Volcanic plumes produce immense amounts of electrical charge and static. In rare cases, this can spark a violent lightning storm.

3.  Sprites, Elves and Blue Jets

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These colorful shapes are the result of electrical discharges in the atmosphere.

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The Superman of the animal kingdom

August 23, 2015
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Click to enlarge.

Source: Medium-Large

Hat tip to Avedon’s Sideshow

Dolphins enjoy surfing

August 15, 2015

Hat tip to kottke.org.

The passing scene – August 9, 2015

August 9, 2015

These are links to interesting articles I’ve come across in the past day or so.  I may add links during the day.  Please feel free to make general or off-topic comments.

Coyotes in New York and Chicago by Lance Richardson for Slate.

150731_WILD_CoyoteLIC.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2Coyotes now inhabit New York, Chicago and other big American cities.  Lance Richardson thinks they may well fit the urban and suburban environment better than the rural environment.

Coyotes eat rats and mice.  They eat feral cats, which prey on songbirds.  In suburbs, where hunters are forbidden to discharge firearms, they keep the deer population down.

Farmers and ranchers kill coyotes because coyotes destroy poultry and livestock.  But in cities and suburbs, most pets and other domestic animals are locked up, and coyotes survive by eating vermin.

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy by Catherine Brahic for New Scientist.

Scientists have discovered bacteria that eat and breathe electrons, and they can be found nearly everywhere.  All life and all chemical reactions are based on a flow of electrons, but these bacteria survive on electricity in its purest form.

Kropotkin on the Hudson by Polly Howells for In These Times.

Members of the Long Spoon Collective in Saugerties, New York, try to live by the anarchist values of voluntary sharing.   I highly approve of what they’re attempting and wish them well.  I’m not sure such communities can work without extra-ordinary dedication, but I’d be happy to be proved wrong.  I don’t have it in me to live as they do myself.

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Some of the world’s most ancient trees

February 7, 2015

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Beth Moon, a photographer based in San Francisco, has spent 14 years photographing the world’s most ancient trees.  These photos are from her new book, Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time.

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Why rivers almost never run straight

January 17, 2015