Here’s some watering holes for today’s Open Thread- notice that the zebras seem to get along with everyone?
“First light at Daytona brought in heavy fog.” Thank you, houseofroberts, for inadvertently (and somewhat circuitously) inspiring this post. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the respite from the perpetual political perturbations in this refreshing pool of nature’s glory and wonder.
Let’s start with, appropriately, Sunrises. The first photo in the group, “…taken by johndhard at Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon…”, brings to mind the style of artist Maxfield Parrish, i.e.:
Feeling more human now? Then let’s learn a little about clouds, including, but not limited to “Hole-Punch Clouds”, as seen here:
This is today’s open thread. Well, that was good for me, how about you?
Pause, take a deep breath. Relax for just a few moments and forget about politics, forget about the upcoming holiday(s) and the zillion things you need to get done. Enjoy a moment of solitude, at one with the ocean and sky.
This is our Open Thread – discuss whatever you’d like!
Photo by Zooey
I took this photo on my recent trip to Glacier National Park, having taken a detour down to the National Bison Range. Over 13,000 years ago, this lush farmland was the site of a huge glacial lake; today we refer to it as Lake Missoula.
The lake was the result of an ice dam on the Clark Fork caused by the southern encroachment of a finger of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet into the Idaho Panhandle (at the present day location of Clark Fork, Idaho at the east end of Lake Pend Oreille). The height of the ice dam typically approached 610 metres (2,000 ft), flooding the valleys of western Montana approximately 320 kilometres (200 mi) eastward. It was the largest ice-dammed lake known to have occurred.
Approximately forty times over a 2000 year period, the glacial ice dam ruptured, and the contents of Lake Missoula went screaming across the Idaho Panhandle, Eastern Washington (creating the Scablands), and the Columbia River Gorge. You can see that the flood even reached my little corner of the world on the Snake River.
The cumulative effect of the floods was to excavate 210 cubic kilometres (50 cu mi) of loess, sediment and basalt from the channeled scablands of eastern Washington and to transport it downstream. These floods are noteworthy for producing canyons and other large geologic features through cataclysms rather than through more typical gradual processes.
If you drive across Eastern Washington, you’ll see that even today it looks like a virtual wasteland. Being in the rain shadow of the Cascades has something to do with it, but the main culprit was flood after flood after flood scouring off the land. It’s really quite fascinating to imagine the raw and determined power of WATER.
This is our daily open thread — Hey, you learned something new today!
A car drives through the so-called Chandelier Tree in California’s Underwood Park in the 1930s. An iconic giant, this 315-foot-tall redwood was tunneled out as a novelty during the early days of gas-powered cars.
I remember driving through this tree with my family when I was 12 or 13. We had a great big Dodge van at the time, and the door handles barely missed the sides of the tree tunnel. It was so cool, but I remember thinking that it was too bad that whoever hollowed out that tree had no respect for such a lovely Redwood giant. Thank goodness the tree managed to stay alive.
Check out the other ten sacred and iconic trees, such as the baobab, the dance tree, and the Bohdi tree, at National Geographic.
This is our daily open thread — Enjoy the trees!
Timelapse Montage, by Mike Flores
I totally spaced doing my Friday post, and it’s almost midnight, so here’s a cool video!
I’m off to help my dad’s wife with a ginormous yard sale, for which she’s going to owe me a ginormous bottle of wine. I’ll see ya for music night!
This is our daily open thread — TGIF!!
Photo by Zooey
Another picture from my Glacier Park trip, taken from a wide spot on the Going To The Sun Road.
Just imagine the sheer size and weight of the glaciers that carved out this valley and the sides of those mountains. Absolutely amazing.
This is our daily open thread — TGIF!!
This is the song that I hear every morning and every evening. It’s a very comforting sound and relaxing sound. The woods echo with the wonderful, sweet, musical sound coming from the Wood Thrush. What a great way to start and end the day.
Now and then, I need a reminder that the political ugliness in this world is not the only thing of which we’re made, so I search out the beauty of this planet on the YouTubes.
This video is comprised of clips from the BBC series “Planet Earth,” and it helps restore my perspective, within the greater scheme of things.
My favorite part is…all of it. In particular, I can’t help but notice the amazing and powerful effects of WATER in etching the wonderful and gorgeous features of our home.
A quote from one of my favorite movies sums it up…
Sayuri: My mother always said my sister, Satsu was like wood. As rooted to the earth as a sakura tree… But she told me I was like water… Water can carve its way through stone. And when trapped, water makes a new path.
I can relate.
This is our Friday open thread — What’s on your mind?
That bit of vegetation, it looks quite odd
But it’s not a plant it’s actually a cephalopod!
It hides away to avoid being seen,
by sharks and divers who can be quite mean
when it is found it squirts its ink
and the confused diver cannot help but think
that the mimic octopus is fucking amazing
The camouflage ability of the octopus is just amazing, isn’t it? I had to watch the video several times.
What would you do if you could camouflage yourself as well as our octopus friend?
HT: Zoo Jr
This is our daily open thread — Happy Friday!!
Some headlines for today:
No Surprise: Vladimir Putin rejects scrutiny into last elections
Kill the Poor: Britain’s poorest hit by Stealth Tax
Critters and such: Confusing Weather Patterns for Britain’s Wildlife
Nature Victimized and her victims: Rising Seal Levels and Erosion leave landmark crumbling.
Romney: Inevitable? Well…
Not Romney: The Molotov Party
Cute Overdose: Red Panda
This is our daily Open Thread, what’s your news?
All photos by Jane E. Schneider
I find so much inspiration and personal solace from the beauty and wonders of nature.
Would anyone like to reflect on any topic?
This past week, the temperatures here in the Northeast dropped from 80 degrees on Wednesday to 60 degrees on Thursday, ushering in today’s perfect early-autumn weather. Although only a few leaves have started turning or falling, soon our area’s foliage will be showing off its finest colors.
All photos by Jane E. Schneider
This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.
I have five 32 oz and one 48 oz hummingbird feeders. They are refilled at least once a day. I have many ‘locals’ that live here all year – there are sometimes about sixty hummingbirds at the feeders. Being on the Pacific flyway, we also have visitors in the fall going to Margartiaville in Baja, and returning around February. Last year, a couple of Rufous stayed and made my backyard their home.
To all the Zoo Critters and bird-enthusiast Zoo visitors, a reminder that Audubon Magazine is holding their 2011 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards contest, the Categories being: Birds; and Birds in their habitats. The Divisions are: Professional; Amateur; and Youth.
Now’s the time to show off your great photos. I know that we have some truly excellent nature photographers here, so please, don’t be shy. (We’d love to see what you submit, too, so post your photos in the comments, if possible.)
Go to: http://www.audubonmagazinephotoawards.org to submit your photos. The deadline is September 5th.
Go ahead, birder shutterbugs, do it!
Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) thinks it would be a great idea for the U.S. to help countries all over the world clearcut all of their trees, in order to fight global climate change.
Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” Rohrabacher asked Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s special envoy for climate change. “Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?
Cutting down all the trees, which absorb tons of CO2 every day, would actually make the problem of global climate change WORSE. But don’t bother telling Dumbass Rohrabacher, cuz he knows the real cause — nature.
This is our daily open thread — what’s warming your heart & soul today?
NOAA put together this timelapse video to illustrate the seemingly unrelenting series of tornadoes this Spring.
The U.S. experienced unprecedented tornado activity throughout the month of April 2011. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center received 875 tornado reports during that month alone; 625 have been confirmed as tornadoes, so far. Many of these storms were concentrated during 7 different major outbreaks, mostly in the Southern U.S. The largest of these outbreaks occurred during April 27-28, leaving over 300 people dead as over 180 storms were reported from Texas to Virginia.
I’ve lived in hurricane country a couple times, and experienced the edge of Hurricane Camille in 1969 while living in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — which was far worse than any full force hurricane I experienced living in South Central Louisiana in the early 80s; and I’ve lived in earthquake country most of my life, but just missed the big Loma Prieta shaker, having left the Bay Area for Oregon only weeks earlier, via the freeway that collapsed. Yikes. You know, stuff happens. The earth is constantly in motion — the air, the surface, the flora and fawna, and the shifting plates under our feet.
Having said that, the most terrifying thing I can imagine are tornadoes. They are just so random. I know, I know, so are earthquakes and hurricanes, but you can gather a certain amount of information about the impending doom. Tornadoes happen quickly. Sometimes they’re relatively small, and you can see them; sometimes they’re ginormus and you can’t see them — until they engulf you; my house is fine, but my neighbor’s house is the size of toothpicks.
Okay, tiny panic attack happening right now. Breathe deeply, you’re in Northern Idaho, you goofy girl — no tornadoes!! Pretty much…so far…
Anyhoo, the only time I remember being truly scared I was going to end up in Oz, was toward the end of a stint in Urbana, Illinois, during which I was in a hotel room, looking out the window at a storm that would have drowned elephants, and hearing this god-awful siren noise. Apparently that was a siren warning of impending tornadoes. Hell, I’ve never heard one in my life, so I’m looking out the window! I learned later that I should have huddled in the bathtub and prayed to the Flying Spaghetti Monster to spare my life — that’s when the retroactive scaredy cat thing kicked in. I also learned that standard hospital procedure was to move patients into the hallways, away from the windows. My poor claustrophobic Mom got to experience the whole thing crammed together with other patients in the hallways, all with varying degrees of hysteria. Luckily, she was still too cool to be flying off the handle in front of others. She was awesome that way. :-)
I don’t know if it’s Global Climate Change causing this or something else, but I know it’s bad. People in this country have lost EVERYTHING to this series of tornadoes. EVERYTHING. You know, we cool kids like to do the minimal possessions thing — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but none of us would want to lose our children’s baby pictures, our important papers, or every stitch of clothing we own. They’ve lost it all.
Timelapse video found at MaddowBlog.
396,000 dollars before end user… No wonder yet another magnificent animal is at the brink…
Mixed flock of snow geese and sandhill cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio, New Mexico.
Lowering the landing gear…
Seahorse males give birth. During mating, the females deposits eggs in a brood pouch on the males where they are fertilized and remain until hatched.
Seahorses are truly unique, and not just because of their unusual equine shape. Unlike most other fish, they are monogamous and mate for life. Rarer still, they are among the only animal species on Earth in which the male bears the unborn young.
Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, these upright-swimming relatives of the pipefish can range in size from 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) to 14 inches (35 centimeters) long.
Male seahorses are equipped with a brood pouch on their ventral, or front-facing, side. When mating, the female deposits her eggs into his pouch, and the male fertilizes them internally. He carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.
From National Geographic.
This is our Open Thread. What’s on your mind? Speak Up!
Photo by Zooey
We have discussed the use of a nuclear device to kill the oil spill and I for my part have decided that’s too crazy to be considered. The cap is said to work, but I seriously doubt it. Remember when they cut the riser to put on the cap, the oil spill actually increased by some 20%. Some say the increase could be even 80%. As always, I can’t tell and I fear nobody really can and if they can, they won’t tell us. When they now claim they are funneling oil from the spill into a ship, is it really more than what the cutting of the riser caused in the first place? Are we really better off or only marginally so or even worse off now? This question remains unanswered.
I think what is obvious is: Oil continues to spill into the Gulf of Mexico which is already reeling from what has been already issued into the ecosystem since the Deepwater Horizon exploded. We need to consider what is going to happen to the crude oil once it’s out of it’s lair.
Nature will take care of it. That’s actually true. There are microorganisms out there which live off crude oil:
some individual species (Pseudomonas) can use up to 1000 different carbon compounds. What do they do with the oil ? Well basically they eat it just like you eat cereal. They use enzymes to break it up (metabolize it) using O2 turning it into CO2 and more microorganisms.
The word here is O2. There’s huge amounts of C(arbon) in the oil but not so much O(xygen). Where are the little buggers getting it from? Likely from the surrounding waters and the solute oxygen. What with the dead zones that are already there and getting worse in warmer temperatures, incidentally the temperatures where Pseudomonas gets really hungry, this is not really encouraging. Some kinds are even causing severe skin infections. Nevertheless it’s worth to take a closer look. Because these microbes exist and they seem to even develop where there is an oil spill:
A recently published article in Environmental Microbiology reveals that indigenous microbiota of the Galician shore is readily able to degrade crude oil. Scientists from the Estación Experimental del Zaidín (Spanish Council for Research, CSIC) in Granada investigated in situ crude oil degradation after the Prestige oil spill in November 2002.(read more)
How about introducing oil eating microbes into the Gulf, the environment is favourable, the Gulf waters are warm enough for them to thrive.
HAVANA, Aug. 31, 2005 (IPS/GIN) — Scientists think a product used in Cuba since 1992 to clean up oil spills with marine bacteria could prove useful for other warm-weather countries.
Bioil-FC has proven effective in changing the toxic compounds in hydrocarbons into biodegradable substances, turning them back into carbon dioxide and water. This inexpensive “bioproduct” also compares favorably against other products used to clean up hydrocarbon spills, Cuban scientists say.
“We have achieved more than 90 percent remediation (clean up) in a maximum of 30 days of application,” chemical engineer Roberto Nunez, director of CEBIMAR, a marine biological research center, told Tierramerica.
Expert sources from various countries consider a satisfactory biological clean-up for spills of petroleum and its derivatives to be 55 percent in three to four months.
“Bioremediation” is a technique for environmental detoxification through microorganisms that break down dangerous organic waste and turn it into less harmful compounds.
This method, available for the past 25 years, exploits the ability of some bacteria, yeast or molds to incorporate part of the dangerous compounds into their metabolism, for growth or for energy of the organism itself. (read more)
I have already voiced my concerns about the dead zones and the effect more oxygen depletion could have, but this is a natural process and if the oxygen depletes too much, the microbae would die and stop using more oxygen. I don’t advocate miracle cures, there are too many out there who do so. I don’t believe in miracles anyway. But I believe in the strength of nature and I think it can be put to good use. It’s cheap, it certainly less toxic than Dispersit or Corexit and the microbes, like any population will die off and reduce in numbers when they’re running out of food. These microbes already exist and are not genetically engineered for the purpose. So why don’t we hear much more of this?
Not manufactured? Not engineered? No money to be made!
The oil spill is only the latest, albeit one of the biggest, of horrendous atrocities brought upon this planet by us. Some are catastrophic as the oil spill, some are just going on and on for decades, like mining. This blog has already reported on some and I am reposting them here. But there are many more examples of how we blatantly disregard the very basis of our own existence. The planet we share is destroyed by our way of living. I must warn you, some of the videos linked to contain graphic and heartbreaking material, I put up an alert on those. Please just ignore those videos if you want, I am not out for hurting you.
Bhopal (Video contains very graphic pictures)
Chernobyl (Video contains very graphic content)
You know I could go on forever. The Niger Delta, Linfen (the most polluted city in the world), Russia’s Dzerzhinsk ( the most chemically polluted city in the world) and many more. I have not even started on the rainforests and the overfishing of the oceans. It is maybe not to late to change gear, but we have to do it quickly.So, please add information, links or videos on this subject in the comments section to this post, this will only help to make the picture more clear and the urgency more visible. Thanks.
Using Google Earth and NASA pictures, a Canadian based scientist (ecologist) on the lookout for receding arctic permafrost, came across what’s possibly the largest beaver dam on earth.
“It might be hard to believe, but there are a few things that are visible from space, and beaver dams are among the few animal-made structures that are,” said Thie.(read story)
Discovered in 2007 using the online satellite imaging system, this beaver dam exists in a national park in nothern Alberta, Canada and measures almost 3,000 feet long. Apparently, it’s been showing up on NASA satellite images since 1990; and is estimated to have taken more than 20 years to build.