The Eastern screech owl (Megascops asio), no bigger than a pint glass whose spooky sounds can fill the night. They are common east of the Rockies, found wherever trees are, and love to hide in nooks and tree crannies.
This one was photographed by George McGeorge at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, on the Georgia/Florida border.
Gallery of Gorgeous Marine Plankton
The collection of images and videos was originally developed as an outreach effort of a multi-partner research project called Aquaparadox (from Hutchinson’s ‘Paradox of the Plankton”). In the project we examined morphological, genetic and physiological diversity in common coastal protist morpho-species, that is morphologically-defined species…
(check it all out here: Encyclopedia of Life)
Interesting ice patterns in the mud outside of the lodge yesterday.
The Ancient Town of Fenghuang, China
The town of Fenghuang is located in the Hunan province in China along the banks of the Tuo Jiang River. The town is exceptionally well-preserved and relatively untouched by modern urbanization.
The legacy of the Ming And Qing dynasties are preserved within the town, spanning 300 years of ancient heritage. In the ancient town zone, preservation of over 200 residential buildings, 30 streets, and hundreds of other ancient features and landmarks of the town has continued for hundreds of years.
Because of its unique geographical location, Fenghuang never suffered from the destruction of any natural disaster or suffered invasion from any wars. Even during the war of resistance against Japanese invasion, the isolated town of Fenghuang did not suffer occupation. In 1949, Fenghuang was peacefully liberated.
In the following 50 years, Fenghuang was spared any large-scale construction that occurred in nearby districts. As the people of Fenghuang cherish their valuable heritage, the local government has conducted strict control over all construction, continuing the preservation and the authenticity of the ancient town.
This afternoon I went to a talk about structural colour in Hibiscus, during which I remembered about these Lamproderma slime moulds that also display this phenomenon (although with a different physical basis). Many species are restricted to the snow-line in montane Europe. Beautiful things.
Oyeyemi says that she thinks of herself as “ugly but interesting,” and she’s happy with that. “It helps me to think more clearly, if that makes sense.”
I ask why she thinks she ‘s ugly.
"Boys would come up and tell me," she says, matter-of-factly. "I’d be on the bus home, and they would say, "You’re so ugly, do you know that?" And after a while, I would just say, "Yes, thank you." At first I would cry. But I after a while you just think ‘Why does it matter so much?’"
Oyeyemi clearly still carries wounds from her teenage years: “I was suicidal for a long time in my teens and I was so unhappy,” she says. “It was the kind of unhappiness that you know everyone else is feeling, but you don’t care because you’ve dehumanized them, because they’re all monsters and demons and beasts who are out to kill you, so you become a beast and a monster yourself. I regret so much.”
Her fairy tales are not of the happily-ever-after variety: “Sometimes people ask me what I write and I say that I retell fairy tales, and they say, ‘Oh, children’s books!’ And that makes me laugh. People say things like ‘I want a fairy tale existence.’ The Brothers Grimm would be looking at them in this astonished way, like ‘So you would like your whole family to be murdered and then eaten in a pie?’” She laughs delightedly.
"People think they’re soft because they’re these perfect examples of narrative order. There is an ending that is usually happy, and a beginning, middle, and end … In this era where everyone is kind of postmodern and meta, we dissociate in a lot of ways from our circumstance. So I think there’s that sense that they’re so ordered, and therefore orderly, but actually, they’re just completely chaotic."
And fairy tales teach lessons, she says. Lessons like “Everything that you see is not necessarily what it is. You have to find another way to know things. You have to find another way to know things. There is inner vision. And then there’s exterior vision. There are levels of seeing.”
They reveal “some of the hardest and harshest truths about the ways that we live and the ways that we’ve always lived.” She cites a story she found in a book of Czech fairy tales. A princess is being courted by a magician, but she refuses him. In punishment, the magician turns her into a black woman. As Oyeyemi read it, she started crying. “It was awful … The worst thing that the teller of this tale can imagine is being black.” In Boy, Snow, Bird, she writes, “it’s not whiteness that sets Them against Us, but the worship of whiteness.” She tells me, “I feel as if we’re still in that era. There are still lots of ways in which it is horrific not to be the norm.”
The most poignant part of Helen Oyeyemi's interview on NPR where she addresses some very heavy personal issues concerning depression and suicide, race, universal perceptions of blackness and the “worship of whiteness”.
Conversely, the interviewer, Annalisa Quinn, starts off the article by writing, "The first time I met her, it was in a bar so dark that all I could see were her eyes and very white teeth", ignoring the matter that Oyeyemi raised on whiteness and its lack of racial sensitivity.
Walking in a Watercolor World - Landmannalaugar - Iceland
The Landmannalaugar area offers several hiking tracks across incredible landscapes like the one shown in the picture. During a day-long hike I had the impression of walking inside a world painted with watercolors. The surrounding mountains are made of rhyolite minerals that produces incredible and almost surreal colors. The picture above is practically what I got straight from the camera with some light contrast and exposure enhacements!
Source: Flickr / nonac_eos
Light and Shadow Art by Fabrizio Corneli
Italian artist Fabrizio Corneli creates stunning shadow and light art, using geometric structures…
I need these in my apartment
Vasantha Yogananthan - La Traversée
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