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184 posts tagged Science

Put on your Ear Guards, the Department of Incredible Insects just learned about an awesome and terrifying discovery recently made in China. This monstrous creature is a member of the Megaloptera order and may be the world’s largest aquatic insect.

The specimen seen here was discovered in a mountain in Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province. Its wingspan measures 8.3 inches (21 cm) and it features a savage pair of mandibles.

Bec Crew from Scientific American explains more:

"Just as this new find is so far pretty mysterious, members of Megaloptera are also fairly poorly known. As larvae, they spend all of their time in the water, only venturing out once it’s time to pupate and become adults. While they’re usually found in clean, clear streams, rivers, swamps, ponds and lakes, they’re also perfectly capable of sustaining themselves in muddy and polluted water, which makes them extra hard to spot."

Visit io9 to learn more about this fascinating and nightmarish discovery. And please don’t go to sleep without those Ear Guards.

Artist Rogan Brown creates incredibly elaborate and delicate paper sculptures using layers of hand-cut watercolor paper. His latest piece, entitled Outbreak, is “based on the smallest structures found within the human body: cells, microbes, pathogens, and neurons.” Brown spent 4 months painstakingly designing, cutting and assembling this awesomely intricate piece, which he describes as an exploration “of the microbiological sublime.”

Here Brown explains a bit about his creation process:

"I am inspired in part by the tradition of scientific drawing and model making, and particularly the work of artist-scientists such as Ernst Haeckel. But although my approach involves careful observation and detailed “scientific” preparatory drawings, these are always superseded by the work of the imagination; everything has to be refracted through the prism of the imagination, estranged and in some way transformed."

Further proof that Art + Science = Awesome

Visit Rogan Brown’s website to check out more of his fascinating artwork.

[via Colossal]

Because this is a fun sentence one rarely gets to use: Here’s an awesome example of nature imitating terrifying candy. This giant earthworm bears a remarkable resemblance to the World’s Largest Gummy Worm we first posted about a couple years ago.

This colossal creepy-crawly was found by Project Noah member Hoppy4840 in rich, wet forest soil in the foothills of the Sumaco Volcano in Ecuador. It measured approximately 1.5 meters (~4.9 feet) long and weighed at least 500 grams (~1.1 pounds). Funny thing is, we can’t help but think that, while it’s quite likely the earthworm is more nutritious, there’s no way it’s as tasty as the gummy version.

[via Geekologie]

Because we’re always happy to be reminded that cuttlefish are incredibly awesome, here’s a fascinating video by Science Friday that invites us to play a game called “Where’s the Cuttlefish?" and learn about how and why these amazing little cephalopods change the color and patterns of their skin. By studying their camouflage capabilities, scientists are learning how the cuttlefish perceive their surroundings and how it’s surprisingly similar to the way humans do:

"Cuttlefish change the patterns on their body for courtship rituals, when they eat a snack, and most famously when they want to blend in. How they change their skin patterns may tell us something about how they see the world, says Duke biologist Sarah Zylinski. Her work suggests that when cuttlefish see incomplete shapes, they fill in the visual blanks — much like humans do.”

[via Laughing Squid]

Today we learned that lightning looks awesome when viewed from outer space. American astronaut Reid Wiseman is currently aboard the International Space Station, where he captured this incredible footage of a lightning storm in progress over Houston, Texas.

You can follow Wiseman’s Twitter feed for more fascinating photos and videos taken from the ISS, where he’ll be through November 2014.

[via Mental_Floss]

Nature + Science + Art = Super Awesome!

These amazing gifs, created from a video by Jonathon Bird’s Blue World, show a diver releasing a non-toxic fluorescent dye at the base of different sponges in the Caribbean to beautifully demonstrate how they feed on microscopic plankton by pumping and filtering the water through their bodies.

Click here to watch the actual video.

[via the io9 Observation Deck and reefs.com]

An audio illusion

Check out this amazing audio illusion that demonstrates one of the human brain’s awesome abilities. Jayatri Das, chief bioscientist at the Franklin Institute, first plays a short audio clip that’s been digitally altered so that it sounds like utter gibberish to our ears. Even knowing what you’re hearing, “The Constitution Center is at the next stop.”, doesn’t help at all. Next she plays the unaltered clip, which is clearly a woman’s voice speaking perfectly normally. Then Das plays the gibberish version again. And that’s when something incredible happens.

Now that your brain knows the words, it can’t help but hear them despite the heavy distortion.

"The point is: When our brains know what to expect to hear, they do, even if, in reality, it is impossible. Not one person could decipher that clip without knowing what they were hearing, but with the prompt, it’s impossible not to hear the message in the jibberish.”

The brain is awesome. And, of course, so is science.

[via The Atlantic]

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Art + Science = Awesome

The last time we visited the Department of Microscopic Marvels we were astonished by sandcastles etched onto individual grains of sand. Today’s wee wonder is the world’s smallest comic strip, etched onto a single strand of human hair. Entitled “Juana Knits The Planet”, the tiny comic was created by Claudia Puhlfürst in collaboration with the organizers of EHSM2, “the most cutting-edge DIY and open-source conference” for hackers and makers in Hamburg, Germany.

Claudia drew the comic and Andrew Zonenberg used a technique called focused ion beam (FIB) etching, which uses “a sharp jet of matter thinner and more delicate than a laser beam,” to engrave the comic onto one human hair.

Click here to watch a brief video about this amazing project.

[via Junkculture and Design Taxi]

Palaeontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio in Argentina have discovered the fossilized bones of what they believe to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth - a truly awesome discovery. Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol led an excavation team which unearthed about 150 huge dinosaur bones in the desert near La Flecha, about 250km (135 miles) west of Trelew, Patagonia.

Using its massive thigh bones, they’ve estimated that the dinosaur measured 40m (130ft) long, stood 20m (65ft) tall, and weight 77 metric tons. That’s just shy of 170,000 lbs or as heavy as 14 African elephants. It’s believed to be a new species of Titanosaur - enormous herbivores from the Late Cretaceous period.

'Titanosaur' is easily one of the most awesome words we've ever heard.

Head over to BBC News to learn more about this spectacular discovery.

There’s no end to number of ways in which nature is awesome, which is yet another reason that it’s so, well, awesome. Behold the beauty of a genetic anomaly known as bilateral asymmetrical gynandromorphism, a condition in which an animal contains both male and female characteristics and manifests them evenly split down the center of their body. Here we see different species of bilateral gynandromorphic butterflies.

Last year we shared a stunning photo of lobster with the same condition.

Head over to Colossal to learn more about and view additional images of this astonishing phenomenon.