In biological nomenclature, organisms are often named after famous people or groups.
This species of horsefly was discovered in 1981, in north-east Queensland, Australia. It was not scientifically described until 2001, when it was named in honor of Beyonce Knowles.
According to Bryan Lessard from Australia’s science agency, CSIRO, the insect’s behind made it the “all-time diva of flies”.
"It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer Beyoncé as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy – the naming of species," he said.
The species of trapdoor spider is found in the coastal dunes of California, and is named after satirist Stephen Colbert. Colbert was angered by the fact that a spider had not been named after him, and began to appeal for a species of animal to be named after him.
On a later edition of The Colbert Report, Colbert revealed that Professor Jason Bond of ECU would name a spider after him, with Colbert claiming, “And all I had to do was shamelessly beg on national television.”The name Aptostichus stephencolberti was officially announced as the spider named after Colbert on The Colbert Report on August 6, 2008.Because Colbert pronounces his surname with a silent “T”, the last “T” in stephencolberti is also silent.
This species of trapdoor spider is closely related to A. stephencolberti and was also named by Jason Bond in recognition of Angelina Jolie’s work with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
The spider is is restricted in distribution to the Santa Lucia Range of Monterey County, bounded to the east by the Salinas River Valley. The ecoregion is characterized as California Coastal Chaparral Forest and Shrub
Many other famous people, such as Lady Gaga, Steve Irwin, Mick Jagger and Nelson Mandela have had organisms named after them. For a list of organisms named after famous people, click here.
How your pet goldfish can help grow kitchen herbs
Back to the Roots, a company started by two UC Berkeley graduates, focuses on making products that promote sustainability in food. They’re behind those mushroom grow kits you may have seen at Whole Foods and now they’ve developed a product that uses aquaponics to grow plants. Above is a really great explanation of the science behind aquaponics food systems.
a decellularized “ghost” heart
aaaaaaaay extracellular matrix
How cool is it that when you take all the cells out of an organ it still looks like an organ?
I remember when I was in high school and still very confused about how tissues worked, because all anyone taught me was that we’re made up of piles of cells hung on bones. But that’s not how it is! Cells build themselves little hammocks of polymer and densely branched glycoproteins; we’re like onions, layers of membrane over tough rubbery collagen, huge protein scaffolds cradling slippery organs.
Bodies are not made of cells — bodies are made by cells.
Welwitschia mirabilis, family Welwitschiaceae. It’s the only plant in its genus, order, and class. Native to the Namib Desert and hardy in zones 9-11. On the bottom left, you can see the cones of a female starting to shed seeds. On the right, you can see the male cones containing pollen. Oh, and did I mention that after the cotyledon leaves are shed, Welwitschia will only ever have two leaves continuously growing out of the basal meristem? It only looks like more because the two leaves split with time. It can also grow to be incredibly old, having an estimated life-span between 400-1500 years.
Several species of fish resemble flatworms in their juvenile stages, in a phenomena known as batesian mimicry. This form of mimicry is generally typified by a situation in which a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signs of a harmful species.
The juvenile Pinnate Batfish (Platax pinnatus) swims close to coral walls, with exaggerated and undulating fin movements. Its flowing orange boundary and black center allows it appear as if it were a Glorious Flatworm (Pseudobiceros gloriosus). These bright warning signals warn predators of potential toxicity, and discourage from them being eaten.
Similarly, the juvenile Painted Frogfish (Antennarius pictus) has evolved to closely resemble the Linda’s Flatworm (Pseudoceros lindae), which also advertises its toxicity through flamboyant colourations. Instead of mimicking the surrounding environment like adult frogfish, the juveniles of the species mimics a toxic organism to avoid predation.
You ever see a bird clutching onto a branch high in a tree and wonder, “What happens if it falls asleep? How could it hold on?”
The avian talon works through a “pulley system of tendons,” according to the animal morphology blog Ars Anatomica, and it can lock into place.
"The bird’s foot closes and grasps automatically as the ankle and knee joints are bent," we read. "This grasp cannot be released until the limb is straightened again."
So, instead of expending precious energy holding the muscles tight—as you would if you were hanging onto a branch with your fists/arms—the system simply physically locks in place.
Read more. [Image: Ars Anatomica]
Helen Friel - “Here’s Looking at Euclid” (paper sculptures of mathematician Oliver Byrne’s illustrations of Euclid’s Elements, 2012)
Byrne’s illustrated Euclid is one of my favorite vintage science reads (you can leaf through it online for free!) and the fact that the Mondrain-esque artwork has been made into paper sculptures makes me happier than I can verbalize.
World AIDS Day, December 1st
World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December every year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Government and health officials observe the day, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics.
Screenshots from Interactive World AIDS Day 2013 Infographic by CNN
Source: UK’s National AIDS Trust, WHO, UNAIDS, amfAR, CDC
EDITORIAL: BRYONY JONES
GRAPHIC: CNNI DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
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