Plant of the Day

Friday 30 September 2016

Fascicularia bicolor is a rosette-forming, terrestrial bromeliad with slender, spiny-toothed, rigid, evergreen leaves up to 50cm long. In summer each mature rosette produces a dense central cluster of pale sky-blue flowers while the innermost leaves turn scarlet red. Here it is growing in a sheltered sunny location at Writtle University College campus, Essex, U.K. near the landscape and garden design studio. This plant needs a free-draining, gritty, humus-rich soil, in a sheltered, ideally frost-free location with protection from winter wet.

Jill Raggett

anonymous asked:

Melly! When you get time could you put on your business hoe hat & give us your opinion on Niall potentially dropping his new single. It feels very rushed to me. We had the first rumors of him signing with Capitol less than a month ago (23 days), which then died down in a day with no official confirmation/announcement. Now in very quick succession last night, The Ryan Seacrest "rushed tweet", Niall is on Spotify & Apple, the mess up by Radio Disney. What are your thoughts?!?! Good or Bad move?!?


It feels rushed, but putting on my Business Hoe hat, it actually looks to have gone rather smoothly? Other than the Radio Disney tweet & delete (which actually served to just generate real buzz), at 11am EST we had all of this simultaneously launch:

  • Single premiering on terrestrial radio 
  • Video launching on Youtube
  • NiallHoran.com launching w/ links to all relevant social media channels
  • Label confirmation & statement

Niall’s got his own record label, and his deal technically is under exclusive license to Capitol USA (which is a distribution deal). I think the Other Excellent Melly, @m3llybaby hit the nail on the head regarding the fact 1D is facing some image clause issues at the moment. 

I think Niall is willing to mosey around the image clause so he can put music out now, with an album subsequently releasing in Q1 of 2017 (January, if industry rumors are accurate). 

So I mean, gird your boobs for solo!Niall, our fave enchanting Irish moppet.


Temporary bioactive enclosure for my beloved Loki! I had to change out his previous substrate, which wasn’t bio and didn’t provide much burrowing anymore. I have some very easy, very cheap enclosure plans for both my terrestrial snakes (5x2x2, about 150gallons, fully bioactive and replicating their natural environment!) but it will still likely be a few months until I can set them up. (though I saw it will be a cheap build, I mean comparatively…it will still likely cost me about $300 per cage, and my hours just got cut to the point that I can pay only my rent and utility and the animals’ food. Not my own. Luckily I’ve got a meeting with the chef of the restaurant of the spa I work at tomorrow, for a couple extra days of work! I’m pissin my pants over it but also really excited. More work means this project can happen by december instead of next spring!!)

Aaaanyways, figured I could still upgrade him in some way so I did. I got to try ExoTerra’s excavator clay, and I love it so much! It looks great, feels great, builds great. Really, it works mixed into the bio soil, it works as its own loose substrate, and when you mix with water, you can build caves and tunnels and walls! It also has such a good desert look, better than sand than tends to make it look like a sand box, or shitty calcium sand which, though they have a more desert-y colour, is too fine and irritating and…shitty. lol. Loki and I highly recommend it. 10/10

It slopes upwards into a hill so there’s more burrowing space there, as well at hides and climbing. There’s already a bunch of tunnels haha. On the lower side there will be a slate shelf and mushroom shelf (if i can fucking find any) to utilize the available height.

Loki approved for sure.

Exoplanets: Strange New Worlds

Super Saturn

Around a distant star 420 light years away is a planet with such huge rings that they’re 200 times larger than the rings of Saturn, J1407b. The rings are about 74,560,000 miles in diameter and contain about as much mass as Earth itself. Gaps in the rings, like we see in Saturn’s rings, are likely created by exomoons orbiting around the planet, clearing out paths between the rings and keeping them distinct.

(Image credit: Ron Miller)

The Planet of Burning Ice

The most remarkable things happen when you push physics to extremes.

Far away in the Gliese star system is a Neptune-sized planet called Gliese 436 b. This world is covered in ice that burns constantly at 822.2˚ Fahrenheit (439˚ C).

The reason why the water doesn’t liquify and then turn into steam is due to the massive gravity of the planet - it exerts so much force on the water that the atoms are bound tightly together as a solid: burning ice.

(Image credit: ABC Science)

The Diamond Planet

At about 7.8 times the mass of Earth, 55 Cancri e is an extremely carbon-rich planet orbiting a carbon-rich star. The intense density of the planet means that about 2/3rds of this planet’s core is made up of diamond. It’s literally a giant diamond (larger than Earth).

(Image credit: CfA)


Hd 188753 Ab is a planet candidate with three suns. That’s more than even Luke Skywalker got! It turns out that binary star systems are actually quite common, however, and there are many worlds out there where the sunsets would happen twice (or more) a day. Maybe one day a lucky couple will sit beneath a pair of setting suns, holding hands as each star dips below the alien horizon.

(Image credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/Kepler Mission)

The Water World (Miller’s Planet?)

GJ 1214b is 42 light years away from Earth. It’s 25% rock surrounded by 75% water. Its surface is an endless ocean not too dissimilar from what you’d see floating on a boat in the middle of the ocean on Earth.

As you go deeper below the surface though, you’d eventually hit ice. The water surrounding the core isn’t ice because of temperature though: the pressure of the water above it is so intense that it crushes the water below from a liquid into a solid form known as “ice VII”.

(Image credit: Found on Kurir)

Earth 2.0

Kepler-438b orbits a star 470 light years away. It receives a similar amount of energy from its sun as does Earth. Its surface temperature is perfect for liquid water. 

On the Earth Similarity Index it’s received a 0.88, the highest score of any world (except of course Earth). Liquid water almost certainly exists there and with it, the best chance for alien life.

This is the sort of planet that makes me wonder when I look up at the stars, if somewhere far away, there isn’t someone looking back.

(Image credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech)

The Woolly Terrestrial Octopus (Octopus hirtus) is a land-dwelling carnivore that can grow up to four feet in length and weigh as much as seventy-five pounds. It is warm-blooded and lives in northern temperate forests, using its sharp beak to hunt for birds, squirrels, and other small rodents. It is a solitary creature that is most active at night.

The terrestrial octopus has a thick coat of fur and is able to climb trees and rocky outcrops using its strong arms, which are lined with mucus-secreting suction cups. Unlike its invertebrate marine counterpart, the terrestrial octopus has a skeleton, including a skull, rib cage, and vertebra-like columns of bones within each arm.

During mating season, the terrestrial octopus builds, in thickets of tall vegetation, distinctive conical grass-nests in which to lay its large, speckled eggs. It will lay three to five eggs, and the incubation period lasts for thirty-five to forty days.

get a print here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NautilusPress

NASA’s Message-In-A-Bottle: The Interstellar Constellation

The picture above represents one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever done.

Here’s a short thought experiment and story:

Somewhere one day a person, who may or may not be somewhat like you, might be looking through their telescope.

They might see something strange, approaching the planet.

They contact the authorities.

A mission is conceived to rendezvous with the object.

Astronauts carefully seal the mysterious asteroid in a large container and bring it back to the planet for scientists to study.

The whole world would be tense, waiting for news to break of what this strange thing is.

Its enigmatic shape gives it away as almost certainly not being natural.

Finally a nervous person approaches the media and crowds outside the lab.

With a shaking hand the person wipes sweat from their brow. They look up briefly before speaking, as if half expecting something to be there.

The asteroid… is not from the solar system. It hurtled here at great speeds from a distant star.

It’s old. We’re not sure yet how old, but it’s clearly been a long time since it was home.

Inside the asteroid is a golden disc. We’ve managed to remove the disc. It has markings… and sounds etched into it.”

It was a little longer before the contents of the disc were deciphered. The scientists realized that the strange 14-branches of lines on the disc were binary. Yes or no. The simplest language in the universe, and a mathematical one.

A language that might be used to communicate with cosmic neighbors.

Across countless years and an unimaginable gulf of empty darkness, something was telling us, “Yes, yes, yes, no, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, no, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, no…”

But yes to what? No to what?

The media exploded when an astronomer announced the binary series and the lengths of the branches corresponded exactly to the fingerprint-like beacons of 14 pulsars.

Around the world researchers mapped out where the center of the constellation should be, where the center of the 14 branches from their perspective night sky was.

They knew almost immediately but didn’t want to believe.

The star in the center of the constellation, the place where this message came from…

A news anchor looked into a camera, a somber look on their face:

“Astronomers have triangulated the location of the alien spacecraft. It came from a distant star which you can see in your telescopes. It’s the large red one.

It’s pretty to us but was a very different sort of star when this message was sent to us. Our space telescopes have confirmed that there’s a rocky planet in orbit around the star… there’s no atmosphere on it now as the star’s growth has boiled away any atmosphere there might have been.

Could those aliens still be alive somehow? Did they survive the incineration of their home?

As much as we ask these questions all we’ve got are the recordings they left on a sturdy golden record.

When played we hear strange sounds in an alien tongue. Deciphered, the recording reads,

“Hello, from the children of planet Earth…”

This story, believe it or not has already begun.

A few decades ago, NASA, working with Dr. Carl Sagan compiled a golden record to go aboard the Voyager spacecrafts. 

Voyager 1 launched from Earth in 1977. It left the solar system and entered interstellar space in 2013.

In 1 billion years, that golden record will still be readable and the sounds engraved thereon still readable.

NASA used the unique, lighthouse-like rhythms of specific pulsars to generate a map, a sort of interstellar constellation that, no matter where in the Milky Way you are, will always point to our Sun at the center.

It’s a beautiful message. For a billion years the sounds of children speaking across the universe will survive. For a billion years the sounds of a heartbeat of someone in love will be carried from star to star. 

That heartbeat, that love, will flow across the cosmos for a billion years.

For a billion years our interstellar message-in-a-bottle will drift among the current of starlight, perhaps until one day a person, who may or may not be somewhat like you, might look through their telescope and see a strange asteroid drifting towards their planet…

(Image credit: NASA)