Exquisite Marine Invertebrates of the 19th Century http://wp.me/p41CQf-rWG

Exquisite Marine Invertebrates of the 19th Century

In this blog in previous years, I've talked about how humans and cephalopods are oddly similar, explored the underwater realm of Sydney Harbour in great detail, and the invisible realm of microscopic creatures rendered by Ernest Haeckel. But in terms of delicate creatures, the Blaschkas were the 19th Century heavy-weights. I originally posted this post…

The Strandbeest and it's glittering seaside evolution

The Strandbeest and its glittering seaside evolution

Theo Jansen’s strandbeests are composed of spindly plastic organs that take elephantine strides. They have guts that store energy and are powered by wind. They are sensitive mechanical beasts that can even detect water. Each of Jansen's ingenious strandbeests are miracles in motion. They may very well be the next stages of natural selection.  Jansen…

Hibernal From Latin hībernālis (“wintry”), from hiems (“winter”), hibernal is term for something that refers to winter. On this, the long, long night of Winter Solistice of the southern hemisphere, the dawns and the gloamings grow ever deeper and more thickly velveteen black. Although this point in time marks the darkest, longest night and from this kernel grows the essence of…

Japan’s 72 gossamer-light and poetic microseasons

The traditional seasons in Japan are marked out by impercetibly small changes in nature across 72 miniature seasons in a year, each lasting 5 days and reflecting the fleeting, impermanent and diaphanous beauty of nature and all of its wonders. There are 24 divisions or sekki in the calendar that are split into 72 kō…

How slow-growing lichen opens up the vast universe

How slow-growing lichen opens up the vast universe

The Lichenologist from Matthew Killip on Vimeo. Hidden within this remarkable short film The Lichenologist is the slowly-growing story of the unassuming and vividly beautiful botanical wonder of lichen. Kerry Knudsen has the auspicious title of  Curator of Lichens at the University of California. He dispels common misconception between lichens and mosses. The latter being…

How animals would look in Minecraft

How animals would look in Minecraft

One clever coconut named Aditya has taken images from Unsplash and pixabay and created blocky, cube-shaped animals in novel art form known as Anicube. She created the images in Photoshop using the Liquify (Shift+Command+X) keys and then uploaded them to instagram. The comical and surreal results won her a lot of fans. See more of her…

Sky-level beauty: Hawaii from above

Hawaii’s volcanic spectacle and Pele the Fire Goddess

This sky-level satellite image above shows how most of Puna is covered in a lush green canopy, with some visible lava flows in the District of Puna. Puna is one of the smaller islands in the American states of Hawaii. At around 1,300km2 Puna is slightly smaller than the island of Kaua.  It's subtropical climate and…

Book Review: 'Industrial Scars' The Beautiful Toxic Scars of the Earth

Book Review: ‘Industrial Scars’ The Beautiful Toxic Scars of the Earth

What happens when humans burn too much waste and destroy the planet? Modern Art. Photographs of the aftermath of environmental devastation aren't normally considered art. However photographer J Henry Fair has reimagined the decaying and suffering environmental landscape in the aftermath of human abuse in his mesmerising book entitled Industrial Scars. Fair wanted to poignantly…

Film Review: Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (2016) Terrence Malick

Film Review: Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey (2016) Terrence Malick

The other night Terrence Malick's new film Voyage of Time: Life's Journey screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival Autumn events in Auckland. Although I've found Malick's films a little too long and ponderous, this one I enjoyed more than his others because of its sparseness and its lack of human narrative and human characters.…

How you can help save the Critically Endangered Orangutans of Borneo

How you can help save the Orangutans of Borneo

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates the number of orangutans living in Borneo dropped by 60 percent between 1950 and 2010 alone. This is because of the extensive land clearings that have taken place over the past 4 decades in Indonesia. Between 1989 and 2000 the area covered by oil palms in…

A piano reverberates over collapsing glaciers

A piano reverberates over collapsing glaciers

Earlier this year, renowned Italian composer Ludovico Eindaudi performed his 'Elegy for the Arctic' on a small floating platform in Wahlenbergbreen glacier in Svalbard, Norway. Around him glaciers crumbled and collapsed into the pearlescent water and the pristine quiet was pierced with the deafening sound of a fragile environment on the verge of implosion. His…

Microscopic treasures: Abstract art discovered under the microscope

Microscopic treasures: Abstract art discovered under the microscope

Sometimes the most unimaginable beauty comes from the world cannot be seen with the human eye, but yet still exists in the invisible netherworld of the microscope. Here are some artistic treasures, spied on the Reddit Microporn page, have a look and you will become hooked. Crystalline acetylsalicylic acid viewed under polarised light at 10X…

Say hello to the slimy end of cute: the Californian Sea Hare

Say hello to the slimy end of cute: the Californian Sea Hare

The California sea hare is also known as the California sea slug. It's a gigantic marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusk and is cute in a slimey, sluggish way.   Found around the Gulf of California and Mexico these adorable slime-balls chomp on algae and live in intertidial zones usually not deeper than 18–20 m.[ Creepy and adorable sea hares  They…

DIY dog hair knitting: why it's not such a crazy idea

Arctic foxes are the artisans of their own vibrant gardens

Beyond cutely frolicking through meadows in Iceland and Scandinavia, arctic foxes are also aiding the local ecological balance in the way they keep house underground. Their dens are often a century old and topped with lush gardens and dune grass. The domains of arctic foxes are a splash of colour in an otherwise dull brown…

Chasing fire and embers across the Californian badlands

Chasing fire and embers across the Californian badlands

Jeff Frost is a self-confessed fire chaser and photographer. Just like in Australia, California is prone to wild fires that rapidly get out of control. They are the natural peril that haunts the dreams of country dwelling people in both regions. Frost's film is made up of hundreds of thousands of high-res photos compiled in stop motion.…

Inuit dog wards off a polar bear

The Last Dogs of Winter: A Beautiful Documentary about the endangered Canadian Eskimo Dogs

Watch the preview here  In 1976, prompted by advice from Bishop Omer Robidoux (1913-1986), Churchill dog handler Brian Ladoon made it his mission to preserve and breed Canadian Eskimo Dogs also known as Inuit Dogs or Qimmiq, the rarest registered breed of dog in the world.  His efforts have inspired both admiration and fierce criticism,…

Unseen Art from Australia’s First Fleet http://wp.me/p41CQf-8h

The quirky origins of Australia’s native animal names

Although I thought that the cockatoo was an Aboriginal word, it's not! Its a relic of the first Europeans visiting the spice isles of Maluku (now Malaysia) in the 15th Century. They had birds there akin to cassowaries and cockatoos. Other well-known Aboriginal-sounding names are in fact from abroad as well. ‘Bandicoot’: an Indian name…

Oxidised metal films photographed using a microscope and an Amazon Fire phone by Reddit user Friz Face.

One person’s trash is another’s treasure: oxidised metal film under the microscope

They could be a collection of post-apocalyptic planets viewed from space. However these pieces of enchanting art were not made by humans but by natural phenomena. Science is beautiful. The excellent Reddit page MicroPorn features close up microscopic images of materials. This collection of oxidised metal films were photographed using a microscope and an Amazon Fire…

Aspen the Frontier Dog is one handsome, adventurous and capable canine

The Internet is awash cats. Twitter and Facebook is a constant spam feed of felines. And yet we forget our other noble companion, the quietly humble, wise and obedient dog. Enter into the fray the Internet sensation Aspen, the hiking, all knowing mountain climbing golden retriever shot along with his owners in panoramic settings. Aspen accompanies…

A boudoir where a mermaid can prepare for a night out

A boudoir where a mermaid can prepare for a night out

Enter into a magical underwater world where a mermaid is able to prepare for close up glamour shots in her boudoir. This delicate and miniature world fit for a sea-dwelling princess was created by artist Peter Gabel. Extraordinary workmanship and marine inspiration has gone into this creation. Although custom built with love, sadly all of us mermaid…