January 17th, 2008


A nice little piece of info here. The argentine lake duck.

Most birds don't actually have penises. To reproduce, they usually simply rub cloacas (The one genital opening for a bird). This is known as a "cloacal kiss"

Most female birds also only have one ovary and one oviduct. Well. They have two, but only one develops into a functional organ (Apart from raptors/bird of prey, they often develop the second.).

Birds can also bias the sex of their offspring relative to the amount of food available, among other factors.

This site offers some interesting facts on the subject of avian reproduction:

Waterfowl and ostriches are some of the few birds that actually possess a phallus.

In fact, Collapse )
angry patrick

10 Billion-Trillion-Trillion-Carat Diamond Found in Space

Astronomers discovered the largest diamond of all times in space. The weight of the precious stone reportedly makes up ten billion trillion trillion carats or five million trillion trillion pounds).

The space diamond is virtually an enormous chunk of crystallized carbon, 4,000 kilometers in diameter. The stone is located at a distance of 50 light years from Earth, in the Constellation Centaurus.

Scientists believe that the diamond is the heart of an extinct star that used to shine like the Sun. Astronomers have already dubbed the space diamond as Lucy in a tribute to the Beatles song ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.’

Collapse )
Let's survive

Entire town gets bukkake'd

Milky white, sticky substance rains on Silver City. Make of that what you will.

SILVER CITY —The New Mexico Environment Department is looking into what caused a strange milky white rain to fall on Grant County Monday.

Area residents noticed the unusual rain as it left white puddles and a white, almost sticky residue everywhere.

No mention of the salinity of the substance is made, but the PH is significantly above average.
nature: george stubbs horse
  • skalja

in ur black sea, crashing ur economy

So I know I said I was going to post about Mantis Shrimp, which I will because they are the BEST INVERTEBRATES EVER, but after a conversation with a deeply misinformed person who refused to listen to me ("Releasing extra pet store crickets into the wild is a bad idea; non-native organisms can spread disease, create competition, and interbreed with the natives, and cause all kinds of ecological havoc" ; "LOL, they're just crickets, she can release them if she wants" ; "... *tears out hair*"), I feel like talking about warty comb jellies, also known as Atlantic comb jellies, scientific name Mnemiopsis leidyi.

(Thanks, Dr. Matt Gilligan! You take pretty pictures.)

Collapse )
angry patrick

Huge gas cloud will hit Milky Way


A giant cloud of hydrogen gas is racing towards a collision with the Milky Way, astronomers have announced.

Dubbed "Smith's Cloud", it may set off spectacular fireworks when it smacks into our galaxy in 20-40 million years.

It contains enough hydrogen to produce a million stars like our Sun, researchers believe.

When it does fully interact with our galaxy, the cloud could indeed set off a new burst of star formation in the Milky Way.

Details of the work, by a team at the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, were unveiled at the 211th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas.

Collapse )
Start saying your prayers you filthy varmints! Yooz about to get hydrogenized!

angry patrick

Giant Self Destructive Palm

A new palm has introduced itself to science recently. It's a giant palm tree in Madagascar that has about a 100 year life cycle, the palm itself is pretty unremarkable which is why it wasn't a great find until recently when scientists learned of it's flowering. It sprouts a long stem out of the top which then unfolds to look like a christmas tree and then buds all kinds of flowers which then turn into fruit. The WTF part is that the tree that has managed to live an entire century expends so much energy into reproducing that it collapses dead.


Link to article:

aye aye captain
  • drhoz

Great Strobing Eyestalks!

Flatworms have no body cavity other than the gut (and the smallest free-living forms may even lack that!) and lack an anus; the same hole both takes in food and expels waste. Because they don't have any other cavity they have to be flat, or parts of them will suffocate or starve - there's simply nothing to make a circulatory system out of.

Flatworms used to be divided into three groups. The mostly free-living Turbellaria; The Trematoda, or flukes, all parasitic; and the Cestoda, or tapeworms. Recent DNA studies are complicating things.

The turbellarians are interesting enough, and often very pretty, and some indulge in penis-fencing and guard their young - the simplest animals to do so.

But of course I'm not going to be talking about anything as inoffensive as turbellarians.

Collapse )

Extreme Hail!

When nature decides to shoot it all to smithereens -

...it uses giant ice bullets. Extreme hail is probably the most dangerous and life-threating weather event for those unlucky enough to be in the open. It leaves fist-sized dents in the sheet metal, destroys windshields and comes down with a force that some compare with hand grenades, or an artillery attack.

Guo Huang sent us photographs, documenting the process and aftermath of one such crazy "drum-solo" from hell:

(image credit: wigley.us)

Collapse )
  • fynoda

Oral Allergy Syndrome

I was told it was OK to post human illnesses here, so if this is out of place, please let me know.

Oral Allergy Syndrome is a condition in which people are basically allergic to salad. Specifically, it's an allergy to certain raw fruits, raw vegetables, and nuts as well (not peanuts, those are legumes). Those with OAS have immune systems that mistake the proteins in said food for those in pollen, which trigger reactions similar to that of hay fever. Sometimes the reactions are so bad that they can cause anaphylaxis, which is basically where the body goes into red alert and tries to expel the "poison". This often results in swelling of mouth, lips, and hives, and in extreme cases, the esophagus swells up to the point of suffocation.

This isn't just a trick of mind, coming into contact with these foods can cause reactions on the skin (such as hives); the level of severity depends on the proteins in the food. Cooking makes the foods edible. The neat thing is that if you live in an area where the pollen count is higher, your reaction will be more severe.

Sources: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Wiki, and me.