Boing Boing 

Iridescent insect sculptures from ewaste


UK artist Julie Alice Chapell's Computer Component Bugs sculptures are iridescent, intricate assemblage sculptures made from ewaste.

Read the rest

What happens when you put a hummingbird in a wind tunnel?

The Flying Spaghetti Monster did a good job when he made hummingbirds. The tiny, ravenous creatures hover by beating their wings, up to 80 times a second, in a figure-8 pattern, which creates lift during the upstroke and downstroke. This is why they can remain perfectly level rather than bobbing up and down, even in wind and rain.

Scientists at UC Berkeley put hummingbirds in a wind tunnel and filmed them at 1000 frames per seconds to study their wing motion in different wind conditions.


Image: PBS Digital Studios

[via]

How a Colorado family built a home for the world's weirdest, most beautiful bugs

big-beetleBen Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "With mosquito and bed-bug season upon us, Hunter Oatman-Stanford has written an article about the May Natural History Museum in Colorado Springs, where you will find some 7,000 insects, all safely behind behind glass. Hunter spoke to museum president R.J Speer, whose great-grandfather, James May, first started collecting bugs for the British Museum in the 19th century. Many of the museum's weirdest and rarest bugs are from that era."

The museum itself is an artifact from a bygone era, with its antique glass cases and handmade incandescent light fixtures. “It’s a static display style one would expect to see in the 1940s or ’50s,” Steer says. “It’s very old-fashioned. We don’t have any electronic displays or interactive exhibits yet, but we’re working on converting one room into a rotating display.” Inadvertently, the collection documents the history of entomology through its artifacts from the niche world of insect hunters. “We still have some of the original specimen wrappings, things like pieces of local newspapers,” says Steer. “The insect would be carefully folded up inside a small triangular paper football, and that might go inside a little cardboard matchbox, and then a series of those might be placed inside a cigar box.”

Dying Pig - "the most laughable novelty yet produced"

dying-pig

Almost as funny as watching a real pig begin to squeal as he slowly collapses and finally lies down and dies! [via]

Sea lion drags fisherman from boat and drags him to the bottom of the bay

sea-lion

A man in Mission Bay, CA was posing with the fish he'd caught when a sea lion jumped out of the water, bit him and pulled him under water for 15 to 20 seconds.

Read the rest

Odd video: dogs destroy wooden chair

In this silent video three dogs rip a wooden chair to shreds. Why? Who knows, but it is fascinating. [via]

Watch: young dolphins learn to spin

Scientists have two hypotheses about why dolphins leap out of the water and spin. One is that they are getting rid of parasites. The other is that they making an emotional "exclamation point" about something that just happened.

Read the rest

Profile of Hulk, a 175-pound pit bull

Hulk is an "amazing family dog," who belongs to a couple who raises pit bull guard dogs.

Beefalo are causing problems in the Grand Canyon

Zubron - hybrid of domestic cattle and european bison. Image: Shutterstock


Zubron - hybrid of domestic cattle and european bison. Image: Shutterstock

Herds of beefalo (a bison-cattle hybrid) are causing massive damage to vegetation, water supplies, other animal species, and American Indian cliff dwellings in the Grand Canyon.

Beefalo also are incredibly thirsty animals; one beefalo can drink 10 gallons of water during each trip to the watering hole, according to the BBC. With an estimated 600 beefalo, at least, wandering around the canyon’s North Rim, the herd can quickly drink scarce waterholes dry.

The beefalo’s selfishness is also costing other Grand Canyon dwellers. The BBC reports that animals, insects, and rare plants are getting pushed out of the picture, throwing the ecosystem out of balance.

Agitated cockatoo speaks out

Translation: "Stop recording me in portrait mode!"

Giant cat or hyper-detailed model cars?

Headquake claims this a scratch-built RC car. I'm not buying it. He's been breeding giant housecats.

Read the rest

Uncertainty over why rabbit prefers to walk on its front legs

bunny

This bunny was one of many purchased by a Chinese zoo as live food for some of the animals it keeps.

No one at the zoo knows why the bunny walks like this, but I do: a little female spider taught the bunny how to walk on its front legs, making it a national sensation and sparing it from the jaws of a giant python. [via]

The Book of Beetles: A life-size guide to 600 of nature’s living gems

beetlesThe white fog-basking beetle dwells in the Namib desert. It climbs “to the top of a dune during the early-morning fog, orienting its body with the tip of the abdomen pointed upward and the head angled downward. Water vapor from the fog condenses on the abdomen and runs down the body and into the mouth.”

Read the rest

The modern cat video was invented in 1994 by French multimedia artist Chris Marker

If you know the work of Chris Marker, you probably discovered it through La jetée, his 1962 short that tells a Vertigo-referencing, 12 Monkeys-inspiring tale of apocalypse, time-travel, inevitable love, and inevitable death — using mostly still photographs. Or maybe you know it through Sans soleil, his 1982 feature-length essay-film whose geographical reach — not to mention intellectual reach — extends from Iceland to Paris to San Francisco to Guinea-Bissau to Japan.

Read the rest

Dachshund + Pitbull: greatest dog breed ever

pitshund"Rami is a one-year-old, Pit Bull / Dachshund mix shelter dog who is looking for a home where he can be loved by someone who is really into living, breathing optical illusions running around the house."

Nazis train giant ape to destroy Wonder Woman

TV shows were much more realistic in the 1970s

[via]

The Soviet space dogs who took giant leaps for mankind

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Lisa Hix has just written a very cool piece about Laika, Belka, Strelka, and the other canine cosmonauts who paved the way for Russian Yuri Gagarin's maiden orbit of the Earth in 1961. With interviews and images supplied by the author and publisher of Soviet Space Dogs, Lisa's story answers questions about how these animals were selected for training, how they relieved themselves in space, and what sort of welcome they could expect if they returned safely to Earth (not all did)."

Dogs had a history of scientific experimentation in the USSR. Petrovich Pavlov had used them to great effect in his studies of the reflex system. Despite this, apes were initially considered as they more closely resemble man in many ways. Dr. Oleg Gazenko, one of the leading scientists of the space program, even visited the circus to observe the famous monkey handler Capellini, who convinced him that monkeys were, in fact, problematic. They required intense training and numerous vaccines and were emotionally unstable. (Cats did not tolerate flight conditions; that was later proved by French missions in 1963.) The decision was made: Dogs would be the first cosmonauts.