When investment banker and hobby mycologist Gordon Wasson embarked on his first psychedelic shroom journey with the Mixatec shaman Maria Sabina, 1947 in Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca, he could hardly have fathomed that this very incident was not only to open "the doors of perception" (as Huxley so aptly described the psychedelic experience in his famous book of 1954) for him, accompanying fotographer Allan Richardson and Wasson's wife Valentina but, in the years and decades to come, hundred thousands of others, God-seekers, fun-lovers, hippies, mycophiles and celebrities like Jo
On Monday August 5, after "seven terrifying knuckle-in-teeth minutes", the Mars rover Curiosity successfully landed on Martian grounds, causing excessive shoulder patting among NASA engineers and U.S. government officials. In the months to come the spacecraft will investigate Gale Crater, the terrain surrounding its landing site Aeolis Palus, to explore Martian climate and geology and trace back the history of liquid water on the planet.
Peeing on a Frog's Back: Xenopus Laevis and Early Pregnancy Testing
Bugs and beetles have not exactly ranged among humans' darling species in the past, but they might as well become the heros of tomorrow, a new microelectromechanical technology developed at the U.S. University of Michigan suggests. Equipped with minute microphones, cameras, and/or gas sensors, the insects could soon scout hazardous environments like collapsed buildings or contaminated zones and so facilitate search and rescue operations.
Sexual mimicry is not an unusual phenomenon in the animal world. In a number of species, males frequently exhibit female sexual behavior, either to evade conflicts with rivaling males or to enjoy benefits that would otherwise be reserved for the female population. An example often cited to illustrate the case is the garter snake. Peculiarly, male garter snakes have often been found to mimic their female counterparts only during the first two days after emerging from hibernation.
All of us are acquainted with the phenomenon of bioluminescence and most have seen it, one way or the other, with their own eyes, be it glowing plankton on the sea or a swarm of fire flies. Bioluminescence is relatively rare in land dwellers (some insects such as fireflies, earthworms, and glowing fungi build the exception) but could be called standard in ocean inhabitants. There are, in fact, many places in the open oceans where bioluminescence does occur in 80 to 90% of all organisms; it is used to find food, attract a mate, lure prey, camouflage, or fight off predators.
The journal Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS) reports that man's efforts at protecting habitat have not been able to stem the decline in species diversity over the past 40 years. This is despite the continued expansion of protected wildlife areas, of which 8 million square miles have been established since 1960. The Living Planet Index, an indicator of global biodiversity put out by the World Wildlife Federation and the London Zoo, indicates a steady decline in terrestrial and marine species over the same time period.
Until a few years ago, tool-making was thought to be a skill unique to humans. It seems now that not only great apes but also monkeys are more intelligent than we thought. Researchers from Durham University, UK, filmed a mandrill picking his toenails with a stripped twig very likely prepared for exactly that purpose. While other primates like chimpanzees are known for a rather sophisticated use of selfmade tools - they were, for instance, not only seen cracking open fruit and nuts with stones as hammer and anvil but also chopping up their food into smaller, more handy pieces using stone cleavers- monkeys have obviously been underestimated in the past.