Monday, 23 January 2012

Oppinion Piece- Giraffe Hunting and Darwin's Fossils

Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful...

I have just two links-of-the-day for you today; the first being this account of hundreds of lost fossils collected by Charles Darwin and fellow workers having been found in a neglected wooden cabinet of the British Geological Survey-

The second, is this thoroughly depressing and shameful story about giraffe hunting for entertainment-

Even scientists, I am told, are human beings and, therefore, subject to irrational follies and whims the same as the rest of mankind. Even the (ficticious) arch-scientist Sheldon Cooper admits to having a soft spot for koalas. Personally, I have a weakness for giraffes. There is something wonderfully appealing about their gentle and peaceble lives; their biology is pretty quirky, too, as the Animal Autopsy programme revealed a little while back - you can see details of the programme [here- WARNING!! Link contains Gory Pictures]. It seems such a shame to slaughter them for entertainment: just mindless violence that should be as far beneath our dignity as it is beneath theirs.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The World's Smallest Vertebrate, Cranes over Venice and Beyonce the Horse-fly

Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful!

 First link-of-the-day today is to this news article on the World's smallest vertebrate-->

Second link-of-the-day today is to this short video of Cranes Flying over Venice on -->
(thanks to Patricia V.P. for the Crane link)

Final link of the day is to an article about a new horse-fly species named after Beyonce (of all people)-->

Monday, 9 January 2012

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Science Updates- Bear pictures, Skin cancer treatment cream & mental deterioration in mid-life

Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful.

Two of the top science stories this week are the use of a new radioactive cream used to treat skin cancer non-invasively-->

and reports of a study indicating that mental decline in aging people is a longer, slower and earlier-onset process than once thought (with cognitive decline already detectable by middle age (45-49 years))-->

Meanwhile, the science section of the IHT website has the cyber-equivalent of a photo-essay on Borneo's famous Orang Utans here-->

The essay and pictures were taken in Borneo's Tanjung Puting Nature Park: a place also known for its Sun-Bears, Ursus malayanus. Although Sun-Bears are the smallest of the 8 extant Bear species*, they have a reputation for ferocity. You can find more details about the Sun Bear on the BBC's website [here].

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(* the other 7 species are the Giant Panda, The Spectacled Bear, The Sloth Bear, The Asian Black Bear, The American Black Bear, The Brown Bear and the Polar Bear. Various hybrid bears and subspecies exist.).

There is a link to pictures of two adorable polar-bear cubs in the blog post immediately before/below this one.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Cherring up birds- blackbirds and apples

Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful.

Today's cheering up bird is a common (Eurasian) blackbird a creature with the unfortunate biological name Turdus merula. (Turdus relates to a genus of "thrush"es).

Every winter, I visit Northallerton station at least once and every year I see the same apple tree still covered in the summer's apples (and often coated in snow as well), it always seems to be a fairly unusual scene- cultivated apple trees usually have their appples picked and untended ones tend to have either very small apples or to have them blown away by the wind- or both. In any case, this year I got a picture of it-this was just one of a whole group of blackbirds (not quite a flock, but several) feeding on it.It is not as flamboyant as the usual "cheering up birds", but it's nice to see wildlife in unpromising places.

Link of the day today is to this article (complete with pictures and video about twin polar bears bred in LHT Polar Aquarium in China-->

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Narcissus tazetta

Narcissus tazetta,

Cultured specimen, Huji, Jerusalem, Dec 2011