Art From the Caddisfly

Gorgeous.

via This Is Colossal:

caddis-gif-2

Right now, in almost every river in the world, some 12,000 different species of caddisfly larvae wriggle and crawl through sediment, twigs, and rocks in an attempt to build temporary aquatic cocoons. To do this, the small, slow-moving creatures excrete silk from salivary glands near their mouths which they use like mortar to stick together almost every available material into a cozy tube. A few weeks later a fully developed caddisfly emerges and almost immediately flies away.

After first learning about caddisflies, self-taught (and self-professed amateur) artist Hubert Duprat had a thought. Had a caddisfly ever naturally encountered a fleck of gold in a river and used it to build a home? And then one step further: what if a caddisfly had only gold and other precious stones or jewels to work with?

drupat-9

Trichoptères, French for the scientific name of the caddisfly, is Duprat’s answer to that question.

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A Letter to George Orwell from a High School Student

The Library of Congress hosts a national reading and writing program (Letters about Literature) that invites students in grades 4-12 to write letters to an author – living or deceased. Here’s one such letter from Devi Acharya in Missouri.

via The Library of Congress blog:

George Orwell

George Orwell

To George Orwell:

You were right, you were right, you were right. I’m sorry I never saw it before, and I feel like an idiot, sitting here and penning this to you when you were so unspeakably right. You shouldn’t have published those books of yours under the guise of fiction—how could fiction be what’s happening outside my very doorstep! People get so worked up, angry at some imaginary oppressive tyrant when the very dystopias we fear and loathe are being built around us. I’m only just beginning to see them myself—brick and mortar meant to keep worlds apart, shields of hatred and arrows of intolerance, warlords arming for battle while the unwitting peasants continue to live from day to day.

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Largest Living Organism is Not the Blue Whale

The largest living organism, once considered to be the blue whale, might not be what you expect. The discovery of a giant fungus in Oregon has claimed the prize.

W.J.Pilsak (Walter J. Pilsak, Waldsassen)

W.J.Pilsak (Walter J. Pilsak, Waldsassen)

via Scientific American:

The discovery of this giant Armillaria ostoyae in 1998 heralded a new record holder for the title of the world’s largest known organism, believed by most to be the 110-foot- (33.5-meter-) long, 200-ton blue whale. Based on its current growth rate, the fungus is estimated to be 2,400 years old but could be as ancient as 8,650 years, which would earn it a place among the oldest living organisms as well.

A team of forestry scientists discovered the giant after setting out to map the population of this pathogenic fungus in eastern Oregon. The team paired fungal samples in petri dishes to see if they fused (see photo below), a sign that they were from the same genetic individual, and used DNA fingerprinting to determine where one individual fungus ended.

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Were Siberia’s Mystery Craters Caused by Explosive Methane Releases?

Screen-Shot-2014-07-19-at-8.47.14-AM-640x381Uh oh…

Via News.co.au:

The end of the world could be starting right now — in a frozen Siberian wasteland known as Yamal. It translates as “The End of the Land”.

The first mysterious crater was spotted by oil workers earlier this month. It was an 80m wide cavern that reached deep into the earth.

Since then, the Siberian Times reports goatherds have found a further two enormous vents in the ground.

Russian researchers have returned from their investigation of the first find and taken water and soil samples to help resolve how the hole was formed. Some say aliens. Some say they’re “hellmouths” — gateways to the undead.

But scientists already have a pretty good idea.

Explosive vents of vast quantities of methane gas.

Now a new, ominous, name could be attached to them: Dragon’s mouths.

Here’s where a blog posted by American professor in glaciology Dr Jason Box at the weekend comes in: “The dragon breath hypothesis has me losing sleep.”

THE DRAGON’S BURP

Dr Box highlights signs of alarmingly huge spikes of methane being released into the atmosphere above Siberia.

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Atheist TV Channel Launches

atheist tvWell I don’t see why there shouldn’t be Atheist TV, considering the proliferation of Christian and other religious television channels. Plus atheists can be just as rigid and dogmatic as religious extremists… From the New York Times:

Atheists are angry, and watch out, because now they have a television channel.

This week the organization American Atheists announced the premiere of Atheist TV, available through the streaming service Roku and over the Internet. That news will certainly prompt assorted knee-jerk reactions in some quarters, and perhaps some confusion:

“Atheist TV? It’ll be full of incest and smut and debaucheries of all kinds. Oh, wait; that’s HBO.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be nonstop mockery of conservative Christians and Republicans and Middle America. Oh, wait; that’s Comedy Central.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be godless wiccans and flesh-eating zombies and serial killers and all manner of other people who lack the Judeo-Christian morals that built America.

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Why We Can’t Wage War on Drugs

“The war on drugs was always a war against an idea. But ideas have a shelf-life, too, and this one has lost its potency,” writes Mike Jay at Aeon:

When the US President Richard Nixon announced his ‘war on drugs’ in 1971, there was no need to define the enemy. He meant, as everybody knew, the type of stuff you couldn’t buy in a drugstore. Drugs were trafficked exclusively on ‘the street’, within a subculture that was immediately identifiable (and never going to vote for Nixon anyway). His declaration of war was for the benefit the majority of voters who saw these drugs, and the people who used them, as a threat to their way of life. If any further clarification was needed, the drugs Nixon had in his sights were the kind that was illegal.

Nixon and Kissinger - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency.jpg
Nixon and Kissinger – Flickr – The Central Intelligence Agency” by The Central Intelligence AgencyNixon and Kissinger.

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Issue Two of The Nexian – Official E-Zine of the DMT-Nexus

This one is research themed and features an interview with Rick Strassman:

The Nexian publishing collective is delighted to announce the release of Issue Two of TheCOVER IMAGE Nexian! This issue places an emphasis on psychedelic research in its myriad of forms. Given this theme and the focus of this e-zine, we have dedicated a special section of this issue to the late Alexander Shulgin. We hope you will find as much inspiration in reading Issue Two as we found producing it.

With members of the DMT-Nexus stepping up to make terrific contributions in arenas including the sustainable sourcing of psychedelic plants, comprehensive harm reduction, and examinations of psychedelics and culture, this issue truly has something for everyone. In Issue Two you will find topics ranging from underground psychedelic research, to sanctioned psychedelic research, to surprising revelations that, according to the Controlled Substances Act, America’s citrus growers may be running the largest drug production ring in the world, and much, much more!… Read the rest

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Harmony Korine Interviews Kenneth Anger

Picture of Harmony Korine via Creative Commons.

Picture of Harmony Korine via Creative Commons.

Sorry about having two Harmony Korine posts in one day, but I couldn’t wait to share this one. In the interview, Kenneth Anger touches upon his beliefs in Thelema, his filmmaking style, the missing Malaysian plane, and more.

via Interview Magazine:

To describe Kenneth Anger as a “cult filmmaker” seems requisite but incomplete. The 87-year-old native Angeleno is indeed the writer and director of the surrealist shortsInauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954-66), Scorpio Rising (1963), and Lucifer Rising (1970-81)—some of the wildest and most profoundly influential experimental films of the last century. But his salacious narrative history of the industry, Hollywood Babylon, originally published in 1960, is also kitsch-famous, a kind of gossip gospel in the land of holy celebrity. His film and video works are in the permanent collections of various museums of modern art. And he is also the most famous living practitioner of Thelema—the ritual-based doctrine dictated to Aleister Crowley by the spiritual messenger Aiwass.

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Summer Camp in North Korea

You can now send your kid to summer camp in North Korea.

via Mashable:

Songdowon International Children’s Camp, which has been operational for nearly 30 years, was originally intended mainly to deepen relations with friendly countries in the Communist or non-aligned world. But officials say they are willing to accept youth from anywhere — even the United States.

The statues of Kim Il Sung (left) and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (April 2012). By J.A. de Roo

The statues of Kim Il Sung (left) and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (April 2012). By J.A. de Roo

The camp is located in Wonsan, east from Pyongyang on the coast of the Sea of Japan. It’s a popular beach destination among North Koreans, with clear water and sandy beaches.

After some guidance from North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, and a major face lift, the camp reopened Tuesday for this year’s flock of foreign campers — more than 300 young children and teenagers from Russia, China, Vietnam, Ireland and Tanzania.

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