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Watching the California Condor

The condor chick's mother. California condors can reach heights of 15,000 feet when flying and could ...
The condor chick’s mother. California condors can reach heights of 15,000 feet when flying and could travel as far as 150 miles a day using their keen eyesight to search for carcasses on which to feed. (Credit: Molly Astell/USFWS)

With all of the fine entertainment now on TV, you’d think that watching a baby condor go about its business on a remote mountain perch near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in California wouldn’t be that captivating. But somehow it is. Thanks to a livestream video from the Cornell Lab Bird Cams Project, you can check up on the little bird with big feet whenever you want and, if you’re lucky, you can even see it interact with its parents. read more

Cuban Boas Hunt Together

Once thought to be solitary hunters, the Cuban boa has found power in numbers
Once thought to be solitary hunters, the Cuban boa has found power in numbers (Credit:Vladimir Dinets)

It sounds like the stuff of nightmares: a string of boa constrictors hanging from the mouth of a cave snatching bats out of midair as they leave and return to their roosts. But this exact behavior has been spotted in Cuba, and is remarkable not so much because of the method of the hunt but of the coordination of the hunters.

According to Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, only a small percentage of snakes has ever been seen to hunt in coordination with their brethren. For the most part, the reptiles are considered solitary hunters. So when Dinets observed Cuban boas – the largest native terrestrial predator in the country – hanging from cave mouths to grab bat-based breakfasts and dinners, he investigated further. read more

Pool of Death Discovered on Sea Bed

It is known as the ‘jacuzzi of death’ – and is one of the oddest places on the planet.

Researchers first discovered a massive brine pool under the Gulf of Mexico in 2014 using a robosub.

Now, they have returned to create the first high resolution map of the area – and say it could hold the key to finding life on other planets.

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The first high resolution map of the 'jacuzzi of despair' that kills almost anything that swims into it. The circular pool - about 100 feet in circumference and about 12 feet deep - lies nearly 3,300 feet below the surface of the Gulf. This image was created from 2,000 stills taken by a robosub.
The first high resolution map of the ‘jacuzzi of despair’ that kills almost anything that swims into it. The circular pool – about 100 feet in circumference and about 12 feet deep – lies nearly 3,300 feet below the surface of the Gulf. This image was created from 2,000 stills taken by a robosub.

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Faster-Acting Insulin Found in the Slow Cone Snail

The cone snail uses insulin to stun its predators

The cone snail uses insulin to stun its predators (Credit: Baldomero Olivera)

An at times urgent need for insulin has given rise to quick-fire solutions that can take effect in as few as 15 minutes, but in a scenario where every second can make a difference there is always room for improvement. This has led scientists to look for an even faster-acting insulin from a notoriously slow-moving source, finding the insulin in a certain type of snail venom can begin working in a third of the time of the fastest insulins currently on the market.

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Is This the Cure for Deafness?

Most people will be familiar with the feeling of a ringing in their ears after a night of loud music.

Although the ringing is normally temporary, repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, leads to hearing problems and eventually causes deafness.

But sea anemones possess a skill we do not – they can repair cells like those damaged in human ears through loud noises, a new study has shown.

Repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, would eventually lead to deafness. But sea anemones have a skill we do no - they can repair the damage caused in their ears by loud sounds, a new study has shown
Repeated damage like this in humans, and other mammals, would eventually lead to deafness. But sea anemones have a skill we do no – they can repair the damage caused in their ears by loud sounds, a new study has shown

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Spaceship Cloud

It might look like visitors from outer space have landed on Etna but this saucer-shaped object was created much closer to home.

Although often mistaken for UFOs, lenticular clouds such as this one in Sicily are formed in the lowest layer of the atmosphere as stable humid air blows over a mountain range and drops on the other side. The mountain acts like a rock in a stream, creating a wave of air on both sides. As the air rises up, the water vapour cools and condenses on the crest of the wave – forming the cloud. But it disappears as the wave drops away and dries out.

This makes the disc shape look stationary, even though air is streaming through. Airline pilots try to avoid such clouds as the rotation of rising winds causes turbulence.

But glider pilots seek them out, as the air currents can help their crafts soar. read more

Disaster Survival Ball

It may look like a giant snooker ball, but this spherical capsule could save your life.

When a natural disaster strikes, whether it is a tsunami or earthquake, there are very few places to find shelter.

But now, The Survival Capsule – a personal safety system in the form of a giant ball – has been designed to combat this issue.

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Podcast – Muslims in Egypt Blame Violence on Cartoons and Video Games – Communist Cuba is Now the Coolest Place on Earth – Mt St Helens is Recharging

Yes, Muslim leaders and academics in Egypt believe they have found the source of jihad. No it’s not the teachings of radical clerics – it’s the cartoon Tom and Jerry and violent video games that have been driving young men to shoot others and blow them up.

For the liberal elites and the beautiful people in Hollywood, music and the fashion industry, the Communist Island of Cuba is evidently the place to see and be seen – more to be seen. Communist Cuba is cool, assuming you know nothing about it.

It seems Mt St Helens is recharging. Scientists are detecting tiny earthquakes deep below ground – an indication the mountain is slowly coming back to life. There’s nothing to worry yet, but it is again just a matter of time. read more

Bodyguards for Plant

Its attractive red berries, succulent leaves and brightly colored flowers might look like a tasty snack for a hungry herbivore.

But while the berries of the bittersweet nightshade already hold enough poison to put off even the most enthusiastic of grazers, it seems the plant also has another trick to defend itself – ant bodyguards.

The bittersweet nightshade, also called Solanum dulcamara, produces a sugary nectar directly from wounds inflicted on its leaves by animals chewing on them in a bid to attract ants.

A poisonous woodland plant called bittersweet nightshade has been found to 'bled' a sugary nectar from wounds when slugs and insect larvae eat its leaves. These secretions attract three different species of ant (red ants pictured) which attack the herbivores and protect the plant from suffering further damage

A poisonous woodland plant called bittersweet nightshade has been found to ‘bled’ a sugary nectar from wounds when slugs and insect larvae eat its leaves. These secretions attract three different species of ant (red ants pictured) which attack the herbivores and protect the plant from suffering further damage

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We Can Protect Ourselves From the Zika Virus

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Liberals are always attempting to lecture the rest of us about safety – especially the safety and well-being of the children. We must child proof our houses. Children mustn’t be allowed to play with small toys for fear of choking. We must purchase the correct car seat and kids must always have a proper bike helmet. We must make sure they have child approved medicines and keep them sealed. We must have no firearms within a mile of children. We must keep children away from lead paint, lest they ingest paint chips causing physical and mental defects.

Pregnant mothers are also treated with kid gloves. Every precaution is taken to make sure they give birth to a healthy baby. In other words, we do (and overdue) whatever is necessary to keep our kids and moms-to-be safe and healthy.

But even with all the precautions parents take, something as insignificant as a mosquito can throw an entire family for a loop. I’m speaking of course of the mosquito-borne Zika virus which is spreading rapidly through South and Central America and now into the Southern United States.

The Zika virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in otherwise healthy adults, “but in pregnant women it has been linked to an alarming increase in the rate of the birth defect known as microcephaly – a debilitatingly small head and brain size.” Dr. Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General describes the outbreak as an “extraordinary event and a public health threat to other parts of the world.”

Experts at the CDC have issued a new set of guidelines for travelers to affected areas and work on a vaccine is being done at a feverish pace. It seems everything that can be done at this time is being done to prevent the spread of the epidemic. read more