Biloela — Wild Cockatoos, Leila Jeffreys
A reminder that the brain is not an orderly system of wires connected end-to-end, but rather the most powerful ball of tangled Christmas lights on Earth.
So often we see neurons drawn in isolation, but cutting into a section of brain is like slicing through a mashed-up wad of multicolor Play-Doh snakes, except everything is the same color, and it’s really small.
Sometimes I wonder if my analogies make any sense. Just go with me here.
From the genus Magnapinna, the Bigfin Squid's long tentacles can grow up to four and six meteres (13-29 feet). Their purpose? Scientists speculate that they run them along the sea floor to snatch prey.
Fruit fly larval brain
With over 100 billion neurons, humans are capable of impossibly intricate behaviors. Fruit flies, on the other hand, have 100,000 neurons—a mere 0.0001% of what we possess. Robot makers turn to fruit flies to understand how a system with “low computational power” can execute sophisticated “commands,” such as honing in on a food source in a chaotic environment. Using their antennae, fruit flies detect odors arising from food, but the odor plume is chaotically dispersed by wind. How do flies know precisely where to land? Researchers at the University of Washington demonstrated that after sensing an odor, fruit flies visually search for round, high-contrast objects as potential odor sources. If it’s inedible, flies move on to the next object. Understanding how fruit flies use these simple cues could aid in designing programs for controlling robots of the future.
Image by Christian Klämbt, University of Muenster, Germany.
A binary star is a star system consisting of two stars orbiting around their common center of mass. The brighter star is called the primary and the other is its companion star or secondary.
Binary stars are often detected optically, in which case they are called visual binaries. Many visual binaries have long orbital periods of several centuries or millennia and therefore have orbits which are uncertain or poorly known. They may also be detected by indirect techniques, such as spectroscopy (spectroscopic binaries) or astrometry (astrometric binaries). If a binary star happens to orbit in a plane along our line of sight, its components will eclipse and transit each other; these pairs are called eclipsing binaries, or, as they are detected by their changes in brightness during eclipses and transits, photometric binaries.
The first GIF shows an artist’s impression of an eclipsing binary star system. As the two stars orbit each other they pass in front of one another and their combined brightness, seen from a distance, decreases.
Algol, known colloquially as the Demon Star, is a bright star in the constellation Perseus. It is one of the best known eclipsing binaries, (2nd GIF) although Algol is actually a three-star system (Beta Persei A, B, and C) in which the large and bright primary Beta Persei A is regularly eclipsed by the dimmer Beta Persei B.
The second animation was assembled from 55 images of the CHARA interferometer in the near-infrared H-band, sorted according to orbital phase.
Image credit: ESO/CHARA
When they emerge by the 10’s of thousands, they eat snow for water. Then, they ball by the thousands in a mass competition of males competing for females. Unbelievable sights at the Narcisse snake den
Astronauts undergo spacewalk training in the watters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at Johnson Space Center, Houston, February 3, 2011. (NASA)
Absolutely beautiful images from Botswana, the colours and patterns are breath taking. It’s so easy to forget how incredible nature can be. 7
‘Being above the ground at such low elevations, and having the ability to precisely maneuver, was like gliding over an enormous painting and being able to create brushstrokes at will. As soon as I saw the landscape from above I knew there was potential to create a special body of work.’
Sand Bubbler Crabs are tiny crabs who live in burrows on the beach.
They can only eat at low tide and the stuff they eat is microscopic, so they have to get to work fast.
They shovel sand into their mouth, filter out the bits of food, and throw aside the rest as a bubbly pellet.
Their fine work is destroyed when the tide comes in, but until then the work of numerous Sand Bubblers is a sight to behold!