Archive for July, 2013

En Garde! Gang of Feral Cats Attack Woman, Dog in France

Posted in News with tags , on July 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

Donate Button 1

Donate Button 2

Post 2292

En Garde! Gang of Feral Cats Attack Woman, Dog in France

By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor   |   July 26, 2013 11:21am ET
A gang of feral cats attacked a woman and her dog in France.
Credit: Chayasit Fangem | 

One more reason to love dogs: A gang of feral cats in France attacked a woman and her poodle, forcing both victims to seek medical attention for their injuries.

The cat-attack occurred Sunday (July 21) near the city of Belfort in eastern France. The 31-year-old woman was walking her dog near a wooded area when six felines set upon her, knocking her to the ground,The Independent reports.

The victim was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital where she was also given an injection for rabies. Her poodle was treated at a nearby veterinary clinic. [10 Amazing Facts About Cats]

Josette Galliot, the mother of the victim, said, “The cats jumped on my daughter and managed to knock her over. They bit her on the leg and on her arms. They even pierced an artery.”

“My daughter thought it was a living nightmare. She’s still traumatized and is bordering on depression,” Galliot said.

Veterinarians and local residents are divided over what may have provoked the feline fury. According to some observers, a recent heat wave in the area may have played a part in the unusual mauling.

Veterinary specialist Valerie Dramard believes the cats were protecting their territory from the poodle, and the woman simply got in the way.

“Cats are not new zombies of the apocalypse,” Dramard said reassuringly. “They are just very territorial and unfriendly with unknown species.”

But cats are known as aggressive hunters, too: Recent research has revealed that cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds, and between 6.9 billion and 20.7 billion small mammals, each year in the United States.

Some wildlife conservationists have even proposed a ban on cats, or at least prohibitions against free-roaming cats. “We have long accepted the fact that you can’t let your dog run free, and yet cat owners seem to take offense at the idea that they would be asked to keep their cats indoors,” Stanley Temple, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus in conservation, told LiveScience.

About 8,000 feral cats are born every day in France, according to The Independent.

“We must get rid of this scourge,” Galliot said. “There are too many cats in the neighborhood, many of which are strays. There are also lots of children here. We don’t want it to happen again.”

For cat lovers, rest assured: Researchers at the University of Oxford have noted that, while numbers are trickier to come by, domestic dogs are also killers of wildlife and disease-spreaders when they’re allowed to roam free outdoors. The scientists’ review of past studies on the effect of roaming domestic dogs was detailed this year in the journal Biological Conservation.

Follow Marc Lallanilla on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on

The Earth breathes, and it is beautiful

Posted in THE UNIVERSE & SPACE SCIENCE with tags , on July 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

Donate Button 1

Donate Button 2

Post 2291


The Earth breathes, and it is beautiful


The Earth breathes, and it is beautiful

Using NASA’s latest high-resolution satellite imagery of Earth, datavisualization expert John Nelson has created a pair of captivating animations that track seasonal transformations on the blue marble we call home.

“I downloaded the 12 cloud-free satellite imagery mosaics of Earth at each month of the year,” he explains, “wrapped them into some fun projections, then stitched them together into a couple animated gifs.” The end result is a pulsing visualization he calls “A Breathing Earth”:


The Earth breathes, and it is beautiful


Nelson explains the impetus for the animations on his blog:

Having spent much of my life living near the center of that mitten-shaped peninsulain North America, I have had a consistent seasonal metronome through which I track the years of my life. When I stitch together what can be an impersonal snapshot of an entire planet, all of the sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat. I can track one location throughout a year to compare the annual push and pull of snow and plant life there, while in my periphery I see the oscillating wave of life advancing and retreating, advancing and retreating. And I’m reassured by it.


The Earth breathes, and it is beautiful


Absolutely stunning.

See our previous coverage of Nelson’s work herehere and here. Read more about his inspiration for this and other projects on his blog

If this mushroom were a Smurf home it would be an apartment complex

Posted in News with tags on July 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

Donate Button 1

Donate Button 2

Post 2290

If this mushroom were a Smurf home it would be an apartment complex


If this mushroom were a Smurf home it would be an apartment complex


A giant mushroom measuring 36 inches across and weighing 33 pounds has been discovered by locals in China’s Yunnan province. But as grotesquely huge as this fungus appears to be, it’s far from being a world record.

It’s still not known what species this mushroom belongs to, or if it’s even edible. It’s also unclear as to whether it can even be considered a single mushroom. Looking at the AP video, it appears to have a single base from which over 100 caps have sprouted out.

But whatever the hell it is, the remarkable specimen was unearthed by locals in the Yunan forest near the township of Puxiong. Nearly 600 species of edible mushrooms are grown in this region each year.

Now, this mushroom may in fact be a world record — but only for its species. It might even go down as the world’s largest edible mushroom, but that remains to be seen. Overall, however, larger fungi have been found.

An inedible 57-pound mushroom was discovered last July in British Columbia.


If this mushroom were a Smurf home it would be an apartment complex

EXPANDImage: Sebastien Therrien.

And according to LiveScience, a giant honey mushroom (Armillaria ostoyae) was discovered in 1998 growing underground in Oregon. It’s estimated to be about 2,384 acres (965 hectares) in size — and at least 2,400 years old.

[Science World Report/AP; top image via AP/You Tube]

Brain-Eating Amoeba Infects 12-Year-Old Girl


Donate Button 1

Donate Button 2

Post 2289

Brain-Eating Amoeba Infects 12-Year-Old Girl By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor

Brain-Eating Amoeba Infects 12-Year-Old Girl

A 12-year-old girl in Arkansas has been hospitalized with a case of parasitic meningitis caused by a rare brain-eating amoeba.

The Arkansas Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that Kali Hardig contracted the disease after swimming in the Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Ark.

Arkansas 12-year-old in critical condition from "brain-eating" amoeba

Girl, 12, Contracts Brain-Eating Amoeba During Swim

Hardig’s mother, Traci, took her daughter to a local hospital one day after visiting the water park. “I couldn’t get her fever down,” Hardig told the Christian Post. “She started vomiting. She’d say her head hurt really bad. She cried, and she would just look at me and her eyes would just kind of roll.”

The brain-eating amoebaNaegleria fowlericauses a type of meningitis known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, according to the CDC. The single-celled microbe — found in warm, freshwater lakes and rivers — enters the body through the nose and travels along the olfactory nerves to the brain, where it destroys brain tissue. [The 9 Oddest Medical Case Reports]

In the United States, most infections occur in the South during the summer months. PAM infections are rare: Between 2001 and 2010, just 32 infections were reported in the United States, according to the CDC. The microbe is not found in oceans or other saltwater bodies.

Early symptoms of an infection with Naegleria fowleri usually show up within seven days of exposure and include neck stiffness, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later, confusion, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations can occur.

The disease is usually fatal, even when treatment begins earlyDoctors put Hardig in a medically induced coma in order to stabilize her.

Though the majority of cases are caused by swimming in warm bodies of water, at least two cases have been linked to tap water: In 2011, two people living in different areas of Louisiana contracted PAM after using tap water in neti pots to irrigate their nasal passages and sinuses.

Brain-eating amoeba shuts down Ark. water park

Officials in Arkansas have closed the Willow Springs Water Park during their investigation into the case. A 2010Naegleria fowleri infection was also linked to the water park.

To minimize the risk of an infection with Naegleria fowleri, the CDC recommends that swimmers avoid bodies of freshwater when the water is warm, hold the nose shut or use nose clips, and avoid stirring up bottom sediments.

Additionally, people who use neti pots should only use water that is distilled, sterilized, filtered or boiled (and then left to cool), and should clean and dry their pots after each use.

A person cannot become infected from drinking tap water (Naegleria fowleri infections can only be contracted through the nose), and the infection cannot be passed from one person to another.

Follow Marc Lallanilla on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescienceFacebook & Google+. Original article on

Medieval Coffin at King Richard III Site Holds … Another Coffin


Donate Button 1

Donate Button 2

Post 2288

Medieval Coffin at King Richard III Site Holds … Another Coffin

By Megan Gannon, News Editor   |   July 29, 2013 10:26am ET
A lead coffin found inside a stone coffin in the ruins of Grey Friars in Leicester is believed to contain a high-status medieval burial.
Credit: University of Leicester View full size image  

King Richard III’s rediscovered resting place is turning out more mysteries this summer. Excavators finally lifted the heavy lid of a medieval stone coffin found at the site in Leicester, England, only to reveal another lead coffin inside.

The “coffin-within-a-coffin” is thought to have been sealed in the 13th or 14th century — more than 100 years before Richard, an infamous English king slain in battle, received his hasty burial in 1485.

The team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester thinks this grave in the Grey Friars monastery might contain one of the friary’s founders or a medieval knight. [Gallery: In Search of the Grave of Richard III]

“The inner coffin is likely to contain a high-status burial — though we don’t currently know who it contains,” reads a statement from the university.

The outer stone coffin measures about 7 feet (2.1 meters) long and 2 feet (0.6 meters) wide at the head and 1 foot (0.3 meters) at the feet. Eight people were needed to remove its lid.

A team lifts the heavy lid of the stone coffin in Leicester.
Credit: University of Leicester

The lead funerary box inside has been carried off to the university, where researchers will conduct tests to determine the safest way to open it without damaging the remains. But so far, they’ve been able to get a look at the feet through a hole in the bottom of the inner coffin.

The archaeologists suspect the grave may belong to one of Grey Friar’s founders: Peter Swynsfeld, who died in 1272, or William of Nottingham, who died in 1330. Records also suggest “a knight called Mutton, sometime mayor of Leicester,” was buried at the site. This name may refer to the 14th-century knight Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, who died between 1356 and 1362, the researchers say.

“None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before,” archaeologist Mathew Morris, the Grey Friars site director, said in a statement. “We will now need to work out how to open it safely, as we don’t want to damage the contents when we are opening the lid.”

Richard III, the last king of the House of York, reigned from 1483 until 1485, when he was killed in battle during the War of Roses. He received a quick burial at the Grey Friars monastery in Leicester as his defeater, Henry Tudor, ascended to the throne.

Richard’s rise to power was controversial. His two young nephews, who had a claim to the throne, vanished from the Tower of London shortly before Richard became king, leading to rumors that he had them killed. After his death, Richard was demonized by the Tudor dynasty and his reputation as a power-hungry, muderous hunchback was cemented in William Shakespeare’s play “Richard III.” Meanwhile, Grey Friars was destroyed in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation, and its ruins became somewhat lost to history.

Setting out to find the lost king, archaeologists started digging beneath a parking lot in Leicester last summer where they believed they would find Grey Friars. They soon uncovered the remains of the monasteryand a battle-ravaged skeleton that was later confirmed through a DNA analysis to be that of Richard III.

In an effort to learn more about the church where Richard was buried — as well as the other people buried alongside him — a fresh dig at the site began in early July.

A King Richard III visitor center is being built at the site and arrangements are being made to reinter the king’s bones. The Cathedral of Leicester recently unveiled its $1.5 million (£1 million) plan to rebury the monarch in a new raised tomb inside the church, with a week of celebrations leading up to the reinterment.

Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on

Margin Notes Shed New Light on Renaissance Anatomy Masterpiece


Donate Button 1

Donate Button 2

Post 2287

Margin Notes Shed New Light on Renaissance Anatomy Masterpiece

Megan Gannon, News Editor   |   March 27, 2013 04:21pm ET
Enlargement showing Vesalius’s note to the block cutter regarding improvements to the illustration.
Credit: University of Toronto

When the Renaissance physician and expert dissector Andreas Vesalius first published “De humani corporis fabrica” in 1543, he provided the most detailed look inside the human body of his time.

A previously unknown copy of the impressive anatomy textbook resurfaced a few years ago, and it apparently contains more than a thousand handwritten notes and corrections by the author himself. The annotations reveal that Vesalius was meticulously planning a third edition of the book that never made it to print, researchers say.

“This book is his workbench as much as the dissecting table,” Vivian Nutton, a University College London professor emeritus, writes in a recently published analysis of the text in the journal Medical History.

Some edits show that Vesalius wanted to correct mistakes of grammar and syntax and to make his Latin more elegant. Other markings show that he wanted to draw attention to misshapen or illegible letters for his block-cutter. Vesalius also intended to add new information to the text as he learned more about the human body, including what may be one of the oldest references to the practice of female genital mutilation.

In his discussion of circumcision, Vesalius scrawled at the bottom of the page that Ethiopians “cut off the fleshy processes from new born girls in accordance with their religion in the same way as they remove the foreskins of boys, ‘although in their religious ceremonies they are otherwise generally similar to those of us Christians,’” Nutton writes. “This is arguably the first reference in a medical text to female genital mutilation for non-medical purposes.” [5 Things You Didn’t Know About Circumcision]

The copy of the book, on loan from an unnamed German collector, is currently available for study at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

“He is seen constantly attempting to improve his text both scientifically, and stylistically, and to make it clearer and more accessible to his readers,” Philip Oldfield, science and medicine librarian at the University of Toronto, said in a statement. “All the evidence points to the conclusion that Vesalius was preparing a new edition of De fabricathat unfortunately never materialized.”

The book will be featured as part of an exhibition next year in Toronto to mark the 500th anniversary of Vesalius’ birth.

Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on


Image Gallery: The Oddities of Human Anatomy

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

Donate Button 1

Donate Button 2

Post 2285

Image Gallery: The Oddities of Human Anatomy

by LiveScience Staff   |   March 05, 2013 09:03am ET

Credit: Leipzig, 1872. Chromolithograph. National Library of Medicine.
A new science of human anatomy arose some 500 years ago, with imagery that was both informative and whimsical, surreal, beautiful and grotesque, according to the National Library of Medicine, whose exhibition “Dream Anatomy” reveals the amazing anatomical imagery.Here, a cross-section from the atlas of anatomist Wilhelm Braune and artist C. Schmiedel.

The female body

Credit: Paris, 1773. Colored mezzotint. National Library of Medicine.
This colored mezzotint by author and artist Jacques Fabien Gautier D’Agoty reveals “the grotesquerie of subject matter, stiffness of the figure, and eccentric arrangement of body parts make for a characteristic dreaminess that eerily anticipates 20th-century modernism,” the National Library of Medicine states.

Life and Death

Credit: Rome, 1691. Copperplate engraving. National Library of Medicine
The association between death and anatomy continued in art anatomy, even as it waned in medical texts, as shown here. Bernardino Genga, a Roman anatomist, specialized in studies of classical sculptures, while Charles Errard, court painter to Louis XIV, helped found the Académie Royale de Peinture and was first Director of the Académie de France in Rome.

Anatomical Manakin

Credit: Image Courtesy of the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
These manikins, between 6 to 7 inches in length, were made from solid pieces of ivory some time between 1500 and 1700. The arms were carved separately and are moveable. The thoracic and abdominal walls can be removed, revealing the viscera. In some manikins the internal organs are carved in the original block and are not removable, while they are formed into separate pieces that can be removed.

Facial Arteries

Credit: Gottingen, 1756. Copperplate engraving. National Library of Medicine.
Contemporaries praised the Swiss anatomist Albrecht von Haller for his finely detailed illustrations of finely dissected subjects. This dissection of the arteries of the face was copied and reprinted in numerous other works of anatomy. (Artist: C.J. Rollinus)

Dancing Skeleton

Credit: Rome, 1741. Copperplate engraving. National Library of Medicine.
“A skeleton dances a lively step; in the background an arrangement of bones float in the air,” according to the National Library of Medicine. Pietro Berrettini da Cortona’s “exuberant flourishes take their cue from the theatricalism of baroque drama and court entertainments.”

Disembodied Legs

Credit: John Browne (1642-ca. 1702). National Library of Medicine
The muscles of the thigh are illustrated in this drawing reminiscent of men’s breeches.

A New World

Credit: Giulio Casserio. Frankfurt, 1656. Copperplate engraving. National Library of Medicine
A frontispiece portrays five anatomists posed around a cadaver. The globe at the top of the illustration, turned toward America, reveals how the anatomists saw themselves: as exploring a “New World” of science.

Harsh Realities

Credit: John Bell. London, 1804. Etching. National Library of Medicine.
Artist John Bell decried overly idealized anatomical art, preferring the harsh realities of dissection.

Pregnancy Pose

Credit: Jacques Fabien Gautier D’Agoty. Paris, 1773. Colored mezzotint. National Library of Medicine
A classic pose of French portraiture meets anatomical art in this painting of a pregnant woman from 1773.

Colorful Muscles

Credit: Paolo Mascagni & Antonio Serantoni. Florence, 1833. Overprinted and hand colored copperplate engraving. National Library of Medicine
Colorful images came into fashion in the 1800s, but the flap-like dissection of the muscles heralds back to older styles of anatomical art.