Saturday, September 29, 2012

Amazing paper sculptures of animals « Why Evolution Is True

Canadian artist Calvin Nicholls   creates the following amazingly beautiful sculptures using sheets of paper. “Calvin has been creating his paper sculptures since 1986 from his studio north of Toronto Ontario, Canada. Working with sheets of paper and a scalpel, he cuts the component pieces to fit the final drawing and assembles the low relief artwork under studio lighting. When the sculpture is complete the lighting is adjusted to bring out the subtle form and texture. A large format camera is used to capture the detail on 8×10 film prior to scanning for print applications or art prints.”

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A marine mystery solved (and a bit about birds) « Why Evolution Is True

There are a million mysteries in the Naked City of Biology, and some of them get solved. This is one of them, taken from the Japanese culture siteSpoon & Tamago. It’s described in the post “The deep sea mystery circle—a love story  
Several decades ago, a Japanese “salary man” named Yoji Ookata quit his office job to pursue his real love—underwater photography.  Recently, diving 80 feet down off the island of Amami Oshima   (one of the Amami islands between Japan and Taiwan), Ookata saw something that nobody had ever seen before. It was a large, radially symmetrical pattern in the sand, and looked like this (note underwater camera for scale):

It’s a fish! Or, rather, a single small male pufferfish who digs the structure in the sand:

Here it is digging:

To close, here is an elaborate bower built by the male satin bowerbird  ,Ptilonorhynchus violaceus.  Their bowers are often decorated with objects purloined from humans, and the females (ergo the males) seem to have a preference for blue. Experiments show that the females prefer to mate with males whose bowers are decorated more elaborately.

Females enter and inspect the bower before mating, and the males also perform an elaborate behavioral display as well.  Here’s the artist and the consumer. Note the sexual dimorphism in color, itself an indication that sexual selection is going on here:

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Whodunit? Crows Ask That Question, Too - ScienceNOW

Whodunit? Crows Ask That Question, Too - ScienceNOW:

Imagine hearing a distant roll of thunder and wondering what caused it. Even asking that question is a sign that you, like all humans, can perform a type of sophisticated thinking known as "causal reasoning"—inferring that mechanisms you can't see may be responsible for something. But humans aren't alone in this ability: New Caledonian crows can also reason about hidden mechanisms, or "causal agents  ,"   a team of scientists report today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It's the first time that this cognitive ability has been experimentally demonstrated in a species other than humans, and the method may help scientists understand how this type of reasoning evolved, the researchers say. Read More
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Want your kids to be altruistic, tolerant, and open-minded? Expose them to the arts.

 "Want your kids to be altruistic, tolerant, and open-minded? Expose them to the arts.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago report that   people who engage in the arts -- or even those who see others engaging in the arts -- contribute more to society than those who don't.

And, despite earlier studies to the contrary, Generation X respondents in this research were more civically engaged than older people."


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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Heart of a Leader

Enjoy the following excerpt from the work by Ken Blanchard who is a legendary business author. The principles do not apply only to business field but to any area requiring human empowerment. I like Aung San Suu Kyi as a personal favorite. 

An excerpt from
The Heart of a Leader
by Ken Blanchard
A river without banks is a large puddle ~ Ken Blanchard
Start your people on a journey to the land of empowerment, but don't forget that they need boundaries. If you cut them loose without any direction, they will get lost and revert back to their old unempowered habits. Like the banks of a river, boundaries have the ability to channel energy in the right direction. If you take away the boundaries, your people will lose their momentum and direction. Boundaries that create autonomy include:

Purpose—what does your company do?
Values—what are your company's operational guidelines?
Goals—where is your company headed?
Roles—who does what?
Structure—how is your company organized?

Don't send inexperienced people off alone and then punish them when they make mistakes. Establish clear boundaries that will free them to make decisions, take initiative, act like owners, and stay on track.

Monday, August 6, 2012


New York, Aug  6 2012 12:10PM
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today that global rice paddy production for 2012 is expected to be lower than originally expected, owing to below normal monsoon rains in India.

The July 2012 issue of the <"">Rice Market Monitor, released by FAO today, says that production is expected to total 724.5 million tonnes – a 7.8 million tonne downward revision compared to the original forecast in April. But global output should still slightly surpass the results achieved in 2011.

“The downward revision was mainly the result of a 22 per cent lower-than-average monsoon rainfall in India through mid-July, which is likely to reduce output in the country this season,” FAO stated in a <"">news release.

Production forecasts were also reduced for Cambodia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Nepal and Taiwan, Province of China, all of which may see a production drop in 2012, the agency added.

Also, unlike with maize and wheat, rice prices have remained “surprisingly stable” after gaining two per cent in May. “Amid abundant rice supplies and stocks, the likelihood of a strong price rebound in coming months is minimal, but the future direction of rice prices remains uncertain,” said FAO.

Some countries are expected to see production gains, including China, Indonesia and Thailand, along with several other Asian nations. Production in Africa may increase by as much as three percent, while Australia’s rice harvest was 32 per cent higher than last year.

Prospects are also good for Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela, but poor precipitation and shifts towards more remunerative products in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay are behind a seven per cent drop of production in Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole.

FAO expects that Asia – the world’s leading rice producer – will reap 657 million tonnes in 2012, up 0.4 per cent from last year.
Aug  6 2012 12:10PM
For more details go to UN News Centre at

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lazarus plant: 30,000-year-old flower resurrected from naturally frozen seeds « Why Evolution Is True

Can you imagine how old are these flowers?!! Go ahead and read this interesting and amazingly true fact which brings us to wonder about the beauty of evolution.

Not Exactly Rocket Science speaks about this amazing fact:
''Fruits in my fruit bowl tend to rot into a mulchy mess after a couple of weeks. Fruits that are chilled in permanent Siberian ice fare rather better. After more than 30,000 years, and some care from Russian scientists, some ancient fruits have produced this delicate white flower.
These regenerated plants, rising like wintry Phoenixes from the Russian ice, are still viable. They produce their own seeds and, after a 30,000-year hiatus, can continue their family line.
The plant owes its miraculous resurrection to a team of scientists led by David Gilichinsky, and an enterprising ground squirrel. Back in the Upper Pleistocene, the squirrel buried the plant’s fruit in the banks of the Kolyma River. They froze''.
 Read more here and here .

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Origami creatures: Amazing expertise and talent!

Origami is an art of creating structures and forms in any shapes with a single piece of paper usually square in shape. It is such a marvel to see these amazing creations out of a single square paper. Do go here to see  the work of Brian Chan, a world renowned origami artist. 

Here are some of my favorites: 

Flying grasshopper
Leaf Katydid


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.