This is a long exposure photo of fireflies in Okayama prefecture, Japan.
Fireflies or Lampyridae are a family of insects within the order Coleoptera, aka; the Beetle family. Firlies exist on every continent in the world, except Antarctica, with about 2,000 species globally. With the exception of species that are active during the day, fireflies are bioluminescent organisms, which means that they produce their own light.
Fireflies produce their “light” through a chemical reaction consisting the substrate Luciferin, the enzyme Luciferase, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and oxygen. This chemically produced light may be yellow, green or pale red with wavelengths ranging from 510 to 670 nanometers. The colour of light emitted, signal pattern, time and duration vary from species to species. In some of these species, all stages of the lifecycle glow, even the larvae, which are called “glow-worms”.
Fireflies produce light for three primary reasons; the males use the light to signal females for the purpose of mating, the light is used as a mechanism of defense against predators (the light warns other species that they are distasteful), and finally, the light can be used as a mechanism to warn others of danger.
Whatever the reason for creating this beautiful light, it definitely makes them a captivating sight on summer nights.
Photo courtesy of:Tsuneaki Hiramatsu
Niijima now larger than its older neighbour
We reported some months ago the new volcanic island being born off Japan as an undersea volcano breached the surface right next to an already existing neighbour (see http://tinyurl.com/oe22xtl). The eruption is still ongoing, and the islands have now joined, with newborn Niijima now outbulking its older sib Nishino-shima. The white line in the inset marks Niijima’s size at the end of December. The island is now over a km across and the volcanic cone is over 60m high, revealing the early part of the process by which these peaks slowly grow to huge size over many eruptions as long as magma remains available.
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Image credit: NASA
The UN’s International Court of Justice has ruled that Japan must cease its whale hunting program in the Southern Ocean, which saw thousands of minke whales slaughtered, for the sake of “science.”
More via Popular Science: http://bit.ly/1dOdc5b
Hidden away on the remote island of Iriomote in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, you can find the small beach of Hoshizuna no Hama. The name translates to “star sand beach” accredited to the star shaped sand like formations that can be found there. The star shapes are the exoskeletons of a tiny one-celled organism, barely a millimetre across, called Baclogypsina sphaerulata. These protozoa have 5 or 6 pointed arms that help them move from place to place and accumulate some of the diatoms which they eat. The outer shell is made of calcium carbonate, and when they die, they leave their star shaped exoskeleton behind to be washed up on the beaches.
After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Japanese officials have been scrambling to find way to halt the environmental damage from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. According to a team of Japanese scientists, a combination of micro-algae and aquatic plants may be the answer to cleaning up the radioactive pollution.
At this point anything helps, TEPCO (the company in…
Adding new @UCSusa book on Fukushima nuclear calamity and lessons for US @NRCgov to my reading heap. Here’s UCS release:
Today is the official publication date for Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster (New Press, $27.95), the first comprehensive account of the March 2011 Japanese…
The epedition’s ship, Chikyu, with Mount Fuji in the background. (IODP/JAMSTEC)
As posted on Wunderground.
An unprecedented drilling expedition has revealed that the devastating 2011 tsunami off the coast of Tohoku, Japan, was due to a particularly weak and slippery fault zone.
Japan isn’t the only industrialized country walking away from previously stated climate goals. Australia and Canada are emerging as strong opponents of more aggressive climate action and are likely to come up short on their commitments to reduce their emissions.
There is no time.
Japanese officials have admitted for the first time that thousands of people evacuated from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power…