“ghost trees” by Dirk Juergensen
With 80% of the country less than one metre above sea level, the residents of the Maldives’ 1,200 tropical islands have long been aware of their vulnerability to rising sea levels. In 2008, it was announced that the government would start diverting a percentage of the nation’s income from tourism into a fund to buy a new homeland. The deep irony that the island nation’s economy relies heavily on tourists arriving in polluting aircraft has not been lost on the islanders.
Canary Wharf, the new financial center in London.
Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar. It’s false eyes even swell out.
(Source: Flickr / mhodge)
Photos of cattle farmers in Sudan.
…Using this approach, it was discovered that members of highly social ant species possessed numerical competence. They were shown to be able to pass information about numbers and to perform simple arithmetic operations with small numbers. — Behaviour № 3, 2011
Would a blind subject, on regaining sight, be able to immediately visually recognize an object previously known only by touch? We addressed this question, first formulated by Molyneux three centuries ago, by working with treatable, congenitally blind individuals. We tested their ability to visually match an object to a haptically sensed sample after sight restoration.
Our results suggest that the answer to Molyneux’s question is likely negative. The newly sighted subjects did not exhibit an immediate transfer of their tactile shape knowledge to the visual domain. This finding has important implications for bimodal perception. Whatever linkage between vision and touch may pre-exist concomitant exposure of both senses, it is insufficient for reconciling the identity of the separate sensory representations. However, this ability can apparently be acquired after short real-world experiences. An alternative explanation to the progression in haptic-visual cross-modal abilities is a rapid increase in the visual ability to create a three-dimensional representation, thus allowing for a more accurate mapping between haptic structures and visual ones. This seems to run counter, however, to the observed slow progression of visual parsing capabilities in other studies, which argue that this kind of learning requires many months, rather than days. We instead favor an account that relies on strategies using two-dimensional features, such as corners, edges and curved segments, that would be apparent across both domains.
However, some important questions remain open. For instance, would the newly sighted have shown an immediate transfer from touch to vision if they possessed three-dimensional visual representations right from sight onset? Also, can cross-modal mappings emerge after sight onset with experience of independent, but not correlated, data across the two modalities? — Nature Neuroscience (2011)
One of the oddest treehoppers, Sphongophorus (Cladonota) ballista, from Panama
Photo of November 1, 1868. Slaves rescued from a slave vessel trading illegally off the African coast.
Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe’s most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy’s hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat.
Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA)
The X-ray image of a patient with Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) leads implanted.