Old Biophilia

Noteworthy News
July 11, 2010, 5:02 pm
Filed under: Nerdy News

Sorry for the recent lack of posts….I’ve been back in the classroom and away from the blog, trying to convince a large group of non-majors why biology is cool. Here are a few headlines that distracted me from  doing actual work caught my eye this week:

  • Stars of the deep: A biological voyage to the unexplored water of the Mid-Atlantic range just returned and revealed a wealth of unexplored biodiversity — including a rare basket star, a swimming sea cucumber and a moutaineering sea cucumber, an electric blue worm and a blind, brainless, purple, primitive worm that me be the link between those of us with backbones and those of us without.

    A rare basket star Photo Source: National Geographic

  • Still gushing: As of today (Sunday), it’s been a horrible 83 days since BP ruined the Gulf. The flow of oil is currently unimpeded as BP attempts to install a new cap. If you’re in a good mood today and hope to maintain that happy feeling, then do not click here to read the projected path of the oil over the next 365 days (Mom: it might be a good time to sell your NY beach house).
  • The Secret Love Life of Fireflies: The spectacular display of fireflies has a purpose — they produce bioluminescence as a mating tool where males cruise around looking for chicks while displaying a very specific pattern of flashes. In fact, some fireflies do this synchronously, sometimes lighting up a whole forest all at once (spectacular!), and now we have evidence that this complex behavior helps females to recognize males of her own species by “eliminating the visual clutter” of other flashing males. Check it out in this week’s issue of Science.
  • Another Reason to Step Away From the Computer: Go for a “Forest Bath”. Forest Bathing has become a popular therapeutic practice in Japan, and scientists are finding that being amongst plants decreases pulse rate and lowers blood pressure and may even increase white blood cells. Of course this could be linked to stress reduction, but scientists are proposing that is is related to phytoncides — airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect them from rotting and insects.

    Don't you feel better already??

  • Help the Itty Bitty Kitty’s: Consider heading over to my favorite blog and taking Butterbean’s Daily Donation Challenge to support the Tacoma Humane Society.

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