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Our happy-go-lucky landwhale, Ambulocetus, relaxes on the beach with a cool drink and a happy butterfly. That pesky dodo is nowhere to be seen—maybe his head’s in the sand, or he ran out of sunscreen—but I can’t imagine he’ll stay away for long. Meanwhile, however, happy landwhale! (I dispensed with the spots, since he wanted to be blue in the watercolor version…)
People who haven’t been following my weirdness exhaustively (and really, why would you?) would probably like an explanation, so the short version is that Ambulocetus is a real critter, I didn’t make him up, known as the “walking whale” a fossil transitional form of the sort that make evolutionary biologists bounce in their chairs with glee. He’s got a whale head, whale teeth, whale wiggly little ear bones—but his blowhole hasn’t migrated up top yet, and he’s got feet. He was about six feet long and due to the way his hips attached, they think he probably moved a lot like a modern sea lion. I’ve taken to drawing him occasionally as part of my ongoing quest to light a candle against the darkness, etc, etc,* on the principle that everybody loves a cuddly landwhale, damnit, and the more people know about Ambulocetus, the better a world we live in. - Ursula Vernon
*And should that candle happen to brush against a few particularly flimsy houses of rhetorical cards, well, them’s the breaks.
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in case anyone was wondering, the muscle responsible for duckface is called the orbicularis oris
i am reading through my anatomy notes, it says ‘the phasic action of this muscle is to compress and protrude the lips’
Anonymous said: probably a really stupid question, but how come fish that live in the really deep sea dont get squished by the weight of the water? cuz there must be a lot of pressure on them, and i know that if you put stuff at the bottom of the ocean-like say a toy or something-it'll get completely flattened, why doesnt this happen to fish? do they have really strong bone structures? if so, shouldnt we be modeling stuff after fish skeletons cuz they must be really strong
They aren’t super strong, they just have internal pressures equal to external pressure of the water. So, if you take a deep-sea fish to higher sea levels, it will literally EXPLODE because it’s internal pressure is designed to push back against all of that pressure.
The trickier problem to solve is how do sperm whales survive at lots of different water pressures without exploding or being crushed. This is especially important in mammals as they have lungs which contain air which is particularly susceptible to alternations by pressure. You can read all about how sperm whales deal with this here.
It’s fascinating…their lungs actually COLLAPSE at depth, preventing any kind of gas exchange at all. The oxygen they need for these deep dives is stored in massive quantities of blood with massive quantities of hemoglobin and also in special oxygen-storage proteins in their muscles.
Seals’ lungs do this too, a little bit, when they dive! Learning about mammalian diving physiology was one of the most fun units I ever took in college. Biology is awesome.
Am I the only one that knows the stereotypical heart shape was meant to be two hearts fused together?
OH MY GOD THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE
cuz the weird fake heart shape is about love, it’s about TWO HEARTS COMING TOGETHER
whoa. talk about mindfucked.
Greatest source of information I’ve come across on Tumblr. EVER. That’s fuckin’ ill..
Also known as the traditional Valetines’ Day gift in Night Vale.
“Don’t you mean gender is a social construct?”
No, no I don’t.
Although the sex/gender divide is certainly useful in certain contexts, there are a few huge problems with it.
It’s a form of Cartesian duality that divides the mind as somehow separate from the body. Meaning, it treats the two as completely separate and unrelated. Particularly with transsexual people, this is a dangerous idea. It easily leads to thinking that gender dysphoria is something merely in one’s head. The reality of it is, hormone therapy treats the body, and thus treating the body relieves the mind. If the mind and body were truly separate, treating a person who is transsexual with hormone therapy would have no effect on their psychological and emotional well-being.
It’s also problematic because it typically describes gender as merely a cultural thing (denying that there are people strongly identify as one or more genders) and sex as merely a biological thing, leaving gender as the only thing “worthy” of analysis. The truth is, sex is just as socially constructed as gender ideals/gender roles are. The two constantly influence one another; sex and gender ideals coexist simultaneously and cannot be so easily separated. How we view sex has changed dramatically over the years.
The problem with leaving sex unchallenged is obvious. When we define it as XX means female, XY means male, we leave out people who are XXY, etc. It also erases the existence of XX intersex and XY intersex people. If we then define it as genitalia, we run into a similar problem. We will find women with penis-sized clitorises (and some with no vagina), men with micropenises (some with vaginas), and people whose phallus is undifferentiated in other ways (such as men with more severe forms of hypospadias where the urethra is not on the phallus at all)(thus, leading to the question, what exactly differentiates between a clitoris and a penis? The “sex” of the person who has it?).
There are many ways in which a person can vary during sexual development, including, but not limited to, sex chromosomes, hormones, internal morphology, external morphology, genitalia, and reproductive organs/gonads. Which brings us to the question: how many of these must differ for a person to be intersex? In how many people do these all match perfectly? Which of these matters the most in assigning a person a sex? There is no singular answer, and the definition of the situation is a product of culture and history.
Defining it in different ways merely moves the goal post, and we can never come up with a satisfying answer until we again consider gender, this time the gender identity of the person. Merely going by what they (people who are intersex) were assigned at birth leads us to the same problem that many transgender people have, that is, the institutional denial of self-identity.
Everyone probably knew this was coming.
I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS COMMERCIAL
I was just thinking about these commercials and how I wanted one on my tumblr, and now here it is!
Awkward confession time: whenever I feel like the world is shit and I can’t keep dealing with it, I watch this and/or read about cool science things to remind me that it’s not all bad.
For all of you having bad days
I am actually trying so hard not to cry my makeup off at this. This is sincerely one of the most important self-care videos in my life.
finally a commercial that actually means what it says. it’s not about selling cars or getting you to go to an amusement park, it’s sincerely telling you the world is amazing
FINALLY. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
People seriously need to realize that because you have social anxiety, depression, or even bipolar disorder, it’s not that anybody would want that. It’s not that people are able to just “suck it up and stop being a wimp” it’s because your body physically cannot produce the right amount of chemicals that a normal body should have circulating in it’s system. People have absolutely no control over what they feel, no matter how much they try to change themselves to “please” others in life, and it seriously is rather frustrating. I myself cannot give you first hand information, but my very close friend has depression and social anxiety, which are both horrible combined and standing alone. She takes pills to help her dopamine and serotonin levels rise up a bit so she can properly function during school and not draw into herself. It’s hard to talk to her without her flinching away because she had been severely bullied years before for being different. What I’m trying to express is that it makes me really angry to see people who wish they were different chemically being bullied. They certainly don’t wish that upon anybody, they didn’t want it themselves, and it’s not something that can be fixed with a simple “suck it up bitch”. They can’t.
Now imagine yourself falling into a twenty foot deep hole and the sides are slick with oil, not knowing how you got there, and unable to get out no matter what you do. You try climbing, crawling, sliding, screaming, clawing, tearing, but nothing works. Then somebody that is perfectly capable to help you appears at the opening and tells you that it’s your fault that you got stuck down there, it’s your fault that you can’t climb back up, and it’s your fault that you want to kill yourself.
People need to realize. It’s not what people consciously want.
Nobody. And I’m going to say this again. Nobody should be bullied because they are going through depression, anxiety, or bipolar. Nobody should be bullied for anything.
It’s the same thing as being in love. You don’t know why you feel this way, but you do. You can try to stop it, try to peel your heart and feelings away from somebody, but you can’t.
It’s the same with depression.
AMAZING KINETIC SCULPTURES BY BOB POTTS
Bob Potts is a kinetic Sculptor in upstate New York. His work renders motions inspired by nature into graceful and silent mechanical forms. The craftsmanship of his work is visible in every detail.
[ gif made by DevidSketchbook ]
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Hello I made a thing.
I’ve been meaning to do this basically ever since the first “Boom de yada" Discovery Channel commericals came out. Sorry I’m not sorry.
All images used in this video are linked and credited over at my blog.
(the anglerfish thumbnail pleases me)
Full-scale anatomical crocheted human skeletal/organ model by artist Shanell Papp
FDA approves pill to prevent HIV infections
The drug, Truvada, is the first medication intended to prevent HIV infections in people having sex with infected individuals.
IT JUST GOT REAL
What good news for the world.
Remember when this made the news weeks ago and US news outlets didn’t find it worth reporting?
This should have like, 1,000% more notes.
This is amazing.
Are you telling me that those Ryan Gosling cupcakes have 45,000 notes and this post hasn’t even reached 5,000?
And it was on this day that this appeared on my dash, and I said “Damn, finally some good news!” and reblogged the hell out of it.
Photoset reblogged from with 41,290 notes
seven-year-old girl has become the first child leukaemia patient to be successfully treated by doctors using a disabled form of the virus that causes Aids to reprogramme the immune system.
When chemotherapy failed to work for Emily Whitehead, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, she underwent a new experimental treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
It involved tricking her immune system into fighting the cancer cells.
Dr Stephan Grupp, Director of the Centre for Childhood Cancer Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told CBS: “We’ve treated the first couple of patients and we’ve been blown away by the results”.
They’ve been very exciting.
“We collect cells of the immune system from a patient, so we use the patient’s own cells. We put in a new gene in those cells that makes the cells go after cancer cells and then we put those cells back in the patient.”
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