Tag Archives | Nature
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...
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.
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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.
In 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
Our 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:
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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.
Tell me you don’t, I dare you… Timothy Egan explains why in the New York Times:
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Your day breaks, your mind aches for something stimulating to match the stirrings of the season. The gate at the urban edge is open, here to the Santa Catalina Mountains, and yet you turn inward, to pixels and particle-board vistas.
Something’s amiss. A third of all American adults — check, it just went up to 35.7 percent — are obese. The French don’t even have a word for fat, Paul Rudnick mused in a mock-Parisian tone in The New Yorker last week. “If a woman is obese,” he wrote, “we simply call her American.”
And, of course, our national branding comes with a host of deadly side effects: heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer. Medical costs associated with obesity and inactivity are nearly $150 billion a year.
This grim toll is well known.
Artist and TED Fellow Nathalie Miebach takes weather data from massive storms and turns it into complex sculptures that embody the forces of nature and time. These sculptures then become musical scores for a string quartet to play.
It turns out they built ornate homes out of bone. This from Richard Gray of The Telegraph:
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 44,000 year old Neanderthal building that was constructed using the bones from mammoths. The circular building, which was up to 26 feet across at its widest point, is believed to be earliest example of domestic dwelling built from bone. Neanderthals, which died out around 30,000 years ago, were initially thought to have been relatively primitive nomads that lived in natural caves for shelter.
The new findings, however, suggest these ancient human ancestors had settled in areas to the degree that they built structures where they lived for extended periods of time. Analysis by researchers from the Muséum National d’Histories Naturelle in Paris also found that many of the bones had been decorated with carvings and ochre pigments…
[Continues at The Telegraph]
Will the landmines that were sprinkled across vast swaths of the globe during brutal twentieth-century wars ironically end up saving nature? In Bosnia, “nowhere [in the countryside] is safe” from mines — meaning that animals and plants can flourish where people fear to tread. BLDG BLOG has a gallery of gorgeous mine-infested landscapes and the horrifying devices buried beneath the surfaces:
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The Minescape project by Los Angeles-based photographer Brett Van Ort looks at the ironic effects of landmines on the preservation of natural landscapes, placing woods, meadows, and even remote country roads off-limits, fatally tainted terrains given back to animals and vegetation.
“Left over munitions and landmines from the wars in the early 1990s still litter the countryside in Bosnia,” Van Ort explains. Many deminers in the field believe roughly 10% of the country can still be deemed a landmine area. They also feel that nowhere in the countryside is safe, as they may clear one area but a torrential downpour may unearth landmines upstream or upriver.