After a fireball streaked through the Canadian sky, Ruth Hamilton, of British Columbia, found a 2.8-pound rock the size of a large man’s fist near her pillow.
The meteorite in Ms. Hamilton’s bed and the hole in the ceiling caused by it. Ruth Hamilton
Ruth Hamilton was fast asleep in her home in British Columbia when she awoke to the sound of her dog barking, followed by “an explosion.” She jumped up and turned on the light, only to see a hole in the ceiling. Her clock said 11:35 p.m.
At first, Ms. Hamilton, 66, thought that a tree had fallen on her house. But, no, all the trees were there. She called 911 and, while on the phone with an operator, noticed a large charcoal gray object between her two floral pillows.
“Oh, my gosh,” she recalled telling the operator, “there’s a rock in my bed.”
The Moment, overall winner and joint winner of the 2019 wildlife photographer of the year for the category ‘behaviour: mammals’. Yongqing Bao’s image shows a hungry marmot, not long out of hibernation, being confronted by a fox in China’s Qilian mountains. Photograph: Bao Yongqing/2019 wildlife photographer of the year
While ultraviolet fluorescence is common in birds, butterflies and sea creatures, scientists haven’t often observed it in mammals.
Scientists suspect the flying squirrel may have evolved fluorescence to evade owls that hunt them. Alternately, the glow may have a mating function. Northland College
One spring night in Wisconsin, John Martin, a biologist, was in his backyard with an ultraviolet flashlight. Suddenly, a hot-pink squirrel flew by.
It was a southern flying squirrel, a small, furry creature most active at dawn and dusk. Under most circumstances, it has a warm brown color. But in the beam of Dr. Martin’s flashlight, it sported a gaudy Day-Glo hue closer to something you might see in a nightclub or a Jazzercise class circa 1988.
“He told his colleagues at Northland College, but of course, everyone was pretty skeptical,” said Allison Kohler, a graduate student at Texas A&M University.
Dr. Martin asked Ms. Kohler, then a student at Northland, to look into it. After examining more than 100 specimens of flying squirrels across two museum collections and spotting five more squirrels under UV light in the wild, the researchers and their colleagues reported surprising results last week in the Journal of Mammalogy: The pink is real. Continue reading →
Elephants have a keen nose. They have more smell receptors than any mammal – including dogs – and can sniff out food that is several miles away. A new study tests their ability to distinguish between similar smelling plants. Image by akrp, via Getty Images
Where will you be on August 21, 2017 when the solar eclipse passes through North America?
Here’s a guide to viewing opportunities, including Nature Conservancy preserves where you can catch the spectacle in beautiful surroundings.
Solar eclipses can be viewed from the earth’s surface about two to four times a year, but they aren’t viewable from all parts of the earth’s surface and the path of totality (the places on Earth from which viewers can see the total eclipse) is only about 50 miles wide. Eclipse 2017 stands out because the path of totality cuts a wide swath through the United States and all of North America will have views of a partial eclipse.
An onlooker watches an annular solar eclipse from New Mexico.
For the past few years it seems that August is the month to amaze and astonish on the astronomical front. Although the Perseid Meteor Shower happens annually, last year there were an unusually high number of meteor “outbursts” because Jupiter’s gravity has tugged some streams of comet material closer to Earth.
While solar eclipses aren’t technically rare, an annular solar eclipse is more so, when the moon is too far from Earth to obscure the sun completely, leaving the sun’s edges exposed and producing the ‘ring of fire’ effect. What’s particularly special about the upcoming August 21st eclipse is the path from which it can be viewed.
Sky-watchers across the United States are gearing up for the best cosmic spectacle in nearly a century, when a total solar eclipse will race over the entire country for the first time since 1918. On August 21, tens of millions of lucky people will be able to watch the moon completely cover the sun and turn day into night for a few fleeting minutes.
Ants in Fiji farm plants and fertilize them with their poop. And they’ve been doing this for 3 million years, much longer than humans, who began experimenting with farming about 12,000 years ago. Continue reading →
Videos and photos from western Siberia, on the Gulf of Ob, showed an entire beach covered in snowballs that had apparently washed ashore. In one image published online by the Siberian Times, a woman sat on the frozen balls. In another, a dog ran near the balls, which had also formed what looked like a vertical mass of balls mashed together into an icy ball-wall. Continue reading →
Photographer Ruslan Merzlyakov captured this spectacular photograph of the Perseid meteor shower filling the Danish sky in the early morning of Aug. 13, 2015. Photo via space.com
Sometimes you should just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, especially when it’s broadcast by nature itself. This week, between August 11th and 12th, try to find time to stay awake once the moon has set, and a place you can be as far from light pollution as possible, and watch the sky for what promises to be a particularly active meteor shower from the Swift-Tuttle Comet, near the Perseus constellation:
The night drive is one of the most popular tours at Chan Chich Lodge because it is arguably the best opportunity for spotting a jaguar, ocelot, margay, or puma. Of the four forest cats, last night our tour group was fortunate to see the beloved jaguar.
The drive started at 7:30pm. Eight of us climbed up the back of the truck and took our seats along the cushioned benches facing out to the road. We were instructed by Luis, our tour guide, to look for “eyes,” and thereafter, the truck rumbled to a start and Luis began to point his flashlight in all directions, up at the tree branches and down at the forest undergrowth. The aftermath from Hurricane Earl was evident as the truck drove between broken tree stumps and overhanging branches, but this also allowed wildlife to appear in places that it had not been seen before.
Adam Pesapane has floated onto our radar several times in the past, and each time we’re left amazed. The level of creativity goes without saying.
Watch (and listen to!) the video above for the sheer pleasure of it. If you’re in need of a “pick me up”, explore more on his site, including his charming commercial pieces, all found under “films” here.
After a few of us listened to the first few podcasts recommended in this earlier post, we started poking around the Gimlet website. We found this. Wow. Did you see the movie called The Big Short? If so, and if you found it awesome, there is a high probability that this podcast will work for you. Both Adams worked together on that film, one as the improbable director (whose other movies, all lowbrow forms of “humor” you would not have seen promoted on this site) who showed a level of genius transforming dry into crisp; the other was an advisor on the film because of his proven ability to make dry money-related things seem crisp. So, no huge surprise that they can make unlikely topics pop. Continue reading →
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has long been a leading presence in the study, appreciation and conservation of birds. From citizen science programs, to eBird, to research collaboration with the the National Geographic Society, the Lab has helped to educate the public about the environmental importance of birds. The Wall of Birds, titled “From So Simple a Beginning,” from the Darwin quote above, celebrates the world of birds, showcasing biodiversity and evolutionary change, by featuring species from all surviving bird families alongside several extinct ancestors.
The scale of the mural is mind-blowing! The world map covers the largest wall of the Lab’s visitor center, with life-sized birds from each of the 243 taxonomic families of the world, placed in their geographical endemic locations. Check out the scale of the flying albatross in the lower left of the mural! The pale, gray scale depictions of the extinctions and ancestors adds to the complexity of the mural.
A little less than a month before mother’s day (May 10th), a pair of bluebirds made their nest in one of the bluebird houses in our backyard in Atlanta. I was away studying at the university at the time, but my parents described to me in phone conversations the process familiar to anyone who has seen birds build a nest in their yard: first the birds made tentative visits to the site, then they began to carry in straw, twigs, and grass, finally the mother Continue reading →
In 2013, Jim Harper, a nature writer in Miami, had a contract to write a series of educational fact sheets about how to protect the coral reefs north of Miami. ‘We were told not to use the term climate change,’ he said. ‘The employees were so skittish they wouldn’t even talk about it.’ JOHN VAN BEEKUM FOR THE MIAMI HERALD
Knowing the Miami Herald has been recognized as a newspaper of reasonably high standards, we cannot chalk this up to careless reporting. We wish there was something intelligent to say about the news they report on this article, but are left without words, so we can only say read it for yourself:
The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.
But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.
DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. Continue reading →
Weasel clutching on the back of a European green woodpecker; Photograph: Martin Le-May Twitter
According to Martin Le-May’s recent photograph that went viral a couple days ago, they can when they’re riding a woodpecker. I remember scrolling through Facebook and seeing the picture, but I didn’t take it seriously. There are many posts on Facebook that shouldn’t be taken seriously. We all have those friends who post everything and anything on the internet and swear it’s true. But how about National Geographic Magazine, is that credible enough? After reading the full article, and the research that went into proving it true, I am now a firm believer that it is, indeed, possible. And you?