The Deers Ears

opticallyaroused:


Sunset Web   Yann Houlberg Andersen
amnhnyc:


Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, was unveiled at the Museum this afternoon. He will be on public view for just over 3 months, through January 4, 2015. Museum scientists worked closely with taxidermy experts to preserve Lonesome George as he appeared in life. 
Learn more about Lonesome George. 

amnhnyc:

Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, was unveiled at the Museum this afternoon. He will be on public view for just over 3 months, through January 4, 2015. Museum scientists worked closely with taxidermy experts to preserve Lonesome George as he appeared in life. 

Learn more about Lonesome George

(via mollisaurus)

sciencenote:

By Dr. Sonja Pyott Department of Biology and Marine Biology University of North Carolina, Wilmington Wilmington, NC, USA Specimen: Cochlea and Hair Cells Technique: Confocal
This confocal microscopy image of the organ of Corti is just stunning. Judges at the Olympus Bioscapes Digital Imaging Competition thought so too, and awarded Dr. Sonja Pyott 4th prize in the contest. For an even larger, more hi-res version, go here. Winners receive Olympus microscopes and other prizes! Guess who the 1st place winner is? Yeah, its the Brainbow mouse, which I discussed in a previous post.
The image above is of the normal mammalian organ of Corti, which is the epithelium which contains the sensory cells of the ear. Those cells are hair cells, which are stained green here with (I’m guessing) fluorescent phalloidin, which tags actin in the hair cells. The inner hair cells are in the lower left, and the three rows of outer hair cells are to the upper right. Nuclei of the inner hair cells are blue, which I’m guessing is DAPI. The spindly red things are the neurons, which are synapsing on the inner hair cells’ surface. The spiky things shooting out of the top of the inner hair cells are the stereocilia (which are made of actin, so green) which project into the fluid filled space above the organ of Corti. When sound waves are picked up by the ear canal and focused into the cochlea, the basilar membrane vibrates, causing the stereocilia to bend, which depolarizes the hair cells.

sciencenote:

By Dr. Sonja Pyott
Department of Biology and Marine Biology
University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Wilmington, NC, USA
Specimen: Cochlea and Hair Cells
Technique: Confocal

This confocal microscopy image of the organ of Corti is just stunning. Judges at the Olympus Bioscapes Digital Imaging Competition thought so too, and awarded Dr. Sonja Pyott 4th prize in the contest. For an even larger, more hi-res version, go here. Winners receive Olympus microscopes and other prizes! Guess who the 1st place winner is? Yeah, its the Brainbow mouse, which I discussed in a previous post.

The image above is of the normal mammalian organ of Corti, which is the epithelium which contains the sensory cells of the ear. Those cells are hair cells, which are stained green here with (I’m guessing) fluorescent phalloidin, which tags actin in the hair cells. The inner hair cells are in the lower left, and the three rows of outer hair cells are to the upper right. Nuclei of the inner hair cells are blue, which I’m guessing is DAPI. The spindly red things are the neurons, which are synapsing on the inner hair cells’ surface. The spiky things shooting out of the top of the inner hair cells are the stereocilia (which are made of actin, so green) which project into the fluid filled space above the organ of Corti. When sound waves are picked up by the ear canal and focused into the cochlea, the basilar membrane vibrates, causing the stereocilia to bend, which depolarizes the hair cells.

(via mindblowingscience)

allthecanadianpolitics:

Why are we hesitant to name white male violence as a root cause of #MMIW?

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a rise in media coverage of violence against Indigenous girls and women following the murder of 15 year old Tina Fontaine. Discussion reached its peak last week during the annual meeting of premiers, which was seen as a venue to push for action to address the root causes of this ongoing atrocity. Yet as the meeting fades out of memory and Tina becomes the latest in the seemingly endless string of murdered young women, I fear that this flurry of dialogue and public outrage has yet again failed to bring about real change.
I fear that no amount of increased awareness and political organizing will actually end the violence if we continue along this current trajectory because we are still not shining a spotlight on the real causes of violence. No, I’m not talking about the drug use and street involvement that some journalists have drawn attention to in their portrayal of Tina Fontaine’s final days. I’m also not talking about widespread poverty on reserve, or even the myriad factors that systematically marginalize Indigenous girls and women.
What this latest round of media coverage has failed to address is simply this: white male violence.
Indeed, the erasure of that violence as a topic of social and political concern is arguably a form of violence itself, as it serves to remove white men from the equation. White men get away with being unmarked by the violence they perpetrate, not at fault for carrying out a form of violation that is as old as colonialism itself. They also disassociate themselves from the institutions and systems that serve to normalize violence against Indigenous people — systems that were designed and are largely upheld by (you guessed it) white male leaders. For example, we have heard very little about the fact that the multiple murder trial of a 24 year old white man, Corey Legebokoff, is wrapping up this week in Prince George — an area associated with the Highway of Tears. Indeed, no one has been connecting the dots between Legebokoff’s multiple killings and the widespread violence against Indigenous girls and women in that area. Why are we so hesitant to name white male violence as a root cause, yet so comfortable naming all the “risk factors” associated with the lives of Indigenous girls who have died? Why are we not looking more closely at the “risk factors” that lead to violence in the lives of the perpetrators? Isn’t that truly where the responsibility for this epidemic lies? When Pickton was convicted, why didn’t we see national coverage of the root causes of his actions and that of other white male serial killers?
It seems that while reporters and politicians feel entitled to weigh in on what First Nations should do to address this issue, they are unwilling to name what is right in front of them. They are unable to see the culture of whiteness that excuses violence against Indigenous women and girls by blaming native people for the violence they face. They are unable to see that the Canadian justice system has been set up to serve a society built on Indigenous erasure, including brushing aside these seemingly endless murders.
But while journalists in popular media may be afraid to name murder as the real, actual, literal cause of these overwhelming losses, we Indigenous women are speaking up. Although our voices have only recently been invited into popular media, we have been speaking these truths for a very long time. We know that systemic neglect, racism and the violence of legal indifference within a society largely run by white men has contributed to the normalization of violence against us. Maybe all those white male ‘experts’ who have weighed in on this issue during these past few weeks would make better use of their energy by turning their attention to the obvious: that serial killers like Legebokoff and Pickton are their peers. Where is the national action plan to address the violence that starts with them?
As the verdict in the Legebokoff trial is delivered on Monday, I will be watching to see who, if anyone, steps up to name the connection between his heinous actions and the widespread violence faced by Indigenous women. 
Sarah Hunt (PhD) is a writer, educator and activist currently based in Lkwungen Territories (Victoria, BC) and is of Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw), Ukrainian and English ancestry. She has more than 15 years’ experience doing community-based work on issues of justice, education and cultural revitalization in rural and urban Indigenous communities across B.C. Most recently, Sarah’s research investigated the relationship between law and violence in ongoing neocolonial relations in BC, asking how violence gainsvisibility through Indigenous and Canadian socio-legal discourse and action. She is particularly concerned with revitalizing Indigenous law and relations of accountability through local level anti-violence initiatives. You can follow her on twitter @thesarahhunt

Photo: flickr/L.C. Nøttaasen

allthecanadianpolitics:

Why are we hesitant to name white male violence as a root cause of #MMIW?

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a rise in media coverage of violence against Indigenous girls and women following the murder of 15 year old Tina Fontaine. Discussion reached its peak last week during the annual meeting of premiers, which was seen as a venue to push for action to address the root causes of this ongoing atrocity. Yet as the meeting fades out of memory and Tina becomes the latest in the seemingly endless string of murdered young women, I fear that this flurry of dialogue and public outrage has yet again failed to bring about real change.

I fear that no amount of increased awareness and political organizing will actually end the violence if we continue along this current trajectory because we are still not shining a spotlight on the real causes of violence. No, I’m not talking about the drug use and street involvement that some journalists have drawn attention to in their portrayal of Tina Fontaine’s final days. I’m also not talking about widespread poverty on reserve, or even the myriad factors that systematically marginalize Indigenous girls and women.

What this latest round of media coverage has failed to address is simply this: white male violence.

Indeed, the erasure of that violence as a topic of social and political concern is arguably a form of violence itself, as it serves to remove white men from the equation. White men get away with being unmarked by the violence they perpetrate, not at fault for carrying out a form of violation that is as old as colonialism itself. They also disassociate themselves from the institutions and systems that serve to normalize violence against Indigenous people — systems that were designed and are largely upheld by (you guessed it) white male leaders. 

For example, we have heard very little about the fact that the multiple murder trial of a 24 year old white man, Corey Legebokoff, is wrapping up this week in Prince George — an area associated with the Highway of Tears. Indeed, no one has been connecting the dots between Legebokoff’s multiple killings and the widespread violence against Indigenous girls and women in that area. 

Why are we so hesitant to name white male violence as a root cause, yet so comfortable naming all the “risk factors” associated with the lives of Indigenous girls who have died? Why are we not looking more closely at the “risk factors” that lead to violence in the lives of the perpetrators? Isn’t that truly where the responsibility for this epidemic lies? When Pickton was convicted, why didn’t we see national coverage of the root causes of his actions and that of other white male serial killers?

It seems that while reporters and politicians feel entitled to weigh in on what First Nations should do to address this issue, they are unwilling to name what is right in front of them. They are unable to see the culture of whiteness that excuses violence against Indigenous women and girls by blaming native people for the violence they face. They are unable to see that the Canadian justice system has been set up to serve a society built on Indigenous erasure, including brushing aside these seemingly endless murders.

But while journalists in popular media may be afraid to name murder as the real, actual, literal cause of these overwhelming losses, we Indigenous women are speaking up. Although our voices have only recently been invited into popular media, we have been speaking these truths for a very long time. We know that systemic neglect, racism and the violence of legal indifference within a society largely run by white men has contributed to the normalization of violence against us. 

Maybe all those white male ‘experts’ who have weighed in on this issue during these past few weeks would make better use of their energy by turning their attention to the obvious: that serial killers like Legebokoff and Pickton are their peers. Where is the national action plan to address the violence that starts with them?

As the verdict in the Legebokoff trial is delivered on Monday, I will be watching to see who, if anyone, steps up to name the connection between his heinous actions and the widespread violence faced by Indigenous women. 

Sarah Hunt (PhD) is a writer, educator and activist currently based in Lkwungen Territories (Victoria, BC) and is of Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw), Ukrainian and English ancestry. She has more than 15 years’ experience doing community-based work on issues of justice, education and cultural revitalization in rural and urban Indigenous communities across B.C. Most recently, Sarah’s research investigated the relationship between law and violence in ongoing neocolonial relations in BC, asking how violence gains
visibility through Indigenous and Canadian socio-legal discourse and action. She is particularly concerned with revitalizing Indigenous law and relations of accountability through local level anti-violence initiatives. You can follow her on twitter @thesarahhunt

Photo: flickr/L.C. Nøttaasen

(via shychemist)

mindblowingscience:

Microplastic pollution discovered in St. Lawrence River sediments

Previously undocumented in North American rivers, concentrations of microplastic particles in the St. Lawrence are as high as has been observed in the world’s most contaminated marine sediments.

A team of researchers from McGill University and the Quebec government have discovered microplastics (in the form of polyethylene ‘microbeads’, <2 mm diameter) widely distributed across the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the first time such pollutants have been found in freshwater sediments. Their research was published this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
The microbeads likely originate from cosmetics, household cleansers, or industrial cleansers, to which they are commonly added as abrasives. Owing to their small size and buoyancy, they may readily pass through sewage treatment plants. Microplastics are a global contaminant in the world’s oceans, but have only recently been detected in the surface waters of lakes and rivers.
Researchers lowered a steel grab from a boat to collect sediment from ten locations along a 320 km section of the river from Lake St. Francis to Québec City. Microbeads were sieved from the sediment, and then sorted and counted under a microscope. “We found them in nearly every grab sample taken. The perfect multi-coloured spheres stood out from natural sediment, even though they were the size of sand grains,” said the lead author of the study, Rowshyra Castañeda, a former McGill MSc student (now at University of Toronto).
At some locations, the researchers measured over 1000 microbeads per liter of sediment, a magnitude that rivals the world’s most contaminated ocean sediments. “We were surprised to find such concentrations at the bottom of a river”, says McGill professor Anthony Ricciardi, who supervised the study. “It was previously assumed that floating microplastics are flushed through rivers to the sea. Now we have evidence that rivers can act as a sink for this pollution.”
The prevalence of microplastics in the St. Lawrence River raises the possibility that they are being consumed by fish and other animals. The environmental effects of microplastics are poorly known; but the surfaces of such particles attract chemical pollutants, including PCBs, which can be transferred to animals that ingest the plastics. “At present, we cannot predict the consequences of the accumulation of these non-biodegradable particles in freshwater ecosystems” added Ricciardi, whose lab is investigating whether the microbeads are being consumed by fish in the river.

With growing recognition of microplastics as an emerging threat to waterways, some U.S. states (Illinois, New York, Minnesota, Ohio, and California) have recently adopted or are considering legislation that bans the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics. No such legislation has yet been proposed in Canada.
More information: R.A. Castañeda, S. Avlijas, M.A. Simard, A. Ricciardi. 2014. “Microplastic pollution in St. Lawrence River sediments”. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/a… 1139/cjfas-2014-0281

mindblowingscience:

Microplastic pollution discovered in St. Lawrence River sediments

Previously undocumented in North American rivers, concentrations of microplastic particles in the St. Lawrence are as high as has been observed in the world’s most contaminated marine sediments.

A team of researchers from McGill University and the Quebec government have discovered  (in the form of polyethylene ‘microbeads’, <2 mm diameter) widely distributed across the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the first time such pollutants have been found in freshwater sediments. Their research was published this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

The microbeads likely originate from cosmetics, household cleansers, or industrial cleansers, to which they are commonly added as abrasives. Owing to their small size and buoyancy, they may readily pass through sewage treatment plants. Microplastics are a global contaminant in the world’s oceans, but have only recently been detected in the surface waters of lakes and rivers.

Researchers lowered a steel grab from a boat to collect sediment from ten locations along a 320 km section of the river from Lake St. Francis to Québec City. Microbeads were sieved from the sediment, and then sorted and counted under a microscope. “We found them in nearly every grab sample taken. The perfect multi-coloured spheres stood out from natural sediment, even though they were the size of sand grains,” said the lead author of the study, Rowshyra Castañeda, a former McGill MSc student (now at University of Toronto).

At some locations, the researchers measured over 1000 microbeads per liter of sediment, a magnitude that rivals the world’s most contaminated ocean sediments. “We were surprised to find such concentrations at the bottom of a river”, says McGill professor Anthony Ricciardi, who supervised the study. “It was previously assumed that floating microplastics are flushed through rivers to the sea. Now we have evidence that rivers can act as a sink for this pollution.”

The prevalence of microplastics in the St. Lawrence River raises the possibility that they are being consumed by fish and other animals. The environmental effects of microplastics are poorly known; but the surfaces of such particles attract chemical pollutants, including PCBs, which can be transferred to animals that ingest the plastics. “At present, we cannot predict the consequences of the accumulation of these non-biodegradable particles in freshwater ecosystems” added Ricciardi, whose lab is investigating whether the microbeads are being consumed by fish in the river.

With growing recognition of microplastics as an emerging threat to waterways, some U.S. states (Illinois, New York, Minnesota, Ohio, and California) have recently adopted or are considering legislation that bans the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics. No such legislation has yet been proposed in Canada.

More information: R.A. Castañeda, S. Avlijas, M.A. Simard, A. Ricciardi. 2014. “Microplastic pollution in St. Lawrence River sediments”. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Scienceswww.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/a… 1139/cjfas-2014-0281

mindblowingscience:

Why Tiny Microbes Mean Big Things for Farming

On a frigid day last February, Maren Friesen drove eight hours across snow-covered plains to Centralia, Pennsylvania. A fire ignited a seam of coal below the town in 1962, and more than 60 years later it’s still smoldering away underground. The place is a steaming, smoldering wasteland—one that may hold a key to feeding the world.
Friesen, a microbiologist, is on a hunt for a microbe thought to live in these strange, hot soils. The humble bacterium has an unusual ability that may help farmers grow more crops.
More than a decade ago, German scientists described the elusive bacterium, known as Streptomyces thermoautotrophicus, which has a special knack for converting nitrogen from the air to a form that plants can use—even in the presence of oxygen, which normally poisons the bacterial enzyme that pumps out nitrogen. The process is called “fixing” nitrogen.
But after the initial finding about the bacterium, it apparently went missing. If it can be found again, and its abilities engineered into plants that normally can’t fix nitrogen, farmers could grow more crops using less fertilizer.
And this bacterium is just one of many that could change farming. Among the millions of microorganisms right under our feet could lie many untapped tools for improving agriculture. These microbes are already making soils fertile and helping plants grow, and scientists hope to employ them, or at least borrow their skills, to boost crop yields.
Now, both university researchers and major agricultural companies are looking for new ways to use soil bacteria. Some hope to genetically engineer plants with microbial genes or to breed plants that better interact with beneficial soil microbes, and thus change the makeup of microbial communities to spur plant growth. Startups and established companies are racing to market microbial cocktails and so-called biologicals to do just this.

Continue Reading.

mindblowingscience:

Why Tiny Microbes Mean Big Things for Farming

On a frigid day last February, Maren Friesen drove eight hours across snow-covered plains to Centralia, Pennsylvania. A fire ignited a seam of coal below the town in 1962, and more than 60 years later it’s still smoldering away underground. The place is a steaming, smoldering wasteland—one that may hold a key to feeding the world.

Friesen, a microbiologist, is on a hunt for a microbe thought to live in these strange, hot soils. The humble bacterium has an unusual ability that may help farmers grow more crops.

More than a decade ago, German scientists described the elusive bacterium, known as Streptomyces thermoautotrophicus, which has a special knack for converting nitrogen from the air to a form that plants can use—even in the presence of oxygen, which normally poisons the bacterial enzyme that pumps out nitrogen. The process is called “fixing” nitrogen.

But after the initial finding about the bacterium, it apparently went missing. If it can be found again, and its abilities engineered into plants that normally can’t fix nitrogen, farmers could grow more crops using less fertilizer.

And this bacterium is just one of many that could change farming. Among the millions of microorganisms right under our feet could lie many untapped tools for improving agriculture. These microbes are already making soils fertile and helping plants grow, and scientists hope to employ them, or at least borrow their skills, to boost crop yields.

Now, both university researchers and major agricultural companies are looking for new ways to use soil bacteria. Some hope to genetically engineer plants with microbial genes or to breed plants that better interact with beneficial soil microbes, and thus change the makeup of microbial communities to spur plant growth. Startups and established companies are racing to market microbial cocktails and so-called biologicals to do just this.

Continue Reading.

(via shychemist)

origamirabbit:

Bartosz Wojda tattoo

(via andybrwn)

thenewenlightenmentage:

A Black Hole Doesn’t Die — It Does Something A Lot Weirder
Black holes are basically “game over, man,” for anything that gets too close to them, but they aren’t invincible. In fact, they’re always in the process of self-destructing. We’ll look at how they fizzle out, and see if we can help them do it faster.
The Event Horizon
Realistically speaking, you are dead as soon as you get anywhere near a black hole. You’ll be snapped like a rubber band by the differences in the gravitational pull on your top and bottom half, or you’ll be fried by radiation (more on that later). No one in the foreseeable future (even if we try to foresee multiple millennia into the future) will get close to a black hole. Pass the event horizon, however, and you don’t even have an unforeseeable future. Once material gets beyond the event horizon, it’s being pulled into the black hole with such force that it doesn’t escape. Not even light gets out. Once something has gone beyond the event horizon, it no longer really “counts” as part of the universe anymore.
Continue Reading

thenewenlightenmentage:

A Black Hole Doesn’t Die — It Does Something A Lot Weirder

Black holes are basically “game over, man,” for anything that gets too close to them, but they aren’t invincible. In fact, they’re always in the process of self-destructing. We’ll look at how they fizzle out, and see if we can help them do it faster.

The Event Horizon

Realistically speaking, you are dead as soon as you get anywhere near a black hole. You’ll be snapped like a rubber band by the differences in the gravitational pull on your top and bottom half, or you’ll be fried by radiation (more on that later). No one in the foreseeable future (even if we try to foresee multiple millennia into the future) will get close to a black hole. Pass the event horizon, however, and you don’t even have an unforeseeable future. Once material gets beyond the event horizon, it’s being pulled into the black hole with such force that it doesn’t escape. Not even light gets out. Once something has gone beyond the event horizon, it no longer really “counts” as part of the universe anymore.

Continue Reading

(via shychemist)

mucholderthen:

Latest Paleo illustration from Nobu Tamura:THE OLDEST NORTH AMERICAN VERTEBRATEAstraspids: Jawless armored fish from the Ordovician 455 million years ago
Source: Nobu Tamura / Spinops

Astraspis (‘star shield’) is an extinct genus of primitive jawless fish from the Ordovician of Central North America and Bolivia (Astraspis - Wikipedia)

Astraspis desiderata Walcott, 1892 Chordata → Craniata → Agnatha → †Pteraspidimorpha → †Astraspida

Late Ordovician  //  Harding Fm  //  Colorado, US Length: 20 cm
The headshield of Astraspis was made of hundreds of small bony plates called tesserae. With Eriptychius, they constitute the earliest known definite vertebrates from North America. 

April 20, 2014 // Copyright © Nobu Tamura under Creative Commons 3.0 Unported 
More information at Tamura’s Paleo Exhibit …

mucholderthen:

Latest Paleo illustration from Nobu Tamura:
THE OLDEST NORTH AMERICAN VERTEBRATE
Astraspids: Jawless armored fish from the Ordovician 
455 million years ago

Source: Nobu Tamura / Spinops

Astraspis (‘star shield’) is an extinct genus of primitive jawless fish from the Ordovician of Central North America and Bolivia (Astraspis - Wikipedia)

Astraspis desiderata Walcott, 1892
Chordata → Craniata → Agnatha → Pteraspidimorpha → Astraspida

Late Ordovician  //  Harding Fm  //  Colorado, US
Length: 20 cm

The headshield of Astraspis was made of hundreds of small bony plates called tesserae. With Eriptychius, they constitute the earliest known definite vertebrates from North America. 

April 20, 2014 // Copyright © Nobu Tamura under Creative Commons 3.0 Unported 

More information at Tamura’s Paleo Exhibit …

(via infinity-imagined)

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

Behind airplanes in flight, water vapor from the engine exhaust will sometimes condense in the wingtip vortices, thereby forming visible contrails.  The two initially parallel vortex lines are unstable and any small perturbation to them—a slight crosswind, for example—will cause an instability known as the Crow instability. The contrails become wavy, with the amplitude of the wave growing exponentially in time due to interactions between the two vortices. Eventually, the vortex lines can touch and pinch off into vortex rings. The effect is also quite noticeable when smoke generators are used on a plane, and there are some great examples in this air show video between 3:41:00 and 3:44:00. (Video credit: M. Landy-Gyebnar; h/t to Urs)

(via mindblowingscience)