Credit: Dirk Hölscher, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
I know what you're thinking … this has nothing to do with anything naughty. Any guesses?
It's a little more grounded than ... They are banana roots. …Read More »
An international team of scientists found that some banana types accumulate certain plant toxins near root tissues attacked by the parasitic nematode called Radopholus similis. That toxin is critical in giving the banana resistance to the pest, which stores droplets of the toxin and finally dies.
Here, the root of the susceptible banana variety Grande Naine (above) and the resistant banana variety Yangambi km5 (below). Less «
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Biomineral Single Crystals
Credit: Pupa U.P.A. Gilbert and Christopher E. Killian; University of Wisconsin-Madison
Biomineral crystals found in a sea urchin tooth. Geologic or synthetic mineral crystals usually have flat faces and sharp edges, whereas biomineral crystals…Read More »
can have strikingly uncommon forms that have evolved to enhance function. The image here was captured using environmental scanning electron microscopy and false-colored. Each color highlights a continuous singlecrystal of calcite (CaCO3) made by the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata, at the forming end of one of its teeth. Together, these biomineral crystals fill space, harden the tooth, and toughen it enough to grind rock. Less «
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Favorite Microbe Hangouts
Credit: Alex Valm
Microbes crawling around our bodies gravitate to and "hang out" with certain other types of bacteria in their little community. Researchers have known…Read More »
this much about microbes. But until now they could not see these cliques in action. A new microscope technique called CLASI-FISH (combinatorial labeling and spectral imaging fluorescent in situ hybridization), gave scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., a peak at the spatial arrangement of up to 20 microbes in a single field of view. They used the technique to analyze dental plaque, a complex biofilm known to contain at least 600 species of microbes. They were able to visually discriminate 15 different microbial types (shown here), and to determine which two types – Prevotella and Actinomyces – showed the most interspecies associations. Less «
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Pink and wrinkly
Credit: Photo by Monika Ward]
Pink and wrinkly, these little blobs are clearly some type of weird organism right?
Yep, they're newborn mice all cuddled together. Shown here, two black…Read More »
pups (note the black eyes) born via C-section among naturally albino pups in the lab. A foster mom raised the pups. See the full photo on the next slide. Less «
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Credit: Photo by Monika Ward
These newborn mice were part of a study that revealed just two genes are needed for male reproduction, at least in mice.
In the study, researchers injected…Read More »
two Y-chromosome genes into mouse embryos that lacked a Y chromosome, finding the embryos grew into adult mice that could produce offspring through assisted reproduction techniques. [Read full story] Less «
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Credit: Eric H. Cline, George Washington University
Old crushed flower pots? Well, they are old, 3,700 years old. These jars were discovered in an ancient palatial wine cellar unearthed by researchers at…Read More »
Tel Kabri in July 2013. The team worked in day and night shifts to excavate a total of 40 intact vessels during its six-week dig.
Result? The oldest known palatial wine cellar in the Middle East. The ancient wine bore little resemblance to the Bordeaux and Chianti of today — it was preserved and spiced with resin and herbs, including juniper, mint and myrtle. Some might say perfectly aged wine. [Read more about the ancient wine cellar] Less «
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Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
It's a satellite image of course, but of what? The image was snapped by the ASTER instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite on Nov. 15, 2013, after a devastating…Read More »
Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, pounding the island of Leyte (shown here) with winds nearing 195 mph (315 km/h) and a huge storm surge. This false-color image, and the "before" shot on the next slide, reveal some of the storm's devastating impacts.
The most dramatic change can be seen in the hills above Tacloban, a hard-hit city on Leyte, reports NASA's Earth Observatory. Comparing ASTER images snapped in 2004 (next slide) and in 2013, just days after the storm, reveals the hills were stripped bare of vegetation. Debris covers Tacloban, and floodwater ponds and upturned trees stripped of leaves dot the ravaged landscape. (Plant-covered land is red; bare ground is tan; water and shadows are black.) Less «
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haiyan before image
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite snapped this image of the Philippine…Read More »
island of Leyte on April 3, 2004 before Super Typhoon Haiyan hit on Nov. 15, 2013. (Plant-covered land is red; bare ground is tan; water and shadows are black.) Less «
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Sulfosalicylic Acid Crystal Formation
Credit: Thomas Balla
This image shows sulfosalicylic acid crystal formation as seen magnified 200 times using polarized light. The photo was taken by Thomas Balla of Fort Collins,…Read More »
Colo., and received honorable mention at Nikon's 2013 Small World microphotography competition. Less «
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This is a tough one, especially without seeing the full image.
Hints? If you are a biologist, you'll have a good shot at it. If you're a marine biologist,…Read More »
you have no excuse for not knowing, perhaps.
Answer: The image shows light refracting off a comb jelly, which is not a jellyfish. See the whole thing in the next slide. Less «
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Credit: Kevin Raskoff, MBARI, NOAA/OER
Comb jellies have connective tissues and a nervous system, and though they have tentacles and are all squishy, they are not really true jellyfish. In 2008,…Read More »
scientists discovered evidence indicating comb jellies were the first animals (sponges had previously laid claim to that title). Less «
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Red and glowing
Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory
This little pellet can power a spacecraft. Another hint: It's somewhat related to the stuff involved in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, 25 years ago today. …Read More »
That should be enough clues for an approximate guess. So …
The image shows a pellet of plutonium used to power the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) in either the Cassini mission to Saturn or the Galileo mission to Jupiter (we're not told which — top secret stuff, perhaps). Plutonium was also used to power equipment during Apollo moon landings.
The pellet glows red hot because of radioactive decay, which means energy is released in the form of ionizing particles. In a spacecraft, plutonium-238 — what you see above — is at the heart of a long-lived nuclear battery that converts heat from the decay into electricity to power the spacecraft instruments. Less «
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Another tricky one.
Look closely and make your guess before reading on …
It's a giant jellyfish unlike most you might ever have seen. Instead of long tentacles, this creature has fleshy arms that capture food. See the full image below.
This jelly can be as big as a washing machine. See on the next slide. Less «
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Credit: NOAA/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
This giant red-hued jellyfish called Tiburonia granrojo was described by American and Japanese researchers in 2003. It grows up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) in…Read More »
diameter and lives at depths of 2,000 to 4,800 feet (650 to 1,500 meters) in the ocean. First seen during submarine dives in 1993, the jellyfish is distinct in that it uses four to seven fleshy arms to capture food, rather than fine tentacles like other jellyfish. Less «
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Yes it slithers …
It slithers …
If you didn't figure out it's the skin of a snake, go ahead and smack yourself on the forehead now (and be careful if you…Read More »
go out in the woods).
You get two points if you guessed "rattlesnake." Check out the full image, with rattle, on the next slide. Less «
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Credit: Blair Bunting | Dreamstime.com
To create that spine-chilling noise, a rattlesnake's rattle moves back and forth about 60 times a second. The rattle's segments are formed more than once…Read More »
a year, each time the snake sheds its skin. And they sometimes break off. So it's a myth that you can tell a rattlesnake's age by the number of segments in its rattle.
If you're one who feels that chill just at the thought of snakes, you're not alone. Many people fear snakes, and scientists think humans may have evolved an innate tendency to sense snakes — and spiders — and to learn to fear them, because in fact they can be dangerous.
Did you know rattlesnakes can survive months without food, and they'll even grow while starving? Less «
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This might have looked like alien etchings, or maybe cave art, and to some it might tickle a memory that just can't be pinned down. You can see the full…Read More »
image on the next slide.
First, a hint … here's what Carl Sagan said about the subject of this image: "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet."
It is the lower-left portion of what's known as the Golden Record, one of the two phonograph records aboard NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. In fact, after 35 years Voyager 1 left the solar system in August 2012, researchers reported, taking its first steps in interstellar space. Each gold-plated copper disk holds images and sounds portraying the life and culture on Earth, plus music new and old from around the world. Less «
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The visible inscriptions on the record serve as a welcome and a guide. The etching that served as the teaser (in the lower left of the record) shows the…Read More »
location of our solar system with respect to 14 stars known as pulsars, and the period of rapid rotation of those stars is noted, to help aliens identify them. In the upper left of the record is a drawing of the record and the stylus carried with it, with instructions on how to play it. Less «
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This is a fun one. If you need a hint, try this: You're seeing just the top of something, and a full-size person is standing within it.
Hint No. 2: It's…Read More »
2 million years old. See the full image on the next slide. Less «
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Credit: Heritage Auctions.
It's billed as the world's largest shark jaw, measuring 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and 11 feet (3.4 m) across. The giant jaw is made from 182 fossilized…Read More »
from the extinct Carcharocles megalodon. Vito Bertucci, a jeweler-turned-fossil hunter, is behind the project. Less «