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Bees bounce back after Australia’s black summer: ‘Any life is good life’...
1 day ago
Australia’s bushfires were devastating for bee populations. But steady rain and community efforts are seeing the return of the pollinatorsYou could say that Adrian Iodice is something of a stickybeak neighbour. On Iodice’s once-lush bushland property, nestled within the Bega Valley of New South Wales, there stands a majestic rough-barked apple tree that the beekeeper used to, every now and then, jam his head into.In the hollow of the trunk lived a flourishing wild colony of European honeybees that Iodice had been keeping an eye on for years. “I’d have a chat with them,” he laughs. “Stick my head in and see how they’re getting on in life. They were very gentle bees; they never had a go at me.” Continue reading.........
Effects of Alcohol on the Skeletal Development of the Chicken Embryo...
Digital Commons @ IWU
1 day ago
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which is specifically characterized by growth and mental retardation, craniofacial malformations, and heart and neural defects, is caused by exposure to alcohol during embryonic or fetal development. Through experimentation, it has been demonstrated that the effects of FAS in mouse and chick models are comparable to those in humans, making these developing animals valuable models to study the effects of alcohol on tissue development. Skeletal development is particularly sensitive to embryonic alcohol exposure with the cranial skeleton being the most prone to showing defects. This indicates that different skeletal elements may be more sensitive to alcohol exposure than others. With this in mind, it is currently unclear how alcohol exposure affects the development of the ocular skeleton, which is comprised of a ring of bones called the scleral ossicles which surround the cornea. To test whether ocular skeleton development is sensitive to embryonic exposure to alcohol, we exposed developing chick embryos to alcohol (ethanol) and examined the formation of the scleral ossicles. In the presence of alcohol, the number of ossicles were reduced, indicating that the ocular skeleton is sensitive to alcohol exposure. To investigate whether effects are dependent on the time of treatment, we carried out our alcohol exposure at two different time points and found varying results. We are currently investigating whether the effects on ocular skeleton development elicited by alcohol are dose dependent. Future studies will examine at which specific cellular and molecular steps alcohol acts on to perturb ocular skeletal development.......
Separating the effects of seawater viscosity and temperature on the feeding rates of the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis....
Digital Commons @ IWU
1 day ago
Rates of swimming and feeding by small aquatic organisms are influenced by both the viscosity and temperature of water. Environmental temperature directly affects an organism’s metabolic rate and the water viscosity; an animal’s response to a change in temperature combines the separate influences of these two factors. Owing to their small size (< 1 mm), members of the phylum Rotifera are predicted to be strongly affected by water viscosity. We measured the separate effects of viscosity and temperature on feeding rates of the marine rotifer Brachionus plicatilis. Feeding by B. plicatilis was measured in three seawater treatments: (1) filtered seawater, (0.2 µm pore size, 15 ‰, 20 °C), (2) filtered seawater (15 ‰, 10 °C), and (3) filtered seawater (15 ‰, 20 °C, where the kinematic viscosity was adjusted to equal the viscosity of 10 °C seawater by the addition of the polysaccharide dextran). Rotifers in each treatment were incubated with 4.5 µm polystyrene beads (10,000 / mL) for 10 minutes, the number of beads ingested counted, and the clearance rate (volume of water "cleared" of particles / time) calculated. In each of three experiment replicates the clearance rates of B. plicatilis were significantly influenced by both temperature and viscosity (ANOVA, p < 0.001 for each). Rotifers in the 20 °C treatment (lowest viscosity) had the highest clearance rates, animals in the 10 °C treatment (highest viscosity) had the lowest clearance rates, and individuals in the 20 °C (10 °C viscosity) treatment revealed intermediate clearance rates. Within each experiment, the effect of each treatment level was significantly different (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). The overall influence of temperature on feeding by B. plicatilis was divided into a water viscosity effect 57.7%, and temperature effect 42.3%.......
A bug’s life: how a volunteer army is putting Britain’s wildlife on the record...
1 day ago
Amateur nature recorders are providing vital data on beetles, soldierflies and a host of lesser-known insectsAshleigh Whiffin’s day job as assistant curator of entomology is to look after National Museums Scotland’s vast collection of preserved insects. But her passion for the creatures doesn’t end when she goes home; in her spare time she spends hours recording and verifying sightings of a specific group of large carrion beetles in the family silphidae.“Silphidae are absolutely brilliant,” Whiffin says from her Edinburgh office. “They’re decomposers, so they are really vital for recycling and also have forensic applications. Some of the members in the family are called burying beetles and they actually prepare a carcass, make a nest out of the corpse and then feed on the rotting flesh and regurgitate it for their kids. They’re quite a charming – but also grisly – insect.” Continue reading.........
Did Ernest Hemingway Succumb to CTE? PBS Doc Explores His Ill-Fated Concussions...
2 days ago
In the beginning of the end for Ernest Hemingway, as a 1954 trip to Africa is called in the new PBS documentary “Hemingway,” the great American novelist breaks his skull for the second time in his life during a plane crash in the outback. Trapped as flames spread to the cabin, Hemingway is forced to use his head as a battering ram to create an opening in the twisted metal of the plane’s wreckage. It’s the last of at least five major concussive head injuries that Hemingway sustained throughout his adult life and punctuates a growing problem. This time, his symptoms include slurred speech, double-vision and recurring deafness. Also Read: Ernest Hemingway Series in the Works From Producers Mariel Hemingway, Mike Medavoy (Exclusive) The Ken Burns documentary on Hemingway features two recurring themes that foreshadow what’s to come — his fascination with shotguns and his many concussions. Hemingway was long assumed to have suffered from a mental illness such as biploar depression, exacerbated by his progressive alcoholism and other substance abuse. But he died more than 40 years before the discovery of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE, as the brain disease it is commonly known — and for which repeated concussions are a hallmark — could explain Hemingway’s fate. CTE has been linked to the suicides of former NFL players Junior Seau and Dave Duerson and former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, and further, the sociopathic behavior and suicides of Aaron Hernandez and Jovan Belcher. But outside of the 2017 biography “Hemingway’s Brain” by Dr. Andrew Farah, it has not widely taken root as a theory to explain Hemingway’s suicide. Also Read: Liev Schreiber to Star in Adaptation of Hemingway's 'Across the River and Into the Trees' Buried at the Ketchum Cemetery in Ketchum, Idaho, it’s impossible now to know now whether CTE played a role in Hemingway’s demise (a CTE diagnosis requires a postmortem scan of brain tissue). And while Burns and fellow “Hemingway” director Lynn Novick explore Hemingway’s concussions throughout the three-episode documentary, CTE is not broached. “The last few weeks in Africa he just lost all restraint,” Hemingway’s son Patrick, now 92, says in the documentary. “And for someone as powerful, he — I really had enough. And we never saw each other again.” Later that year, after the African trip, Hemingway’s diminished mental capacities are unmistakable when he is named the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Back at home in Cuba, he was physically unable to travel to Sweden to accept the award, so the Swedish ambassador traveled to him. Photos for the event catch a smile that conveys a lucid stream of thought and forthright happiness. But in a rare TV interview with NBC after the award was announced, he struggles mightily. He agreed to do the interview only if the questions were provided in advance. And his answers are written on cue cards. Also Read: Ernest Hemingway Memoir 'A Moveable Feast' TV Adaptation in the Works From Village Roadshow “The book that I am writing on at present is about Africa, its people in the park that I know them,” he says in a black-and-white video, slowly and methodically, when asked about a potential next book. “The animals – comma – and the changes in Africa since I was there, last – period.” Hemingway’s history of concussions began in World War I as part of the experiences he would use to write the 1929 novel “A Farewell to Arms.” Hemingway, an ambulance driver on the Italian front, had grown adventurous and began running minor supplies to the front lines. During one of his supply sorties, a trench mortar exploded 3 feet away. In Paris in 1928, Hemingway mistook a hanging skylight string for a toilet cord after a night of drinking with friends. The skylight crashed onto his head. He would wear a famous forehead scar for the rest of his life. Also Read: More Than 130 BIPOC Filmmakers Call Out PBS for 'Over-Reliance' on Ken Burns There was a fall from a fishing boat near Cuba, and a serious car accident in London during World War II that required 57 stitches. Hemingway’s head smashed through the windshield and “his skull was split wide open,” according to the PBS documentary. He was discharged from the hospital after four days, but the injury had been much worse than what was feared — a subdural hematoma, or bleeding between the brain and the skull. Blurred vision, ringing in his ears and chronic headaches resulted and persisted for nearly a year, and Hemingway began having trouble recalling words and writing legibly. In another World War II incident, a German artillery round knocked him off a motorcycle. He flew into a ditch and his head struck a rock. A car accident years later in Cuba left him with another concussion. Also Read: PBS Chief Insists Network Doesn't Favor Ken Burns at Expense of Filmmakers of Color Hemingway was also a boxer as a young man and played football into high school, when football helmets offered little to no protection. “The symptoms of post-concussion syndrome were clearly described by Hemingway in various letters after different injuries, particularly after the fall on his fishing boat, and after the World War II concussions, and certainly after the plane crashes,” the author Farah said in a 2017 interview. Erratic and violent behavior increasingly became the norm for Hemingway. That included falling in love with an 18-year-old and conveying to friends and associates he had reached a peak creatively. Also Read: Inside PBS' Digital Rebrand for the New Streaming Landscape “Hemingway had convinced himself he was writing better than ever. He was not,” narrator Peter Coyote says in the documentary. He also would discuss suicide and even act it out in front of friends. In Cuba, the documentary says, with friends over for dinner, he would put his shotgun on the floor, put his finger on the trigger and put the barrel in the roof of his mouth. “And everyone would listen to it go click, and he would lift his mouth off the barrel grinning,” the narrator says. Also Read: Smithsonian Channel Programming Head David Royle to Step Down Hemingway was eventually admitted to the Mayo Clinic, and after thoughts of suicide reclaimed their grip he was later readmitted. Hemingway, 61, was then again discharged despite his wife’s misgivings. The next week at home, he shot himself in the forehead with a double-barrel shotgun. “I was pained and grieved,” says the late longtime U.S. senator, John McCain, who revered Hemingway. “But you know, I think there are times when – I don’t agree with it, but it’s understandable – why he decided to end his life when his talent had left him. Also Read: Hugh Laurie Is a Shady Politician in Trailer for PBS Masterpiece Thriller 'Roadkill' (Video) “We sometimes talk about people and we idolize them and we give them every virtue and no vice — he had lots of vices,” McCain says. “He had tons of vices. He was a human being. And that, my friend, erases a whole lot of other, what may be, failings in life.” Watch “Hemingway” online or stream it on the PBS app. Related stories from TheWrap:Ernest Hemingway Series in the Works From Producers Mariel Hemingway, Mike Medavoy (Exclusive)Liev Schreiber to Star in Adaptation of Hemingway's 'Across the River and Into the Trees'Ernest Hemingway Memoir 'A Moveable Feast' TV Adaptation in the Works From Village Roadshow......
Michael Sarna and Tammy Maples on Creating a Series of Movies with Trained Animals with Animal Family Films [Exclusive Interview]...
2 days ago
Michael Sarna found a family-friendly niche in films by creating movies utilizing trained animals as the lead characters. With Animal Family Films, he teamed with Tammy Maples, who has a ranch and trained animals for films to create a series of films. In the past few years, Animal Family Films produced three family-friendly films, including Jimmy’s Jungle, Toby’s Big Adventure, and Toby Goes to Camp. Continue reading Michael Sarna and Tammy Maples on Creating a Series of Movies with Trained Animals with Animal Family Films [Exclusive Interview] at LRM.......
12 Animals That Have Surprisingly Long Life Spans...
2 days ago
Depending on their environments, many animals can live much longer than their average life expectancies—and outlive humans.......
Elon Musk's brain-implant lab claims this poor monkey's playing 'Pong' with its mind...
3 days ago
Elon Musk's brain-implant lab, Neuralink, today released video appearing to show something the tech billionaire has been bragging about since 2019: a monkey playing a video game ... with its mind. In the video (and an accompanying one of the Neuralink signal readout, if you're into that), a rhesus macaque named Pager is shown playing simple games on a screen while sucking on a straw that's delivering a tasty banana smoothie as a reward. Pager, at first, uses a joystick to move a dot around a grid, placing it onto squares that light up one by one at random. In the next sequence, he's still using the joystick — but as the gently British-accented narrator points out, the joystick apparatus is quite clearly unplugged. The implant, we're told, is transmitting data from the electrical signals his brain emits as he plays. Using the data gathered while Pager was previously using the joystick, the implant and linked software can control the cursor, interpreting what movements the signals were instructing Pager's hand to make, and sending those instructions straight to the cursor itself. Read more...More about Elon Musk, Neuralink, Science, Innovations, and Animals......
Undercover footage shows ‘gratuitous cruelty’ at Spanish animal testing facility...
3 days ago
Campaigners call for the closure of the Madrid research firm, after whistleblower video allegedly captures unacceptable treatmentUndercover footage of “gratuitous cruelty and abuse” allegedly taken in an animal testing facility in Spain – which has previously secured funding from the EU and Spanish authorities for projects – has been published, amid calls for the centre’s closure.Madrid-based contract research organisation Vivotecnia conducts experiments on a range of animals including monkeys, dogs, mini pigs, rats, mice and rabbits for the biopharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetic, tobacco and food industries. An animal rights organisation said the footage was taken by a whistleblower who worked at the facility between 2018 and 2020. It appears to show animals housed in barren conditions, being taunted, smacked and shaken, and cut into with no or inadequate anaesthesia. Continue reading.........