Look At This Huge Floating Raft Made Out of Ants

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Look At This Huge Floating Raft Made Out of Ants

Thursday 12:05pm


How many thousands of ants do you think are in this floating ant raft? I mean, the size of it is just ridiculous and there’s more ants clumped up in balls on top of the raft too. Ants have been known to link their legs and mouths with each other to create these sort of ant rafts during flooding but this one is more like the size of an ant island. Apparently, they can survive for weeks just holding each other like this.

When the flooding finally stops, they’ll go back to building their homes again. This particular ant raft was spotted out in Texas.

Psst, the ants build these rafts by putting their babies on the bottom. Super dark, I know.

You’ve Never Seen Birds Fly Like This Before

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You’ve Never Seen Birds Fly Like This Before

Yesterday 2:50pm

All images: Xavi Bou

Flight is one of those evolutionary wonders that’s hard to fully appreciate with two squishy eyeballs and a linear sense of time. But we’re no longer limited to what nature gave us, thanks to the wonders of photo editing. As Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou shows, a few simple tricks can reveal the dizzying artistry of a bird rustling its wings.

When Bou began his “Ornithographies” project five years back, he was curious about the flight paths birds would make if our perception of time was different. “When I found the way, I realized that I was doing something similar that what was done 150 years ago,” he told Gizmodo. “It was chronophotography.”

A predecessor to motion pictures, chronophotography was developed in the Victorian era for the scientific study of movement. The idea was to capture many different frames of motion—a horse cantering across a field, for instance—which could be layered into an animation frame or single image. Eventually, chronophotography spawned the first cinematic devices; things like the Kinetoscope that allowed people to watch short, continuous looping animations. (Our love affair with GIFs goes way, way back.)

While chronophotography sounds a bit archaic, stitching many frames together into a single image can still yield astounding results. Each of the images in Bou’s Ornithographies series is a collage; hundreds of frames captured in just a few seconds of flight. Evoking everything from ribboned linguini noodles to twisted roller coasters, the flight pattern of birds underscore just how much the perception of time structures our reality—and what a crazy, kaleidoscopic mess we’d be living in if time ceased to exist.


Maddie is a staff writer at Gizmodo

500-Year-Old Hidden Images Revealed in Mexican ‘Manuscript’

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500-Year-Old Hidden Images Revealed in Mexican ‘Manuscript’

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500-Year-Old Hidden Images Revealed in Mexican 'Manuscript'

Hyperspectral imaging revealed hidden pictographic scenes underneath a layer of plaster and chalk, which are not visible to the naked eye.

Credit: Copyright Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports, 2016 Elsevier

Storytelling images on a deer-hide “manuscript” from Mexico have been seen for the first time in 500 years, thanks to sophisticated scanning technology that penetrated layers of chalk and plaster.

This “codex,” a type of book-like text, originated in the part of Mexico that is now Oaxaca, and is one of only 20 surviving codices that were made in the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans.

The codex’s rigid deerskin pages were painted white and appeared blank, but those seemingly empty pages came to reveal dozens of colorful figures arranged in storytelling scenes, which were described in a recently published study. [10 Biggest Historical Mysteries That Will Probably Never Be Solved]

Known as the Codex Selden, the mysterious book dates to about 1560. Other Mexican codices recovered from this period contained colorfulpictographs — images that represent words or phrases — which have been translated as descriptions of alliances, wars, rituals and genealogies, according to the study authors.

But Codex Selden was blank — or so it seemed. Made from a strip of deerskin measuring about 16 feet (5 meters) long, the hide was folded accordion-style into pages, which were layered with a white paint mixture known as gesso. In the 1950s, experts suspected that there might be more to this codex than its empty pages suggested, when cracks in the gesso revealed tantalizing glimpses of colorful images lurking underneath the chalky outer layer, which was likely added so that the book could be reused.

This image shows pages 10 and 11 of the back of Codex Selden. The top image shows the pages as they appear to the naked eye, while the lower image —created using hyperspectral imaging — reveals the hidden pictographic scenes.

This image shows pages 10 and 11 of the back of Codex Selden. The top image shows the pages as they appear to the naked eye, while the lower image —created using hyperspectral imaging — reveals the hidden pictographic scenes.

Credit: Copyright Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports, 2016 Elsevier

In the years that followed, scientists carefully removed some of the gesso in several areas of the codex, but the images were still mostly obscured. Infrared imaging provided general shapes of the pictographs under the gesso, but not much detail. And X-ray scanning — commonly used with art objects or historical artifacts to explore unseen layers — failed to reveal these hidden pictures because they were created with organic paints and don’t absorb X-rays.

But a newer technique called hyperspectral imaging was able to penetrate the layers of gesso by collecting information from all frequencies and wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum. The researchers were finally able to view the underlying images without damaging the pages, and discovered a collection of images, inked in red, yellow and orange. [Image Gallery: Ancient Texts Go Online]

They analyzed seven pages of the codex, describing parades of figures that represented men and women, with 27 people on one page of the codex alone. The figures were seated and standing. Two figures were identified as siblings, as they were connected by a red umbilical cord. Some of the figures were walking with sticks or spears, and several of the women had red hair or headdresses.

The researchers also recognized a recurring combination of glyphs — a flint or knife and a twisted cord — as a personal name. That name, they said, might belong to a character who appears in other codices — an important ancestral figure in two known lineages. However, further investigation would be required before they could confirm whether this is the same person, the study authors said, and novel imaging technology will likely play an important role in filling in the missing pieces of this centuries-old puzzle.

Hyperspectral imaging showed “great promise” for this reconstruction of the hidden codex, according to David Howell, study co-author and head of heritage science at the Bodleian Libraries, where the codex is housed.

“This is very much a new technique,” Howell said in a statement. “We’ve learned valuable lessons about how to use hyperspectral imaging in the future both for this very fragile manuscript and for countless others like it.”

The findings were published online in the October 2016 issue of Journal of Archaeology: Reports.

Original article on Live Science.

Images: Human Parasites Under the Microscope

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Images: Human Parasites Under the Microscope

Parasitic Worms Burrow into Walls of Woman’s Stomach After Meal

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Parasitic Worms Burrow into Walls of Woman’s Stomach After Meal

This image shows a white, translucent anisakis worm burrowing into the wall of the stomach.

Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine © 2016

A woman in Japan went to the hospital after eating a meal of raw fish that turned out to contain an extra, unwanted ingredient: parasitic wormsthat eventually burrowed into the walls of her stomach.

The 36-year-old woman went to the hospital after two days of chest and stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, according to a recent report of her case.

She told the doctors that the pain had started about 2 hours after she ate uncooked salmon, the doctors wrote in their report, published Wednesday (Aug. 17) in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The doctors ran several tests, including some to make sure there were no problems with the woman’s heart, due to the location of the pain. The tests revealed no heart problems; however, an imaging test showed that the walls of her stomach had thickened. [Here’s a Giant List of the Strangest Medical Cases We’ve Covered]

When the doctors inserted a small camera into her stomach, they found the culprits: 11 anisakis larvae, a type of parasitic roundworm.

Anisakis worms cause an infection called anisakiasis, said Dr. Uichiro Fuchizaki, a gastroenterologist at Keiju Medical Center in Japan who treated the woman and a co-author of the report. People can get infected by eating raw fish or undercooked seafood that contains the worms, according to the report.

The worms can burrow into the walls of the stomach or the small intestine, though it is much more common to find them in the stomach, Fuchizaki said. About 95 percent of anisakiasis cases are in the stomach, he told Live Science.

When the worms burrow into the walls of the stomach, the symptoms usually develop within several hours of eating contaminated fish, Fuchizaki said. If the infection occurred in the small intestine, however, the symptoms wouldn’t start until one to five days later, he said.

Some people may notice the worms even sooner than a few hours after eating raw fish — in some instances, people actually feel a tingling sensation in their mouth or throat while they are eating, which is caused by the worm moving around there, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some people may be able to remove the worm with their hand or by coughing, the CDC says. Vomiting, which is often a symptom of anisakiasis, can also expel the worms, the CDC says.

In most cases, people experience pain and other stomach problems because the worms are damaging the tissue of the digestive tract, Fuchizaki said. But some people may be allergic to the worms, and experience an allergic reaction if they eat them, he said.

Because the worms do not reproduce in humans, they eventually die and cause an inflamed mass, according to the CDC.

In the woman’s case, doctors used a camera and forceps (a tool that looks like tweezers) to remove the 11 worms from the the woman’s stomach. Some of the worms were found in the area where the esophagus meets the stomach, according to the report. This area is located close to the heart, which is why the woman had chest pain.

Most cases of anisakis infection involve only one or two worms, Fuchizaki said.

After removing the worms, the woman’s symptoms went away, according to the report.

Anisakiasis is more commonly found in Japan, where eating raw fish is popular, according to the CDC. But it is expected to become more common in other parts of the world as the popularity of raw fish dishes grows, Fuchizaki said.

Originally published on Live Science.