Sunday, 19 December 2010

Turkeys, Silver Firs and Cultivating Christmas Trees

Poinsettia leaves changing colour to their characteristic Winter-red (image by V. Neblik)

Welcome to Weirdbeautiful

In honour of the rapid approach of Christmas,today's link is to one of the American wildlife site - eNature 's Field guides- to the Wild turkey- an indisputably weird creature-

The second link is to Wikipedia's entry on Chritsmas Tree Cultivation.... I am beginning to wonder if there are, in fact, any topics for which there is not a wikipedia entry.

Today's final link is to this factsheet from on the "original Christmas tree" - the Silver fir, Abies alba.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Links of the week- The Beauty of Earth from Satelites and the wonders of the Brain

Welcome to Weirdbeautiful.

First link of the day today is to this review of the new book "Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century" by Carl Edward Schoonover. As the book and reveiwer (Ian Sample of The Observer) explain, trying to depict the amazing and strange world of the human mind has been the preoccupation of some of the greatest human minds for centuries. In recent years, new insights from PET and MRI scanning technologies have brought us insights that our forebears could only envy. The future should be very interesting indeed....

Second link-of-the-day is from the Observer's weekday sister paper, The Guardian- this stunning set of satelite images of the Earth, appropriately entitled "Our Technicolour dream world"-

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

"In riding a horse we borrow freedom".
-Helen Thomson

Picture V. Neblik, 2010.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Science News- Links of the week- Pancreatic cancer

Nelfinavir molecule (no copyright)

Welcome to Weirdbeautiful.

Today's links are both on the subject of Pancreatic cancer. Long-feared as one of the most difficult cancers to treat, Pancreatic cancer has been the subject of two interesting articles in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper this year- the first of these, published back in February is this article by Richard Alleyne, reporting a study showing a connection between consumption of sugary soft-drinks (but not fruit juice) and increased incidence of pancreatic cancer. You can read the full newspaper article here-

The study described in the article was by Noel T. Mueller and collegaues - you can find an abstract of it [here]-

Last Sunday, however, The Telegraph published the much gladder tidings that the anti-HIV drug Nelfinavir is showing remarkable and unexpected promise as a treatment for Pancreatic cancer. There is a blog post on that subject [here]-

you can find the full telegraph article online [HERE] -

Nelfinavir (also known as "Viracept") is a protease inhibitor - as its name suggests, it works against the HIV virus by preventing the virus's protease enyme from functioning. In cancer it seems to interfere with communication (cell signalling) processes of cancerous pancreatic
cells and to render them more vulnerable to being killed by radiotherapy.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Cheering up Birds- Hornbills

Unknown Hornbill Species (Labelled as a West African species), artist unknown- possibly E. F Skinner, ca. 1910. Source: Harmsworth Natural History Volume 2, 1910 (further details on request).

Welcome to Weirdbeautiful. recently sent me this link to a gallery of beautiful bird pictures, from Great Egrets and Eagles to Kingfishers and Puffins.