June 10th, 2008

aye aye captain

Whirlybird

Would have posted this sooner but a tornado went thru our backyard and knocked out all the power ( and removed the fences, neighbours roof, clothesline, and half the garden )

Been catching up on my New Scientist . The issue for May 24th hit a rich vein of what-the-fuckery, which I'll be happily regurgitating for you.

Here's the first ( suitably tagged - I'd happily volunteer for mod-status if that means I can prune out half the tags we don't need. I'm already adding ones we do use. )

They swim in circles to draw food-laden seawater up to the surface.

They use surface tension to suck water up their beak.

They look like "demented wind-up toys" when doing so.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Phalarope.

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Baby Clown, McD

Let's talk about sperm

While hearing interesting tid-bits from an article on human sperm, I decided to compile a list of facts about it.
  • The average man produces less than half the sperm count as their grandfathers.
  • The average sperm count has also declined.  The average man now produces around 50 million sperm per ml.  Our forefathers produced around 120 million sperm per ml.
  • Scientists have successfully created sperm using a female stem cell.  Men are no longer needed to create sperm.
  • Men produce more sperm when watching porn.  But only male on female porn.  No lesbian action, or men on men.  This is all part of a survival tactic back in the day when women had many male suitors and male sperm had to compete to inseminate.
  • Japanese researches have made rats and mice produce human sperm cells.
  • Ever wonder how the sperm manages to find the egg?  Apparently it smells it's its way through.
  • There is a link between male cocaine users and an abnormal development in their children.  Research suggests sperm carries the cocaine to the egg.
  • Smoking pot reduces the mobility of sperm by half.
And in case you didn't know what sperm looked like:
cat in window

Cane toads at it again

My first posting here, and I've checked the tags but didn't see this monster listed.

Just came across this article today. I've known about the cane toad problem in Australia for a while, but this is pretty serious news because I can't think of any way you could solve the problem--they've been trying to control the population for years without success. They're also a big problem in other areas, like Florida and many a dog has been lost to them.

Cane toads 'killing freshwater crocs'



Universe

Sauce

A team of physicists has claimed that our view of the early Universe may contain the signature of a time before the Big Bang.

The discovery comes from studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB), light emitted when the Universe was just 400,000 years old.

Their model may help explain why we experience time moving in a straight line from yesterday into tomorrow.

Details of the work have been submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters.

The CMB is relic radiation that fills the entire Universe and is regarded as the most conclusive evidence for the Big Bang.

Although this microwave background is mostly smooth, the Cobe satellite in 1992 discovered small fluctuations that were believed to be the seeds from which the galaxy clusters we see in today's Universe grew.

Dr Adrienne Erickcek, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and colleagues now believe these fluctuations contain hints that our Universe "bubbled off" from a previous one.

Their data comes from Nasa's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which has been studying the CMB since its launch in 2001.

Their model suggests that new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space. From inside the parent universe, the event would be surprisingly unspectacular.

Arrow of time
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Anabukin-chan

Chiburishima Tanuki and the Testes of Doom

In my last post some people asked about my icon, which features the tanuki, or raccoon dog. It was posted about once here, in January, but the OP did an epic fail and forgot to mention the animal's monster gonads. Hopefully a second post about the tanuki, expounding on this truly WTF aspect of the male of the species, is permissible and won't get my ass flamed into next Friday. Moreover, the post didn't mention a then-breaking news item about the animals taking over Chiburishima, a small Japanese island.

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promethea

Pipefishapalooza

I was at the Museum of Natural History in NYC a couple of weeks ago and saw this on the wall of the (stunning) Hall of Biodiversity there:



...and was much wtf'd. The wall in that section of the museum is more an art piece than a museum installation; nothing is labeled. I figured it was some kind of pipefish, but had never seen it before; later google-guessing found that it is in fact an Ornate Ghost Pipefish.

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