Tag Archives | Nature

The Growing Silence Of The Natural World

The rich, complex musical symphonies produced by nature are now being irrevocably destroyed. The Guardian writes:

When musician and naturalist Bernie Krause drops his microphones into the pristine coral reef waters of Fiji, he picks up a raucous mix of sighs, beats, glissandos, cries, groans, tones, grunts, beats and clicks. The water pulsates with the sound of creatures vying for acoustic bandwidth. He hears crustaceans, parrot fish, anemones, wrasses, sharks, shrimps, puffers and surgeonfish.

But half a mile away, where the same reef is badly damaged, he can only pick up the sound of waves and a few snapping shrimp. It is, he says, the desolate sound of extinction.

Krause, whose electronic music with Paul Beaver was used on classic films like Rosemary’s Baby and Apocalypse Now, has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species, collecting 4,500 hours of sound from many of the world’s pristine habitats.

But such is the rate of species extinction and the deterioration of pristine habitat that he estimates half these recordings are now archives, impossible to repeat because the habitats no longer exist or because they have been so compromised by human noise.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Fukushima Disaster Produced Mutant Irradiated Butterflies

Radiation turns your dreams to nightmares, via Mother Jones:

Researchers collected butterflies immediately following the nuclear meltdown and six months later, both from the surrounding areas of Fukushima and from various other localities in Japan. As compared with the butterflies collected from elsewhere, Fukushima butterflies showed some abnormally-developed legs, dented eyes, deformed wing shapes, and changes to the color and spot patterns of their wings, with an overall abnormality rate of around 12 percent.

While these levels of mutations were still relatively mild, more alarming were the same data on butterflies collected six months later, in September of last year. The overall rate of similar mutations among these butterflies was around 28 percent, while this number skyrocketed to around 52 percent in the second generation produced from the collected butterflies.

The study renews worries that humans, too, might be affected by the released radiation in the Fukushima area, but the researchers insist that this is not an easy line to draw.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Nazi Plan To Breed Lost Animal Species

Jurassic Park fifty years prior? Cabinet Magazine on a strange form of zoology in Nazi Germany, centered around the cordoning off of untainted forests for the re-creation of pure, ancient breeds of ponies, boars, and a mystical striped oxen called the auroch:

In 1920, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck, directors of the Berlin and Munich zoos, respectively, began a two-decade breeding experiment. Working with domestic cattle sought out for their “primitive” characteristics, they attempted to recreate “in appearance and behavior” the living likeness of the animals’ extinct wild ancestor: the aurochs.

This conflation of biological and aesthetic destiny coincided with a strain of Nazi thought that sought to apply pseudo-Darwinian theories in support of a racialized conception of the state. In this mode, the zoologist Konrad Lorenz identified parallels between the changes he observed in animals as the result of their domestication and what he saw as the deleterious genetic effects of civilization.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The A to Z of Foraging

Fir002 (CC)

From The Ecologist:

Fed up of paying a premium for supermarket berries and herbs? Take a walk on the wild side and pick your own

Foraging – a word that evokes images of wild boars scouring for truffles and dawn raids on your local woodland’s wild mushroom supply – is set to become a major food trend in 2012, according to a recent study by food and drink tasting company My Secret Kitchen. Fresh, wild food is an attractive option for those strapped for cash or who simply want to avoid supermarket produce and eat more naturally. ‘During the recession, more people have been buying British produce and cooking homemade dishes so the natural next step was foraging,’ says Phil Moran of My Secret Kitchen. ‘It’s all about people wanting to go back to their roots and to feel more in control psychologically.’

Fortunately though, raiding Mother Nature’s buffet of goodies doesn’t require burying your face into the forest floor wild-hog-style.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Back To Eden

After years of back-breaking toil in ground ravaged by the effects of man-made growing systems, Paul Gautschi has discovered a taste of what God intended for mankind in the garden of Eden. Some of the vital issues facing agriculture today include soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, weed control, pest control, crop rotation, and PH issues. None of these issues exist in the unaltered state of nature or in Paul's gardens and orchards. "Back to Eden" invites you to take a walk with Paul as he teaches you sustainable organic growing methods that are capable of being implemented in diverse climates around the world.
Continue Reading

Mysterious Electric Blue Clouds Appear Again Over the Poles

Writes Jesus Diaz on Gizmodo:
Every year around this time, mysterious electric blue clouds appear over the North and South pole. They are called noctilucent clouds and they can only be seen in deep twilight, when the Sun is below the horizon. According to NASA, "their origin is still largely a mystery": "Various theories associate them with meteoric dust, rocket exhaust, global warming—or some mixture of the three." They are the highest clouds, located almost on the edge of space at 54 miles (85 kilometers) from the Earth's surface, in the mesosphere. They are very difficult to observe, but they appear as white and blue tendrils when they are illuminated by the Sun and the rest of the atmosphere is in our planet's shadow...
Continue Reading

How Man Changes The Soundscape Of Nature

Alastair Leithead profiles the fascinating work of Bernie Krause for BBC News:
A landscape may look healthy, but how does it sound, and what does that say about how its wildlife is doing? It's a question Bernie Krause has spent much of his life trying to answer. To do so, he's recorded the sounds of thousands of places in far-flung corners of the world.

Dr. Bernie Krause: The Great Animal Orchestra from California Academy of Sciences and California Academy of Sciences on FORA.tv He coined the word "biophany" to describe these recordings...

Continue Reading

Today’s Environment Can Influence Behavior Generations Later

He's Coming!

Photo: An-d (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Washington State University have seen an increased reaction to stress in animals whose ancestors were exposed to an environmental compound generations earlier.

The findings, published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, put a new twist on the notions of nature and nurture, with broad implications for how certain behavioral tendencies might be inherited. The researchers—David Crews at Texas, Michael Skinner at Washington State and colleagues—exposed gestating female rats to vinclozolin, a popular fruit and vegetable fungicide known to disrupt hormones and have effects across generations of animals. The researchers then put the rats’ third generation of offspring through a variety of behavioral tests and found they were more anxious, more sensitive to stress, and had greater activity in stress-related regions of the brain than descendants of unexposed rats.

“We are now in the third human generation since the start of the chemical revolution, since humans have been exposed to these kinds of toxins,” says Crews.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Healing Hive And Humans

maryam bee hiveIn the world we live in, our paradigm for health and healing is dominated by allopathic medicine with an emphasis on surgery, tests and doling out prescription drugs. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry and while it provides many important and life-saving solutions, it leaves out a holistic approach to health and almost completely discounts a nutrition and food-based approach to health.

Thankfully, that is changing, albeit slowly! Not only do we have access to cutting-edge nutritional science; we are remembering the importance of listening to our bodies. Food is truly thy medicine and more and more of us are tapping into thousands of years of ancient nutritional wisdom.

But with all the information online and on the shelves, how do we really know what is good for us and what isn’t??

I’ve seen countless folks walking around the aisles of Whole Foods Market not knowing what to buy. For instance, not too long ago, I bumped into a Hispanic man with red swollen eyes who had been exposed to Asbestos on the job.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Musical Performance By Four Tropical Plants

dg-site2Our senses provide us with only a small slice of the beauty occurring in the natural world around us. The Data Garden Quartet is music generated by living plants:

Data Garden presents a live exhibition recording of Quartet, the first plant-generated audio composition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The electronic impulses of four plants, interpreted by humans with the help of computers, has been employed to organize sound into beauty perceivable by the human ear. While the means of producing this beauty can be described in technical terms, the natural creative force generating this experience is less apparent.

We all think we know what nature sounds like. It’s birds chirping, wind through trees, thunder echoing through the valley. These are sounds that come from physical phenomena in nature, producing waves perceivable by the human ear: the need to mate, currents of air and water, static electricity. There are other phenomena in our natural environment, however, that produce information which we cannot perceive through our biological senses.

Read the rest
Continue Reading