Part of the mollusk phylum, Nudibranchs are the shell-less relatives of the snail and are known for their garish colors. These tiny sea creatures are usually only 2cm - 6cm in length and can be found worldwide. They are able to thrive in any depth of salt water from the deepest darkest ocean floors to warm shallow water.
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There are over 3,000 known species of nudibranchs, and scientist estimate that only half have been discovered so far. The creatures soft-body and short life span of 1 year make it possible for many of them to live undetected and vanish from the earth without a trace.
Photo by wildsingapore
Nudibranchs are blind, and the animal relies on smell, taste and feel to navigate their surroundings to find coral, sponges, eggs, small fish, and other nudibranchs to eat.
The film follows Scientists from NASA's Space Sciences Laboratory excitedly describing their discoveries while the animation of Jarmne and Gerhardt bring to life their descriptions with visualizations of the magnetic life all around us. One scientist describes a field as a 'hairy ball' with ingrown hairs that turn back towards the source creating loops. Another scientist describes another field as 'dancing dots' that collide canceling out or merging with each other.
The secret lives of invisible magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic ever-changing geometries . All action takes place around NASA's Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley, to recordings of space scientists describing their discoveries . Actual VLF audio recordings control the evolution of the fields as they delve into our inaudible surroundings, revealing recurrent ‘whistlers' produced by fleeting electrons . Are we observing a series of scientific experiments, the universe in flux, or a documentary of a fictional world?
Some interesting research has emerged regarding the effects of feather colors on a bird's internal physiology. So, we're taking a look at what they found, mixed in with a little bird palette inspiration.
It has always been thought that the bird made the color, but now scientist have found that the color of a bird's feathers can have a dramatic impact on a bird's physiology.
"The traditional view is that internal processes of birds determine their external features -- in other words, physiology forms the feathers," said Kevin McGraw, an assistant professor at ASU's School of Life Sciences. "But our results indicate that a perceived change in the color of an animal can directly affect its internal physiological state. A barn swallow's hormonal profile is influenced by its outward appearance."
"In the animal world, sexual signals by males -- from the antlers of elk to the gaudy tail feathers of peacocks -- have evolved to convey honest, accurate information about the animal, McGraw said. Evolutionary biologists believe the top males in a population can afford the physiological costs of expressing the most exaggerated forms of sexual signals, like a conspicuous dark feather color that is either biochemically costly to produce or makes those individuals more susceptible to predators, he said."
I guess there weren't enough colors in the ocean.
When scientist first started working to genetically modify Zebra fish, it was in the hopes that a small mutation would allow the fish to identify certain pollutants in waterways wherever they were introduced.
In 1999, Dr. Zhiyuan Gong and his colleagues at the National University of Singapore extracted the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene from a jellyfish that naturally produced bright green bioluminescence. They inserted the gene into the zebrafish genome, causing the fish to glow brightly under both natural white light and ultraviolet light. Their goal was to develop a fish that could detect pollution by selectively fluorescing in the presence of environmental toxins. The development of the always fluorescing fish was the first step in this process. Shortly thereafter, his team developed a line of red fluorescent zebra fish by adding a gene from a sea coral, and yellow fluorescent zebra fish, by adding a variant of the jellyfish gene. Later, a team of Taiwanese researchers at the National University of Taiwan, headed by Professor Huai-Jen Tsai (蔡懷禎), succeeded in creating a medaka (rice fish) with a fluorescent green color.
The fish were first introduced into the U.S. market in 2003 after FDA approval:
Because tropical aquarium fish are not used for food purposes, they pose no threat to the food supply. There is no evidence that these genetically engineered zebra danio fish pose any more threat to the environment than their unmodified counterparts which have long been widely sold in the United States. In the absence of a clear risk to the public health, the FDA finds no reason to regulate these particular fish.
One of the more colorful things that sometimes gets overlooked by many of us city folk, who only see nature and bodies of water when there is a popular video on YouTube of someone crashing their personal watercraft, are the carefully crafted colors of fishing lures. Special care is taken in the color selection by lure makers, as it is a very important part in catching the right fish in the right conditions.
Most fish, except for some of those in the deepest of darkest of oceans, where there is no light at all, can see colors, some even have four to five different cones making their ability to see color even greater than our own. While there is some, but not much, evidence that fish have a particular tendency towards red, there is more to selecting the right color of lure than just picking the one with the palette you like best. So, if you ever get a chance leave you computer behind and head out to the lake, we've put together a guide to help you make the right color choice when selecting a lure.
In order to select the best lure color palette there are a few things that need to be considered, such as: Water depth and clarity, season, and the time of day.
Here is a wonderful article, with great graphics that I really wanted to steal for this post, that you should check out for more information: Exploding The Myths With Some Truths About Lure Color, by Greg Vinall.
The consensus is that on sunny days brighter colors are the best option, and on cloudy days, darker more natural colors should be used. This is because the various light wavelengths are absorbed at different rates in water, longer wavelengths, like reds, are absorbed easily where as shorter ones, like violet, are absorbed much more slowly and can penetrate into deeper water. So, the farther down your lure goes the fewer and fewer colors will be seen by the fish.
It is pretty much expected that we will encounter toxins everyday. Whether it is plastics, cleaning products, or other synthetic materials, we are surrounded by harmful toxins. Toxins that in large enough doses could kill us, so even encountering small traces of these can probably lead to health problems, and would logically be something to avoid, if given the chance. Lucky for us our plant friends live to clean the air around us - thanks guys.
In the June issue of GOOD Magazine they put together a great info-graphic of the three most common household toxins and the plant species that research has shown to cleanse and detoxify the air of these potentially harmful toxins.
The three most common household toxins, as broken down by the GOOD info-graphic, are:
- Trichloroethylene: Effects similar to alcohol poisoning: headache and dizzinness, with long-term damage to the liver and kidneys
- Formaldehyde: A very common indoor pollutant; can cause headaches, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing; is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA
- Benzene: Can cause drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting, and unconsciousness; has a pleasant smell, which is why it used to be a common ingredient in aftershave
Toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, radon, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide can come from a variety of seemingly innocuous household sources like cleaning materials, your furnace, and even your house itself. These chemicals can contribute to allergies, asthma and a host of other conditions including cancer.
NASA studies have shown that the presences of plants in your indoor environment can significantly reduce your exposure to these toxic airborne chemicals and greatly improve the quality of living. Since many of us spend so much time indoors at home and at work it’s very important that we bring some of the outdoors in and here are some of the best plants to do that with…
Photo by Plant Oasis
- Formaldehyde: Carpet
Imagine distinguishing a dozen primary colors, seeing ultraviolet and infrared, and perceiving six different types of polarized light. For the giant Mantis shrimp of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world is colorful beyond human imagination. Reuters reports a new study by Swiss and Australian marine biologists, suggesting that Mantis shrimps need to detect minute changes in color and polarization to detect nearly invisible prey in murky seawater. They probably also use color to send sexual signals during mating. The scientific report is available online at the Public Library of Science Journal.
Photo by CybersamX
The typical mantis shrimp has emerald green eyes and a pale green or orange body, with bright yellow outlines.
- Mantis shrimp have the fastest kick in the animal kingdom: 75 feet per second. They can punch a hole through aquarium glass.
- Mantis shrimp are named for their resemblance to the praying mantis insect.
- Their coloration varies to match their habitats. The golden mantis is green when it dwells in sea grasses but tan in sandy areas. The crevice-dwelling rock mantis varies from dark green to black.
- Mantis shrimp tend to be active hunters at night.
Photo by sandstep
Here are some color palettes inspired by the Mantis shrimps:
What is color? Is it purely a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, divisible into nanometers of wavelength and lux of intensity? Or is it a vocabulary that allows us to describe the world around us? Is color art, science, or both?
Is Blue Always Blue?
In 1984, George Orwell invented ‘Newspeak,’ a language that makes alternative thinking impossible by removing the words used to describe such thought: if you have no word for ‘revolution,’ you will not start one... Newspeak was based on the idea of ‘linguistic relativism,’ the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Anthropological linguist Edward Sapir and his student, Benjamin Whorf, were convinced that our language constructs our reality: that we see the world through the lens of our own language and anything not encompassed by our language is – to us, at least – unthinkable. Do we live within the confines of our own linguistic reality?
Color terms have long been a favorite testing ground for proponents and opponents of linguistic relativism alike. The color vocabularies of the world’s languages are, well, colorful, and far from identical. Russian discriminates between ‘light blue’ goluboy (голубой) and ‘dark blue’ siniy (синий). Dani, an Indonesian language, has but two words for color: mili, usually associated with dark colors, and mola, usually associated with light colors (it is more complex than this, but that’s the gist). Yet despite these fun linguistic anecdotes, generally speaking, we all share the same color palette. In the late 1970s, the World Color Survey looked at 110 languages from non-industrialized countries worldwide (it is thought that color saturation in industrialized nations skews results for languages like English and French). The survey found that when all the data was plotted, six cross-linguistic peaks emerged, corresponding to English’s pink/red, brown, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Some peaks were taller than others, and some languages had color terms that did not fit into the major peaks, but the survey provided evidence that we’re all more or less looking at the same rainbow.
Photo by -sel-
Why is Blue 'Blue?'
Human eyes have two kinds of photoreceptor cells: rods and cones. Rod cells have one type of photosensitive pigment that allows us to differentiate between light and dark and helps us detect motion. Cone cells have three types of photosensitive pigments – red, green, and blue – that allow us to see in color and in detail. Together, they tell us everything they see in the visible spectrum. But biology is only half the equation. When you look at something – the sky, for instance – your rods and cones set in motion a complex psychological process that enables you to describe what you see. This is true for all stimuli, but we’ll focus on color here.
So let’s look at the sky and see what happens. Step one is perception: your rods and cones take in the color. They tell your brain that they have perceived reflected light with a wavelength of, say, 465 nanometers. Step two is categorization: you must place what you see along the visible spectrum. Your brain says this is BLUE (all caps means it is a color category, not a color itself). Step three is lexicalization: you put that category into words: “The sky is so blue today!” The lexicalization process allows for both synonymy (RED includes both crimson and carmine) and polysemy (teal falls under both the BLUE and the GREEN categories).
But what about the Russians? Or the Dani in Indonesia? We know that neither has a word for the BLUE category, but do they still have the category?
For years scientist have known that chameleons' ability to change color served three purposes: camouflage, body heat regulation, and social communication. However, the most widely accepted hypothesis as to what drove this adaptation, up until now, was camouflage, but some recent research has brought new light as to why chameleons have become know as the color changers that they are, and scientist now believe that social communication is the main driver behind this adaptation.
There are more than 160 species of Chameleons known, and their body size and shape varies widely from 1 inch up to 31 inches. Most of them can be found in Africa, Madagascar and other tropical areas. While chameleons have many unique physical features, such as their independently moving eyes and extremely long tongues, their ability to change color has always been the most fascinating.
Photo by sukanto debnath
All chameleons are able to change color, with different species exhibiting different color ranges that include pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown and yellow.
Chameleons have specialized cells, collectively called chromatophores, that lie in layers under their transparent outer skin. The cells in the upper layer, called xanthophores and erythrophores, contain yellow and red pigments respectively. Below these is another layer of cells called iridophores or guanophores, and they contain the colourless crystalline substance guanine. These reflect, among others, the blue part of incident light. If the upper layer of chromatophores appears mainly yellow, the reflected light becomes green (blue plus yellow). A layer of dark melanin containing melanophores is situated even deeper under the reflective iridophores. The melanophores influence the 'lightness' of the reflected light. All these pigment cells can rapidly relocate their pigments, thereby influencing the colour of the chameleon.
Photo by Pashka
Scientists ran experiments on 21 species of southern African dwarf chameleons to figure out why these color-changing abilities formed.
If camouflage drove the evolution of color change, the species of chameleon that display the greatest diversity of skin coloration would have the greatest variety of backgrounds to match their habitats.
While daydreamers are famous for spending their afternoons gazing out of their office windows, there's something to be said for the night sky as well -- its intense hues go far beyond an average black sky. Of course, seeing those different colors is all a matter of your where and when. Here are a few examples of how to see the earth's canvas at its most brilliant.
Photo by mafleen
The blood moon is also known as the "Hunter's Moon" or "Sanguine Moon." While folklore warns that a blood moon is a sign of bad times, the red star of night is anything but. The name "Hunter's Moon" originates from the fact that this moon cast a brilliant light, allowing hunters to continue to seek prey even at nighttime. Around the time these moons are seen in the sky, there is very little darkness between sunset and moonrise, also making it a favorable time for farmers to work on their crops after sunset (this moon is sometimes called Harvest Moon as well.) This is because the plane of Earth's orbit around the sun makes a narrow angle as far as the horizon is concerned at this time of year. No matter how much fact stands behind blood moons, some people still continue to think of them as harbingers of doom (but they are really quite the opposite!)
Photo by khalid almasoud
While there's no science behind the beauty of skylines, they certainly hold powerful sway over people, whether it is their own beloved city they are gazing over or someone else's. Some of the most famous skylines include New York, Paris, Las Vegas, Tokyo, and San Francisco, and it is very popular to photograph them (panoramic shots definitely do the most justice.) The skyline above is Kuwait, gorgeously accented by shades of paprika.