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Meet World’s Smallest Chamaleon (Brookesia et al.)

In a  recent discovery, researchers from Germany and USA have found world’s smallest and cutest species of  chameleon. These species also rank among world’s smallest reptile. These chameleons belong to group Brookesia minima and are found mostly in northern Madagascar region.  Four newly discovered species have been named Brookesia micra, Brookesia tristis, Brookesia conifdens, Brookesia desperata. The maximum length of newly discovered species ranges between 22-48 mm. Brookesia micra, shown above, is the smallest of the group (maximum size 30 mm). These miniscule leaf chameleons have all the features and properties as you can find in any regular size chameleon- can rotate their eyes  independent of each other, can camouflage when in danger or looking for food, can grab things using their tail and have projectile tongue to capture their prey. As mentioned earlier, the habitat region of these species is very small. All of them are found in a very small region of Madagascar and if this habitat is destroyed, we will lose this species forever. Lead researcher, Glaw, named the species keeping this issue in mind. For eg. the word tristis in Latin means sad, sorrowful which reflects the sad situation of massive deforestation of this region even after the region have been declared a nature preserve. Name desperata also reflects the sad situation of deforestation of the area where Brookesia desperata is found. These names might be world’s most sad names ever given but it also reflects the sad state of affairs of species preservation all around the world. Luckily,  Brookesia confidens is found in the area where limestone formations have made the area very hard to access by the humans and therefore there is a hope that this species might be protected just due to natural protection.

Reference article and Image Source: Rivaling the World’s Smallest Reptiles: Discovery of Miniaturized and Microendemic New Species of Leaf Chameleons (Brookesia) from Northern Madagascar| Glaw et al. |PLoS ONE |February 2012 | Volume 7 | Issue 2 | e31314

1 Comment February 18, 2012

Keck In Motion

I have posted about Very Large Telescope (Chile) in past, this time posting a beautiful video showing Keck observatory in action. Keck observatory is located at the summit of dormant volcano in Hawaii and is used for probing our near and distant universe with great precision (nanometer precision level). The observatory hosts worlds largest optical and infrared telescopes; telescopes are about eight storeys high and weigh more than 300 tons while the diameters of their primary mirror are about 10 m! The telescope uses adaptive optics (AO) which changes it’s shape depending on changes in environmental conditions and thereby eliminates any kind of aberrations or distortions in images resulting from turbulence in earth’s atmosphere. For adaptive optics to work, a bright, nearby reference star is required but since bright stars are limited in the sky, astronomers at Keck have created their own little neighborhood star– by using a laser and exciting sodium atoms in upper atmosphere (90 km above the earth’s surface) resulting in  a bright artificial star which adaptive optics can use as their reference. In this cool video, you can see the Keck observatory in action. In the beginning of video, you see the hexagonal object, that’s the keck 2 telescope. Enjoy the video along with the cool music!

Leave a Comment February 18, 2012

# IAmScience

“Magical things can happen when you enthusiastically open your mouth on the internet.” – Kevin Zelnio

Science writer and marine biologist Kevin Zelnio started the Twitter hashtag #IamScience last month, encouraging scientists to share their individual stories about their traditional or unconventional paths that brought them to where they are today. The response was overwhelming, with hundreds of tweets pouring in over just a few days.Mindy Weisberger compiled some of the tweets and added Reckless Kelly’s “Wicked Twisted Road” to create this video. If readers of this post can share their thoughts about how they got into their profession including science that would be great.

Leave a Comment February 12, 2012

The Proof From The Book

Abstruse Goose comic strip is simply awesome. Here is the Riemann Hypothesis, postulated in 1859,  which is also one of the seven millennium prize problems:

Some numbers have the special property that they cannot be expressed as the product of two smaller numbers, e.g., 2, 3, 5, 7, etc. Such numbers are called prime numbers, and they play an important role, both in pure mathematics and its applications. The distribution of such prime numbers among all natural numbers does not follow any regular pattern, however the German mathematician G.F.B. Riemann (1826 – 1866) observed that the frequency of prime numbers is very closely related to the behavior of an elaborate function

    ζ(s) = 1 + 1/2s + 1/3s + 1/4s + …

called the Riemann Zeta function. The Riemann hypothesis asserts that all interesting solutions of the equation

    ζ(s) = 0

lie on a certain vertical straight line. This has been checked for the first 1,500,000,000 solutions. A proof that it is true for every interesting solution would shed light on many of the mysteries surrounding the distribution of prime numbers. [Clay Mathematics Institute]

Leave a Comment February 12, 2012

Stylish Java Sees Dark Side of Doritos

I am working on a paper but apparently my idea machine is on a sleeping mode, time to get a coffee. Meanwhile you guys can enjoy these beautiful art works by Brock Davis. His creative artwork combined with a hot coffee (sans stylish jacket) might do the trick and help me in finishing the paper. I wish I could get ideas like Brock- by looking at simple things like coffee jacket and broccoli and Doritos and convert it to something beautifully amazing. Last picture is a recreation of album cover of Pink Flyod’s Dark side of moon. He used bags from different flavors of Doritos and cut it to get all the different colors and created “Dark side of Doritos”. Amazing!

Image credit: Brock Davis | Visit Brock’s Tumblr blog

Leave a Comment February 11, 2012

Weekend Video: Eat & Eat

Final video of the day for foodies like me. Enjoy this beautiful video filmed by Rick Mereki over a span of 44 days in 11 countries. Eat and Have a nice weekend!!

Leave a Comment February 11, 2012

Weekend Video: VDay Special- Look Into Her Pupils

Pupils? Did I mean Look into her eyes? Well the title of this post is correct. According to Bruno Laeng, Pupillometry expert from University of Oslo, we need to look closer and deeper into the pupils of individuals in order to gauge their emotional responses. Pupillometry is basically the measurement of diameter of eye’s pupils. It has been shown during past 50 years of pupillomtery that pupils respond not only to changes in light from surroundings but also to other stimuli including thoughts, emotions and mental loading. Typically, in response to strong emotions or heavy mental loading, pupils dilate which indicates increase in attention of the individual. In other words, if pupils of your loved one increase listening to your Vday proposal, its indication that she has got your attention and that’s a good sign!

Video credit: Science Friday podcast

Pupillomtery article:  Pupillometry A Window to the Preconscious? Laeng et al. | doi: 10.1177/1745691611427305 Perspectives on Psychological Science January 2012 vol. 7 no. 1 18-27

Leave a Comment February 11, 2012

Aurora 2012

While my blog was in hibernation, there was massive solar activity going on which resulted in some spectacular Aurora display on earth. Here is one breathtaking video captured by Christian Mulhauser in Norway during the week of Jan 24. Enjoy the video!

Leave a Comment February 11, 2012


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