There is no need to dissect frogs anymore. Because Japanese researchers have produced transparent frogs. The frogs are rare mutants of the Japanese brown frog, or Rena japonica. “You can see through the skin how organs grow, how cancer starts and develops,” and “you can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life as you don't have to dissect it…” says the lead researcher Masayuki Sumida, professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology of Hiroshima University. But unfortunately, the same method cannot be applied to mammals like mice, as their skin structure is different. Hmm… hard luck.
Environment friendly ‘eco-bags’ have become a hit with consumers in Japan, as popular brand-name goods manufacturers join the bandwagon. One such bag has broken the one million sales mark. And they are pretty stylish – one eco-bag can be folded into one’s palm to be carried anywhere. Apparently, their fancy look is the reason behind their soaring popularity among consumers.
Kazumi Oguro, editor of Sotokoto magazine, says “Eco-conscious is a new fashion. Thinking about the global environment used to be constrained, but now, all people have become aware that it is quite enjoyable.” Celebrities are also flaunting them. Well, whatever be the reason, people are at least saying ‘no’ to plastic bags.
Kumbatoli village in Tupudana Industrial Area on the outskirts of Ranchi, Jharkhand, has a natural laboratory of earth sciences. It shows four stages of earth formation – the layers of solid rocks, top layer disintegration by storm and rain from asteroids, formation of rocky scrubland on which forests started, and lastly, the formation of earth several million years later.
At present, the villagers use it as a pond for bathing. N M Jha, the discoverer of the site, and head of Materials Science and Forge Technology Departments, National Institute of Foundry and Forge Technology, wants the Jharkhand government to preserve it. Hopefully it would.
The world’s insurance industry is feeling the heat of global warming now. It is facing huge risks from climate change due to the rise in incidences of cyclones, floods, drought and bushfires. For example, the 2002 floods in Europe have caused US$3.4 billion of insurance losses. But, losses from tropical cyclones are increasing strongly, says Eberhard Faust, head of Climate Risks at Munich Re.
Even investors are keen to put in money in investment strategies for dealing with global warming. So, while some insurance companies have abandoned catastrophe-prone markets or are jacking up rates, others are offering incentives for “green” efforts. Seems like the insurance industry needs insurance this time.
A pet store in Pennsylvania, US, has bought a two-headed turtle. The conjoined turtle-twin is known as the redeared slider. It is two months old and healthy. It has two heads sticking out from opposite ends of its shell, along with a pair of front feet on each side.
But, it has just one set of back feet and one tail. It has not been named as yet. The species can live for 15 to 20 years, says Jay Jacoby, manager of the pet store Big Al’s Aquarium Supercentre.
What is the first thing that you would do if you face danger? Try to hide, right? But, salamanders do not hide to survive in dangerous conditions… they grow. And grow too big to be eaten by their enemies! A recent study has found that unlike other species that play safe by hiding away from their predators, sacrificing food and growing slowly, spotted salamanders grow more quickly, and become too large to be eaten. But, their foraging activities vary greatly from pond to pond. Nonetheless, it’s truly a great idea.