fun education

Tough as a Tardigrade

Without water, a human can only survive for about 100 hours. But there’s a creature so resilient that it can go without it for decades. This one millimeter animal can survive both the hottest and coldest environments on Earth, and can even withstand high levels of radiation. This is the tardigrade, and it’s one of the toughest creatures on Earth, even if it does look more like a chubby, eight-legged gummy bear. 

Most organisms need water to survive. Water allows metabolism to occur, which is the process that drives all the biochemical reactions that take place in cells. But creatures like the tardigrade, also known as the water bear, get around this restriction with a process called anhydrobiosis, from the Greek meaning life without water. And however extraordinary, tardigrades aren’t alone. Bacteria, single-celled organisms called archaea, plants, and even other animals can all survive drying up.

For many tardigrades, this requires that they go through something called a tun state. They curl up into a ball, pulling their head and eight legs inside their body and wait until water returns. It’s thought that as water becomes scarce and tardigrades enter their tun state, they start synthesize special molecules, which fill the tardigrade’s cells to replace lost water by forming a matrix. 

Components of the cells that are sensitive to dryness, like DNA, proteins, and membranes, get trapped in this matrix. It’s thought that this keeps these molecules locked in position to stop them from unfolding, breaking apart, or fusing together. Once the organism is rehydrated, the matrix dissolves, leaving behind undamaged, functional cells.

Beyond dryness, tardigrades can also tolerate other extreme stresses: being frozen, heated up past the boiling point of water, high levels of radiation, and even the vacuum of outer space. This has led to some erroneous speculation that tardigrades are extraterrestrial beings.

While that’s fun to think about, scientific evidence places their origin firmly on Earth where they’ve evolved over time. In fact, this earthly evolution has given rise to over 1100 known species of tardigrades and there are probably many others yet to be discovered. And because tardigrades are so hardy, they exist just about everywhere. They live on every continent, including Antarctica. And they’re in diverse biomes including deserts, ice sheets, the sea fresh water, rainforests, and the highest mountain peaks. But you can find tardigrades in the most ordinary places, too, like moss or lichen found in yards, parks, and forests. All you need to find them is a little patience and a microscope.

Scientists are now to trying to find out whether tardigrades use the tun state, their anti-drying technique, to survive other stresses. If we can understand how they, and other creatures, stabilize their sensitive biological molecules, perhaps we could apply this knowledge to help us stabilize vaccines, or to develop stress-tolerant crops that can cope with Earth’s changing climate. 

And by studying how tardigrades survive prolonged exposure to the vacuum of outer space, scientists can generate clues about the environmental limits of life and how to safeguard astronauts. In the process, tardigrades could even help us answer a critical question: could life survive on planets much less hospitable than our own?

From the TED-Ed Lesson Meet the tardigrade, the toughest animal on Earth - Thomas Boothby

Animation by Boniato Studio

there is a folk belief that in order for harm to occur, there must be an individual to blame. this is what it tastes like: people wouldn’t be poor if they worked harder, have you tried getting your degree, what’s your work history, if you didn’t have nice things. he wouldn’t have had that happen to him if he hadn’t hit on her, men like that anyway, he should have just punched her. she should have learned karate, she was a bitch anyway. if he hadn’t put his hand in his pocket and just listened to the cops he’d be alive. listen if she hadn’t struggled she would be alive. if people were better at taking care of themselves they wouldn’t have preexisting conditions, they wouldn’t get sick, they would be able to afford their health insurance. 

eyes watch you with hissing voices. well, did you try my way? they ask. yes, you did, and it didn’t work. well you’re not trying hard enough, in my time we just.

watch for it. watch for the way the blame shifts. it keeps the power at the top, angry and red.

2

Fun Fact Friday!

If not for giant sloths, we might not have avocados to enjoy today.

Prehistoric ground sloths first appeared around 35 million years ago. Dozens of species lived across North, Central and South America, alongside other ancient creatures like mastodons and giant armadillos. Some ground sloths, like the megalonychid, were cat-sized, but many were massive. The Megalonyx weighed about a ton, and that was small compared to megatherium, which could reach six metric tons, as much as an elephant. They ambled through the forests and savannas using their strong arms and sharp claws to uproot plants and climb trees, grazing on grasses, leaves, and prehistoric avocados. Smaller animals couldn’t swallow the avocado’s huge seed, but the sloths could,and they spread avocado trees far and wide.

Can we get a ‘thank you giant sloths!’?

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why are sloths so slow? - Kenny Coogan

Animation by Anton Bogaty

Qiu Jin (秋瑾) [1875 - 1907] was a Chinese revolutionary, feminist, and writer who went by the pseudonym “Woman Knight of Mirror Lake” (鑑湖女俠). She was known for her anti-Manchurian ideology, in favor of overthrowing the Qing dynasty and restoring a Han Chinese government. Jin often spoke out for women’s rights, opposing the tradition of foot binding and advocating for freedom of marriage and education. (Fun facts: she also practiced martial arts and notoriously cross-dressed in Western men’s clothing!). Amidst the government crackdown on revolutionaries, Jin was caught before a a scheduled uprising in Anqing and publicly beheaded at the age of 31. She has since been regarded as a national heroine and martyr in China.

Ik theres this big cringe trend lately, but if its just kids having harmless fun and arent doing any damage ( harrassing, stealing, overbearing strangers, etc) just let them be
Nothing sucks more than having a good time, that isnt distressing anyone, and to be ridiculed for it. Remember that while it isn’t your place to babysit anyone it’s also not your place to ruin a good experience

Other teachers are always talking about how they wake up early even on breaks because they’re just ~so adjusted~ to their work wake-up schedule

And I’m over here still awake at 3 in the morning after completely ruining any semblance of a sleep schedule in like 3 days.

hynpos’ 2 week myth event!

I’ve wanted to host a mythology event for myself and my followers to participate in an attempt to flood Tumblr with lovely mythology-themed edits so here is the schedule of the event

Day 1: Favorite Greek/Roman deity
Day 2: Favorite Greek/Roman deity pair/group (romantic, platonic, your choice) or myth creature of your choice
Day 3: Favorite Egyptian deity
Day 4: Favorite Egyptian deity pair/group or myth creature
Day 5: Favorite Norse deity
Day 6: Favorite Norse deity pair/group or myth creature
Day 7: Favorite Chinese deity
Day 8: Favorite Chinese deity pair/group or myth creature
Day 9: Favorite Slavic deity
Day 10: Favorite Slavic deity pair/group or myth creature
Day 11: Favorite Japanese deity
Day 12: Favorite Japanese deity pair/group or myth creature
Day 13: Favorite Mesopotamian/Sumerian deity
Day 14: Favorite Mesopotamian/Sumerian deity pair/group or myth creature
Bonus: Favorite deity of a mythology of your choosing!

Rules:

  • Reblog if you’re interested in participating (just for exposure)
  • Tag me in them so I can reblog #hynpos or use #hynposmythevent
  • Starts June 10 (so this can circulate and people have a chance to make some edits beforehand)
  • Please no whitewashing of the non-European figures!

Reminder: this is supposed to be fun, somewhat educational, and produce cool graphic edits for Tumblr to enjoy

Lessons from day one of the kindergarten/first grade Art and Nature Camp:

Possession of the glue makes me their god. I am not responsible enough to possess the glue.

It does not matter where the sharp objects are. They will find them.

Seed pods are a source of interpersonal conflict.

Glitter is a source of interpersonal conflict. It is also a source of intrapersonal conflict (cut to child regarding his own glitter-coated clothes and reflecting solemnly on the choices that lead him to this place in life).

6 year olds do not understand how time works, and this may cause meltdowns (e.g. “This is taking too long! I’ll never see my friends! I hate it here!”). In this respect, they are nearly indistinguishable from college students.

Favorite colors are a valid way of deciding who to be friends with.

Child, visibly distraught: “There’s glue on my hands!!! I need to wash them NOW!!”
Me: “Let’s wait until you’re done with the project, okay?”
Me: *gets glue on MY hands*
“Never mind, we’re going right now.”

Everything is an octopus, if viewed with the right convictions.

Sitting quietly in a chair is a totally foreign concept to 1st graders, and requests for them to adopt this posture will be, at best, ignored. At worst, they will be mocked and flagrantly subverted.

I am one with the glitter, and the glitter is with me.

Someday I’m going to make a theme park called “Skyland”

It’s going to be like Seaworld except with birds. It’s gonna focus on avian conservation, it’ll do a good job and get lots of awards for saving the birds.

There will be fun attractions like skydiving in those big wind tunnel things. Flying With Eagles…or maybe ravens because eagles are scary. Homing With Pigeons. Partying With Parrots. Running With Emus. Running From Cassowaries. There will be much controversy from this attraction because of The Incident, however it’ll quickly be covered up and forgotten about, they’ll trade it out for Running From Chickens.

There will be fun and educational falconry shows too.

It will be a good place. It will cater to all birds. It’ll soon be the leader in animal husbandry which everyone will follow.

Imagine Baby Lion.

Baby Lion, indeed.  Here’s a little scene inspired by this pic and the lovely description of young Robert given to me a while back.  Nsfw.

Robert pulls you closer, his arms engulfing you as does his sexy, earthy scent.  He smells like summer and the great outdoors … dirt, sage smoke and coffee.  Your lips meet, and you slide your hands up the back of his neck, your fingers tangling into his soft curls.  His kiss is tentative, uncertain, and you smile, knowing just what you want to do.  You coax him back, and he drops onto the bed.  You nudge his legs open wider and slowly kneel between them.  He watches you, transfixed, and you relish the wonder written all over his face.  You catch the flutter at his throat as your hands glide up his thighs, stopping on the button of his jeans.  His lips part as your fingers find the zipper, and his wide eyes flicker to yours.  You smile again, gradually tugging it down.  What awaits is a most pleasant surprise.  You expel a breath at his size, and this time it’s his turn to smile.  It’s a gentle one, two parts shy and one part proud, but it’s gone in an instant, a quiet moan replacing it as you clasp him.  He shifts his hips, allowing you to ease the denim lower, and you cup him, the soft, warm skin already beginning to constrict.  With a mischievous smirk, you lap the tip, once, twice and again, quelling your grin at the sigh it elicits.  You’re in complete control and love it.  Your run your tongue up the length of him, your lips finally encircling him.  You go to work, swirling and sucking, and you can feel him twitch in your grasp.  He’s so fucking hard, so turned on, and the thought makes you wet as you continue your sweet assault.  You hear him call your name, his hands moving into your hair.  He doesn’t push, though, just carefully brushes it to the side.  He wants to see everything.  You give him a show, taking him deeper and deeper, then teasing the tip … again and again until his fingers tighten, balling up in your hair.  He thrusts his hips, tossing his head back, eyes closed and lips pursed.  A groan fills the air as a wet heat explodes.  Like candy that melts in your mouth.