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Lichens = fungus+alga+...yeast?

Just to prove life is full of surprises, even life you thought you knew about pretty well...

Lichens aren't quite what we thought, shocked scientists discover

New yeasts found to be secret partners with known fungi and algae

By Emily Chung, CBC News Posted: Jul 21, 2016 2:35 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 22, 2016 8:42 AM ET

Most people know lichens, such as this wolf lichen, as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark. You probably learned in school that they"re a mutually beneficial partnership or "symbiosis" between fungi and algae, but many lichens have now been found to include a third partner, a yeast.

Most people know lichens as those flaky, light green things that grow on tree bark, and learned in school that they're a mutually beneficial partnership or "symbiosis" between fungi and algae.

But lichen scientists have made the shocking new discovery that many lichens are also made up of a previously undiscovered third partner — a new kind of yeast.

Not only does that potentially alter the fundamental definition of what a lichen is, but it "should change expectations about the diversity and ubiquity" of the organisms that form them, says a new study published Thursday in Science.  (more)

See also the Christian Science Monitor article here.

Thank you, Krypton Radio!

Sony Files Patent for Contact Lenses That Shoot Video, Take Pictures
Krypton Radio May 2, 2016Sci / Tech, Science Fiction / Fantasy / Steampunk

You may soon be able to cross one more prediction of science fiction off the list. Sony has just filed a patent application for a smart contact lens that can not only record video and images but play them back for you as well. The patent even suggests that the video and images would be stored directly in the contact lens itself, with the option to download the images and movies to a smart phone. That’s what separates the Sony patent from one recently obtained by Samsung in South Korea for a similar device. The Samsung lens doesn’t feature on-board storage.

The patent hasn’t been approved yet, but it describes describes the lens as being capable of taking photos using eyeblinks as a trigger. It’s supposed to be able to tell the difference between an autonomic eye blink and one you meant to do consciously. The playback display is to be controlled by what they describe as a “tilt sensor”. The lens may even feature aperture control, autofocus and image stabilization to address the blur caused by the eyeball’s motion.



Zootopia fans...

We both went to see Zootopia when it came out, it was great!  Nicolai enjoyed it so much he's started writing Zootopia fanfic - if you want to see his efforts he's on fanfiction.net as Nick48654.   An introductory tale A Week in the Life followed by a procedural in process involving our two favorite ZPD officers, Another Step on the Path.

And it would appear we have an upcoming Doc Strange movie (origin story).  I just hope Benedict Cumberbach is better than I am at saying "I summon the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!" with a straight face... :)

Iceland upset much?

First off, check out this article on the Panama Papers if you need some background on this.  Amongst the reams of data on offshore monetary sneakiness was some really pertinent stuff on the current (and probably about to be ex) PM of Iceland. As one might imagine, the population of same are understandably even MORE pissed after the endrun around the events of 2008.  So there was this rally in Reyjkavík, about one fifth of the population OF Reyjkavík in number (I daresay some came in from elsewhere in the country) in the central square outside the governmental buildings brandishing homemade signs telling him to quit, now, in most colorful terms, and tossing eggs and skyr (Icelandic equivalent of yogurt) and probably less mentionable items to make their point.  I can only say I wish them better luck this time... and wonder what fun we'll have when the folks digging through this trove get around to the US...  Yes, the author is the same Rei as the one with the great volcano reports last year... And there are photos. BOY are there photos.

Oh fungus - I'd have to quote a huge chunk of this so I'm not going to bother - here's the title, (and a representative photo) click on it and you'll get the whole enchilada.

Helvítis Fokking Fokk! Iceland reacts to the Panama Papers.

"Everyone showed up! So quit now!"
Credit: Benedict Jóhannesson

Boggled again - long live Hare Link

About seven years ago I went over to Hare Link to check some stuff, and noticed my entire allotment had gone up from 5G to 10G.  The other day I did it again and discovered it is now 100G.  Meanwhile I'm using something like 1G last I checked, this with three websites and a lot of photos and stuff (and it'd be about half that much if I didn't have this huge video on the Fredsite).  Still costs the same.  Long Live Hare-Link!   (Warning - that's a temporary link - Bill Holbrook put up in Kevin and Kell to help us poor users.  They're changing the website and the original link is a snare and a delusion just now.)

(In case you were wondering, they handle things so well I rarely need to go on the site.)



Just realized I forgot to mention Nicolai and I went to see Zootopia recently.  Too lazy to do a review, other than it's cool and if you haven't already, go and see it yourselves!


Far, far away...

OK, yesterday Nicolai and I finally went out to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens (yes, it can still be found in theaters, locally), in the same theater I saw the latest Jurassic Park movie (why don't they just give up, declare the velociraptors sapient and write stories about THEM?)

Oh, right, Star Wars.  Short form: fun, worth seeing.  Long form, I am not going to worry about spoilers so just in case someone out there is even slower on these things than I am, but still gives a hoot, the rest of this article goes behind a LJ cut.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...Collapse )

Now this is more like it.

Rolling Stones article about what happened in Gainsburgh Florida,, actually, here's the title, you can read the rest of it on their site, complete with video!  Long live the Officer Whites of the policing world!

Cool Cop Responds to Hoops Noise Complaint With Savage Dunk

Officer Bobby White couldn't believe someone called in a complaint about kids playing basketball – so he decided to join them

The 40,000 mile long volcano

Can't think of a better title for this entry than the title of the article that brought it to my attention.  My thanks to the New York Times

The 40,000 mile long volcano
by William J. Broad
Jan 12, 2016
New York Times

Picture a volcano. Now imagine that its main vent extends in a line. Now imagine that this line is so long that it runs for more than 40,000 miles through the dark recesses of all the world’s oceans, girding the globe like the seams of a baseball.

Welcome to one of the planet’s most obscure but important features, known rather prosaically as the midocean ridges. Though long enough to circle the moon more than six times, they receive little notice because they lie hidden in pitch darkness. Oceanographers stumbled on their volcanic nature in 1973. Ever since, costly expeditions have slowly explored the undersea world, which typically lies more than a mile down.

The results can make the visions of Jules Verne seem rather tame.

The ridges feature long rift valleys and, down their middles, giant fields of gushing hot springs that shed tons of minerals into icy seawater, slowly building eerie mounds and towers that can be rich in metals like gold and silver. One knobby tower in the Pacific Ocean, nicknamed Godzilla, grew 15 stories high. Thickets of snakelike tubeworms and other bizarre creatures often blanket the hot features, as do hungry prowlers such as spider crabs.

The riot of life coexists with springs hot enough to melt lead or the plastic windows of mini submarines. With extreme care, humans and robots have measured temperatures as high as 780 degrees.

More to the point, there is now a two part underwater observatory along the Juan De Fuca Ridge, off the west coast of the Americas, keeping a continue eye on what's going on, and as usual when you stare at places you haven't been before long enough, getting QUITE an eyefull, and ear full and...  Just go look at the link.  OK, here's a quote from the part about the observatory:

It sits atop the Juan de Fuca Ridge. The volcanic spreading center — more than 300 miles long — lies in a slanted line off the West Coast, from British Columbia to Oregon. The observatory is divided into two parts. Canada operates the northern one and the United States the southern one, part of a larger program known as the Ocean Observatories Initiative.

All told, it cost roughly $500 million — far less than the next generation of optical telescopes under construction around the globe. The National Science Foundation, the federal government’s big funder of basic science, paid for the American part.

Together, the two sites feature more than 1,000 miles of cables, dozens of junction boxes and hundreds of sensors.

Instruments on the seabed include tilt meters, cameras, seismometers, temperature gauges, hydrophones, chemical probes, pressure sensors and fluid samplers. Also, mobile platforms crawl up and down long moorings to take readings higher in the water column. The observatory’s main cables run ashore at Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island, and Pacific City, Ore.

“We have the most advanced cabled observatory on any volcano in the world’s oceans,” said Deborah S. Kelley, a scientist at the University of Washington who directs the American segment. “There’ll be lots of discoveries.

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