From the World Wildlife Fund report entitled, “Living Planet Report,” on loss of species. (By the way, the graphs use the acronym, “LPI,” which is translated as the “Living Plant Index,” which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Those populations have declined by 52 per cent since 1970. 

The World Wildlife Fund says: “Put another way, in less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. We ignore their decline at our peril.”

The report can be read here.

Reblogged from Science Junkie

The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.

Reblogged from Science Junkie


Adolf Hitler Was a Regular Meth User

Notorious dictators may not be the people we typically associate with methamphetamine, but a report claims that, during World War II, Adolf Hitler regularly took methamphetamines for a variety of ailments, including the drug Pervitin, a precursor to crystal meth. Learn more

Reblogged from DiscoveryNews


Are We on the Path to Peak Water?
By Kylie Schultz & Amber Billings 

Scientists and experts fear that humanity is reaching the point of peak water — the point at which freshwater is being consumed faster than it is being replenished or available. In the infographic above we take a look at the amount of water use around the world. Can we cut back before we reach the point of no return?

Reblogged from Science Junkie


Blood of world’s oldest woman hints at limits of life

Death is the one certainty in life – a pioneering analysis of blood from one of the world’s oldest and healthiest women has given clues to why it happens.

Born in 1890, Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper was at one point the oldest woman in the world. She was also remarkable for her health, with crystal-clear cognition until she was close to death, and a blood circulatory system free of disease. When she died in 2005, she bequeathed her body to science, with the full support of her living relatives that any outcomes of scientific analysis – as well as her name – be made public.

Researchers have now examined her blood and other tissues to see how they were affected by age.

What they found suggests, as we could perhaps expect, that our lifespan might ultimately be limited by the capacity for stem cells to keep replenishing tissues day in day out. Once the stem cells reach a state of exhaustion that imposes a limit on their own lifespan, they themselves gradually die out and steadily diminish the body’s capacity to keep regenerating vital tissues and cells, such as blood.

In van Andel-Schipper’s case, it seemed that in the twilight of her life, about two-thirds of the white blood cells remaining in her body at death originated from just two stem cells, implying that most or all of the blood stem cells she started life with had already burned out and died.

Read more
Image: [x]  Video: slate.com

Reblogged from Science Junkie


Bizarre? Or beautiful? The ocean sunfish is a visitor fave. You can help save molas by reducing use of disposable plastic bags. When these wind up in the ocean, they look like jellies—a mola’s favorite meal.

Learn more

(Charlene Boarts)

Reblogged from Monterey Bay Aquarium


Brahmin moth, Brahmaea wallichii

The Brahmin moth, Brahmaea wallichii (Brahmaeidae) is a stunning moth up to 160 mm wingspan, with wavy lines and alternating light and dark colors that provide considerable camouflage on tree bark.

Brahmaea wallichii is found in the north of India, Myanmar, China, Taiwan and Japan.

As shown in the bottom photo, the caterpillar of this moth is equally breathtaking. This one is in the 5th instar; from the egg to this stage it only needed 3 1/2 weeks, and it grew in this time from only 5 mm to a length of 9 cm. 

In wild the larvae feed on Fraxinus excelsior, Ligustrum and Common Lilac. They are able to neutralize plant toxins produced by Ligustrum. The species is named after the botanist Nathaniel Wallich.


Photo credit: ©Yvonne Späne |  [Top] - [Bottom]

Reblogged from Science Junkie


Anemic Spiral NGC 4921

NGC 4921 is a barred spiral galaxy in the Coma Cluster, located in the constellation Coma Berenices. It is about 320 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy has a nucleus with a bar structure that is surrounded by a distinct ring of dust that contains recently formed, hot blue stars. The outer part consists of unusually smooth, poorly distinguished spiral arms. 

In 1976, Canadian astronomer Sidney Van den Bergh categorized this galaxy as “anemic” because of the low rate at which stars are being formed. He noted that it has “an unusually low surface brightness and exhibits remarkably diffuse spiral arms”.

Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA

Reblogged from Science Junkie