If I could go back to my childhood I would have never waited for rainstorms to flush out all of the earthworms for me to grab, place on leaves, and send down the flooded gutters into the sewers. I thought it was a funny race. But now I wish I could take it all back. Because in tropical oceans there exists a worm that could violently avenge its relatives.
This is Eunice aphroditois, also known as the bobbit worm, a mix between the Mongolian death worm, the Graboids from Tremors, the Bugs from Starship Troopers, and a rainbow — but it’s a really dangerous rainbow, like in Mario Kart. And it hunts in pretty much the most nightmarish way imaginable, digging itself into the sea floor, exposing a few inches of its body — which can grow to 10 feet long — and waiting.
via Absurd Creature of the Week: 10-Foot Bobbit Worm Is the Ocean’s Most Disturbing Predator – Wired Science.
Spinifex covers over a quarter of the continent, yet little is known about how it reproduces.
For a while it’s been thought that spinifex produces seeds fairly regularly, which are stored in the ground and then germinate after fire.
But an Alice Springs-based plant ecologist has a new theory.
Dr Boyd Wright says spinifex may in fact be a ‘masting’ species, that produces a large-scale seed crop as rarely as once every decade.
via The secret sex life of spinifex – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
Astronomers have discovered something weird in the Milky Way’s galactic bulge – a population of planetary nebula are all mysteriously pointing in the same direction.
They noticed the mysterious alignment in the long axes of bipolar planetary nebulae.
Planetary nebulae are caused by the death of red giant stars. During their final years, long after the hydrogen fuel has run out in their cores, these puffed up stars begin to shed their outer layers, blasting huge quantities of material into space.
via Mystery of the ‘butterfly’ nebulae alignment › News in Science (ABC Science).
The team that discovered an unknown immune system in the human gut, a pioneer in nanotechnology, and a conservation biologist have been recognised at tonight’s Eureka Prizes – the ‘Oscars’ of Australian science.
The prizes, awarded by the Australian Museum, recognise the work of Australian scientists, engineers and science journalists.
via T cell discovery tops Eureka Prize list › News in Science (ABC Science).
His views have changed, but don’t expect Tony Abbott to acknowledge this, let alone apologise to Australians for misleading them. In 2009 he maintained that manmade climate change is “absolute crap”. Now he says “I think that climate change is real, humanity makes a contribution.” But he has merely switched from denying global warming to denying the need to act on it.Abbott is following a familiar script – the 4 Ds of climate change inaction promoted by fossil fuel lovers the world over. Deny, then defer, then delay, then despair.
via If Abbott is elected, Australia’s natural wonders will gradually be rubbed away | George Monbiot | Comment is free | theguardian.com.
This is a great little piece about the little commented black swan.
The most comprehensive nationwide survey for diabetes ever conducted in China shows 11.6 percent of adults, or 114 million, has the disease. The finding, published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adds 22 million diabetics, or the population of Australia, to a 2007 estimate and means almost one in three diabetes sufferers globally is in China.
via China ‘Catastrophe’ Hits 114 Million as Diabetes Spreads – Bloomberg.