Strange Animals and Stranger Facts About Them

first_img(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The world is decorated with an astonishing diversity of animals.  Here are some new discoveries about a few of them.Squid rangefinder:  Why are portions of the squid eyeball out of focus?  Scientists noticed the squid bobbing their heads, and deduced that the “defect” has a purpose.  In the low-contrast deep waters of their hunting grounds, the retina and behavior provides them a kind of rangefinder, allowing them to “catch prey with remarkable speed and precision,” a new paper in Current Biology says.Mantis shrimp eyes :  The weirdly-patterned eyes of the mantis shrimp, moving atop stalks, look like something out of science fiction.  What are the vertical bands and spots in the centers of the eyes?  Nature News and Live Science talked about a new paper in Science Magazine that analyzes how the physiology and 12 kinds of photoreceptors gives the crustaceans “extraordinary color vision” (see also the Perspective article in the same issue that says these eyes that see “color in a fundamentally different way” are “unique in the animal kingdom“).  The vertical bands are designed for detecting circularly polarized light and ultraviolet, as well as sharpening color spectrum in 12 spectral channels.  “The upper and lower halves of each eye also have overlapping visual fields, so that each eye can act as a stereoscopic rangefinder, at least for close distances.”  Live Science posted a gallery of different species of clown-colored mantis shrimp with their “googly eyes.”  Nature News included a video clip that shows the mantis shrimp rotating and moving its eyes on the stalks.Under the sea ice:  Add this to the list of unexpected places to find life.  A robotic submersible measuring ocean currents under the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.  When its camera looked under the sea ice, it made “a startling discovery,” reported Live Science.  “Clinging upside-down from crannies in the ice shelf with their tentacles dangling into the icy water were thousands and thousands of tiny sea anemones.”  They must feed on nutrients upwelling in currents.  How they live without freezing is not known; Live Science added a video from the NSF that shows the creatures.  That’s not all they found: “fish that swim upside down, marine worms that live in the icy melt, crustaceans called amphipods and a strange creature resembling a sea cucumber, which they nicknamed ‘the eggroll.’”Hookworm genes:  The hookworm parasite undergoes a “fantastic voyage” once inside the body, Live Science relates.  “These parasites start their lives in soil, and enter the human body through the foot, where they embark on a fantastic voyage through the blood vessels, to the heart, then into the lungs and trachea before being coughed up and swallowed and carried to their final home in the small intestine.” There, they feed on blood, causing host symptoms including anemia and lassitude.  The genome of the hookworm has just been published, providing hope for understanding their lifestyles to reduce infections in poor countries with inadequate sanitation.  The infections are not all bad: usually not deadly, they give the victim’s immune system a “vigorous workout,” reducing risk of allergies and autoimmune diseases.  In fact, some medical researchers are finding good success with “helminth therapy” for treating these diseases (7/13/04, 2/04/12).Spots & stripes:  Scientists may just be beginning to get a grip on how animal patterns arise.  Science Magazine has a video clip that shows two types of skin cells, dark melanophores and light xanthophores, having a kind of race in the embryos of zebrafish.  When they make contact, one type moves and the other follows in “hot pursuit.”  This may lead to the colored bands in the adult.Dinosaur gigantism:  Imagine the problems of being an animal weighing 80 tons.  Scientists are trying to figure out how the big sauropods regulated their body temperature, Science Daily says.  “The gigantism of these vertebrates, unique in the history of Earth, raises many questions, such as why no other land creatures have ever achieved this size and what their bauplan, physiology, and life cycle would have been like.”  The story includes links to three open-access papers in PLoS ONE exploring the physiology of dinosaur gigantism.Sloth-fulness:  The sloth truly deserves its name, PhysOrgs says.  It nibbles on its own fur when too lazy to hunt, and only comes down out of the tree once a week to defecate on the ground.  The animal almost acts like a hanging terrarium.  Cracks in its hair catch rainwater, providing a microhabitat for algae growth.  Moths lay their eggs in its fur to live off the algae.  “This complex (symbiosis)… reinforces fundamental aspects of the sloth’s behaviour and life history, and may reinforce the slothfulness of sloths,” scientists said.Bat olympics:  The BBC reported on a bat that crossed the English Channel – an “incredible journey” for a bat.  It’s the first time the crossing has been documented.  The little creature is the size of a human thumb.  One scientist remarked, “it’s incredible to think that this little bat has flown a distance of at least 600km, avoiding hazards like roads and wind turbines, and for it to safely cross the sea is remarkable.”Dog paddle:  What could be more common than the dog paddle?  Yet Live Science called it a “mystery” that scientists are diving into.  Frank Fish at West Chester University (Pennsylvania) is taking underwater videos (see sample in the article) of various breeds swimming to understand this instinctive behavior of dogs, armadillos, and some humans.  It’s kind of like an underwater trot, he found; “Despite all these different dogs having different terrestrial gaits, they all basically focus in on one gait when they’re swimming.”  Then came an evolution commercial:Fish says he’s trying to understand what natural selection factors were in play for animals that were just beginning to swim. Although dogs aren’t direct predecessors of cetaceans — the category that includes dolphins, whales and porpoises — aquatic mammals did evolve from longed-legged quadrupeds that moved into the water, and over time dropped their paws in favor of fins.Scientists estimate that the first aquatic mammals probably flopped into the water around 60 million years ago, and it took 20 million years for them to evolve flukes and flippers like modern-day whales and dolphins.In between factual observations with tanks and flumes, Fish says “I still want to know what animals have to give up as they’re going along evolutionarily from terrestrial to aquatic.”  He’s even pondering what it would take for a dolphin to evolve the ability to move on land.The strangest creature of all is the human evolutionary scientist.  He can look at design all around and attribute it to blind, unguided processes.  From there he turns his  imagination into overdrive and wanders into mythical worlds with walking dolphins.  This is called “going along evolutionarily.”  It’s like stumbling in the dark.last_img read more

You’ve Got Mail: The Latest Geocaching Message Center Updates

first_img SharePrint RelatedInside HQ: Take a Tour of the New Message CenterJuly 7, 2015In “Geocaching Weekly Newsletter”Message Center now accepts additional file typesOctober 31, 2017In “News”Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – February 8, 2012February 8, 2012In “Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter” Last April, we announced a brand new feature: the Geocaching Message Center. With this feature, you can send and receive messages from and the Geocaching Intro app. So why are we talking about the Message Center again? Well, when we launched this feature, we promised to keep making improvements based on your feedback. We recently wrapped up work on a few biggies so we want to make sure you know about them!The big ones:You can now reply to geocaching messages directly from your email!Choose how you want to receive Message Center notifications: receive email notifications for every new message, notifications only after inactivity or no email notifications at all.Note: You can change your notification preferences in Account Settings.Other improvements made at geocacher suggestion:See images in the email notifications.You can load more conversations in the Message Center.We raised the character count limit to 4000 characters.TB and GC codes automatically hyperlink in messages.Trackable and geocache names automatically hyperlink in messages to owners.Watch this short video, featuring two awesome Geocaching HQ developers, to learn a little bit more about what went into making the Message Center:Thanks to all of you who participated in innovation games, completed surveys and participated in the User Insights Forum about Message Center! Interested in giving your two cents on future geocaching features? Check out this blog post for some ideas on how to get involved.Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Enterprise Startup Spotlight: Buddy Media

first_imgIn its own words, Buddy Media offers “power tools for Facebook.” Its service is, in essence, a content management system for Facebook geared towards the needs of large organizations. For example, Starwood Hotels uses Buddy Media to manage Facebook pages for its hotel chains. Each individual hotel can have its own Facebook page, and all the pages for the brand can be centrally managed.Other companies using Buddy media in ABC, Johnson & Johnson and Target. According to Joe Ciarallo, director of communications at Buddy Media,seven of the 10 biggest brands in terms of advertising spending are Buddy Media clients. Last week, it won the Crunchie for best enterprise startup of the 2011. klint finley Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#enterprise#saas Ciarallo says the version of Facebook’s page launched in March 2010 changed everything in terms of how brands engage with fans on Facebook. Now, brands’ must have an ongoing presence on Facebook, not just one-off campaigns. “Buddy Media is not about launching a big thing and then forgetting about – it’s about buidlign a long-term presence,” he says. One of Buddy Media’s more direct competitors is KickApps, which also offers Facebook and social media content management tools. However, Ciarallo sees the company as more in competition with the status quo than with other companies. The social media engagement, social CRM and related services are still in infancy as a business.What’s next for Buddy Media? Ciarallo doesn’t rule out the possibility of moving into other platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter, but says the company is still very focused on Facebook. He says if there’s a demand for Buddy Media to move into other platform, the company will listen to its clients. For now the company is focused on hiring and building out its team.According to CrunchBase, Buddy Media is received funding from “Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Softbank Capital, European Founders Fund, Greycroft Partners, Facebook investor Ron Conway, Facebook board member Peter Thiel, Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus, Roger Ehrenberg, Howard Lindzon and others.”Want to see your company features in the Enterprise Startup Spotlight? Please see our submission guidelines. IT + Project Management: A Love Affaircenter_img 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now The key features of Buddy Media include:Publishing (Including post management, post scheduling, etc.)40+ pre-programmed apps (Including polls, quizzes, video, gifting, e-commerce, etc.)Comment moderation (Including keyword filtering, etc.)Analytics Localization Related Posts Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more