Courtesy Engbretson, Eric / U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceI confess, muskies freak me out. They're scary looking. And now I read that a guy caught a 46-inch albino muskie. No way am I going in that lake!!! You can read about, and see photos of, this rare catch here.
Earlier this summer we posted a link to the osprey nest cam at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. As of late last week, however, it turns out the nest has been labeled as a "fail." The lone egg left in the nest did not hatch and the adult osprey are no longer regularly tending the egg. You can learn more by visiting this website. And below is a video produced by the raptor expert who is overseeing osprey nests in that section of the metro area.
Courtesy Public domain via WikipediaWe've all seen images and films of atomic bomb tests performed by the US government during the mid-20th Century: typically a brilliant flash of light followed rapidly by a mushroom cloud expanding outward and high into the sky. But that's not the only images to come out of the Atomic Age. Scientists were eager to gather as much information as they could about every aspect of fission and fusion, and used several means to glean as much as they could from those thermonuclear tests. The mechanical shutters in conventional cameras just weren't fast enough to photograph the very early moments of an atomic blast which occurred in a matter of nano-seconds. So scientists devised the rapatronic camera, an imaging devise that used three polarized lenses and a Kerr cell to capture the earliest moments of a nuclear reaction. Two of the polarized lenses were turned 90 degrees to each other with a third polarized lens turned at the diagonal and sandwiched between them. A Kerr cell is made up of liquid-suspended electrodes and rotates the light polarization when an electric field is applied (Kerr effect), allowing for super-rapid turning of lens orientation to record some amazing images.
Nanoscale science holds a lot of promise for the medical world (among many other fields). The idea of introducing teeny-tiny particles into the body that can seek and destroy harmful bacteria, without damaging the living tissue around it, is an exciting prospect! Nanobotmodels Company has created an artistic representation of what it might look like to have these teeny nanobots attack an infectious disease - in this case, tetanus.
Word of warning: the music in this video is a little over-the-top, but the actual simulation is pretty cool.
Courtesy Death Valley National ParkToday is the 100th anniversary of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth. On July 10, 1913, the U.S. Department of Agriculture weather observer's thermometer at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, California topped out at a scorching 134 °F! That's pretty dang hot! The highest temp I ever experienced was 115 °F in Las Vegas back in 1978. That was really hot (despite the low humidity), and I can't imagine what 19 degrees hotter would feel like.
The gene sequences of some 3500 life forms discovered in ice cores from a deep lake buried a couple miles (3700 meters) beneath glaciers in Antarctica have been sorted out and found to be about 94 percent bacteria and 6 percent Eukarya. More than half of the life is made up of new genera and species previously unknown to science. That's kind of amazing. A while back, as the Russian-led team of scientists was just breaking through to the lake's surface, I put up what I thought was a short, satirical post about Lake Vostok, and what the researchers might encounter. Maybe it's not so satirical. These are life-forms that haven't seen the light of day (or the surface of the Earth) for more than 15 million years! Although none of them appear to be giant, carnivorous carrots revived from their cryogenic tombs, is it a good idea to bring these unknown microbes back up from their icy isolation? Are we just asking for trouble? What do readers think?
Open study at PloS
NOTE: The video embedded above is only the first of 4 parts of the 49 minute BBC documentary, The Lost World of Lake Vostok. The remaining parts can be viewed in the clips below. It's worth watching.
Courtesy APKids' soccer games in Third World nations can help provide needed power to electricity-lacking villages through this new invention of two college student. The SOCCKET puts a gyroscope inside a soccer ball, capturing kinetic energy generated by the ball's motion. That energy is stored in a battery in the ball. A cap can be popped off the ball at night exposing a socket to the battery. Thirty minutes of kids' soccer action can power a LED light for three hours. Here's we're you can learn more and see the ball in action.