- 1 day ago
during the autumn rutting season, red deer stag find themselves with elaborate bracken crowns from having rubbed their heads against the ground, which they do to strengthen their neck muscles so as to help them in battle with those competing for the affections of the does. photos by (click pic) mark smith, toby melville, luke millward and greg morgan in london’s richmond park. (see also: more autumn rut in richmond park)
(via brightandtacky)Source: nubbsgalore
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Celebrate P. G. Wodehouse’s birthday with Love Among the Chickens, one of his earliest and strangest novels.
- 6 days ago
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Lonesome George, the Galapagos tortoise who was the last of his kind, is on view at the Museum through January 4, 2015. Below is a quick rundown of everything you need to know about Lonesome George.
Species: Last documented member of Chelonoidis abingdoni, native to Pinta Island
Age: Thought to be more than 100 years old
Diet: Cactus, shrubs, grasses, and broad-leaved plants
Turtle vs. tortoise? Tortoises are turtles that live exclusively on land.
Did you know? Lonesome George—the lone tortoise of his species for at least 40 years—was named after a famous 1950s American TV comedian, George Gobel, who called himself “Lonesome George.”
Notable traits: An extremely long neck and a “saddle-backed” shell that rises slightly in front, like a saddle
Weight: About 165 lbs (75 kg); males of various species of Galapagos tortoises can exceed 660 lbs (300 kg) and are the largest living tortoises
Discovery: In 1971, a Hungarian scientist spotted Lonesome George on Pinta Island. The discovery surprised researchers who thought Pinta Island tortoises were already extinct. A year later, George was taken to the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center on Santa Cruz Island, where he lived for the next 40 years.
Saving Lonesome George: Staff at the Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station tried repeatedly to mate Lonesome George with females from closely related species. Those efforts failed, but a new strategy to revive the species is underway. The discovery of hybrid tortoises partially descended from Pinta Island tortoises on Isabela Island, where whalers or pirates likely moved them long ago, provides the opportunity for establishing a breeding colony whose young will initiate the recovery of a reproductive population on Pinta.
Can’t get enough Lonesome George info? Head to the Museum’s website for more.
- 1 week ago
On Saturday I sat down with my friend alexanderchee, who recently finished up his second novel, and he shared with me the most breathtaking family history records I’ve ever seen in person outside of a museum.
Published in a collection of nine bound and slipcased volumes, his family’s JokBo — genealogy records — are written in HanJa, which Alex says is the Korean name for Chinese characters. A friend of his who knows Chinese says that the characters in these books are an old-fashioned, almost archaic form of the language.
Alex’s family on his dad’s side, the Korean side, are Yangban, members of the traditional ruling class. His records date to the Joseon Dynasty, which began in 1392. Not everyone’s JokBo are this elaborate and beautiful, but Alex explained that in general knowledge of ancestry is so important in Korea that “if you don’t know who your family is, you enter a space of disgrace.” This is especially difficult and painful for Korean adoptees who return to the land of their birth hoping to make a connection with the place they came from, he says. The emphasis placed on ancestry is because of ancestor worship. “Each ancestor becomes a little bit of a house god when they die.”
In the photos above are portraits of three of Alex’s ancestors, three stark and stunning “feng shui grave maps” (I hope I haven’t turned any of them upside-down and in so doing displeased the ancestors), and a couple of photos of the books themselves. The pictures in the books are a small part of the whole; mostly they’re devoted to detailed family genealogies: birth dates, marriage dates, dates of death, and career accomplishments. A woman who marries “dies to her old family,” and her record becomes part of her husband’s record and starts over again in his book.
I learned so much more, but I’ll stop there for now. Thank you for sharing your family history with me, Alex!
(via maudnewton)Source: thebegats
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Film stills don’t get much better than this. Mifune (L) and Seiji Miyaguchi (R) in “Seven Samurai” (1954).
After “Ikiru,” Kurosawa and his screenwriting team - Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni - wanted to make a film exploring a day in the life of a samurai, but the idea was too vague. Looking over the enormous amount research material compiled, Kurosawa found a tidbit about a group of samurai who came together to protect a village from bandits.
The team sat down to explore the idea and ended up writing a 500 page script.
I need to re-watch Ikiru actually…Source: thekurosawaproject
- 2 weeks ago
What is it like to live and do science at a South-Pole research station?
Can you imagine living in the frigid and utterly desolate environment of the South Pole for nearly 11 months? Well, we can’t either, but Jason Gallicchio, a postdoctoral researcher at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, has done it.
Gallicchio, an associate fellow for the Kavli Insitute of Physics at the University of Chicago, is part of an astrophysics experiment at the South Pole Telescope. He knows all about the challenges of building and maintaining such a complex scientific instrument in one of the most unforgiving places on the planet. Gallacchio was primarily responsible for the telescope’s data acquisition and software systems, and he also occasionally assisted with some maintenance work.
You might ask why anyone would even put a telescope in such a hostile environment in the first place. It’s not an accident, I promise! Actually, placing the telescope at the South Pole minimizes the interference from the Earth’s atmosphere. One of the primary objectives of the South Pole Telescope is to precisely measure temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background, and getting such precise measurements requires the telescope to be put in a high, dry, and atmospherically stable site.
The South Pole Telescope is 10 meters across and weighs 280 tons. Researchers use this telescope to study cosmic microwave background radiation (or CMB, as it’s often affectionately called), hoping to uncover hints about the early days of our universe.
As Erik M. Leitch of the University of Chicago explains, CMB is a sort of faint glow of light that fills the universe, falling on Earth from every direction with nearly uniform intensity. It is the residual heat of creation—the afterglow of the Big Bang—streaming through space in these last 14 billion years, like the heat from a sun-warmed rock, re-radiated at night.
Click here to read more about life at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
You can learn even more about the topics discussed in this summary at the links below:
Submitted by Srikar D, Discoverer.
Edited by Jessica F.
(via sagansense)Source: scinote
- 2 weeks ago
“How Does It End?” (David Burr Gerrard, Guernica, September 2014)
Scott Cheshire’s past as a child preacher intersects with his current writing in unusual, apocalyptic ways. In this interview, Cheshire discusses the power of literature, growing up a Jehovah’s Witness, and the writing process for his novel, High as the Horses’ Bridles: “From the beginning, I wanted to write a novel with a hole in it—at least that’s how I referred to it. It was the only way I could articulate the problem, because faith does not fall away in a day—and sometimes reluctantly or not entirely at all.”
- 2 weeks ago
In 2012, the state-run media in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea reported that archaeologists had found the ancient home of the kirin, a mythological chimeric beast that, according to legend, was ridden by King Dongmyeong of Goguryeo in the 1st century BCE. The North Korean government claims that the discovery proves that Pyongyang is the historic capital of Korea. Everyone else said, what is a kirin?
- 2 weeks ago
Silvia Killingsworth on the ethics of eating an animal that has been characterized as “the closest we’ll get to meeting an intelligent alien”:
"It is impossible for us to fully know the inner lives of octopuses, but the more we continue to study them and other forms of life, the…