Friday, June 18, 2010

Science continues indescribably cool: Planet-size Fireball Hits Jupiter and Cnidarian Notes



So, y'all may have read that this week I had a go at a little Mediterranean hunter/gathering. My sea urchin experiment turned out pretty well, and while I was cooking the risotto, I had a good look at the mysterious insides of those beautiful little shells.

With shellfish, one is accustomed to things like oysters and clams. You open it up, and there's the little fleshy thing. The animal that occupies its little house.

But with urchins, I searched in vain for anything that resembled a body.

First you cut off most of the spines around the mouth opening on the bottom. Then you cut them in half along the "equator". A burst of water falls out, and inside there is really only this sort of brown membrane stuff. You swish all that away under the tap, and what's left, these five orange-coloured bits, is what you eat.


But, I reasoned, the thing eats, as we see above. So if it has, indeed, very active and complex mouth parts built into its shell, where's all the internal stuff that goes along with a digestive system? There just isn't anything in there.

A great mystery, and further proof that there is something funny about the radially symmetrical.

(Well, ok. A small mystery, but interesting.)

And...


Was Jupiter put in this solar system to run blockage for the earth?
A huge fireball was spotted on Jupiter in yet another collision from space caught on camera and video by amateur astronomers. This new impact on Jupiter comes less than a year after a spectacular crash on July 19, 2009, when what scientist now think was an asteroid about 1,600 feet wide slammed into the planet.

That collision created a massive bruise the size of the Pacific Ocean.The new Jupiter crash occurred on June 3 and was spotted by skywatcher Anthony Wesley in Australia and fellow amateur astronomer Christopher Go in the Philippines. Wesley's photos show the Jupiter fireball blazing in the atmosphere of the gas giant planet. So far, no visible scar in the clouds has been reported from the event.


"a massive bruise the size of the Pacific Ocean"

Holy crap! Are you serious?!

Here's some footage:

(Sorry about the sizing problem. There was no smaller version.)

"Since 1941 many astronomers have thought of Jupiter as a protective big brother for planet Earth -a celestial shield, deflecting asteroids and comets away from the inner Solar System. This long-standing belief ...has been challenged by the first in a series of studies evaluating the impact risk to the Earth posed by different groups of object."

I guess astronomers watch disaster movies too.

Also...


This just in on the cephalopod/cnidarian front: the world's only "immortal" animal.

Turritopsis nutricula, a small saltwater animal or hydrozoan related to jellyfish and corals.

Like most jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula undergoes two distinct stages in its life cycle: The polypoid or immature stage, when it’s just a small stalk with feeding tentacles; and the medusa or mature stage when the only 1mm-long polyps asexually produce jellyfish.

Waddya mean "immortal"?

Well get this:
The adult "medusa, or jellyfish, form can revert to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known case of a metazoan capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage".


So, imagine you start getting to the stage in life where you're a bit tired most of the time, you've begun to resign yourself to the pot belly. The 30 year-old you work with is "too young" to consider dating...

so you just think hard enough, click those sensible heels together three times, and Voi-La! 18 again!

And this time, you know enough not to screw it up.


H/Ts to Binks and Stratford (you ass!)



~

1 comment:

Shawn said...

What is that?