Leafhoppers, treehoppers and planthoppers have the most aerodynamic-shaped body in the insect world. All of them are strong jumpers that can move with equal ease forwards, backwards, or sideways like a crab. The crab-like motion distinguishes hoppers from most other insects.
They also come in many shapes and colors with over 12,500 varities worldwide.
The beautiful insect shown below is a planthopper nymph. During the span of time after it hatches and before it becomes fully mature, the planthopper nymph secretes a waxy substance from its abdomen that gives its tail the look of a colorful fiber optic display. It serves as a defense from predators who are somewhat hypnotized by the effect.
As the planthopper gets ready to do its favorite thing — hop around — it moves the waxy threads into a sleek line.
It moves ever so slowly before making a great leap, and it can fan the threads back out for an extra boost while it’s in the air.
The final effect is like a dazzling fiber options display.
California has a new weapon in it’s arsenal for fighting forest fires: The Global Super Tanker. It’s been described as “the largest, fastest, most technologically advanced aerial firefighter in the world”.
The Super Tanker isn’t new. The fire retardant system on the 747 was first used in 2009 to fight fires in Alaska, and it was fully certified by the Interagency Airtanker Board for a Call When Needed contract from the U.S. Forest Service in 2013.
The Global Super Tanker now in use in California was originally a Japanese Boeing 747 passenger jet, but it was converted to fight forest fires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection put the plane under contract, on August 31, 2017. With 19 fires burning in California, the supertanker was called from Colorado Springs to help. In its first week, the plane made 13 flights and spread 219,000 gallons of fire retardant in 21 separate drops.
The supertanker isn’t right for every situation, but the plane is unmatched in its ability to get to fires quickly and drop a larger volume of retardant. It comes down like a hurricane rain in real big droplets to prevent damage on the ground. The Global SuperTanker has a system of 18 tanks, 10 for fluids and the rest for pressurized air to help disperse the liquids. It can carry 19,600 gallons of water, retardant or oil dispersant.
It was used for the first time in California for the Ponderosa fire.
Based near Sacramento, is even bigger than the DC-10, it costs $16,500 per flight hour any time it’s called into service. It is without a doubt the most expensive fire-fighting tool in the fleet.
The amazing photograph above shows splashes formed from single drops landing in puddles. Captured over several months, they were photographed in darkness using a high-speed flash to preserve their colors and shapes and then brought together in one image.
This winning photograph shows drops of glycerin and water impacting a thin film of ethanol. The difference in surface tension creates holes in the drop’s surface making it look like lace.
Another image created by Phred Petersen. This is a time lapse image showing the progress of an agaric toadstool mushroom as it grows.
Phred Petersen is a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator Scientific Photography, School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, a global university of technology and design.
This last photo is a confocal image of a marine organism (obelia hydroid) taken with the 10x objective. It was a winner from the 2016 International Images for Science competition.
Just one more – an honorable mention from 2017 Nikon Small World Competition.
Quaker Oats Company has had six models of Aunt Jemima for their pancake mix. In the 1940’s it was Edith Wilson.
Born Edith Goodall to a middle class family in Louisville, Kentucky, Edith first performed as part of a blues trio with Lena and Danny Wilson. She recorded 17 songs in 1921 and 1922 with Columbia with Johnny Dunn’s Jazz Hounds. Edith remained a nightclub and theatre singer working for years in New York City.
Edith became a major star in the New York black entertainment world. She was part of the famous “Lew Leslie’s Plantation Review” at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem. Edith also traveled to England where she established herself as an international star. Though she lacked the emotional depth that artists such as Bessie Smith and Ida Cox brought to the classic blues form, Wilson helped introduce the blues to white audiences, both in the U.S. and in Europe
Edith sang with The Hot Chocolates revue performing alongside Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. Edith Wilson would appear with all the greatest names in black show business of the day, including Bill Robinson, Duke Ellington, Alberta Hunter, Cab Calloway, Noble Sissle, and many others.
Edith did extensive work as an actress appearing on radio in Amos and Andy playing the part of Kingfish’s mother-in-law and in the Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Becall class film “To Have and Have Not”.
After WWII she became the face of Aunt Jemima for the Quaker Oats Company. Some criticized Edith Wilson for playing a black stereotype, but she refused to be intimidated and was proud of what she considered the aura of dignity she brought to the character.
Edith Wilson retired from show business in 1963 to work as an executive secretary with Negro Actors Guild and to involve herself with other charitable, religious, and literary activities. She returned from retirement in 1973, her last appearance was at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1980.
I just finished reading The Last Day of Night by Graham Moore and thought it would be fun to look at photographs of Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, who, more than a century ago, engaged in a nasty battle over alternating and direct current, known as the “War of Currents.”
Edison developed the first practical incandescent light bulb in 1879. Supported by his own direct current electrical system, the rush to build hydroelectric plants to generate DC power in cities across the United States practically guaranteed Edison a fortune in patent royalties.
But there were limitations with DC power so Edison brought Nikola Tesla on to design a more practical form of power transmission. Tesla was a 28 years old mathematician and engineer from Serbia. Tesla told Edison the future was in AC (alternating current). When Edison dismissed his idea Tesla left Edison in 1885 and set out to raise money for his own company.
Enter industrialist George Westinghouse at Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company Westinghouse who made his fortune on an air braking system, which revolutionized rail safety. Westinghouse was a believer in AC power. He bought some of Tesla’s patents and set about commercializing the system to make electric lighting more than an urban luxury service. While Tesla’s ideas and ambitions might be brushed aside, Westinghouse had both ambition and capital, and Edison immediately recognized the threat to his business.
Edison and Westinghouse knew there was room for but one American electricity system, and Edison set out to ruin Westinghouse and Tesla in a great political, legal and marketing game. Their battle played out on the front pages of newspapers and in the Supreme Court. Edison’s attempt to smear Westinghouse with the dangers of AC has precisely the opposite effect.
Despite all of Edison’s efforts, and despite his attempts to persuade General Electric otherwise, the superiority of the AC current was too much for Edison and his DC system to overcome. For his part, Edison later admitted that he regretted not taking Tesla’s advice.
In 1893, Westinghouse was awarded the contract to light the Chicago’s World Fair bringing all the positive publicity he would need to make alternating current the industry standard.
Seeking to make long distance electric power transmission a reality, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla combined their skills and their belief in the new AC technology to build the first hydro-electric power plant in 1895 in Niagara Falls. This achievement was regarded as the unofficial end to the War of the Currents, and AC became dominant in the electric power industry.
In 1899 Tesla opened the Experimental Station in Colorado Springs to study the use of high-voltage, high frequency electricity in wireless power transmission. One of Tesla’s goals was to produce artificial lightning.
The hydroid Ectopleura larynx is a fouling organism usually found attached to sunken ropes, floating buoys, piers, mussel shells, rocks, seaweed and the undersides of boats in the seas surrounding Great Britain and the Americas. This organism grows in colonies that can tolerate exposed habitats and strong water currents. Sometimes called Common Flowerheads in the fish farming industry this hydroid can cause problems by reducing water flow and quality.
Ectopleura larynx has two distinct rings of tentacles, one around its mouth and the other at the base of the head. In between these two rings, are the gonophores, or the sexual buds.
The hydroid Tubularia indivisa is also called oaten pipes. This large hydroid is also native to northeastern Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and the English Channel.
The solitary polps of Hydroid Tubularia indivisa are found on dull yellow unbranched stems that reach a height of 4-6”. The pinkish to red polps resemble flowers, having two concentric rings of tentacles, with the outer rings being paler and longer than the inner ring.
Hydroid Tubularia indivisa are preyed upon by nudibranch, another marine animal that looks like a snail without a shell.
These flower like hydroids are often considered delicate and soft. But beware. Their delicate looks belie their potent nature. They possess an armament of stinging cells equipped in their tentacles to capture and subdue prey.