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Maurice May
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"...Come with me, and you'll be, in a world of pure imagination..."
"...Come with me, and you'll be, in a world of pure imagination..."

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The "I'll Have Another" Cells

This may be the reason you reach for that second (or fourth) serving of Tim Tams. Lol

Via: +Corina Marinescu
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#BrainCells #Appetite #Neurology
A new player in appetite control
MIT neuroscientists have discovered that brain cells called glial cells play a critical role in controlling appetite and feeding behavior. In a study of mice, the researchers found that activating these cells stimulates overeating, and that when the cells are suppressed, appetite is also suppressed.

The findings could offer scientists a new target for developing drugs against obesity and other appetite-related disorders, the researchers say. The study is also the latest in recent years to implicate glial cells in important brain functions. Until about 10 years ago, glial cells were believed to play more of a supporting role for neurons.

Paper:
https://elifesciences.org/content/5/e18716

PR:
http://news.mit.edu/2016/brain-cells-structural-support-influence-appetite-1018

#neuroscience #appetite #obesity #eatingdisorders #glialcells

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Grouping For Survival

Ladybugs using their own success to benefit the entire population.

Via: +Corina Marinescu
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#Insects #Hibernation #Survival
Did you know ladybugs will swarm to find warm places to hibernate?
Ladybugs swarm because they're looking for a warm place to hibernate for winter. They hibernate in clusters. When one of them finds a suitable place, it releases a pheromone that attracts a couple gazillion more of them. In fact, the pheromone can keep the ladybugs coming back year after year.

References:
http://www.uksafari.com/ladybirds_in_winter.htm
https://dengarden.com/gardening/Thousand-of-Good-Luck-Charms-The-Annual-Ladybug-Swarming

#biodiversity   #ladybug   #coolcritters  
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The Deep Freeze

It's amazing to see the power and resilience of nature.

Via: +Corina Marinescu
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#Freezing #Ice #Nature
Sentinels of a Northern Sky 
Who guards the north? The featured picture was taken last March in Finnish Lapland where weather can include sub-freezing temperatures and driving snow. Surreal landscapes sometimes result, where white alien-looking sentinels seem to patrol the landscape.

 In actuality though, the aliens are snow-covered trees, and the red hut they seem to be guarding is an outhouse. Far in the distance, behind this uncommon Earthly vista, is a beautiful night sky which includes a green aurora, bright stars, and streaks of orbiting satellites. Of course, in the spring, the trees thaw and Lapland looks much different.

Image and info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Pierre Destribats

#naturalphenomena   #freezingweather   #aurora  
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A Vacillating Solution

Sometimes, even solutions can't make up their minds.

Here's a great post by +Corina Marinescu
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#Chemistry #SwishyWashy #Science
The Belousov oscillating reaction
In the 1950s, Russian chemist Boris Belousov reported a bizarre reaction. It’s a reaction that can’t seem to make up its mind. As two liquids are mixed together, a colour change occurs, then reverses, then happens again, then flips back…

Chemists wondered: Could this be violating the second law of thermodynamics? Chemical reactions travel in one direction: down an energy gradient. But this one goes back and forth. Is the reaction travelling up the gradient?

No. Of course, what’s really happening is that the reaction is slowly moving down the slope, all in one direction. Though it seems to be reversing, what you’re seeing is just the reaction in process, and it will eventually settle on one final product.

Reference:
http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Belousov-Zhabotinsky_reaction

Experiment:
http://www.rsc.org/learn-chemistry/resource/res00000753/an-oscillating-reaction?cmpid=CMP00004761

Story via The Royal Institution
http://www.rigb.org/christmas-lectures/supercharged-fuelling-the-future/thermodynamics-2016-advent-calendar/13--the-belousov-reaction

#chemistry   #oscillatingreactions   #experiments   #science  
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Casting A Wide Net

This little guy is a buffet owner's worst nightmare. Please prep your kitchen staff accordingly. :D

This is freakishly good +Corina Marinescu​! ;)
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#UnderDaSea #Ocean #SeaSlug #Eating
Melibe Nudibranch
Melibe have developed an oral veil or 'fish net' which they use to scan the ground with. Constantly on the move, looking for victims, when found the veil contracts, trapping their prey.
They feed on hydroids, coral, sponges, anemones and crustaceans.
Widespread Western Indo-Pacific.

Watch video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYKim1OHSYA

#biodiveristy   #coolcritters   #melibenudibranch   #seaslug  
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Nature's Biological Reset Button

Isn't it fascinating how some creatures can regenerate? +Corina Marinescu​ explains the scientific advancement in this unusual and interesting phenomenon.
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#Nature #Regeneration
Early development reveals axolotl mysteries
In the amphibian world, the axolotl is the replacement-parts king.                       

This endangered Mexican salamander serves as its own NAPA store for lost body parts, able to fully regenerate limbs, tail, heart, spine and eyes—making it a model of curiosity for regenerative biologists.
Most of the scientific focus to date has been on trained on the blastema, a remarkable cluster of cells that forms at the base of an amputated limb or damaged tissue and is the modus operandi for regeneration. It somehow coordinates a symphony of instructions to re-grow muscle, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, skin—all at the right place and right time to make a good-as-new limb.

But scientists with the Morgridge Institute for Research regenerative biology team shifted attention to the axolotl’s embryonic origins for new clues to the creature’s rare skills. In work published in the summer of 2016 in the journal Developmental Biology, researchers looked at 17 different development stages of axolotl embryos and found a highly unusual series of bursts in changes in gene expression, followed by stable periods, that is unique in developmental biology.

These “waves and troughs” of genetic change appear three times: When the genome is first activated, during formation of the early gut and during formation of the nervous system. This pattern gives scientists three hot targets for comparison to the existing bank of information on mature axolotl limb regeneration.

Source & further reading:
http://phys.org/news/2016-10-early-reveals-axolotl-mysteries.html

Journal article:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001216061530261X

#biodiversity   #axolotl   #research   #coolcritters  
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Aerial Fishermen

Check out this interesting technique used by some birds to grab a quick meal.

Via: +Corina Marinescu
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#Nature #Fishing #WaterFowl #Animals
Scooping
Some beaks are big, with the ability to get bigger.
For example, the pelican has a pouch-like beak it can expand when it's trying to scoop up fish. Brown Pelicans are known for diving into the water to catch fish.

The pouch on the pelican's lower bill is usually folded up, but it can get bigger when the bird is fishing. A pelican's pouch can hold 11 liters of water.

Even though the pelican's tongue is tiny, a complex set of specialized tongue muscles control the pouch. By contracting these muscles, the pelican tightens the pouch after catching a fish, expelling water and forcing the prey down its throat.

Tongue muscles are also used in gular fluttering, a surprisingly effective evaporative cooling mechanism. The bird rapidly flutters the pouch by contracting and relaxing the muscles, kind of like a dog panting, sometimes at a remarkable flutter-rate of 200 times a minute.

Pelicans perform strange-looking exercises to stretch and maintain their pouch in a brand of pelican yoga. They will gape, holding their mouths wide open. In another pose, they point the bill straight up to the sky, stretching the pouch. Or most evocatively, a bird will turn its pouch completely inside out by forcing it over its breast.

Know more:
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/pelican/
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2006/06/pelican-grace/did-you-know-learn

Photo via reddit

#biodiversity   #beaks   #coolcritters   #pelicans  
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Throwing Shade

Here's a neat demonstration on planetary cycles from Google pluses own +Tren C​!

Well done! \o/
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#Space #GuardianOfTheGalaxy #Eclipse #Science
Teaching the littles about time of day, seasons, and orbits of planets and comets!!
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03/09/2016
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You Spin My Head Right Round...

It's pretty cool to see the hurricane formation from above.

Thanks +Corina Marinescu​!
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#Hurricane #Storm #Nature
3 Hurricanes seen from ISS
This time-lapse video taken from the space station on Aug. 30/2016 shows Hurricanes Lester and Madeline in the Pacific Ocean, then Gaston in the Atlantic Ocean.

Reference:
http://www.space.com/33901-three-hurricanes-seen-from-space-station-on-same-day-time-lapse-video.html

HAWAII is about to get hit by a double whammy as two tropical hurricanes.

Article:
http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/hawaii-braces-for-unprecedented-storm-as-two-hurricanes-bear-down-on-the-main-island/news-story/fd47d2957086a16a68e082855ede8ba8 

#naturalphenomena   #hurricaneseason   #nasa   #ISS  
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Bee-ting The Heat

The giant honeybee has a very unique way of cooling off during those long, hot summer months.

The honeybees surround the hive; insulating it from the harsh conditions of the outside. The honeybees then began to vibrate the hive, which causes it to expand and contract, just like a lung would, in order to allow cool air to flow into the hive.

Un-bee-lievable! 😂
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Source:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2099856-giant-honeybees-may-act-like-a-collective-lung-to-beat-the-heat/
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#Nature #Honeybees #Heat #HoneybeesLinedancing
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