BBC TV host is very excited about this Blue Whale that just showed up

“I can see it now!”

New species of Crayfish named after Edward Snowden


Scientists named this newly-identified species of Indonesian crayfish Cherax snowden, after Edward Snowden. Read the rest

Video: How do pygmy seahorses end up on matching corals?

Pygmy seahorses come in many colors, and biologists wondered whether they seek out coral that matches perfectly, or changed color somehow to match the coral they find. Read the rest

Why magenta doesn't appear in the rainbow


Steve Mould's colored flashlights (sometimes called "coloured torches" in distant lands) are useful props in this excellent 5-minute lecture on color mixing. I learned that magenta is not a color. Rather, it is the absence of green.

[via] Read the rest

WATCH: You probably need more cute sea slugs in your life

Jorunna are colorful sea slugs with what appear to be a puffy tail and rabbit ears (actually rhinophores). They have many variations in color and markings. Read the rest

We've evolved to disbelieve evolution

Experimental psychologists find that humans prefer explanations for events that have certainty and a sense of purpose over undirected randomness. Read the rest

Parasite playing cards

The lucky attendees at this year's meeting of the American Societe of Parasitologists got a gorgeous deck of parasite-themed playing cards into their conference bags. Read the rest

Culturing the critters on an 8-year-old's hand

Tasha Sturm, a lab tech, sampled her 8 year old son's hand when he came in from playing outside in an agar medium, then cultured the microbes that came off in the dish. Read the rest

What it's like to share consciousness with an octopus

Marine biologist/US police brutality survivor/science fiction writer Peter Watts, in a brilliant vignette that, I hope, will be part of a novel someday: Read the rest

Mind-controlling parasites (and the parasites that infect them)

A great, full-body-squick-inducing article in National Geographic provides an overview of the current research on parasites that use a combination of techniques to control their hosts' behavior, making them sacrifice themselves for the sake of the parasites and their offspring. Read the rest

Whale vaginas are amazing

Mammal penises, including those of cetaceans, are pretty easy to find, while vaginas are more difficult to examine; historically, accounts of animal reproduction have emphasized the features of penises and theories of sperm competition, but a burgeoning scientific emphasis on whale vaginas is revealing structures and strategies that are amazing and wonderful. Read the rest

Aloha shirt featuring critters from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur

The 19th century German biologist's seminal illustrations of weird sea-life have been adapted for a gorgeous Betabrand cabana shirt. Read the rest

The woman with a nose on her back

There are some pretty freakish, but well-substantiated, reports this week that demonstrate just how much we still have to learn about stem cells and how they work (and don't work). Read the rest

Solid gold DNA-strand rings

Zanders Creations' solid 18k gold DNA Strand Ring starts at $750 and is available in four colors. The image is a computer render, and the Arizona-based team that makes the rings consists of a 3D artist and a jeweler who collaborate on some very beautiful pieces. Read the rest

Nudibranch pancakes

Every week, a new delight from Pancake Master Nathan "Saipancakes" Shields: this week, An assortment of Pacific coast nudibranchs. (previously) Read the rest

Kickstarting an augmented reality, artificial lifeform in a kids' picture-book

Wagner James Au sez, "Created by virtual world/avatar pioneer Jeffrey Ventrella, Wiglets are self-animated, augmented reality creatures for mobile devices powered by an open source AI system, and have genomes that are stored in the cloud along with their geo-locations. 'This means they can exist in specific locations in the real world,' Jeffrey explains. The overall goal with Wiglets is to encourage kids to find/play with their creatures in the natural world."

$65 gets you the book and a virtual Wiglet. Read the rest

Peter Watts's The Scorched Earth Society: A Suicide Bomber's Guide to Online Privacy

Science fiction writer and biologist Peter Watts gave a spectacular talk to the Symposium of the International Association of Privacy Professional, called The Scorched Earth Society: A Suicide Bomber's Guide to Online Privacy (PDF); Watts draws on his two disciplines to produce a stirring, darkly comic picture of the psychological toll of the surveillance society.

Watts is the writer who was beaten, maced, and convicted of a felony for asking a US border guard why he'd walked up behind his rental car and opened his trunk without any discussion or notice. His take on surveillance and its relationship to control, authoritarianism and corruption is both sharp-edged and nuanced. And his proposal for a remedy is provocative and difficult to argue with. I only wish I'd been in the room to give the talk, as he's a remarkable and acerbic storyteller. Read the rest

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