THE SEA IS LIFE

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SEA LIFE

Life was originated in the oceans and from the oceans it draws its sustenance. The sea has always been rich with life,
however this might not remain true for much longer…It needs our help now ! We must put a stop to its destruction !
We must engage a battle in its defense or this wonderful universe and consequently life itself will be lost…
The Ocean needs our help !

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Sea is Life from Nino Del Duca on Vimeo.

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“The 5th Symphony in Blue”

by Sharkman Video Productions

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The wonderful classical music of Ludwig Van Beethoven, the 5th Symphony in C minor, Op.67…mixed with images taken from our documentaries “Blue Life” and “Blue Trilogy”…..enjoy

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“The 5th Symphony in Blue” by Sharkman Video Productions from Nino Del Duca on Vimeo.

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“BLUE LIFE” (Short Version)

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“Blue Life” is one of our documentaries, I’ve filmed it in the Red Sea in 2011.
It has got the First Prize Pro at the famous and prestigious International Festival “Pelagos” of Rome and some other awards around the world…
This version of “Blue Life” has been created just for the web, Vimeo…..it’s about 12 minutes, enjoy

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“BLUE LIFE” (Short Version) from Nino Del Duca on Vimeo.

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“Carpe Diem” (Short Version)

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This video is a short version of our latest work : “Carpe Diem”.
It’s a short-film dedicated to the Ocean and its wonderful inhabitants and also to our colleagues and friends video-photographers…The long version of this video is the Winner Pro short-film of the prestigious International Festival “Pelagos” of Rome (2014) and this short version is the Winner Pro of the European Dive Show Video Festival (2014)…enjoy

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“Carpe Diem” (Short Version) from Nino Del Duca on Vimeo.

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Wonderful video of rays jumping for joy out of the ocean

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By HATTER Posted in RAYS Tagged

FLIP IT-MAGAZINE : HATTER’S INFORMATION HUB

https://flipboard.com/profile/themadhatterxxx
DRAGONFLY PORTAL
Until they become conscious,
they will never rebel,
Until after they have rebelled,
they cannot become conscious.
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INFORMATION HUB
HATTER’S MAGAZINE
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OM SWEET OM : Мощнейшая Мантра Исцеления

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THE ADAPTABLE FURRY, KNOW-IT-ALL, TOWN MOUSE

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Scientists Investigate Whether the City Mouse

Is Smarter Than the Country Mouse

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I’d rather gnaw a bean than be gnawed by continual fear.” Image by Arthur Rackham

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An opulent town mouse goes to visit his cousin in the country. The town mouse looks down on the country mouse, assuming all the city has to offer–the dining, the culture–make him the better rodent of the two. He insists that his cousin come visit him, and the country mouse reluctantly agrees. While dining the in the city, however, a pack of dogs attack the two mice, sending the cousins running. The country mouse realizes that the city is overrated and bids his cousin farewell, returning home to enjoy his life.

There may be a kernel of truth in this famous fable, it turns out–and for the very rodents it refers to.  Like the town mouse, small mammals live alongside urbanite humans around the world. These metropolitan habitats are a far cry from the field or forest they originally evolved to thrive in. The city presents a myriad of obstacles–including pavement, cars, pesticides, dogs and countless other deathtraps–that may threaten a small creature’s survival. Therefore, scientists reason, animals who do manage to eke out a living in a hostile concrete jungle may be the brightest and sharpest of the bunch–essentially, the adaptable, know-it-all town mice of the furry world.

In the past, researchers showed that smarty-pants birds with bigger brains and feathered free-spirits with a more go-with-the-flow attitude are better able to cope with human-induced issues they may encounter, and also perform the best in urban environments. Whether the town animal is one who possesses a survivor’s edge to begin with, or whether the city itself shapes its smallest residents over time, however, remains unknown.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota put their cards on the latter hypothesis. Urban environments, they expected, are actively transforming populations of four-legged country bumpkins into street-smart townies. Furthermore, the longer a population of animals spends in the city, they thought, the more brain wealth that established lineage would likely acquire.

To test the validity of these guesses, the researchers set out to carefully measure the brain cavity sizes of thousands of skulls (a commonly used proxy for cognitive abilities) belonging to ten different species of small mammals, including voles, mice, squirrels, gophers, bats and shrews. They acquired museum specimens spanning the past 100 years of both Billybobs originally captured from rural sites and Rockefellers caught in urban locations in Minnesota. They used statistical tests to control for variables such as body size and gender, then analyzed their results to see if any differences emerged between the city slickers’ and the country folks’ smarts.

The results, described this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biology, surprised the researchers. Out of the ten species, only two of the urban populations–the white-footed mouse and the meadow vole–showed a significant cranial edge–both 6 percent greater–over their country cousins (though statistical tests did suggest that, with a larger sample size, big brown bats and masked shrews would also likely fall into this camp).

Not surprisingly, however, those species equipped with larger brains were the ones that have the highest reproductive rates, leading the researchers to speculate that they may have a generational advantage over their slower-to-make-babies neighbors since more babies equals more opportunities to shape new adaptations. Finally, when they combined all species into just two pots, urban and rural, and controlled for body size, they also noticed a general trend towards larger cranial capacity for urban dwellers in general.

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A mouse skull (not used in the study). Photo by Michael Jefferies

Counterintuitively, the urban environment did not seem to shape animals’ skull sizes over the years. In other words, Mouse D. Trump Jr.’s brain was, statistically, the same size of Mouse D. Trump Sr.’s brain, even though 100 years separated the two. Over time, in fact, white-footed mice and big brown bats in the city environment actually seem to be losing their edge, showing slight declines in brain size over the years (perhaps that unwavering wakeup-commute-eat-sleep routine is dumbing them down?). On the other hand, rural populations of four species–two bats and two shrews–are coming up from behind, as LCD Soundsystem might put it. And American red squirrels of the backwoods aren’t so backwoods after all–they also showed a marginal inclination to become one of those kids “with better talent and better ideas” that those lackluster mouse and bat urbanites need to look out for.

While some of these findings did coincide with the authors’ assumption that city slickers should be smarter than their country counterparts, the research raises more questions than provides answers. It could be possible, for example, that the researchers didn’t have skulls spanning back far enough in time. By the early 1900s, when the first skulls from this study originated, some parts of Minnesota were already converted to urban areas, meaning cranial capacity adjustments in those species may have taken place earlier in time.

On the other hand, they hypothesize, it could be that one mouse’s field is another’s garbage can; perhaps animals just don’t need that much extra brain power to survive in their little niche in the world, regardless of whether the broader environment is built or grown.

As for those edgy rural species, they muse, perhaps those animals could be encountering even more significant changes and challenges over time than their urban counterparts. Logging, agricultural conversion, subdivisions and highways are all threatening Minnesota’s rural alcoves. Perhaps country animals are being forced to step up and adapt, or else get squished by a tractor or truck. Or, they speculate, maybe rural mammals are just getting a more well-balanced diet of leafy greens and farm-to-rodent produce than their city counterparts, who are forced to munch on stale fries and rotten kabobs.

Ultimately, they admit, only a manipulative field experiment–putting mice and voles into urban and rural environments and seeing what happens–would likely solve the question of the true drivers behind the town mouse and the country mouse’s smarts. In this case, at least, the town mice and voles are maintaining a superior edge, but the country bats, shrews and squirrels are proving that life away from the noise and pollution has its perks, too.

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Chernobyl reclaimed : An animal takeover

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The explosion at Chernobyl was ten times worse than that at Hiroshima

and was due to a combination of human error and imperfect technology.

Here we see how Nature reclaims her own

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How City Living Is Reshaping the Brains and Behavior of Urban Animals

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By Brandon Keim

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/08/urban-animal-brain-behavior-evolution/

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When next you meet a rat or raccoon on the streets of your city, or see a starling or sparrow on a suburban lawn, take a moment to ask: Where did they come from, so to speak? And where are they going?

In evolutionary terms, the urban environments we take for granted represent radical ecological upheavals, the sort of massive changes that for most of Earth’s history have played out over geological time, not a few hundred years.

Houses, roads, landscaping, and the vast, dense populations of hairless bipedal apes responsible for it: All this is new, and animals are adapting, fast, all around us. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the brains and behaviors of urban animals are changing rapidly in response.

“A lot of biologists are really interested in how animals are going to deal with changes in their environments,” said biologist Emilie Snell-Rood of the University of Minnesota. “Humans are creating all these totally new environments compared to what they’ve seen in evolutionary history.”

Snell-Rood is one of many researchers who have updated the conventional narrative of urban animals, in which city life favors a few tough, adaptable jack-of-all-trades — hello, crows! — and those species fortunate enough to have found a built environment similar to their native niches, such as the formerly cliff-dwelling rock doves we now call pigeons and find perched on building ledges everywhere.

The long view, though, is rather more multidimensional. Cities are just one more setting for evolution, a new set of selection pressures. Those adaptable early immigrants, and other species that once avoided cities but are slowly moving in, are changing fast.

As Snell-Rood and colleagues describe in an August 21 Proceedings of the Royal Society B article, museum specimens gathered across the 20th century show that Minnesota’s urbanized small mammals — shrews and voles, bats and squirrels, mice and gophers — experienced a jump in brain size compared to rural mammals.

‘Humans are creating all these totally new environments compared to what animals have seen in evolutionary history.’

Snell-Rood thinks this might reflect the cognitive demands of adjusting to changing food sources, threats, and landscapes. “Being highly cognitive might give some animals a push, so they can deal with these new environments,” she said.

Brain size is, to be sure, a very rough metric, one that’s been discredited as a measure of raw intelligence in humans. For it to fluctuate across a whole suite of species, though, especially when other parts of their anatomy didn’t change, at least hints that something cognitive was going on.

Many other studies have looked at behavior rather than raw cranial capacity. In these, a common theme of emerges: Urban animals tend to be bold, not backing down from threats that would send their country counterparts into retreat. Yet even as they’re bold in certain situations, urban animals are often quite wary in others, especially when confronted with something they haven’t seen before.

“Maybe avoiding danger is an useful trait for some animals living in urban environments,” said biologist Catarina Miranda of Germany’s Max Planck Institute, who in a September Global Change Biology paper described her experiments with rural and urban blackbirds.

“Most of the birds that never approach new objects or enter new environments in this long period of time are urban,” Miranda said. “There are many new dangers in a town for a bird. Cars can run you over. Cats can eat you. Kids can take you home.”

Somewhat counterintuitively, bold urban animals also tend to be less-than-typically aggressive, a pattern documented in species as disparate as house sparrows and salamanders, the latter of which are a specialty of Jason Munshi-South, an evolutionary biologist at the City University of New York. The city’s salamanders — there aren’t many, but they’re there — “tend to be languid,” said Munshi-South. “If you try to pick them up, they don’t try to escape as vigorously as they do outside the city. I wonder if there’s been natural selection for that.”

If so, it might be driven by high population densities of salamanders in the city. Aggressive neighbors don’t tend to be good neighbors. Through that lens, city animals could be domesticating themselves, a process that can occur without direct human intervention.

Even more fundamentally, muted stress responses have been found in many species of urban animals. When surprised or threatened, their endocrine systems release lower-than-usual amounts of stress hormones. It’s a sensible-seeming adaptation. A rat that gets anxious every time a subway train rolls past won’t be very successful.

“They’re clearly attenuating their physiological response to stress, probably because they’re constantly inundated with noise, traffic, and all kinds of environmental stresses in cities,” said biologist Jonathan Atwell of Indiana University. “If they were ramping that response up all the time, it would be too costly.”

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A challenging question is whether traits like these represent inherited biological changes or what researchers call phenotypic plasticity: the ability to make on-the-fly adjustments to circumstance.

Some adaptations, such as the swath of genetic mutations that Munshi-South identified in New York City’s white-footed mice, are clearly heritable. Others are learned. In many cases, both processes are likely involved, said Atwell, who studied the question in his research on songbirds called dark-eyed juncos around San Diego.

The San Diego juncos sing at higher frequencies than those living in rural, traffic-free settings. When Atwell raised some of their chicks in a quiet place, that rise in song frequency dropped by about half, suggesting an even split between heritability and plasticity.

Where things get really interesting, though, is with social learning and animal culture — all those animal habits and abilities that are not inborn, but taught. “I suspect that often it’s not their cognitive abilities evolving, but cultural evolution going on,” said Atwell. “Anytime animals can learn behavior from one another, I think there might be cultural evolution.”

Urban squirrels, for example, seem to have adjusted to vocalization-drowning ambient noise by making tail-waving a routine part of communications. Perhaps this was instinctive in a few animals, then picked up by others. Likewise, squirrels might learn about traffic by seeing others get run over, said Snell-Rood. Rats could see brethren die after eating poisoned bait, then teach pups to avoid the traps.

‘You could imagine some kind of speciation over long periods of time.’

These possibilities are only hypothetical, but hardly implausible. After all, other animals traditionally recognized as clever — such as crows who share information about untrustworthy humans, or temple-dwelling Asian monkeys who pickpocket tourists — are clearly learning about us, and intelligence has only been studied in a few species.

Not all changes in urban animals will represent adaptations to urban living, however.

Most genetic mutations are neither beneficial nor harmful, at least not right away. They simply happen and, over long periods of time, accumulate in populations through what’s known as genetic drift. In isolated groups, drift’s effects are magnified, as are so-called founder effects, in which entire populations bear the genetic imprint of a few early animals. For these creatures, urban adaptations won’t necessarily represent adjustments to city life, but simple happenstance.

How might this play out in deep time? If humans can keep civilization intact long enough, will urban animal populations eventually become their own distinct species — bold, relaxed, and clever, with a store of learned information about our habits, and perhaps a few other traits that arise by chance?

Nobody knows, said Snell-Rood, but “you could imagine some kind of speciation over long periods of time.” She noted, though, that not all the changes seen in urban animals are necessarily permanent. The big brains of those city-dwelling Minnesota mammals, for instance, seemed to shrink after a few decades of urban adaptation.

“The way I interpret it is that during the initial colonization, it pays to be smart,” Snell-Rood said. Once city life becomes predictable, “you can go back to having a smaller brain.”

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WALKING WITH DINOSAURS

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Walking with Dinosaurs uses CGI to re-create the harsh conditions of Earth before human evolution.

Why did the Dinosaur do so well in this environment, and what made some breeds last longer than others?
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deepsea

THE DEEP BLUE … ABSTRACT SILENCE

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ALIENS OF THE DEEP

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NATURAL WORLD

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Short piece featuring some of the shots of the last months.
Filmed on locations all over Spain.

Photography and edition: Alberto Saiz & Nacho Ruiz.
Music: Jon Hopkins.
Special thanks to Taller de Fieras.

by NaturaHD

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