Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Solar System, Gray Whales, Sparrows, and Wolves

The Solar System

The Earths core is as hot as the Sun which is 6000 degrees Celsius. Because Mercury is so close to the Sun, Mercury doesn't have any oxygen. This is due to the atmospheric pressure from the Sun causing solar winds to come in and blow it all away. Not all planets have water on its surface, but Uranus actually does have water. However, it's water is located under Uranus's clouds. The solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago, and the influence that the solar system has stretches 2 light years away. The sun takes up most of the mass of the solar system, and the sun is only one star amongst 200 billion in the Milky Way galaxy.

The Gray Whale

The Gray Whale gets up to 50 feet in length and can weigh up to 40 tons. Gray Whales used to be almost extinct in the 20th century due to Whaling Industries because of their blubber. These whales actually have a thick 10 inch layer of blubber for insulation. Gray whales are also covered in parasites causing them to look slightly discolored and splotchy in appearance. These whales are bottom feeders so mainly feed on crustaceans and other nutrients. Their baleen bristles are smaller than most whales which makes it easier and more efficient for them to filter out the water that they take in. They also can breath oxygen as well. When Gray Whales have kin they can produce milk to give to them. Baby Gray Whales often consume up to 40 gallons of milk a day, and can reproduce when they're 8 years old. These whales are most typically found in the North Pacific, but have been discovered in the Mediterranean as well. The Gray Whales life span can be up to 70 years.


Sparrows are smaller birds that often get compared to finches. They can also sing and be kept as house sparrows as well. Most typically sparrows can be found on the edges of marshes, fields, and the edges of forests. Sparrows don't like small spaces and prefer to be roaming through open fields, but have adjusted quite a bit to city life. A sparrows life span often only reaches 4 to 5 years and typically only eats insects. Sparrows often also eat insects, but a lot of their diet depends on where they are. Sparrows usually can be found in North America and other warmer climates. Their gestation period is about 13 days and usually have 5-8 eggs.


When new cubs are born the mother cub will have to assist them in urinating by licking their under bellies with her warm tongue. Surprisingly, wolves often become weary and fear anything different from what they are used to. Wolves also typically run on their toes to assist in speed and agility. This also helps them to stop abruptly and make sharp turns. Wolves can run up to 20 mph, and have sense of hearing that can reach up to 6 miles away from where they are. This differs though, because arctic wolves can hear up to 10 miles away from them. An interesting fact about wolves is that they have 200 million scent cells while humans just have 5 million. Wolves are very family orientated. The male and the female will often raise their cubs together and have only one mate for their life span.

Cheetah, Beaver, Sea Pig & Weapons Systems


The Cheetah has been one of the most fascinating species to me since I started watching the Big Cat Diary on BBC from 1996 to around 2006. As they can reach incredible speeds around 70 – 75 mph for distances up to 1,600 feet and accelerate to around 62 mph in three seconds that is not the impressive part.  In the wild, the cheetah is a prolific breeder, with up to nine cubs in a litter. The majority of cubs do not survive to adulthood, mainly as a result of depredation from other predators. The rate of cub mortality varies from area to area, from 50% to 75% and in extreme cases such as the Serengeti ecosystem, up to 90%. Cheetahs are notoriously poor breeders in captivity, though several organizations, such as the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre, have succeeded in breeding high numbers of cubs.


Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges (homes). They are the second-largest rodent in the world. Their colonies create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect against predators, and to float food and building material.
·      Beavers use goggles too! Beavers possess a set of transparent eyelids which enable them to see under water.
·      Beavers are second only to humans in their ability to manipulate their environment - the largest dam in existence is located in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada. It stretches for 850m, and is visible from space.
·      Beavers homes, called lodges, are domelike constructions built from branches and mud. They are positioned in open water for protection from predators and have underwater entrance holes.
·      Beavers don’t mind the cold, they can be seen active throughout winter and maintain use of their ponds even when covered with a layer of ice.
·      Beavers are among the largest rodents on earth. Their large rodent teeth never stop growing. The beavers constant gnawing on wood keeps their teeth from growing too long.
·      There are two species of beaver; the North American beaver and the European beaver. Although very similar in appearance and behaviour, the two species are not genetically compatible.
·      The work of beavers makes them a keystone species in maintaining habitats that are relied on by many others. As well as wetland, beavers create standing dead wood (by drowning some trees) which is inhabited by insects, and in turn attracts bird life. 
·      Beavers are good house guests. Their lodges typically contain two dens, one for drying off after entering the lodge under water, and a second, dryer den where the family will live and socialise.
·      Beavers have been known to share their lodges with families of muskrats!
·      A beaver will fell a particular tree for a particular reason; a larger mature tree will be felled to form the basis of a dam. A young, second growth tree will be felled for food. Beavers will also fell broad-leaved trees to encourage re growth (food) closer their reach.

·      Beavers use their broad, stiff tails like rudders to steer under water, and for balance while sitting on land. They also use their tails to slap the water as a warning of danger, or a warning to keep away.

Enough Said.

Weapons System AR-15 | M6 | M16 | M4

As a Marine Corps Veteran, I was exposed to a series of weapons and had to know and understand the full understanding of the
Gas Operated - Gas is tapped from the barrel as the bullet moves past a gas port located above the rifle's front sight base. The gas rushes into the port and down a gas tube, located above the barrel, which runs from the front sight base into the AR-15's upper receiver. Here, the gas tube protrudes into a "gas key" (bolt carrier key) that accepts the gas and funnels it into the bolt carrier.

The bolt and bolt carrier together form a piston, which is caused to expand as the cavity in the bolt carrier fills with high-pressure gas. The bolt is locked into the barrel extension, so this expansion forces the bolt carrier backward a short distance in line with the stock of the rifle to first unlocks the bolt. As the bolt carrier moves toward the butt of the gun, the bolt cam pin, riding in a slot on the bolt carrier, forces the bolt to turn and unlock from the barrel extension. (The gas system only serves to unlock the bolt once the projectile has exited the barrel). Once the bolt is fully unlocked it begins its rearward movement along with the bolt carrier. The bolt's rearward motion extracts the empty cartridge case from the chamber, and as soon as the neck of the case clears the barrel extension, the bolt's spring-loaded ejector forces it out the ejection port in the side of the upper receiver. The bolt is much heavier than the projectile, and along with the recoil-spring pressure inside the stock buffer-tube performs the cartridge ejection function and chambers the following cartridge.

Behind the bolt carrier is a plastic or metal buffer, which rests in line with a return spring that pushes the bolt carrier back toward the chamber. A groove machined into the upper receiver traps the cam pin and prevents it and the bolt from rotating into a closed position. The bolt's locking lugs then push a fresh round from the magazine, which is guided by feed ramps into the chamber. As the bolt's locking lugs move past the barrel extension, the cam pin is allowed to twist into a pocket milled into the upper receiver. This twisting action follows the groove cut into the carrier and forces the bolt to twist and "lock" into the barrel's unique extension.

Sex Changes, Vampires, Cookies, and McDonalds. Oh My!


- They filter large amounts of water in order to feed and breath essentially exchanging O2 and CO2 with water
- They produce beautiful ass pearl which humans where as jewelry...
- The can change their gender in order to meet whatever mating needs required.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis (Vampire Squid From Hell): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3PvvT_Ktx8

- Able to live and breathe normally in oxygen saturations as low as 3%
- engulfs itself in a scary, sharp membrane to appear dangerous when threatened. 
- Uses it's light up organs to produce a luminescent light, making predators be like WTF?!

Isistius brasiliensi (Cookiecutter Shark): 

- Has a deceptive, natural camouflage when viewed from below because it's belly is the only thing noticeable and it looks like a small fish but it's actually twice the size.
- Gets the name "cookiecutter" because it leaves circular gouges in it's victims. 
- Has a bioluminescent green belly.  


Mcdonadization is a system where small businesses that a typically doing well, are ran out of business (killed) by larger Companies, not because of the product is any more superior but because of their deeper pockets. Much life the food chain where the bigger fish eats the smaller fish simply because they're bigger. :)

3 Species & A System


The Star-Nosed Mole is an animal found in Canada and northeastern parts of the United States. It lives in low wetland areas and enjoys eating things such as worms, mollusks, and small aquatic insects. Like other moles, this mole likes to dig tunnels. However, the star-nosed mole usually digs tunnels that exit in a body of water. These moles can be found all year round-even in the winter-because they have water-repellent fur. The tentacles located at the end of its nose are used to differentiate its food before eating with its average of 44 teeth. 
Size: About 15-20 Centimeters Long (Adults)
Weight: About 55 Grams (Adults)


The Aye-Aye is a native rodent-like animal to Madagascar. The extra long middle finger serves as a tool similar to the woodpecker's: it taps on wood to find grubs, chews a hole in the wood, and then uses its middle finger to dig the grub out. The Aye-Aye is the world's largest nocturnal primate. This animal is currently an endangered species. 


Located off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania, the Blobfish swims in the deep waters and is rarely seen by humans because it is difficult to find and examine their habitats. The depth at which the Blobfish resides is several times the amount of pressure than the amount at sea level. Its density is less than water, and it is a 'gelatinous mass.' Because its density is less than water, it can float above the floors of the ocean without using energy to swim. Lacking in muscle power, the Blobfish can effortlessly swallow edible floating matter in its path. 


A natural system found in nature is the cycle of decomposition. After a leaf or organic material dies and lays to 'rot' on the ground, soil fauna, microbes, and humus work to deteriorate the matter. They then turn this dead, organic material into new nutrient soil for other plant life to use. They also filter out any chemicals and release CO2. The plants then take the atmospheric CO2 in, and once the plants die, the cycle starts all over again. Small systems and cycles like this may not be easy to see with the naked human eye, but they are vital to the functioning of Earth. 






Water transportation and Storage; The Horny Devil Lizard, Cactus, Celery, and Indoor Plumbing.

The Horny Devil Lizard's horns and warty bits serve two key features, the first is to make it look and feel very painful to eat. The second and more interesting in my opinion is to create numerous small groves and channels between the scales and spikes. These channels as used to transport water, via capillary action, from any part of the lizards body to the corner of it's mouth for consumption and hydration.  Also it can shoot blood from it's eyes to deter predators further. 

Capillary Action is the of liquid to flow through narrow spaces without the assistance, and in most cases, in opposition to exterior forces such as gravity. It occurs because of intermolecular forces between the liquid and solid surface it is traveling though.

Plants have mastered to use of capillary action to transport water and nutrients throughout their structure. Celery is an excellent example of this since the veins that carry the water from the base of the stalk to the plants are so large. To see capillary action, in action, simply place a piece of celery into a container with colored water. After a short time you will have a piece of celery that looks very similar to this: 

So yes I've mention the transportation of water, but what about storage? Well the one species on earth that have mastered this are the numerous and widely varied family of Cactaceae, cactus. Cactus have evolved their shape and structure in so many ways to best absorb and retain water. Water may form up to 90% of the total mass of a cactus. Stem shapes vary considerably among cacti. The cylindrical shape of columnar cacti and the spherical shape of globular cacti produce a low surface area-to-volume ratio, reducing water loss, as well as minimizing the heating effects of sunlight. Ribbed or fluted stems of many cacti allow it shrink during periods of drought and then swell as it fills with water during rain. A fully grown saguaro cactus is able to absorb as much as 200 gallons of water during a heavy period of rain. Cactus have even gone so far as to cover themselves in a waxy outer layer, known as the cuticle, which further reduces water loss.

So how have humans used what nature has to teach us in our own homes? Well we developed modern indoor plumbing. The word plumbing comes for the Latin word for lead, "plumbum" because back during the height of the Roman empire, the first examples of indoor plumbing can be seen, simple gravity feed lead pipes would carry water from the Aqueducts to the public baths in Bath England. What can be seen today in home all over the world are systems that resemble a circulatory system more than the capillary action of plants. A central pump and heating system pushes water to all the outlying facets and toilets in the home.

Fly Away

So weirdly enough I chose three species that fly, and one system that literally does not (waka waka).


Bats are the only mammals that are truly capable of flight and primarily eat smaller mammals and insects (frogs, lizards, mosquitoes) and are primarily harmless to man. More amazingly bats can fly up to 30mph in pure darkness using there echoes as a radar.

Honey Bees

Different (and much smaller) than Bats, the Bee has a very distinctive structor and role to how the colony behaves. Most (if not all) the Bee’s that you and I see tend to be “Worker Bees” and are Female, they are tasked with protecting the hive and forging for food while the queen lays her eggs. Also in the winter months, the colony survives on pollen and honey that they stored up for the winter.


Ah the dragonfly (not the Opera dev tools), the Japanese Samurai used the dragonfly as a symbol of victory (among other things). The dragonfly is also very territorial and aggressive with other dragonflies, as well as being amazingly adaptable with to fly from over 40mph to hovering like a helicopter.

Public Transportation System

Coming out of Nantes, France in 1826, the public transportation system is something that has never really worked well in the U.S., versus Europe with the best public transportation. Most of us think of busing as the main face of public transportation, and while that is true, other forms also include air, train, and ship.

Luminescent Bacteria, Black footed ferret, Hagfish, Baggage handling system

Luminescent Bacteria  


-Luminescent bacteria are divided into two genera: Photobacterium and Vibrio

-Chemical energy is turned into light energy in a chemical reaction, making luminescent bacteria glow (the pigment luciferin is oxidised by the enzyme luciferase)

-Luminescent bacteria are symbiotic, existing within larger organisms such as the Angler fish, the Lantern fish, and certain jellyfish

-Luminescent bacteria can be found outside of the sea. A Canadian man once found some when he decided to have some imitation crab meat as a midnight snack. The bacteria has also been found to grow in seawater flush lavatories on cruise ships    


Black footed ferret

-Black footed ferrets are an endangered species native to central North America (they have been reintroduced in Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, etc)
-They are about the size of a mink 
-They are most active above ground from dusk to midnight and 4 a.m. to mid-morning
-They were discovered in 1851 and their population declined steadily through the 20th century due to a decrease in the prairie dog population (up to 91% of their diet consists of prairie dogs) and the sylvatic plague
-They were declared extinct in 1979, but a woman's dog found a dead one in 1981, which then changed their status to endangered
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/06/ab/62/06ab62c703da927137aa7cc7c3222956.jpg          http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/files/2011/09/ML_16011-950x633.jpg



-Hagfish are jaw-less, boneless, creatures that live in the depths of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans
-They do not have eyes, so they use the six short tentacles around their mouths to pick up scents and grab prey (worms, fish, crustaceans)
-The Hagfish has large glands on the sides of its body that secrete huge amounts of slime, discouraging predators from biting into it, and also helping them slip into the bodies of larger creatures, allowing them to feed on their insides
-Fossil records show that they are over 300 million years old and have changed very little over time




Baggage handling system

the goal of the system is to have the bags keep up with the passengers

There are three main parts to the baggage handling system:
     1.  Move the bags from the check-in area to the departure gate
     2.  Move the bags from one gate to another during transfers
     3.  Move the bags from the arrival gate to the baggage-claim area

-The system is similar to roads in a city. The bags are placed onto conveyer belts (local roads) and DVC or destination-coded vehicle tracks (highways)
-Hundreds of computers keep track of the location of every bag, every traveler's itinerary and the schedules of all the planes
-The computers control the conveyor junctions and switches in the DCV tracks to make sure that each bag ends up exactly where it needs to go

-When you check in, your bag is given a tag that contains all of your information, and from there, it goes to the conveyor belts, DCVs, is loaded onto the plane, makes a transfer if necessary, and goes to the baggage claim at the airport of the passengers final destination

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blue Morpho Butterfly, Coconut Crab, Hummingbird, and Metamorphosis (developmental system)

Blue Morpho Butterfly

The Blue Morpho butterfly is among the largest butterflies in the world. The top of their wings are blue and they reflect light, and the underside is dull brown which camouflages them to protects them from predators. When they fly the bright blue and dull brown contrast each other making it look like the morpho is appearing and disappearing. They live in tropical forests of Latin America from Mexico to Columbia. Blue Morpho Butterflies only live for 115 days so most of their lives are spent eating and reproducing. Their diet changes through the stages of its life. As a caterpillar it eats leaves from various plants, but once it become butterflies it can no longer chew so it drinks food instead: rotten fruit, wet mud, decomposing animals, tree sap and fungi.

Coconut Crab

The Coconut Crab is the largest arthropod on land. It is also know as the robber crab or palm thief. They can weigh up to 9 pounds and can grow to be 3 feet in length. They can't swim and will drown if held under water for a long period of time and are commonly found in islands along the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. They got the name coconut crab because they are known to climb coconut trees, pick the coconut and use their claws to open and eat the flesh. They also feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, and organic matter like kittens, chickens and other Coconut Crabs. Fun fact: Coconut
Crabs may have ate the remains of Amelia Earhart.


Hummingbirds are among the smallest species of birds. They are between 3 and 5 inches long and weigh less than a penny. They're know as Hummingbirds because of the sound they make when they flap their wings which is 50-200 times per second. They can fly 15 mph up, down, backwards, forward or sideways. In addition, they have a heart rate of 1,260 beats per minute, and 250 breaths per minute. Hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism of any homeothermic animal. They also have the ability to go into a hibernation like state by slowing their metabolism 1/15th its average rate. They do this in order to save energy when food is scarce.

Metamorphosis System

Many species go through metamorphosis, which is the transformation from larval stage to pupa or chrysalis stage to adult stage. It is basically an incredible growth spurt that requires abrupt changes through cell growth and differentiation. There are two kinds of metamorphosis: incomplete and complete. Incomplete metamorphosis is when development requires repeated stages of growth such as moulting (ie. hemimetabolous insects like grasshoppers and crabs) and the young resemble the adults, they mainly differentiate in size. Complete metamorphosis, which is what homometabolous insects go through, is development that requires a resting stage (pupa/chrysalis) and they emerge in a different form as an adult. The theory is that the pupal stage is the evolutionary compaction of all the nymphal stages of their hemimetabolous ancestors.