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 [ ... ]
The magic number is 42 m/s (94 mph). Using mathematical data and physical experiments, scientists say they have found the law that governs the resistance of wooden beams under stress. According to the study (link), researchers hung weights from wooden rods and pieces of pencil lead to record the amount of force needed to snap the cylinder. As one might sense, they found that for a fixed length, increasing the diameter made the rods stronger: They could bend more before breaking. This would make tall skinny trees most vulnerable, but, as the team points out, trees don’t grow taller without getting disproportionately thicker as well. By incorporating established laws of tree allometry - which explain the relationship of tree size parameters [ ... ]
When homing pigeons fly home they rely on smells, magnetic fields, and vision to guide their way. But how important visual memory is for pigeons has long remained a mystery. According to a new study, pigeons that learned their way home with a blocked left eye couldn’t repeat the same journey when they wore a patch over their right eye, and vice versa. Instead, they flew slightly off course, following more of a curve than a straight line. Since birds lack a corpus callosum, this suggests that a birds’ lack of this key neural structure greatly affects how pigeons are able to find their way home.
With a rare genetic condition called erythrism some insects, like this fluorescent pink katydid, develop an unusual reddish pigmentation. It's not enhanced in any way. The coloration (erythrism) is an adaptation sometimes found among katydids exposed to red or pink foliage, although this one was in the woods off the Appalachian Trail near Mount Peter, N.Y. [ ... ]
Some of us may be guilty of procrastination, but we all are pre-crastinators at some level.
Procrastination is a serious problem to many of us that like to put off work and cram the night before. Not only is procrastination a behavioral problem, but also one with a psychological implication. Procrastination is the "thief of time". On the other hand, precrastination, discovered to be the complete opposite, is the tendency to do things ahead of time - and really ahead of time- just for the sake of completion.
Precrastination was found to be exhibited in pigeons as well. And the fact that we and pigeons have separated in phylogeny 300 million years ago suggests that precrastination is a behavior also found earlier in phylogeny. How has this be [ ... ]
Our perception has heavily depended on how well we can accurately describe our surroundings. And this description relies on our language. Our ancestors apparently were not capable of perceiving the color blue. If they did, they were not capable of noticing it, simply because there was no term in language for blue. The first civilization to document and affirm the color blue was the Ancient Egyptian Civilization. In fact, the Ancient Egyptians were the only ancestors that were able to produce blue dyes! Moreover, philologists have compared Hindu, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew and many more languages only to find no mention of the color blue. However, just because the term for blue did not exist, does not mean our ancestors did not perceive blue.
Found in the deserts of Morocco, the cartwheeling spider (cebrennus rechenbergi) uses all eight of its legs to cartwheel and roll away from predators. Using forward or backward flips, this movement effectively doubles its normal walking speed similar to acrobatic flic-flac movements used by gymnasts. Interestingly, C. rechenbergi is the only spider known to use this unique form of rolling locomotion!
Barry from Bee Movie has taught us that without bees, we won't survive. These pollinators may terrify us when they are swarming around out at the park, but they are more terrifying if they were not around.
What is happening to our bees with domestication? What have we lost? What are we trying to restore?
The answers to these questions are in this video. Check it out
When you turn on your TV, it is the definition of ironic to watch the news channels for information about planet mass destruction. Whilst when you step outside your door, it is quite alarming and obvious that our earth is suffering. When every person around you, from toddlers to elderly, own some for of technology, with no means of recycling old items. When students, each with their own copies of pages. When potable water has not yet reached the most needy of nations. When human greed is apparent with every innovative idea claiming to "revolutionize "a domain brought up to make a quick buck. Drilling, mining, industrialization, politics, scavenging for resources, suffocating our environment... This may all seem negative, but coming from a [ ... ]
This lion, named Will, spent his life with a traveling circus in Brazil. "For 13 long years, the lion had been confined to a cramped cage and denied any semblance of a normal existence," the Sao Paulo sanctuary wrote.
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