Velvet Worm Ensnares Foes With Jets Of Slime


“In the worm’s mouth is a pair of jaws, each containing two blades that have a large sickle-like tooth and smaller teeth of the same shape. “The jaws of the velvet worms are actually modified limbs that move into the mouth during development,” said Oliveira. “And that is why the blades resemble the paired claws found in each leg. The musculature associated with the jaws is massive and complex and might have evolved to break the hard exoskeleton of their prey.” Once their target is immobilized, “the velvet worms just walk slowly to the prey, make a small hole in its exoskeleton using the jaws, inject digestive saliva into its body,” and suck out the pre-digested tissues. And lest the slime go to waste, the worm eats that up as well.” w/ photos + video

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Weirdest Aircraft I’ve Ever Seen


Papin and Rouilly’s “Gyroptère” weighed 1,100 lb including the float on which it was mounted. It had a single hollow blade with an area of 130 sq ft, counterweighted by a fan driven by an 80 hp Le Rhone rotary engine spinning at 1,200 rpm which produced an output of just over 250 cu ft of air per second. The fan also propelled air through the hollow blade, from which it escaped through an L-shaped tube at a speed of 330 ft/s. Directional control was to be achieved by means of a small auxiliary tube through which some of the air was driven, and which could be directed in whatever direction the pilot wished. The pilot’s position was located at the center of gravity between the blade and the fan.” w/ photos + video

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World’s Largest Earlobe Rings


Kala Kaiwi, a tattoo and body modification artist from Hawaii, recently set the Guinness Record for the largest non-surgically made earlobe rings in the world. Also known as ‘flesh tunnels’, the earlobe stretches measure a whopping 4.3 inches in diameter – so large that you could fit your hand right through them! It’s not just the lobes – Kaiwi has modified almost every part of his body. He has silicone horn implants in his forehead, stretches in his nostrils, tattooed eyebrows, studs all over his face, and bolt holes on his forehead with spikes screwed in. He also managed to split his own tongue using dental floss.” w/ photos + video

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Drone-Vertising Is Here?


“They drew the attention of hundreds of people,’ the agency claims. Not disclosed is how many of those people thought, ‘Wow, now, that’s annoying.’ Anyway, it turns out that this is not the first manifestation of the ‘drone-vertising’ idea: Earlier this year, a U.S. startup called DroneCast was launched, with the express purpose of offering ‘aerial advertising platform’ services. It is ‘almost like a flying billboard,’ the company’s site explains, ‘using a small drone to capture attention while displaying your advertisement to viewers.” w/ photos + video

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Art Museum Offering Tours By Robots


To bring the idea to fruition, the Tate paired The Workers with RAL Space, the Science and Technology Facilities Council program that works on British space exploration. Their expertise on robotic technology informed much of the design, but to keep the guides from looking too much like Mars rovers, which Burton says, “don’t look very pretty,” The Workers bestowed the robots with anthropomorphic details like two lights for eyes, and the ability to look up and down, like a human neck. Friendly, elegant robots are great, but Burton says the museum’s biggest priority was keeping art work intact.” w/ photos

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Soylent Green Returns


Great to see that Soylent Green, so rarely seen these days on shop shelves, is back and being promoted by all the discount supermarkets. A tasty and inexpensive snack is once more being made available to the great British public which is great news for all of us who need to feed a family but watch the pennies at the same time. True it isn’t to everyone’s taste but this alternative to the other processed foods on the market gives the customer more choice and it can be cooked using a variety of delicious recipes (if you haven’t tasted it, most say it is like a cross between pork and chicken). Now it has returned the question many are asking is why has it been away so long?” w/ photos

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Lake Natron


“Lake Natron is a very special lake. It starts off fairly “lake-like” with blue water, then slowly changes into an orange/brownish sludge and ends up as the blood-red surface as seen on the photos. So why is Lake Natron red? As the level of salt in Lake Natron is very high, salt-loving microorganisms begin to thrive in the sodic alkaline water – and finally produce these red pigments. Interestingly enough, it is precisely these photosynthetic red pigments of the microorganisms that give the thousands of flamingos at Lake Natron their pink color.” w/ photos

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Gigantic Deep Ocean Sphere


“This is the Oceansphere, a gigantic highly automated fish farm that will grow 1,000 tons of ahi and bluefin tuna from eggs to harvest size at a depth of 1,300 feet a few miles off the coast of Hawaii. There’s lots to say here about the technology, which includes an automatic feeding system, water quality sensors, and thrusters that keep the sphere stationary, but let’s all just marvel at the fact that the Fish Matrix is real and set to begin installation by the end of the year. Hawaii Oceanic Technology CEO Bill Spencer told West Hawaii Today that this first sphere is mostly about refining the technology, but that after installation and testing the earliest harvest could occur in late 2017.” w/ photos

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Robot Furniture That Builds Itself


Imagine that the chair you’re sitting on became a sofa on demand as the day moved from light to dark. Or if all your furnishings could move out of your way as you walk through a room. These thoughts could one day become reality through research being conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). The EPFL biorobotics lab is developing self-configurable robotics known as ‘Roombots,’ which can merge with materials and furnishings to create adaptable furniture for the home and office.” w/ photos

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