Recommendations: Science

A gear system in Insects  

A follow up to the evolutionary screw post in a weevil earlier

Legs are coordinated through the action of gears in this leafhopper nymph. The article linked below talks about this discovery.
Article about Evolved Gear Mechanism

Posted on 09/13/13 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Evolutionary generation of simple machines at different scales  

The exoskeletal hip joint of this critter resembles a screw
Evolutionary machine: the socket of this insect's
hip serves as the nut to match the leg, which
resembles a screw.

Here's an interesting article about how evolution created a nut and bolt like structure top serve as the hip of a weevil.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/science/05obscrew.html

There have been numeous other studies that have found that evolution creates simple machines on both the large scale (much of our skeletal system can be models as levers and pulleys) and the tiny scale of protein molecules. Here's Dr. Trevor Lithgow's research on protein molecules (lay language)  or  Peer review.

Posted on 07/06/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Stunning Molecular Biology Animations  

Brining Science to the people in an understandable way.

This is great stuff. It makes science more accessible to people. It's one of the most  important callings for an artist today.

Posted on 04/14/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Solifluction in Urban Japan after the 2011 Earthquake  

A plaza built on reclaimed sea sediments settles after the earthquake.

Here's an amateur video of the results of settling sediments beneath a plaza in Japan. The earthquake jarred the saturated soil beneath the plaza, which led to the cracks and water and mud rising to the surface. Two things strike me:

  1. The rapidity with which the water seeps above the pavement.
  2. The absolute calm of the people in the area. If the earth opened up and urped muck in NYC, nothing less than pandemonium would ensue.

It amazes me how cultural differences can affect not only the behavior of the individual, but also crowd rection in sudden and potential dangerous circumstances.

Posted on 04/07/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Crepuscular  

It's what moose, lighting bugs, and woodcock have in common.
The capybara shares crepuscular habits with
fireflies, wombats, platypi, and red pandas.

Crepuscular is not one of those words that sounds like what it is. It simply means active during twilight of dawn or dusk. Matutinal crespucular organisms are active at dawn, whereas verspertine crespucular organisms are active at dusk.

The first known use of "crepuscular" was in 1668, according to Merriam-Webster online. "Crepusculum" means twilight in Latin.

Posted on 04/06/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bosonic-Composites  

A pile of clowns or particle physics?
Computer simulation of the production of a
Higgs Boson. Note the bilaterally symetrical orange
rays and blue ruffle in both the clown and the
modeled particle.

Bosons are force-carrying subatomic particles. Bosons associated with electromagnetic, strong, and weak forces have been observed. The graviton has not been observed and recently experimental physicists at Fermilab suspect that they may have evidence of the Higgs boson, the presence of which helps iron out some inconsistencies in contemporary physics.

Bosons can occupy the same quantum state (kind of like place)  and form composites with different combined properties. Some of these composites behave like bosons, others do not.  "Bosonic-composite" is the preferred term for clusters of bosons. Some bosonic-composites are mesons and He4 atoms.

Posted on 04/06/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich  

Investigations and adventures with Wolf Birds

Heinrich is one of a class of wildlife biologists who combines intuition and reason to arrive at a thorough and sensitive understanding of another species. The book, aptly titled for several reasons, explores the intelligence and emotional lives of several ravens, ravens who Heinrich knows individually and has followed for years.

Through the book one also becomes acquainted with Bernd Heinrich, who in addition to studying ravens in reclusive environments, writes books on many subjects and runs marathon distances regularly. I eagerly went on to read several of his books on other topics in addition to the corvids.

Posted on 03/25/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Moral Animal by Robert Wright  

Why we are the way we are: The new science of evolutionaary psychology

Wright's book is a fantastic journey into the dawning science of evolutionary psychology, more than simply a psych book, you'll learn about human evolutionary and cultural origins, and the biological foundation of ethics.

Wright brilliantly incorporates a biography of Charles Darwin into the mix, using Darwin's life as a case study for the principles of evolutionary biology. This book was a delight to me on so many levels, not to mention it bettered my understanding of the way we work.

Posted on 03/25/11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

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