25 February 2016

The incredible photograph, taken of the northern lights in Iceland, took the remarkable form of the mythological phoenix bird

- These incredible photographs of the aurora borealis captured the moment the lights formed the outline of a phoenix - the giant fire-eating bird common in many ancient mythologies.

With outstretched wings and a striking bird-shaped profile, the image - captured by photographer Hallgrimur P Helgason - wowed stargazers in Kaldarsel.

Mr Helgason, 64, said that the bird showed up in the night sky an hour after he got there and started snapping.

He said: 'It's really a thrill shooting the aurora, especially when they are so playful like they were that night. I have to admit that I always get an adrenalin kick when the lights burst out like that - that particular shot was the top one of the night.'-

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1 January 2015

Read more: RT

26 October 2015

 - From the very beginning of time humans have sought out recognizable patterns in nature and have tried to decode their hidden meanings. As natural creatures, that is, having evolved from the same elements and in the same environment as the flowers, trees, and stars, we contain the same natural wisdom as every other creature and plant that lives in this world. This natural intelligence has led us to not only follow very basic patterns of living on the earth and following the cycles of day and night but also a deep desire to sync up and understand patterns inherent in other  beings, plants, and animals. 

We are not sure when humans first began to see the similarity of patterns found in plants and rightly compared them to the patterns found in their own bodies. We can speculate that many of plant names like lungwort, stoneroot, mandrake, and eyebright were chosen because of the similarity of the look and shape of the plant to its medicinal use.

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4 October 2014

 - On September 27, a herd of over 35,000 Pacific walruses crowded en masse onto a northwest Alaskan beach to find refuge in the wake of rapidly-melting sea ice, it is believed. In response to such a massive gathering, U.S. authorities have taken action to ensure that the pinnipeds are not disturbed — and that a stampede is not incited. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a statement instructing aircraft to remain at least 1,500 feet AGL (Above Ground Level) when they are within a half mile of the walruses. Helicopters, an even noisier disturbance, have been told to stay 3,000 feet AGL when traveling within one nautical mile of the walrus group.

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2 October 2014

 - The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human well-being.

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31 January 2014

 - For nearly a decade, amateur photographer Tsuneaki Hiramatsu spent his summer evenings in the forests outside Niimi, in Japan’s Okayama prefecture. He was intent on capturing the spectacle of firefly mating season, when the males and females vie for attention through blinking codes. As night fell, Hiramatsu began shooting a series of eight-second exposures. He then digitally merged the images, creating connect-the-dot photos of the fireflies’ golden flight paths. The images became a sensation on the Web and were included in a traveling museum exhibit called “Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence.”

But for Hiramatsu, recognition for his artistry is secondary to engendering appreciation for the natural world. “Fireflies are little seen in areas developed by human beings,” he says. “When I feel the splendor and mystery of nature, I am glad to have everyone share that feeling.”

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29 January 2014

 - Every grain of sand is a jewel waiting to be discovered.

Gemlike minerals, colorful coral fragments, and delicate microscopic shells reveal that sand comprises much more than tiny beige rocks.

Carl Sagan famously remarked "the total number of stars in the universe is greater than all the grains of sand on all the beaches on the planet Earth." It is estimated that the total number of 'all' grains of sand on the whole planet could be approximately 2000 billion billion. Scientists still believe there are more stars in the Universe.

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20 January 2014

 - We all know what’s gone wrong, or we think we do:  not enough spending on flood defences. It’s true that government cuts have exposed thousands of homes to greater risk, but too little public spending is a small part of the problem.

It is dwarfed by another factor, overlooked in public discussion: too much public spending.

Vast amounts, running into billions, are spent every year on policies that make devastating floods inevitable. This is the story that has not been told, a story of destructive perversity.

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14 September 2013

 - Previously believed to be only human-made, a natural example of a functioning gear mechanism has been discovered in a common insect -- showing that evolution developed interlocking cogs long before we did.

The juvenile Issus - a plant-hopping insect found in gardens across Europe -- has hind-leg joints with curved cog-like strips of opposing 'teeth' that intermesh, rotating like mechanical gears to synchronise the animal's legs when it launches into a jump.

The finding demonstrates that gear mechanisms previously thought to be solely human-made have an evolutionary precedent. Scientists say this is the "first observation of mechanical gearing in a biological structure."

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13 September 2013

 - Starfish, salamanders, antelopes, elk and dogs are all experiencing large die-offs that have scientists baffled.

Viruses and bacteria that commonly infect just one animal species can evolve and “jump” from that species to another; this process is known as zoonosis.

Medical experts believe that influenza, HIV, Ebola and dozens of other zoonotic diseases once only infected pigs, apes or other animals, but these viruses are now common among humans. Bats, in particular, are known as carriers of viral infections.

Recent research suggests bats are reservoirs for more than 60 viruses that can also infect humans, and host more viruses per species than even rodents do.

Thus far, no explanation has been offered for the other die-offs happening around the globe. Scientists are looking at predation, fungi and even the vampire beast El Chupacabra, who nobody as yet has proven even exists.

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12 September 2013

The yellow warbler can be found in Costa Rica plantations eating the coffee borer beetle. - In Costa Rica, coffee plantations with patches of undisturbed tropical forests have better coffee yields. That’s because the forests are habitat for wild birds that, in turn, prey on the main scourge of coffee plantations: Hypothenemus hampeii, the coffee berry borer beetle.

Recently, researchers have put a monetary value on the benefits these birds bring to coffee plantations. They’ve found increases in the yield per hectare amounting to between $75 and $310, depending on the season. A paper about their findings was recently published in Ecology Letters.

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14 August 2013

worm-feeding - Scientists have discovered a super-charged methane seep in the ocean off New Zealand that has created its own unique food web, resulting in much more methane escaping from the ocean floor into the water column.

“The large amounts of methane consumed by bacteria have kept it from reaching the surface,” Thurber said. “Those bacteria essentially are putting the pin back in the methane grenade."

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1 July 2013

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