circumhorizontal arcs photographed by (click pic) david england, andy cripe, del zane, todd sackmann and brandon rios. this atmospheric phenomenon, otherwise known as a fire rainbow, is created when light from a sun that is at least 58 degrees above the horizon passes through the hexagonal ice crystals that form cirrus clouds which, because of quick cloud formation, have become horizontally aligned. (see also: previous cloud posts)
honduran white tent bats roosting under a heliconia leaf, which they sever down the length of its midrib to create a ‘tent’ that provides a waterproof shelter and protection from potential predators.
We know it’s hard to look away, but the Department of Awesome Optical Illusions warns you not to spend too long looking at these incredibly hypnotic and often outright dizzying images. They were all created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Professor of Psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. He first won acclaim in 2003 for his Rotating Snakes peripheral drift illusion.
"Studying visual perception, visual illusion, optical illusion, trompe l’oeil, and 3D, Kitaoka regularly creates incredible psychedelic patterns and illusion artworks, optical illusions that give the impression of images in motion."
You can check out many more of Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s mesmerizing optical illusions on his website. Some of them are actually preceded by warnings that looking at them may induce nausea. We weren’t kidding about the dizziness.
The recent release of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" reminded me of one of my favorite ape vs. man films – this 1932 video that shows a baby chimpanzee and a baby human undergoing the same basic psychological tests.
Its gets weirder – the human baby (Donald) and the chimpanzee baby (Gua) were both raised as humans by their biological/adopted father Winthrop Niles Kellogg. Kellogg was a comparative psychologist fascinated by the interplay between nature and nurture, and he devised a fascinating (and questionably ethical) experiment to study it:
Suppose an anthropoid were taken into a typical human family at the day of birth and reared as a child. Suppose he were fed upon a bottle, clothed, washed, bathed, fondled, and given a characteristically human environment; that he were spoken to like the human infant from the moment of parturition; that he had an adopted human mother and an adopted human father.
First, Kellogg had to convince his pregnant wife he wasn’t crazy:
…the enthusiasm of one of us met with so much resistance from the other that it appeared likely we could never come to an agreement upon whether or not we should even attempt such an undertaking.
She apparently gave in, because Donald and Gua were raised, for nine months, as brother and sister. Much like Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” movies, Gua developed faster than her “brother,” and often outperformed him in tasks. But she soon hit a cognitive wall, and the experiment came to an end. (Probably for the best, as Donald had begun to speak chimpanzee.)
Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via alliterate)
OH WAIT LEMME TELL YOU ABOUT CECILIA PAYNE.
Cecilia Payne’s mother refused to spend money on her college education, so she won a scholarship to Cambridge.
Cecilia Payne completed her studies, but Cambridge wouldn’t give her a degree because she was a woman, so she said fuck that and moved to the United States to work at Harvard.
Cecilia Payne was the first person ever to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College, with what Otto Strauve called “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”
Not only did Cecilia Payne discover what the universe is made of, she also discovered what the sun is made of (Henry Norris Russell, a fellow astronomer, is usually given credit for discovering that the sun’s composition is different from the Earth’s, but he came to his conclusions four years later than Payne—after telling her not to publish).
Cecilia Payne is the reason we know basically anything about variable stars (stars whose brightness as seen from earth fluctuates). Literally every other study on variable stars is based on her work.
Cecilia Payne was the first woman to be promoted to full professor from within Harvard, and is often credited with breaking the glass ceiling for women in the Harvard science department and in astronomy, as well as inspiring entire generations of women to take up science.
Cecilia Payne is awesome and everyone should know her.