Tag Archives | Nature

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.

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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

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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.

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Do You Suffer From Nature-Deficit Disorder?

BachalpseeflowersTell me you don’t, I dare you… Timothy Egan explains why in the New York Times:

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.

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Archaeologists Reveal Neanderthals to Have Been Even More Badass Than Previously Thought

mezhirichIt 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]

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The Beauty Of Minefield Landscapes

3flowersWill 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:

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.

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Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution

Darwin FishJonathan Dudley writes on Huffington Post:

As someone raised evangelical, I realize anti-evolutionists believe they are defending the Christian tradition. But as a seminary graduate now training to be a medical scientist, I can say that, in reality, they’ve abandoned it.

In theory, if not always in practice, past Christian theologians valued science out of the belief that God created the world scientists study. Augustine castigated those who made the Bible teach bad science, John Calvin argued that Genesis reflects a commoner’s view of the physical world, and the Belgic confession likened scripture and nature to two books written by the same author.

These beliefs encouraged past Christians to accept the best science of their day, and these beliefs persisted even into the evangelical tradition. As Princeton Seminary’s Charles Hodge, widely considered the father of modern evangelical theology, put it in 1859: “Nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible; and we only interpret the Word of God by the Word of God when we interpret the Bible by science.”

In this analysis, Christians must accept sound science, not because they don’t believe God created the world, but precisely because they do …

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Longest-Living Two-Headed Janus Cat Turns Twelve

bildeA household pet that deserves to be worshiped as a god. Via the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:

He has earned a spot as the longest lived Janus cat in the new edition of the Guinness World Records. The cat’s owner is a Worcester woman named Marty Stevens who has owned Frank and Louie since a local breeder brought him into Tufts Veterinary Clinic to be euthanized when he was a day old.

Janus cats, named after the Roman god with two faces, are extremely rare and seldom live more than a few days after being born. Often they die within hours. But under Marty’s dedicated care Frank and Louie flourished. He turned 12 years old on Sept. 8.

Frank and Louie has two mouths, two noses and two normal eyes with one larger non-functioning eye in the center. The cat has two faces, but only one head and brain, so the faces react in unison and not as separate entities.

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Wild & Crazy Sci-Fi Abilities of Real-Life Plants

LSOHVia Blastr:

Plants don’t get enough respect as sci-fi monsters. Sure, Triffids will always rule, but sci-fi baddies tend to be mutants, zombies, vampires and other altered mammals. This is in ignorance of plants’ amazingly creepy special abilities. To prove it, we’ve dug up six plant skills that freak us out more than Godzilla.

Eating Rats: Okay, here’s the horrifying plot: You’re a missionary near the Philippine Archipelago. While doing your daily missioning or whatever, you wander up to the top of a mountain. Thirsty, you stumble upon what looks like an ornate birdbath filled with nectar. Leaning over to take a sip, you see a dead rat inside … and it’s slowly being digested by the plant.

This is Nepenthes attenboroughii, one of the most badass scary plants on Earth. See, while most pitcher plants stick to eating bugs, Nepenthes attenboroughii prefers to lure in birds and rats by looking as tasty as possible.

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