One of the driest places on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile - has become covered in a carpet of flowers, thanks to a year of extreme rainfall brought on by El Niño. El Niño is the abnormal warming of waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean around the equator.
Army ants (Eciton hamatum, shown above) can form living bridges without any oversight from a "lead" ant and with a clear cost-benefit ratio. The ants will create a path up to the point when too many workers are being diverted from collecting food and prey. Bridges will be the length of 10 to 20 ants - only a few centimeters, but swarms form several bridges a day, which save collective energy and maximize foraging time. The ants exhibit a level of collective intelligence that could provide new insights into animal behavior.
Li-Fi is a wireless technology that transmits high-speed data using visible light communication and will be available in the coming months. With scientists achieving speeds of 224 gigabits per second in the lab using Li-Fi earlier this year (that's equivalent to 18 movies of 1.5 GB each being downloaded every single second), the potential for this technology to change everything about the way we use the Internet is huge.
Scientists have now taken Li-Fi out of the lab for the first time, trialing it in offices and industrial environments in Tallinn, Estonia, reporting that they can achieve data transmission at 1 GB per second - that's 100 times faster than current average Wi-Fi speeds.
The technology uses Visible Light Communication, a medium [ ... ]
The blue-capped cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) has a special talent. Not only can it sing, it can shake a leg or two. For its courtship display, it holds a piece of nesting material in its beak, points its head upward, moves up and down, and sings. Both males and females bob and sing like this, and choose their partner. Now, researchers have found that as the bird bobs, it does a quick tap dance where it stomps its feet.
Watch the video above, the trick is nothing short of incredible!
This is due to a mechanism called the opponent-process theory, which was developed in the 1870s. It is the idea of perceiving color in terms of paired opposites such as red with green, and yellow with blue. The possible scientific explanation for this theory is that bipolar cells are excited by one set of wavelengths and inhibited by other, which are in extend attached to the cone retinal receptors.
White bloods cells, known scientifically as leukocytes, are immune system cells that fight infect. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. Sometimes our bodies encounter pathogens like bacteria, or in this case a parasitic worm. Roundworms, or nematodes, are parasites that can infect people by living and feeding in the intestines. There are different kinds of worms that can cause infection, and they can range in length from 1 millimeter to 1 meter. Luckily, this worm was no challenge for these hungry white blood cells. [ ... ]
The world's worst pain comes from bullet ant venom (shown above). According to Wikipedia, the pain caused by this insect's sting is purported to be greater than that of any other hymenopteran, and is ranked as the most painful according to the Schmidt sting pain index, given a '4+" rating, above the tarantula hawk wasp and, according to some victims, equal to being shot, hence the name of the insect. It is described as causing "waves of burning, throbbing, all-consuming pain that continues unabated for up to 24 hours'. The pain is immediate and unlike even the worst physical injuries where your brain eventually has enough of it and blocks out the signal from the offending body part, it does not let go for a good long while.
Some bugs, such as water scorpions, long-toed water beetle and predaceous diving beetles (shown below) use the molecular properties of water to create miniature scuba diving tanks and spacesuits. The cohesive forces between water molecules essentially makes water molecules "stick" together, allowing bubbles to form against a wall of tension. These little insects are small enough to take advantage of this, by trapping a bubble in their outer wings or tiny bristles on their shell.
Mad honey is a rare hallucinogenic honey that is made by the Giant Bee of Himalayas (Apis dorsata laboriosa) in Nepal. The bee lives and nests at altitudes between 2 500 and 3 000 meters, where it builds very large nests under overhangs on the south-western faces of vertical cliffs. The honey possesses hallucinogenic properties because it contains an ingredient from rhododendron nectar called grayanotoxin - a natural neurotoxin that, even in small quantities, brings on light-headedness and hallucinations. Since it is difficult to harvest and has special properties, this kind of honey is expensive and sells for about five times the price of normal honey in the foreign market. So, the honey hunters take absurd risks to get the honey from over [ ... ]
Someone who greatly enjoys sweet foods is said to have a "sweet tooth." Experimental evidence now shows us that eating sweets forms memories that may control eating habits. In other words, people may enjoy eating sweets because the taste is correlated with positive memories.
The findings, published online in the journal Hippocampus, show that neurons in the dorsal hippocampus, the part of the brain that is critical for episodic memory, are activated by consuming sweets. Episodic memory is the memory of autobiographical events experienced at a particular time and place.
In the study, a meal consisting of a sweetened solution, either sucrose or saccharin, significantly increased the expression of the synaptic plasticity marker called activity [ ... ]
The 1977 HP-01 digital calculator was arguably the very first smart-watch to hit the market nearly 38 years before the Apple Watch. The watch was a marvel for its time. Not only could it perform basic calculations, the watch could do dynamic time and date calculations, algebra, and even function as a stopwatch and alarm clock. The watch in perfect condition can be found on eBay from time-to-time, for a price ranging up to $14 500 on eBay.