The photo shown below was taken at a market in Shanghai, China.
Can you guess what they are?
If you guessed, water caltrop 菱, you're right!
Water caltrops (Trapa natans) are the seeds of a floating annual aquatic plant that's native to warm temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa. The plant grows in slow-moving water up to 5 m deep, and bear an ornately shaped fruit that resembles the head of a bull or the silhouette of a flying bat. Each fruit contains a single very large, starchy seed. T. natans and T. bicornis have been cultivated in China and the Indian subcontinent for at least 3,000 years for the edible seeds that are used in pastries, served steamed or boiled from street vendors, and even as a remedy for inebriation.
Opals (shown above) are is a hydrated amorphous form of silica (SiO2·nH2O); its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%. Because of its amorphous character, it is classed as a mineraloid, unlike crystalline forms of silica, which are classed as minerals. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock, being most commonly found with limonite, sandstone, rhyolite, marl, and basalt. Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.
The internal structure of precious opal makes it diffract light. Depending on the conditions in which it formed, it can take on many colors. The one pictured on the left is called the "Virgin Rainbow" opal, being the finest [ ... ]
It doesn't take a genius to recognize the vast number of contributions the people of Jewish ancestry have made in modern history. According to a 2005 scientific paper, "Natural History of Jewish Intelligence", Jews as a group inherit higher verbal and mathematical intelligence than other ethnic groups, on the basis of inherited diseases and the peculiar economic situation of Jews in the Middle Ages. Specifically, the Ashkenazi Jews - those who originated in Eastern Europe, such as Albert Einstein (left) and Carl Sagan (right) - tend to have higher intelligence than other ethnic groups; in fact, about 80% of modern Jews have Ashkenazi ancestry.
One observational basis for inferring that Jews have high intelligence is their prevalence in occup [ ... ]
The Panjin Red Beach lies on the Shuangtaizi River estuary, just outside of Panjin City, China. The river isn’t your typical freshwater river. The water has a high saline content and very high alkaline levels. Typically, this leads to plants being unable to grow in the water or on the shore. However, there is a very special plant that has adapted to the conditions of the river and thrives in this environment.
Suaeda (also known as seablite), is a kind of succulent that only grows in the type of habitat found along the river. Like a lot of plants, the suaeda changes with the seasons. During the spring and summer months, the seablite is a typical green color. In the fall, it turns this deep bright red color as far as the eye can see.
As its scientific name suggests, the Antilles pinktoe tarantula (Avicularia versicolor) changes color as it matures. The spider’s abdomen turns from blue to pink or red and the carapace becomes metallic green.
Antilles pinktoe tarantulas are native to Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique in the Caribbean Sea. They are arboreal (tree-dwelling) species, and can spin elaborate funnel webs in which they spend most of their time. Though these tarantulas are naturally docile, they are quick and can jump up to 30 cm far or high! [ ... ]
Brain freeze is the name used to describe the sensation you get when you consume something really cold, really fast. The scientific name for this temporary cold-stimulus headache is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
When something extremely cold touches the upper-palate (roof of the mouth), blood vessels in this region dilate to increase blood flow to counter the cold. The homeostatic triggers in your body perceive the cold as a threat to the brain, thinking the brain is in danger from the cold. As the warm blood rushes to your brain, this build-up of blood pressure causes the pain you feel. While brain freezes are not dangerous, they are slightly uncomfortable, so the best way to make it quickly go away is to rub or press your tongue against [ ... ]
Anyone who has ever taken a shot of hard liquor (tequila, brandy) can tell you: it burns on the way down. But it's not the alcohol itself that's burning your throat. Instead, the ethanol in the liquid is making your throat's VR1 heat receptors (left) more sensitive, prompting them to perceive your own body temperature as hot.
Normally, the VR1 receptors activate at 42° Celsius, but alcohol lowers this threshold to around 34° C, which is 4° C less than your bodies regulated temperature.
Bullying is not easy to define, namely because there is no one way to bully. It comes in many forms, from physical playground scuffles to verbal attacks. Even governments have a hard time defining it, often referred to as a repeated behaviour with the intent to hurt someone either physically or emotionally. By this definitions, there are many ape and monkey bullies, too. In fact, any hierarchical society is likely to have bullies in its midst.
An unfortunate monkey at the bottom of the hierarchy is repeatedly attacked and picked upon by those higher up in the group - they are sometimes beaten up every day. Bullying amongst rhesus macaques, for example, seems to release tensions among the higher-ups. Bullying seems to reinforce their bonds, a [ ... ]
While a baby's experiences and memories are vital to his/her development, most of us can't remember what we did before our third birthday. Why is that?
It may be that as babies we just don't have the necessary mental equipment to store and organize memories properly, a hypothesis strengthened by the famous case of Henry Molaison. Molaison was unable to remember any new events that happened to him after a faulty brain operation. Though he still had temporary short-term memory and could learn new skills, he couldn't retain information for long.
We know that neurons continue to be added to our brains in our early years, and it's possible that when this building process has finished, memories can start to form.
In an epic battle in northern Queensland, Australia, a 10-foot olive python got the best of a Johnson's crocodile. While this is a very natural event for two monstrous animals battling, both the python and the crocodile are apex predators in their environment, so the snake wouldn't always win in this scenario. Big Johnson's crocs eat little pythons too, though olive snakes are known for being phenomenally powerful, pound for pound, and for feeding on large food items.
The python would take around ten days to digest its meal and become relatively dormant. Over the next three weeks it would take what it could get, but since the caloric needs of this type of snake is pretty low, it could certainly go the rest of the season without a meal.
Nothing, except for this fish, appropriately named the elephantnose fish (Gnathonemus petersii) for its peculiar, elongated spout. The fish is widespread in the flowing waters of West Africa and hunts insect larva at dawn and dusk. Its nose is actually a sensitive extension of its mouth, that it uses for self-defense, communication, navigation, and finding worms and insects to eat. This organ is covered in electroreceptors, as is much of the rest of its body. The elephantnose uses a weak electric field, which it generates with specialized cells called electrocytes, which evolved from muscle cells, to find food, to navigate in dark or turbid waters, and to find a mate. The elephantnose fish live to about 6 to 10 years. [ ... ]
The manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella) has taken the title of world’s most dangerous tree. This evergreen grows up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall, and is native to tropical southern North America and northern South America. It has reddish-greyish bark, small greenish-yellow flowers, and shiny green leaves ranging in size from 5 to 10 cm (2–4 inches) long.
All parts of the tree contain strong toxins, some unidentified. The leaves and fruit of the tree superficially resemble an apple tree, however one bite of the tree’s fruit can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding, or death due to an acetylcholine inhibitor known as physostigmine found in the fruit. In addition, its milky white sap contains phorbol and other skin irritants, producing s [ ... ]
Peacocks can easily fluttered into the air, but only up to a limited gap. Unlike other birds, they cannot prolong their flight, but these small drifts come in handy while scavenging for food, and are extremely important in escaping deadly killers. As soon as any predator approaches them, they ascend to a nearby tree for safety (check out the video below).
Collected from the Ross Sea shelf in southern Antarctica, this 9.8-inch-long (25-centimeter-long) giant sea spider was one of 30,000 animals found during a 35-day census in early 2008. The marine arachnids, which prey on hydroids and bryzoans - branching, coral-like animals - are larger and more common in Antarctic waters than anywhere else on Earth. Cold temperatures, few predators, and high levels of oxygen in seawater could explain their gargantuan size.