Water Bears

Tardigrades (commonly known as water bears) form the phylum Tardigrada, part of the superphylum Ecdysozoa. They are microscopic, water-dwelling, segmented animals with eight legs. Tardigrades were first described by Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773. The name Tardigrada means “slow walker” and was given by Spallanzani in 1777. The name water bear comes from the way they walk, reminiscent of a bear’s. The biggest adults may reach a body length of 1.5 mm, the smallest below 0.1 mm. Freshly hatched larvae may be smaller than 0.05 mm.

tardigrade water bear

tardigrade

More than 1000 species of tardigrades have been described. Tardigrades occur over the entire world, from the high Himalayas (above 6,000 m), to the deep sea (below 4,000 m) and from the polar regions to the equator.The most convenient place to find tardigrades is on lichens and mosses. Other environments are dunes, beaches, soil and marine or freshwater sediments, where they may occur quite frequently (up to 25,000 animals per litre). Tardigrades often can be found by soaking a piece of moss in spring water.

water bear tardigrade

water bear 3

Tardigrades are polyextremophiles and are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures close to absolute zero, temperatures as high as 151 °C (303 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals such as humans, nearly a decade without water, and even the vacuum of space.

water bear 2

water bear 1

Tardigrades have a body with four segments (not counting the head), four pairs of legs without joints, and feet with claws or toes. The cuticle contains chitin and is moulted. They have a ventral nervous system with one ganglion per segment, and a multilobed brain. Their pigment-cup eyes are rhabdomeric. Instead of a coelom they have a haemocoel. The only place where a true coelom can be found is around the gonad (coelomic pouch). The pharynx is of a triradiate, muscular, sucking kind, armed with stylets.

water bear 1

water bear

Although some species are parthenogenetic, males and females are usually present, each with a single gonad. Tardigrades are eutelic (all adult tardigrades of the same species are believed to have the same number of cells) and oviparous. Some tardigrade species have as many as about 40,000 cells in each adult’s body, others have far fewer

World’s Oldest Animals

Jonathan the tortoise and Mischief the cat may have hit the headlines for their longevity, but there are plenty of other creatures giving them a run for their money in the age stakes.

turtle

This photo of a tortoise was taken  on the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. The tortoise, named Jonathan, still lives there today. He may be the world’s oldest living animal.

A spokesman for the island’s tourist board said Jonathan is owned by the St Helena government and lives in the specially built plantation on the governor’s land.

He said: “Jonathan is the sole survivor of three tortoises that arrived on St Helena Island in 1882.

“He was already mature when he arrived and was at least 50-years-old.

“Therefore his minimum age is 176-years-old. He is the oldest inhabitant on St Helena and is claimed to be the oldest living tortoise in the world.

scientific_disc_clam

Icelandic scientists have found a 400-year-old clam, nearly twice as old as any other animal in history.

The clam — a qahog or, technically, Arctica islandica — spent those centuries in the frigid Atlantic waters off Iceland’s north coast. As the press release notes, “When this animal was a juvenile, King James I replaced Queen Elizabeth I as English monarch, Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth and Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for espousing the view that the Sun rather than the Earth was the centre of the universe.”

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Rabbit: Fourteen-year-old George, from Tewksbury, Massachusetts in the US, was recognised as the oldest rabbit in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records earlier this year.

The average life expectancy of a rabbit is six to eight years, making George an estimated 160 years old in human terms. His owners met at college and fed their pet Doritos.

oldest_cat_1125897c

Cat: Spike, a ginger and white tom, died two months after his 31st birthday in July 2001 – making him the world’s oldest cat.

He was bought for two shillings and sixpence in London’s Brick Lane market in 1970 and nearly died at the age of 19 when he was attacked by a dog.

Spike’s owners, from Bridport in Devon, used to put aloe vera gel into his cat food.

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Spider: The world’s oldest spider is thought to have been a female from the Theraphosidae family, which lived up to the age of 28. The bird-eating arachnid was captured in Mexico in 1935.

dog

Dog: At 29, black Labrador Bella was thought to be the oldest dog in the UK until her death in September.

She was bought from an RSPCA sanctuary 26 years ago and lived out her long life in Derbyshire.

americanguineapig

Guinea Pig: The average age for a guinea pig may be between five and eight years, but the official record is 14 years and 10 and a half months.

chimps

Monkey: Bueno, a black spider monkey, died in 2005 at the age of 53 and was thought to be the world’s eldest monkey.

She lived a “stress-free” life at the Japan Monkey Centre in Aichi, 150 miles west of Tokyo. The average black spider monkey lives for between 30 and 33 years.

goldfish

Goldfish: Tish beat all the records by living to a ripe old age of 43 after being won a funfair in Doncaster in 1956.

As he aged, his scales faded from orange to silver but his owner Hilda Hand said the key to his longevity was not feeding him too much and placing him in the sun every now and then.

How To Detect Two Way Mirrors

“When we visit toilets, bathrooms, hotel rooms, changing rooms, etc. How many of you know for sure that the seemingly ordinary mirror hanging on the wall is a real mirror, or actually a 2-way mirror i.e., they can see you, but you can’t see them. There have been many cases of people installing 2-way mirrors in female changing rooms or bathroom or bedrooms.
It is very difficult to positively identify the surface by just looking at it. So, how do we determine with any amount of certainty what type of mirror we are looking at?

CONDUCT THIS SIMPLE TEST:
Place the tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface and if there is a GAP between your fingernail and the image of the nail, then it is a GENUINE mirror.

However, if your fingernail DIRECTLY TOUCHES the image of your nail, then BEWARE, IT IS A 2-WAY MIRROR! (There is someone seeing you from the other side). So remember, every time you see a mirror, do the “fingernail test.” It doesn’t cost you anything. It is simple to do.This is a really good thing to do. The reason there is a gap on a real mirror, is because the silver is on the back of the mirror UNDER the glass.
Whereas with a two-way mirror, the silver is on the surface. Keep it in mind! Make sure and check every time you enter in hotel rooms. May be someone is making a film on you. “

This one is false. Here are few tips how you can detect real one:

1. Realize that a popular email about two-way mirrors you may have received is a hoax. It is simply an urban legend that has gained credibility as it has gone from one recipient to the next. You can check suspect stories you hear against the urban legends database at Snopes.com.

2. Understand that a two-way mirror is specially treated glass that allows light to pass through in both directions, but which also reflects light back into the room. If lights are off on one side of the mirror and on in the other, those on the bright side will see a reflection and those on the dark side will see through the glass.

3. Know that because they function as windows, two-way mirrors are generally set into the wall; they are not hung on a wall. If the mirror is not flush with the wall, it is most likely not a two-way mirror.

4. Test the mirror. Cup your hands around your eyes and place your face next to the mirror. If it is a two-way mirror, you will be able to see something on the other side—unless there is absolutely no light on that.

5. Turn out the lights. The two-way mirror only works if light is more intense on one side. With the lights off, you will see through a two-way mirror. It may take a few moments to detect the mirror as your eyes adjust.

6. Tap the mirror. A two-way mirror will produce a hollow sound like a window because there is no backing on the other side. A regular mirror will sound dull.

SkyTran – Individual Maglev System

The American company UniModal Transport Solutions developed a concept for a very high-capacity and high-speed Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) network. Pictures and informations of this sky transportation vehicle are showed below.

sky transport vehicles pictures

sky transport vehicles pictures

This SkyTran system operates with individual, two-passenger vehicles, which are propelled and suspended by a maglev system from overhead guideways. These are laid out in a one mile by one mile networked grid throughout the city. A large number of small departure and exit portals are placed underneath the guideways at approximately every 400 metres or at every city block. Read the rest at Dark Roasted Blend