One day, I'll paddle my kayak-sub along the sunken coast of North America, with only my uplifted sea otter and a flock of robo penguins to scout the bacterial growths of sunken agricultural fields.....
The robopenguin by the incredibly named German company FESTO is grinding it's way through the internets, making flocking robodrones both more lifelike and something much more than meat-biology.
IF the eyes had been red, would you still think these beauties cuddly-wuddly?
And these drones aren't stuck to just water, they can fly too!
If it's floating pengu-droids that will shepherd in the new age of airships, I welcome it. But I hope the eighties cool guitar doesn't come back with it.
Now all we need are magma-surfing bio-mechanical King penguins that keep the deep basalt lords in their place to make me a completely banish that christian nonesense from my brain.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The Good News Edition;
1. There is a "Lost World" of orangutans on Borneo - 2000 more and counting.
2. Colony Collapse Disorder might be on the way out.... maybe.
3. There's nothing like running on the Colbert treadmill in space!
4. It's not too late to save arctic ice... we just have to decrease emissions by 70 percent by the end of the century. Maybe.
5. Hey dude, which way to the exo-planet beach? Scientists look at how land/sea borders reflect light, in the hope we'll identify exo-planets.
6. Move over, Jacques Coustea. It looks like sea-scorpions were the first to create a portable breathing apparatus, 500 million years ago!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
The wolves of the North American west coast are a different breed. They're smaller in size, dark in colour and eat primarily shellfish, salmon, carrion and the small black-tailed deer. They don't take down large game like other gray wolves, and they don't venture away from the coast.
Once, these wolves roamed a narrow strip of land from northern California to coastal Alaska. But now, many of these populations are extinct, with only two strong populations: Southern Alaska and Vancouver Island/the Great Bear Rainforest.
Swimming from island to island, these wolves thrive on the rocky shores and deep old growth.
Now, new research has shown that these wolves are genetically distinct from their closest gray wolf cousins. And this is important for a number of reasons. One, this research shows the incredible diversity within a species and gives us a better understanding on special adaptation to specific habitats. This lets us better manage species protection plans. And two, if a wolf that can roam hundreds of kilometres adapts to a specific environment, than the potential for other animals in this ecosystem to be unique is great.
The following is a piece I did for work on the coastal wolf. I interviewed Dr. Chris Darimont, an ecologist from the University of California Santa Cruz.
Chris was also one of the authors of the paper, "Human Predators Outpace Other Agents of Trait Change in the Wild", which gave evidence that humans have become an agent of evolution.
In this piece, I point out that the research was paid for by the Rainforest Conservation Foundation, a conservation group that is calling for the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest.
This is important, because many science stories do not question who is paying for the research. Do they have special interests that are clouding the science? By just putting their stories out their are you simply re-gurgitating press releases?
In this circumstance, I think that the science is clean, because the report was published in a respected journal, there were researchers from many universities, and no protests were associated with this release.
Nothing hurts science coverage more than when people hype the issue, falsify the data or refuse to have their work scrutinized. And an associated protest is never good.
Robot 5drg-773 feeding the raptors.
Two things that would complete my life: robots with bubble domes and dinosaurs.
Check out more of Jake Parker's extraordinary work.
And now for a bubble-domed robot that looks like it could be right out of an airtight garage.
Check out more of Betteo's work.
Monday, April 6, 2009
The blue whale is the largest animal that has ever existed on this planet.
How big? Try over 170 tonnes in mass, and more than 33 metres in length. Think of the blue whale as a mountain of meat.
Still not sure how large one of these cetaceans can be? Check out this infographic:
This is from National Geographic's "Kingdom of the Blue Whale," a two-hour look at the life of this mysterious leviathan.
My tape, on the other hand, is about prepping one of these whales for display in a museum.
I went down to the boatyard in Victoria, BC to speak with Michael deRoos, a master skeleton articulator who is in the process of de-greasing and cleaning the bones. The skeleton comes from a 27 m long whale that washed up on a Prince Edward Island beach in 1987.
After being buried for twenty years, this whale was cut-up, put into two refrigerated containers and shipped to Victoria. The bones were then placed in giant vats filled with a bacterial culture to draw out the hundreds of litres of grease in a whale skeleton.
And this is where my story begins...
This piece first aired on On the Island, and later on the PEI morning show. The voices you hear are Gregor Craigie, me (Sterling Eyford,) and Michael deRoos.
This blue whale articulation is unprecedented, because never has a corpse of a blue whale been cleaned and mounted. Sure, you can see skeletons, but they were never saved and handled from the graveyard to the museum.
To find out more about this project, got to Project:Blue Whale at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.
The next time I go to see the bones, I promise to take some pictures.
Check out the whale being buried in 1987.
Now, watch them dig it up!