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Milkweed's spectacular autumn podcast


The final stage in milkweed's life cycle is a magnificent aerial dispersal of its seeds.  The dried pods, remants of those huge blossoms, crack open and several hundred aerodynamic seeds are exposed to the wind; this happens gradually, over a period of days rather than all at once, presumably to maximize the range of distribution of their landing sites.

"Shellshock" - a scary new computer bug

From the BBC: The flaw has been found in a software component known as Bash, which is a part of many Linux systems as well as Apple's Mac operating system.

Wasp nest on a window

YouTube link.

Censorship of books in U.S. prisons

From a story in The Guardian: There is “widespread censorship” of books in US prisons, according to a report submitted to a UN human rights review, which details the banning of works about artists from Botticelli to Van Gogh from Texan state prisons for containing “sexually explicit images”.

Green potato chips explained


Just a curious sign of inattention on the production line, as a Reddit commenter notes: "Actually, these chips were dyed with green food coloring so they'd be easy to find coming out of the fryer.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"


The world's fastest camera is capable of taking 4,000,000,000 pictures per second. African vultures are being killed by poachers and are now as endangered as the rhinos.

Jon Stewart tirade re "boobs on the ground"

The Daily Show Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook,Daily Show Video Archive Jon Stewart's wit is often acerbic, but for this piece he seems truly angry ("F*ck you and your false patriotism").

Norwegian landscape


Image credit Yury Pustovoy, whose remarkable photographs are assembled here.

"The Imitation Game" trailer

YouTube link. More information about the movie at the Wikipedia entry.

The Romanian Treasure

During World War I, since Bucharest was occupied by Germany, the Romanian administration moved to Iaşi, and with them, the most valuable objects which belonged to the Romanian state.

"Dances with quadcopters"

YouTube link. "Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios have partnered to develop a short film featuring 10 quadcopters in a flying dance performance.

Your children will eat jellyfish for dinner


From an article in Modern Farmer: About five miles offshore a crewmate spots, floating near the surface, a mat of gyrating grapefruit-sized globs that stretch the length of five city blocks, a slick so thick it appears as if you could walk on it.

This 5-year old boy can do 20 pushups

YouTube link. 90-degree pushups.

Palmer's amaranth - a "superweed"


Excerpts from an Associated Press article published in the somewhat-agriculture-oriented StarTribune: A weed strong enough to stop combines and resist many herbicides has been confirmed in South Dakota for the first time, raising concerns it could spread and cut deeply into crop production in the Upper Midwest — one of the few areas it hadn't yet invaded.

Wildfire in Yosemite Valley


This remarkable photo by Darvin Atkeson enlarges to wallpaper size with a click.  Source.

Video of a siphonophore

YouTube link. Siphonophores are of special scientific interest because they are composed of medusoid and polypoid zooids that are morphologically and functionally specialized.

The brutal death and postmortem mutilation of King Richard III


A sword or battleaxe spike was thrust four inches into the deposed monarch's head by King Henry VII's forces and appears to have claimed his life at the Battle of Bosworth, ending the War of the Roses.  He suffered a total of 11 wounds around the time of his death, nine to his skull and two to the rest of his body, according to the analysis...

Nobody's perfect

YouTube link.

Hagfish slime


First, this incredible information about the technology of the threads of slime: In self-defense the hagfish produces from its glands a slime that is composed of nanometer width threads and what is likely sugar or glyco-modifications.  The slime is thought to impede capture by making the hagfish slippery, and possibly by clogging the gills of a predator.  The nanothreads are remarkable: comparable to spider silk in tensile strength (800 megapascals or near 1 gigapascal) and lightness, and 5 times stronger than steel on a weight basis.


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