earth organics

“Plant These to Help Save Bees: 21 Bee-Friendly Plants” by Hannah Rosengren, 2013.

Hello tumblr! I’m re-posting this now since originally posting it last fall because while it’s been so exciting to see this illustration shared so many times on tumblr, twitter, facebook, instagram, etc- the credit has more often than not been lost along the way or removed. It’s great to see people advocating for the bees but frustrating to see a post with thousands of shares and no credit. Always, always credit the artist when posting images online- and if you’re not sure who it is, take one minute to look it up. It makes a huge difference.

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Geraniums blooming in  motion-controlled timelapse

Foreshadowing from Steven’s Dream

The foreshadowed moment of Greg’s abduction leads me to wonder whether other details about the movie they watched are also relevant. 

“They only kidnapped cows because they needed milk for their cereal planet.”

And we already know that the gems are running low on resources and their planet is starving. Perhaps, as I’ve been suggesting for a very long time now, the key is to work together. In the same way cereal and milk are complements, the end goal might really be for organic and gem life to co-exist to make a delicious breakfast.

How Humans Change Space Itself

It’s no surprise that humans influence the surface of our planet, but our reach can go farther than that. Humans affect space, too.

We know storms from the sun can naturally change the space environment around Earth, which can have an impact on satellites and power grids.

Scientists now know that Cold War era nuclear tests in the 1950s caused similar effects.

Particles around Earth are organized into layers known as radiation belts. These 1950s tests created a temporary extra layer of radiation closer to Earth. 

The effects of this could be seen all around the world. Aurora appeared at the equator instead of the poles, utility grids in Hawaii were strained, and in some cases, satellites above test sites were affected. 

Some types of communications signals can also affect Earth’s radiation belts

Very low-frequency waves, or VLFs, are used for radio communications. They are often used to communicate with submarines, because these waves can penetrate deep into the ocean. 

The waves can also travel far into the space environment around Earth. When these waves are in space, they affect how high-energy particles move, creating a barrier against natural radiation.

The outer edge of this radio-wave barrier corresponds almost exactly the inner edge of Earth’s natural radiation belts – meaning it could be human activity that at least partly shapes this natural radiation around Earth.  

For more NASA sun and space research, visit www.nasa.gov/sunearth and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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11 Electrifying Facts about Jellyfish

Some are longer than a blue whale. Others are barely larger than a grain of sand. One species unleashes one of the most deadly venoms on Earth. Another holds a secret that’s behind some of the greatest breakthroughs in biology. In every way, jellyfish are fascinating creatures and today we’re celebrating them with 11 wild facts!

1. Jellyfish have inhabited the ocean for at least half a billion years, and they’re still flourishing even as the sea changes around them.

2. Jellyfish are soft-bodied sea creatures that aren’t really fish. They’re part of a diverse team of gelatinous zooplankton, zooplankton being animals that drift in the ocean.

3. A noted feature of jellyfish is a translucent bell made of a soft delicate material called mesoglea. Sandwiched between two layers of skin, the mesoglea is more than 95% water held together by protein fibers. The jellyfish can contract and relax their bells to propel themselves. They don’t have a brain or a spinal cord, but a neural net around the bell’s inner margin forms a rudimentary nervous system that can sense the ocean’s currents and the touch of other animals.

4. Jellyfish don’t have typical digestive systems, either. These gelatinous carnivores consume plankton and other small sea creatures through a hole in the underside of their bells.

5. The nutrients that jellyfish consume are absorbed by an inner layer of cells with waste excreted back through their mouths.

6. One species of jellyfish glows green when it’s agitated, mostly thanks to a biofluorescent compound called green fluorescent protein, or GFP. Scientists isolated the gene for GFP and figured out how to insert it into the DNA of other cells. There, it acts like a biochemical beacon, marking genetic modifications, or revealing the path of critical molecules. Scientists have used the glow of GFP to watch cancer cells proliferate, track the development of Alzheimer’s, and illuminate countless other biological processes. Developing the tools and techniques from GFP has netted three scientists a Nobel Prize in 2008, and another three in 2014.

7. The jellyfish’s sting, which helps it capture prey and defend itself, is its most infamous calling card. In the jelly’s epidermis, cells called nematocysts lie coiled like poisonous harpoons. When they’re triggered by contact, they shoot with an explosive force. It exerts over 550 times the pressure of Mike Tyson’s strongest punch to inject venom into the victim. 

8. The venom of one box jellyfish can kill a human in under five minutes, making it one of the most potent venoms of any animal in the world.

9. Jellyfish who may be the most successful organisms on Earth. There are more than 1,000 species of jellyfish, and many others that are often mistaken for them.

10. Ancient fossils prove that jellyfish have inhabited the seas for at least 500 million years, and maybe go back over 700 million. That’s longer than any other multi-organ animal. And as other marine animals are struggling to survive in warmer and more acidic oceans, the jellyfish are thriving, and perhaps getting even more numerous.

11. Some jellyfish can lay as many as 45,000 eggs in a single night. And there’s some jellyfish whose survival strategy almost sounds like science fiction. When the immortal jellyfish is sick, aging, or under stress, its struggling cells can change their identity. The tiny bell and tentacles deteriorate and turn into an immature polyp that spawns brand new clones of the parent.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Jellyfish predate dinosaurs. How have they survived so long? - David Gruber

Animation by Silvia Prietov

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A representation of the age span carbon dating is able to accurately predict.

Carbon dating works by understanding the properties of two isotopes of carbon, carbon 12 and carbon 14. Carbon 12 does not decay and remains constant in a sample, whereas carbon 14 decays at a very even, constant rate.

By measuring the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14, we can understand how long a sample has been around for.

The half life of carbon 14 is around 5,730 years. As seen by the second graph, this means that if a sample has half of the carbon 14 it should usually have, it has been around for 5,730 years. A quarter of the amount, double that time, one eight of the original amount, more still.

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