Christmas Island is a unique natural habitat located in the Indian Ocean with many endemic species. The national park covers two-thirds of the island, which has been referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.
Many people are aware of the red crabs whose mass migration to the sea has been described as one of the wonders of the natural world. Christmas Island has many other species of crabs, including the impressive robber crabs (Gecarcoidea natalis). These may be the largest land-dwelling arthropod on Earth.
Together these abundant land crabs clear the forests of leaf litter and maintain burrows that prevent soil becoming compacted, creating an open and diverse forest.
This thriving natural system, however, was disrupted by an invasive [ ... ]
The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Due to its striped lower back, it is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is believed to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its family, Thylacinidae; specimens of other members of the family have been found in the fossil record dating back to the late Oligocene.
Surviving evidence suggests that it was a relatively shy, nocturnal creature with the general appearance of a medium-to-large-size dog, except for its stiff tail and abdominal pouch (reminiscent of a kangaroo) and dark transverse stripes that radiated from the top of its back, simil [ ... ]
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a recreational, psychedelic drug that alter awareness of the surroundings, perceptions, and feelings, as well as sensations and images that seem real though they are not.
LSD works by binding primarily to the dopamine receptors and adrenal receptors in the brain. It also binds to most of the serotonin receptors. The binding process is believed to overstimulate the natural neurotransmission process, activating the receptors and altering thought and perceptions.
Though medical researchers have not scientifically proven how this process alters consciousness, they are certain about the binding process which links hallucinogenic chemicals to receptors and disrupts neurotransmission between receptors and parts of [ ... ]
A living, swimming ghost fish has been seen live for the first time ever.
The fish, part of the family Aphyonidae, was caught on camera during an ongoing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) exploration by the ship Okeanos Explorer. The exploration centers on the deep ocean at Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, a protected area spanning 95,216 square miles (246,608 square kilometers) east of the Philippines.
The secretive fish was swimming along a ridge 8,202 feet (2,500 meters) down, according to NOAA. The animal is about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long, with translucent, scale-less skin and eerie, colorless eyes. No fish in the family Aphyonidae has ever been seen alive before.
To tap into scarce water supplies, most desert plants have extensive root systems that burrow deep or spread wide. But one desert moss has a different trick up its sleeve: a thirst-quenching structure called an awn. Awns are tiny, hairlike structures that project from the end of each leaf to capture water (above). For the first time, scientists have examined in detail how this moss (Syntrichia caninervis) pulls water right from the air using its awns. At the smallest scale, the awns are covered with grooves about 100 nanometers deep and 200 nanometers wide, the perfect size for dew to condense within them when conditions are right. Those nanogrooves lie within larger troughs that measure about 1.5 micrometers deep and 3 micrometers wide, a [ ... ]
A Turing machine is a hypothetical machine thought of by the mathematician Alan Turing in 1936. Despite its simplicity, the machine can simulate ANY computer algorithm, no matter how complicated it is.
Put simply, the Turing machine isn't a physical machine, but you can imagine it as an never-ending line of tape, broken down into squares. On each of those squares is a 1, a 0, or nothing at all. The machine reads one square at a time, and depending on what it reads, it performs an action - it either erases the number and writes a new one before moving on, or simply moves on to a different square.
Each of those actions, which mathematicians call a 'state', are determined by the mathematical algorithm or problem the Turing machine has been desi [ ... ]
After a broken neck left him quadriplegic, Ian Burkhart was told he would never be able to use his hands. Now he can grasp a bottle and pick up a credit card by using a computer plugged directly into his brain. Special software is able to decode his thoughts and convert them into electrical signals in his hand, bypassing the damaged nerves in his spine. Now Ian has regained an amazing degree of control over his hand, each movement stimulated by his own thoughts.
The rare Iranian spider-tailed viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) waggles a fake "spider" - actually a fleshy lure with leg-like scales at the tip of its tail - to tempt birds within striking distance. Until 2001, the viper was known only from a single misidentified specimen collected during a U.S. expedition to Iran in 1968. The weird structure on its tail was so unlike anything documented in other snakes that it was written off as a birth defect or an abnormal growth. While scientists had suspected its unique tail was used for luring prey, new observations of the dramatic bird captures now confirm this. The new study also revealed the viper starts growing its tail lure after birth, and that it isn’t complete until adulthood.
A French photographer has conducted an interesting experiment in Gabon by installing mirrors in several locations in the wilds and observing the way the animals reacted to their own reflections. The result was most amusing, to say the least.
Oven a century ago, people were using technology to help them solve math problems. This 100-year-old calculator still works today, and it can calculate into the billions. While the machine may be mathematically accurate, it weighs approximately 70 pounds, significantly more than modern day calculators. That doesn’t sound very convenient. But then again, imagine how strong you would get carrying a 70-pound calculator around school