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An Incredibly Detailed Map Shows The Potential Of Global Water Risks

An Incredibly Detailed Map Shows The Potential Of Global Water Risks | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Remember the drought that hit the U.S. in 2012? It was a big deal, even if it didn’t personally affect you. In fact, 53% of the country was dealing with what the USDA calls "moderate to extreme drought" by July.
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Gaia Diary
“The more we nurture the planet, the better and more natural a life we'll have.”  Chris d'Lacey, Icefire
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Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot OFFICIAL - YouTube

"It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it."
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'Left-handed' fish and asymmetrical brains

'Left-handed' fish and asymmetrical brains | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Konstanz biologists discovered a relationship between 'handedness', brain structure and genes in extremely specialised cichlid fish.
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These are the world’s smartest fish

These are the world’s smartest fish | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Fish have evolved some amazing cognitive abilities making them some of the smartest animals around
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Mapping functional diversity of forests with remote sensing

Mapping functional diversity of forests with remote sensing | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Productivity and stability of forest ecosystems strongly depend on the functional diversity of plant communities. UZH researchers have developed a new method to measure and map functional diversity of forests at different scales -- from individual trees to whole communities -- using remote sensing by aircraft. Their work paves the way for future airborne and satellite missions to monitor global plant functional diversity.
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Photographing Some of the World’s Oldest and Wisest Trees

Photographing Some of the World’s Oldest and Wisest Trees | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Landscape photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel spent over two years traveling the world to photograph its most remarkable trees.
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Lake Nyos

Lake Nyos | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Known locally as “the Bad Lake,” Lake Nyos, located in the Northwest Region of Cameroon, Africa, carried a folklore of danger, and tales were spoken of an evil spirit which emerged from the lake to kill all those who lived near it. This legend contained the memory of a very real threat.

Lake Nyos was formed in a volcanic crater created as recently as 400 years ago. Crater lakes commonly have high levels of CO2 as they are formed by the volcanic activity happening miles beneath them. Under normal circumstances this gas is released over time as the lake water turns over.

But Lake Nyos was different: an unusually still lake, with little in the way of environmental agitation. Rather than releasing the gas, the lake was acting as a high-pressure storage unit. Its deep waters were becoming ever more loaded with gas until more than five gallons of CO2 were dissolved in every gallon of water. Pressurized to the physical limit, Lake Nyos was a time bomb.
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Man's earliest ancestors discovered in southern England

Man's earliest ancestors discovered in southern England | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Fossils of the oldest mammals related to mankind have been discovered on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset in the UK.
The two teeth are from small, rat-like creatures that lived 145 million years ago in the shadow of the dinosaurs. They are the earliest undisputed fossils of mammals belonging to the line that led to human beings.
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Sheep are able to recognize human faces from photographs

Sheep are able to recognize human faces from photographs | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
The study, published today in the journal Royal Society: Open Science, is part a series of tests given to the sheep to monitor their cognitive abilities. Because of the relatively large size of their brains and their longevity, sheep are a good animal model for studying neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease.

The ability to recognise faces is one of the most important human social skills. We recognise familiar faces easily, and can identify unfamiliar faces from repeatedly presented images. As with some other animals such as dogs and monkeys, sheep are social animals that can recognise other sheep as well as familiar humans. Little is known, however, about their overall ability to process faces.
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Crime-scene technique used to track turtles

Crime-scene technique used to track turtles | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Scientists have used satellite tracking and a crime-scene technique to discover an important feeding ground for green turtles in the Mediterranean.
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Forest Animals Are Living on the Edge

Forest Animals Are Living on the Edge | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
A new global study reveals the consequences of fragmenting the world’s woodlands.
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Warm air helped make 2017 ozone hole smallest since 1988

Warm air helped make 2017 ozone hole smallest since 1988 | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Measurements from satellites this year showed the hole in Earth's ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September was the smallest observed since 1988, scientists from NASA and NOAA announced today.

According to NASA, the ozone hole reached its peak extent on Sept. 11, covering an area about two and a half times the size of the United States - 7.6 million square miles in extent - and then declined through the remainder of September and into October. NOAA ground- and balloon-based measurements also showed the least amount of ozone depletion above the continent during the peak of the ozone depletion cycle since 1988. NOAA and NASA collaborate to monitor the growth and recovery of the ozone hole every year.

"The Antarctic ozone hole was exceptionally weak this year," said Paul A. Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "This is what we would expect to see given the weather conditions in the Antarctic stratosphere."
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Surprising Footage Captures Arctic Jellyfish Lurking Under the Ice

Surprising Footage Captures Arctic Jellyfish Lurking Under the Ice | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it

The creatures were previously thought not tough enough to survive the harsh winters
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The secret lives of ancient land plants

The secret lives of ancient land plants | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
Revealing of the liverwort genome brings insight into the evolution of land plants.
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The Bean That Looks Like Cotton Candy and Tastes Like Ice Cream

The Bean That Looks Like Cotton Candy and Tastes Like Ice Cream | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
In parts of South America, you might think ice cream grows on trees.
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World's longest sauropod dinosaur trackway brought to light

World's longest sauropod dinosaur trackway brought to light | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
In 2009, the world's largest dinosaur tracks were discovered in the French village of Plagne, in the Jura Mountains. Since then, a series of excavations at the site has uncovered other tracks, sprawling over more than 150 meters. French scientists conclude these tracks were left 150 million years ago by a dinosaur at least 35 meters long and weighing no less than 35 tons.
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Stunning drone footage of Iceland's scenic landscape

Stunning drone footage of Iceland's scenic landscape | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
In a five-minute long video shot in Iceland and titled the North Awakens, viewers are taken on a breathtaking flight over a mix of terrain.
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The Petroglyphs and Rock Art of Gabon, Africa

The Petroglyphs and Rock Art of Gabon, Africa | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
At the present time, the Ogooue valley contains the major part of the rock art petroglyph sites of Gabon, with the discovery of more than 1000 recorded rock art petroglyphs, essentially on paragneiss rocks.
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Twilight trick: A new type of cell has been found in the eye of a deep-sea fish

Twilight trick: A new type of cell has been found in the eye of a deep-sea fish | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
A new type of cell has been found in the eye of a deep-sea fish, and scientists say the discovery opens a new world of understanding about vision in a variety of light conditions.

University of Queensland scientists found the new cell type in the deep-sea pearlside fish (Maurolicus spp.), which have an unusual visual system adapted for twilight conditions.

Dr Fanny de Busserolles at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute said the retina of most vertebrate animals - including humans - contained two photoreceptor types: rods for vision in dim light, and cones for daytime vision. Each had different light-sensitive proteins.

"Deep-sea fish, which live at ocean depths below 200m, are generally only active in the dark, so most species have lost all their cones in favour of light-sensitive rods," Dr de Busserolles said.
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Geologists uncover Antarctica's fossil forests

Geologists uncover Antarctica's fossil forests | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
During Antarctica's summer, from late November through January, UW-Milwaukee geologists Erik Gulbranson and John Isbell climbed the McIntyre Promontory's frozen slopes in the Transantarctic Mountains. High above the ice fields, they combed the mountain's gray rocks for fossils from the continent's green, forested past.

By the trip's end, the geologists had found fossil fragments of 13 trees. The discovered fossils reveal that the trees are over 260 million years old, meaning that this forest grew at the end of the Permian Period, before the first dinosaurs, when Antarctica was still at the South Pole.

"People have known about the fossils in Antarctica since the 1910-12 Robert Falcon Scott expedition," said Gulbranson, a paleoecologist and visiting assistant professor in UWM's Department of Geosciences. "However, most of Antarctica is still unexplored. Sometimes, you might be the first person to ever climb a particular mountain."
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Why do starlings dance in the sky?

Why do starlings dance in the sky? | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
The National Geographic video above shows a flock of starlings in the Netherlands. How confounding and impressively graceful is this aerial ballet.
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Breathtaking Photos of Ancient Trees Against Starry Skies

Breathtaking Photos of Ancient Trees Against Starry Skies | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
The timeless beauty of trees and constellations.
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The Kapok Tree - a giant under threat in the Amazon rainforest - dw.com

The Kapok Tree - a giant under threat in the Amazon rainforest - dw.com | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
I am one of the tallest trees in the Amazon rainforest. I grow to a height of up to 50 meters and live for several hundred years. Many regard me as magical.
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Anthropologist group suggests first humans to the Americas arrived via the kelp highway

Anthropologist group suggests first humans to the Americas arrived via the kelp highway | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it
A team of anthropologists from several institutions in the U.S. has offered a Perspective piece in the journal Science outlining current theories regarding the first humans to populate the Americas. In their paper, they scrap the conventional view that Clovis people making their way across a Bering land bridge were the first to arrive in the Americas—more recent evidence suggests others arrived far earlier, likely using boats to travel just offshore.

As the authors note, for most of the last century, the accepted theory of humans' first arrival was via the land bridge in what is now the Bering Strait—at the time, sea levels would have been much lower. Those early settlers, named the Clovis people, were theorized to have traveled down a central ice-free corridor into what is now the U.S. approximately 13,500 years ago. But, as the authors also note, evidence since the late 1980s has shown that there were people living in parts of the Americas long before the time of the Clovis migration. Archaeological evidence of people living on islands off of Asia and on the North and South American coasts (some as far south as Chile) has been found going as far back as 14,000 to 18,000 years ago. Evidence has also been found of people living in the North American interior as far back as 16,000 years ago.
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Ancient Trees "Ripped Their Skeletons Apart" To Grow

Ancient Trees "Ripped Their Skeletons Apart" To Grow | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it

Cross-sections of 374-million-year-old tree trunks revealed a complex web of woody strands that split and repaired themselves
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Is the Mysterious Sea Cucumber Slipping Out of Our Grasp?

Is the Mysterious Sea Cucumber Slipping Out of Our Grasp? | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it

The slimy, tasty enigmas have long been over-harvested. An indigenous community in Canada could be close to finding a sustainable solution
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A biologist believes that trees speak a language we can learn

A biologist believes that trees speak a language we can learn | Gaia Diary | Scoop.it

I'm in a redwood forest in Santa Cruz, California, taking dictation for the trees outside my cabin. They speak constantly, even if quietly, communicating above- and underground using sound, scents, signals, and vibes. They’re naturally networking, connected with everything that exists, including you. Biologists, ecologists, foresters, and naturalists increasingly argue that trees speak

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