In this clip from the Music for Elephants series, Peter the elephant joins in on a rollicking 12-bar blues performed on a outdoor piano in Thailand. Peter apparently rather enjoys this, and has to be reminded by his mahout to take it easy on the keys (he's smashed pianos before in his exuberance). The whole thing is pretty festive, but there's no denying that Peter just isn't very good at playing piano.
Not that I'm any better.
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Some of Earth’s strangest animals, including sea pigs, glass frogs, Jesus Christ lizards, magnapinna squids and more, have inspired writer and composer Michael Hearst to create a new video series with PBS Digital Studios: Songs for Unusual Creatures. In each episode, Hearst will travel across the country to meet these unusual beings while also inviting guest musicians to perform a “theme song” Hearst creates for each one.
In its second episode, The Songs for Unusual Creatures Band performs a playful piece inspired by the elephant shrew, the elusive African rodent named for its long nose. Taking cues from the orchestral suite “Carnival for the Animals” written by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, the piece utilizes the keyboard, drums, bass, and trumpet to reflect the various animal families the creature derives from.
Kronos Quartet and the secret life of lemurs
Songs for Unusual Creatures: The Jesus Christ Lizard!
"Chinese Giant Salamander," by Michael Hearst
Tristan from OpenPixel sez, "You might have heard that bees are dropping like flies.
When we realised the implications of this (which everyone should look into, because it's serious) we borrowed some ideas from the WikiHouse project and applied them to bees - ie. low cost, distributed, open source manufacturing."
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Rebecca Klee and Siouxsie Wiles's "Living Light" is a 3D printed hollow squid filled with bioluminescent bacteria. They've thoroughly documented their build-process, and the project is really shaping up to be gorgeous.
From the lab to the park
(via O'Reilly Radar)
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A recently discovered G tridens fruitfly that has evolved a to have images of detailed, ant-like insects on each wing, complete with six legs, a thorax, antennae and a tapered abdomen. The fly uses the images defensively, waving them back and forth when threatened to create the illusion of massing ants. Many G Tridens varieties bear elaborate wing markings, but this one, discovered in Oman, is very striking. I think more beasties should have van-art bestowed on them by the strange world of evolution.
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Russo-kawaii overload: a tiny, cartoon-perfect mousie-wousie struggles heroically with a comically oversized biscuit. Spoiler alert: the mouse gets the biscuit in the end.
Мышь vs. Печенька
Eric Bradley says: "I saw this eBay listing for a wingtip shoe some guy’s dog chewed up. He positioned it with a very well-written description as a ‘work of modern art’ from his dog, Jack. It sold yesterday on eBay for $378. The seller says he is donating a portion of the proceeds to a pet rescue center in Washington, D.C."
I want to hire this little guy to check my kids' heads for lice. (Via Neatorama)
The 14" high T. Rex replica head ($73 on Amazon) gets pretty good reviews from the people who've bought it -- sounds like just the thing if you want to create the illusion that you're a time-traveling big game hunted.
Wall Mounted T-rex Dinosaur Head Tyrannosaurus Rex Hanging Display Plaque Decor
(via Red Ferret)
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The Flickr account for the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab has tons of gorgeous CC-licensed photos of bees, snakes, bugs, and plants. What a bonanza!
It's the time of year when you're suddenly more likely to see a spider in your house. And that spider is most likely a dude — on the prowl for lady spiders. Philippa Skett exposes the arachnid dating scene happening right under your nose
. — Maggie
[Video Link] This is a video of a monkey dressed in warm baby clothes, hopping in the snow. (Via 22 Words)
If you enjoy the irony in the fact that the great East Coast blackout of 2003 was largely caused by a few untrimmed trees, then you're going to love Jon Mooallem's account of how America's squirrels are wreaking havoc on America's electricity system.
Using a Google news alert, he's cataloged 50 squirrel-caused power outages in 24 states — and that's just since Memorial Day. These aren't small outages either. Several of them have cut power to thousands of people at a time. Back in 1994, a squirrel took out the Nasdaq. These are kamikaze raids and they've led to an interesting phenomenon — technology developed specifically to protect our infrastructure from furry, tree-hopping rodents.
Pictured: The face of pure evil, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from binaryape's photostream
[Video Link] Matthew says: "Mark Brown, a self-described Tennessee 'Hillbilly' YouTuber, posts videos of himself and his pet raccoon, Rebekah. After Brown racked up over a million views from his YouTube channel, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency visited his home and seized Rebekah. Brown suspects the agency decided to seize his pet after his video went viral, but a representative from the wildlife agency claims a neighbor's complaint led to Rebekah's removal. Brown is now trying to get Rebekah released."