I wrote about this practise earlier. Today, I saw this photo on my Facebook feed and could not unsee it. Different sources report that these animals are able to survive for only several days (some say, several months).

Tourists can buy live animals as keychains and lucky charms in China

Tourists can buy live animals as keychains and lucky charms in China

There is an online petition, apparently, to stop this practise.

Lake Natron in Tanzania is known for turning animals into stone. The water in the lake has an extremely high pH level (10.5), enough to burn the skin upon contact and gradually turn the animals into solid state. Birds and other animals that come in contact with the lake’s waters – often by mistake – die and get mummified into stones.

Photographer Nick Brandt observed this phenomena firsthand. He found these creatures around the lake, placed them in ‘living’ positions and photographed them.

Lake Natron turns every creature that touches it into stone

In Nick’s words,

I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.

I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.

Read more…

Matthew Cornell is a contemporary American painter.

I have always loved the ocean… the essence of creation and destruction, a concept that permeates a lot of my painting.

Click on any image to enlarge

There's no other artist who can paint oceans with such lifelike accuracy - Matthew Cornell
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The brain consumes 20% of the body’s energy, despite it accounts for only 2% of a person’s weight or about 1.4 kilograms.

brain consumes 20 percent energy

Image via solovyevdesign.by

Namib beetle lives in African deserts where water is extremely rare. In fact, it’s hardly found anywhere other than in the ocean breeze (fog) that pays a visit once per day early in the morning. To survive, the bug collects microscopic water droplets from the fog by sticking its back out in the air.

Namib beetle elevates its back to collect fog water and channel it into its mouth

The back of the insect is covered in tiny hydrophilic bumps that attract water droplets from the fog. Water droplets condense on the bumps and roll down the back into the insect’s mouth. The surface of the beetle’s back is extremely hydrophobic (repels water), so as soon as the droplet comes off the bump it has no choice but to roll down in the direction of the incline.
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Quickly try to think of 10 different words or names in your head. Chances are, at least one of them had the letter ‘E’ in it. So far, this is only a few sentences long and has already used it 14 times. Now imagine trying to write an entire novel without using ‘E’ a single time.

That’s exactly what French writer Georges Perec did in 1969 with his novel, A Void. The title comes from the translation of the French term La Disparition, which literally translates to English as The Disappearance.

There is a 300-page novel without a single letter e
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Scientists have recently discovered that legs of plant hoppers are interconnected by mechanical gears that synchronise the movement of legs when the insect prepares to jump.


Wow. One would think this mechanism was invented by men. But no. Nature was first. Watch the cog wheels in action in an insect preparing to jump.

Click to enlarge.

In order for people to have access to the Internet, thousands of kilometres of physical cabling are laid out. Much of this is under the sea, where they have to withstand high pressure salt water. Thus they are heavily reinforced with steel, a whole heap of polymer shrouding, and a dash of copper shielding.

This is how data cables that run across the oceans look like

Also, check out a map of underwater data cables running across the globe.

via buzzhunt.co.uk, gizmodo.com.au

Apparently, wearing earrings by men is not a new thing. Even William Shakespeare wore one. Earrings became an object of male fashion at the time of the English Renaissance, in the late 1500′s. At the time of Shakespeare (d. 1616) earrings were emblematic of poets.

Shakespeare wore earrings

Today I learned that Britain has a constitution that is not written down in any single document. Unlike France or America, Britain has never had a major event – such as a revolution – that would lead to a new system of government. Consequently, there has been no need to write up a constitution.

The British constitution is not written down in any single document, and therefore it's described as

British constitution is set on principles and institutions that have developed over hundreds of years. Much of the British constitution is embodied in statutes, court judgments and treaties.

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