Many visitors to this blog arrive looking for information about the terrible conservation tragedy that occurred on Grand Cayman a few years ago, in which several rare blue iguanas were murdered It’s a sad entry, but also reminds us of the amazing work being done to breed the Blue Iguana in captivity and then release them into nature reserves.
Here’s a video of the happy part. This footage is from last year, when eight blue iguanas were released into the Salina Reserve. You can see they are left in little wooden structures. These provide shelter and security for the animal as it makes the transition from captivity to life in the Salina Reserve.
The Earth can be truly stunning at times.
Update: My animal won! The night was a sell-out and fantastic fun, thanks to all who came along! It was great to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and to make some new ones. The other acts were hilarious (and hideous), and Simon was a fantastic compere! My animal was Promachoteuthis sulcus, which isn’t very well known so doesn’t even have a common name. At the event, I proposed the “human-gobbed squid” or “gob-faced squid” to a large crowd. It was agreed at this event and at the Festival of the Spoken Nerd event on Friday that the animal should be known as the gob-faced squid. With several hundred people from these events now referring to it as the gob-faced squid, it’s the most common name it has as a relatively unknown creature! I’m happy and strangely proud that my animal won the evening. Here is the new mascot for the Scottish branch of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society:
This is a message for all the amazing people who have come to the brilliant Edinburgh International Science Festival. If you’re up for some shenanigans, and don’t have a weak stomach, come along to see us at the Ugly Animal Preservation Society! If comedy and nasty ugly are your things, you’ll be in a disgusting heaven!
As well as myself, you’ll see performers including Helen Arney (Uncaged Monkeys, Festival of the Spoken Nerd), Simon Watt (Inside Nature’s Giants), Steve Cross (Science Showoff), the guys from Punk Science, and more! It will be funny, interesting, and horrific in equal measure.
It’s on Wednesday night, 9pm-11pm. You can get all the details here!
WITCHCRAFT! No, this is actually real. The following video is a demonstration of Ultra-Ever Dry in action.
I describe this as magical water repellent, but apparently…
“Ultra-Ever Dry is a superhydrophobic (water) and oleophobic (hydrocarbons) coating that will completely repel almost any liquid. Ultra-Ever Dry uses proprietary nanotechnology to coat an object and create a barrier of air on its surface. This barrier repels water, oil and other liquids unlike any coating seen before. The other breakthrough associated with Ultra-Ever Dry is the superior coating adherence and abrasion resistance allowing it to be used in all kinds of applications where durability is required.”
There are many demonstrations in the video, and my favourite was probably coating the border but not centre of an object so that the liquid gathered in the middle. But what I really want to know is what happens when liquid is put in a container coated with this stuff… The liquid in those demonstrations usually had a way out. What happens if I coat my bath? Or a drinking glass? How will the water behave? Also, what if we coat the underside of a boat, or a whole submarine? Faster? Slower? No difference?
Mmmm. Not sure who made this, but Jared Campbell spotted it.
Some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring images I have ever seen have come from telescopes. The cosmos is a spectacular place, simultaneously hopeful and terrifying. Fantastic images of space are very welcome in my social feeds. The most famous source is probably NASA’s Astronomy Picture Of The Day.
If you’re looking for more spectacular images (and explanations) of deep space objects and the surfaces of other worlds, I’d strongly recommend looking at Kash Farooq‘s Space Scenery blogs at The Thought Stash.
He’s also just started a Twitter account for the Space Scenery. If you’re like me and love witnessing the death of stars and the terrain of other planets on your monitor, you should follow this account! You can of course follow NASA’s APOD images on Twitter too! Huzzah!
Recenty, a petition was made to the White House asking for the construction of a Death Star. What follows is the official response by Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Enjoy.
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.
Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.
Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.
We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.
We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.
If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
Awesome. You can see the original response here.
I must admit, I find fireworks to be overrated. But I enjoyed this video and now wish all fireworks were in reverse.
Happy new year.