Giant Shield Bug (Asiarcha angulosa, Tessaratomidae)
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese true bugs and hoppers on my Flickr site HERE…..
Images from the ‘Murmur’ series, 2005
Flocks of european starlings flying above Rome and its suburbs.
Mini Wildcats: The Pocket-Sized Predators of the African Cape
These miniature wildcats face the same dangers from habitat loss as their larger cousins.
by Joanna M. Foster
You don’t have to be a crazy cat lady—or man—to love leopards, get choked up over cheetahs or long to see a lion up-close. There’s something transformative about watching a big cat’s muscles ripple under its sleek, high-fashion coat, and even the cockiest modern man draped in technology is reminded of his proper place when a lion roars.
But there aren’t only three magnificent African cats, there are actually ten, although some weigh as little as three pounds and eat more insects than impalas.
They are just as beautiful and wild as their lime-light hogging big cousins. But in much of their ranges, they’re still being persecuted by farmers who view them as livestock-killing vermin, and they’re ignored by conservationists who can’t get the funding to study them.
Fortunately, for the four species of little cats that call South Africa home, the caracal, serval, african wild cat and black-footed cat, there’s the Cat Conservation Trust, a non-profit group that breeds cats in order to release them back into the wild…
(read more: TakePart.org)
(Black-footed Cat, photo by Dave Hamman/Getty Images)
A reservoir that has turned blood-red as a result of mining pollution in Sháoguān, China.
Monster Hurricane on Saturn Spied by NASA Spacecraft
by Mike Wall
Spectacular new images from a NASA spacecraft orbiting Saturn have captured the most detailed views ever of an enormous hurricane churning around the ringed planet’s north pole.
The stunning new images and video of the Saturn hurricane, which were taken by NASA’s Cassini probe, show that the storm’s eye is 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide — about 20 times bigger than typical hurricane eyes on Earth. And the Saturn maelstrom is more powerful than its Earth counterparts, with winds at its outer edge whipping around at 330 mph (530 km/h)…
(read more: Live Science) (photos: NASA/JPL-CalTech/SSI)
A Hard Look at 3 Myths about Genetically Modified Crops
Superweeds? Suicides? Stealthy genes? The true, the false and the still unknown about transgenic crops
by Natasha Gilbert and Nature magazine
In the pitched debate over genetically modified (GM) foods and crops, it can be hard to see where scientific evidence ends and dogma and speculation begin. In the nearly 20 years since they were first commercialized, GM crop technologies have seen dramatic uptake. Advocates say that they have increased agricultural production by more than US$98 billion and saved an estimated 473 million kilograms of pesticides from being sprayed. But critics question their environmental, social and economic impacts.
Researchers, farmers, activists and GM seed companies all stridently promote their views, but the scientific data are often inconclusive or contradictory. Complicated truths have long been obscured by the fierce rhetoric. “I find it frustrating that the debate has not moved on,” says Dominic Glover, an agricultural socioeconomist at Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands. “The two sides speak different languages and have different opinions on what evidence and issues matter,” he says.
Here, Nature takes a look at three pressing questions: are GM crops fuelling the rise of herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds’? Are they driving farmers in India to suicide? And are the foreign transgenes in GM crops spreading into other plants? These controversial case studies show how blame shifts, myths are spread and cultural insensitivities can inflame debate…
(read more: Scientific American)
(photo: Flickr/Delaware Agriculture)