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Fish

Portuguese Men o'War invade Mediterranean for first time in a decade

Image
© Alamy
Swarms of poisonous Portuguese Men o'War have been spotted off Spain
Anyone planning to take a Mediterranean holiday in defiance of the plunging pound may be stung by something more painful than the exchange rate: the killer Portuguese Man o' War, one of the world's most poisonous jellyfish. The graceful glutinous creature, whose trailing tentacles carry a potentially lethal poison, was spotted this week off Spain's favourite beaches for the first time in 10 years.

Swept by westerly winds through the Gibraltar Strait from its north Atlantic habitat, Physalia physalis is set to colonise the Med and cause more pain to beleaguered holidaymakers.

Clusters of up to 50 Men o' Wars, which are not strictly jellyfish but floating colonies of microscopic hydrozoans, are drifting off the Murcian resort of San Pedro del Pinatar on Spain's Costa Calida. Scientists say they could soon invade waters around the Balearic Islands and advance towards the Catalan coast.

With a sting 10 times stronger than an ordinary jellyfish, it presents a more dangerous threat than the annual jellyfish invasion of beaches in Spain, France, Italy and North Africa.

Info

Dogs Are Aggressive If They Are Trained Badly

Image
© Kim Nguyen
American pit bull terrier.
Many dogs are put down or abandoned due to their violent nature, but contrary to popular belief, breed has little to do with a dog's aggressive behaviour compared to all the owner-dependant factors. This is shown in a new study from the University of Córdoba, which includes breeds that are considered aggressive by nature, such as the Rottweiler or the Pit Bull.

The conclusions, however, are surprising: it is the owners who are primarily responsible for attacks due to dominance or competition of their pets.

The research team from the University of Córdoba (UCO) has determined a series of external factors which are inherent to the dogs in order to understand their aggressiveness, and they have observed that external, modifiable and owner-dependent factors have a greater influence on the animals.

Bug

When Industrious Ants Go Too Far

Nature is full of mutually beneficial arrangements between organisms - like the relationship between flowering plants and their bee pollinators. But sometimes these blissful relationships have a dark side, as Harvard biologist Megan Frederickson describes in an article in The American Naturalist.

Generally, the relationship between ants and plants is a great example of biological mutualism. Myrmecophyte plants - otherwise known as ant-plants - often provide home for several species of ants. The plant shelters ant colonies in hollow spaces in its limbs or leaves. The ants, in turn, protect the plant against threats from other insects or encroaching vegetation. The ants get a home; the plant gets protection - everybody wins.

But sometimes the delicate balance is tipped toward one partner or the other.

Fish

Fish May Actually Feel Pain And React To It Much Like Humans Do

Image
© iStockphoto/Dieter Spears
Fish don't make noises or contort their faces to show that it hurts when hooks are pulled from their mouths, but a Purdue University researcher believes they feel that pain all the same.
Fish don't make noises or contort their faces to show that it hurts when hooks are pulled from their mouths, but a Purdue University researcher believes they feel that pain all the same.

Joseph Garner, an assistant professor of animal sciences, helped develop a test that found goldfish do feel pain, and their reactions to it are much like that of humans.

"There has been an effort by some to argue that a fish's response to a noxious stimuli is merely a reflexive action, but that it didn't really feel pain," Garner said. "We wanted to see if fish responded to potentially painful stimuli in a reflexive way or a more clever way."

Garner and Janicke Nordgreen, a doctoral student in the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, attached small foil heaters to the goldfish and slowly increased the temperature. The heaters were designed with sensors and safeguards that shut off the heaters to prevent any physical damage to a fish's tissue.

Bizarro Earth

Southeastern Iran - Earthquake Magnitude 5.6

Image
© US Geological Survey
Date-Time Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 10:04:30 UTC

Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 01:34:30 PM at epicenter

Location 27.855°N, 61.502°E

Depth 106.8 km (66.4 miles)

Distances 195 km (120 miles) SSE of Zahedan, Iran

260 km (160 miles) NW of Turbat, Pakistan

315 km (195 miles) NNE of Chabahar, Iran

1290 km (800 miles) SE of TEHRAN, Iran

Sun

Moscow sizzles in record-breaking temperatures

sunny moscow
© Unknown
Moscow enjoyed record temperatures for April 29 with highs of 24.7 degrees C (76.5 F), breaking the previous record set in 1999 by 0.2 degrees C, the capital's Meteonovosti reported on its website on Wednesday.

The record was set at 3:00 pm local time [11:00 GMT] and according to the website, temperatures could rise even higher later in the day

"This is not the final reading of today's maximum temperature. With sun and a light wind, it may be higher by the evening...therefore, the final maximum temperature will be registered in the late evening," the website reads.

Bizarro Earth

Contrary to Recent Hypothesis, 'Chevrons' Are Not Proof of Megatsunamis

A persistent school of thought in recent years has held that so-called "chevrons," large U- or V-shaped formations found in some of the world's coastal areas, are evidence of megatsunamis caused by asteroids or comets slamming into the ocean.

University of Washington geologist and tsunami expert Jody Bourgeois has a simple response: Nonsense.

The term "chevron" was introduced to describe large dunes shaped something like the stripes you might see on a soldier's uniform that are hundreds of meters to a kilometer in size and were originally found in Egypt and the Bahamas.

Comment: The only problem with this debunking theory is that the chevrons in Madagascar are made of material from the ocean floor with sediment hundreds of meters deep and containing microfossils that are fused with metals typically formed by cosmic impacts.
Image
© New York Times
Chevrons in Madagascar

Unless sea level has changed drastically in 5,000 years this "counter theory" (which is not a theory at all since it's not explaining what has caused these chevrons) is far more worthless than the theory it's trying to replace.


Better Earth

NASA: Clean-air regulations, not CO2, are melting the ice cap

Acid-rain countermeasures could drown London

New research from NASA suggests that the Arctic warming trend seen in recent decades has indeed resulted from human activities: but not, as is widely assumed at present, those leading to carbon dioxide emissions. Rather, Arctic warming has been caused in large part by laws introduced to improve air quality and fight acid rain.

Cloud Lightning

US: Drowning deaths raise toll from Kansas storms to 5

The death toll from days of heavy rain in Kansas rose to five Wednesday when authorities found the bodies of two people in a car submerged in a flooded creek.

A 26-year-old Parsons man and a 22-year-old Springfield, Mo., woman were found by Labette County sheriff's deputies in Pumpkin Creek in southeast Kansas, the state Division of Emergency Management said.

The couple had been reported missing Tuesday evening. Authorities believe they were traveling west on a road and were swept into the creek at a low-water crossing.

Better Earth

Inconvenient Eisdicken - "surprising results" from the Arctic

This is a news story from Germany outlining another Arctic ice measurement expedition. This one was conducted by flying the scientists across the north polar ice cap using the WWII era workhorse Douglas DC-3 airplane equipped with skis, and towing an airborne sounder twenty meters above the ice surface. It makes the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey look rather pointless, but then we knew that. BTW "Eisdicken" translates to "ice thickness". - Anthony

From Radio Bremen. Translated from German by Google web page translator: Original | Translated