In celebration of Skunk Bear’s 200th post (thanks for following folks!) I present: Galileo moonwalking! Among Galileo’s many sketches were some of the first accurate depictions of the moon. The mountainous, pitted moon he drew showed reality, not the perfect, smooth sphere put forth by Aristotle.

I was trying to figure out the best quote to pair with this GIF, but I couldn’t decide – so I included a few. The last one — eppur si muove — falls into that “he-didn’t-say-it-but-he-should’ve” category of quotes. According to one story, when Galileo was forced to renounce his claims of a heliocentric solar system by the Catholic Church he defiantly stated, “and yet it moves,” referring to the earth. There’s no reason to believe this actually happened, but I wish it had.

Also, this quote pairs nicely with moonwalking.

nprglobalhealth:

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery
When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.
But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley, say there’s also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work. And more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.
"My students, postdocs and I spent a year stepping back and trying to connect the dots between wildlife decline and human exploitation," says ecologist Justin Brashares, who led the study. “We found about 50 examples around the world.”
One those examples made international headlines in June when the Guardianpublished a report about slavery in the Thai shrimping industry.
"Large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns," the British newspaper reported. These shrimp are “sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco,” the report said.
The world’s food supply, both here in the U.S. and abroad, is increasingly connected to child labor and human trafficking, Brashares says. And the problems isn’t just in the fishing industry or large supply chains that stock megagrocery stores. Many of the world’s poorest people are turning to exploitative labor practices to earn a living and feed their families as traditional sources of food disappear.
Wild animals, both on land and in the sea, provide incomes for about 15 percent of the world’s population, Brashares and his team wrote. These animals are also the main source of protein for many of these people.
Continue reading.
Photo: A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery. (Courtesy of Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions)

An important story.

nprglobalhealth:

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery

When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley, say there’s also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work. And more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

"My students, postdocs and I spent a year stepping back and trying to connect the dots between wildlife decline and human exploitation," says ecologist Justin Brashares, who led the study. “We found about 50 examples around the world.”

One those examples made international headlines in June when the Guardianpublished a report about slavery in the Thai shrimping industry.

"Large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns," the British newspaper reported. These shrimp are “sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco,” the report said.

The world’s food supply, both here in the U.S. and abroad, is increasingly connected to child labor and human trafficking, Brashares says. And the problems isn’t just in the fishing industry or large supply chains that stock megagrocery stores. Many of the world’s poorest people are turning to exploitative labor practices to earn a living and feed their families as traditional sources of food disappear.

Wild animals, both on land and in the sea, provide incomes for about 15 percent of the world’s population, Brashares and his team wrote. These animals are also the main source of protein for many of these people.

Continue reading.

Photo: A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery. (Courtesy of Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions)

An important story.

nprontheroad:

In late July and August, something remarkable happens in the air above Lake Murray, South Carolina.  For the past 25 years, half a million purple martins (large swallows) have gathered on a small island in the hundreds of thousands.  This year, they didn’t show up.

This weekend Skunk Bear goes mobile! I’m down in South Carolina RIGHT NOW looking for the missing birds, and I’ll be chronicling the search over at NPR’s travelogue blog - nprontheroad.tumblr.com. You can read all about the mystery of the purple martins and the humans who love them over there.

nprontheroad:

In late July and August, something remarkable happens in the air above Lake Murray, South Carolina.  For the past 25 years, half a million purple martins (large swallows) have gathered on a small island in the hundreds of thousands.  This year, they didn’t show up.

This weekend Skunk Bear goes mobile! I’m down in South Carolina RIGHT NOW looking for the missing birds, and I’ll be chronicling the search over at NPR’s travelogue blog - nprontheroad.tumblr.com. You can read all about the mystery of the purple martins and the humans who love them over there.

The recent release of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" reminded me of one of my favorite ape vs. man films – this 1932 video that shows a baby chimpanzee and a baby human undergoing the same basic psychological tests.

Its gets weirder – the human baby (Donald) and the chimpanzee baby (Gua) were both raised as humans by their biological/adopted father Winthrop Niles Kellogg.  Kellogg was a comparative psychologist fascinated by the interplay between nature and nurture, and he devised a fascinating (and questionably ethical) experiment to study it:

Suppose an anthropoid were taken into a typical human family at the day of birth and reared as a child. Suppose he were fed upon a bottle, clothed, washed, bathed, fondled, and given a characteristically human environment; that he were spoken to like the human infant from the moment of parturition; that he had an adopted human mother and an adopted human father.

First, Kellogg had to convince his pregnant wife he wasn’t crazy:

 …the enthusiasm of one of us met with so much resistance from the other that it appeared likely we could never come to an agreement upon whether or not we should even attempt such an undertaking.

She apparently gave in, because Donald and Gua were raised, for nine months, as brother and sister. Much like Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” movies, Gua developed faster than her “brother,” and often outperformed him in tasks. But she soon hit a cognitive wall, and the experiment came to an end. (Probably for the best, as Donald had begun to speak chimpanzee.)

You can read more about Kellogg’s experiment, its legacy, and public reaction to it here.

NASA engineers use origami as inspiration when they fold up solar panels for their trip to space. Shown here: the Miura fold. Once a piece of paper (or solar array) is all folded up, it can be completely unfolded in one smooth motion. You can read more about origami in space here, and learn how to do the Miura fold in this video:

Image: Astronaut Scott Parazynski repairs a damaged ISS solar panel (NASA)

archatlas:

Casa Tomada Rafael Gómez Barros

"The urban interventions are meant to represent displacement of peasants in his native Columbia [sic] due to war and violence, themes that resonate in one form or another in any country his work is displayed in. Crafted from tree branches, fiberglass, and fabric, the 2 foot ants are particularly striking when seen clustered aggressively on facades of buildings.”

I will always reblog giant ants.

The Eighth International Conference on Mars kicks off today - a perfect opportunity to share the USGS’s beautiful geologic map of Mars. The last map like this was made in 1986, and we’ve learned a whole lot since then. 

The different colors represent different types of rock. Viewed through a geological lens the red planet looks more like a rainbow planet.

The Mapmakers: Kenneth L. Tanaka, James A. Skinner, Jr., James M. Dohm, Rossman P. Irwin, III, Eric J. Kolb, Corey M. Fortezzo, Thomas Platz, Gregory G. Michael, and Trent M. Hare