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Thursday, September 9, 2010

10 Most Beautiful Snakes on Earth

Green Tree Python

Photo: nasmac

Snakes. The word makes some shudder and others cringe while yet others think in wonder of the huge world of reptiles and their marvels. Whether you hate them or love them, one thing cannot be denied, which is their beauty. Count the top 10 down with me!

10. Honduran Milk Snake
Honduran Milksnake

Photo: Doug Mong

Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis, is found in Honduras and Nicaragua. While at first glance not one of the most beautiful snakes, take a look at its scales above - they are bright (which is what the 'lampro' in the binomial name stands for) and a brilliant red and black. They are constrictors, but look a lot like coral snakes which herpetologists believe is an example of Batesian Mimicry - when a harmless animal takes on the appearance of a venomous one to protect themselves.

scales of Honduran milksnake(closeup)

Photo: Doug Mong

9. Leucistic Texas Rat Snake
leucistic Texas Ratsnake

Photo: Doug Mong

This Leucistic Texas Rat Snake is a lovely lady in white. She gets her coloring and the "leucistic" element of her name from a condition that results in a lack of all pigmentation, rather than just melanin which appears in albinism. This is why her eyes are of normal color. Texas Rat Snakes are (obviously) found in Texas as well as in Arizona and Louisiana. They are non venomous so a bite will give you little more than a sore leg.

8. Indigo Eastern Rat Snake
Eastern Indigo Snake

Photo: Ameng Wu

The Eastern Indigo snake is unofficially the longest in America, reaching lengths of 9.2ft. Carnivorous in habits, he has been known to beat his prey against other objects in a frenzied fashion to kill it. He will even eat other snakes such as the Texas Rattlesnake, and is immune to its venom. That aside, he deserves number 8 in our countdown for his brilliant black beauty that can look almost blue in the light.

7. The Emerald Tree Boa
Emerald Tree Boa

Photo: Derek Ramsey

One of the most vivid and unforgettable snakes is the Emerald Tree Boa, Corallus Caninus. These are found in South America and the Amazon. Even though it looks like it is closely related to the Green Tree Python and sleeps the same way, they are only distant relatives. One thing that the Emerald has, is very large front teeth. They way she catche her prey is to stay coiled on the branch, head down, ready to strike. She then catches small
mammals with her front teeth and pulls them in to their doom.

6. The Iridescent Shieldtail
Iridescent Shieldhead

Photo: Sandilya Theuerkauf

The only reason this lovely is not in the top 3 is that it is hard to see exactly how beautiful she is from this photograph, but she is actually even more gorgeous than she appears here. She has to be one of the most beautiful snakes in the world. The Iridescent Shieldtail, Melanophidium bilineatum , is not well known. Only three specimens are thought to have ever been caught and little is known of how it behaves in the wild. Recently some more have been seen but all that can be said for certain is that it's beautiful and rare.

5. Amelanistic Burmese Python
Burmese Pythons

Photo: Danleo

This head turner is an Amelanistic Burmese python - a species which retains their yellow, carotenoid-derived pigments. Mammals only produce pigments with melanins while birds and reptiles can also produce them by other means including carotenoids as we see here. Effectively though, she can be considered an albino snake in that amelanistic is classified under albinism

4. Brazilian Rainbow Boa
Brazilian Rainbow Boa

Photo: Doug Mong

This beauty is the Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Epicrates cenchria
named for the iridescent color of its scales. The underlying color is either brown, orange as we see here or a mix of the two. It is found in Central and South America and all the way through the Amazon basin. It is medium sized compared to other snakes and it likes the rivers and drainage areas, living for up to 20 years.

3. Eastern Coral Snake
Coral Snake

Photo: Norman Benton

Micrurus fulvius is one of the most beautiful of all snakes. Unfortunately it is also very venomous, as are all coral snakes. On the good side, there are only about 15 to 20 recorded bites a year but on the bad side they are deadly and soon there will be no more antivenin for it. Pfizer, has said that with such low demand, it is not worth the cost and research spent on it, and current stock is due to expire at the end of this year. The snakes are forest animals, living in leaf litter and brush. They flee before biting, but if you do get bitten it is imperative you go to a doctor. Respiratory failure occurs within hours.

2. Blue Racer Snake
Blue Racer

Photo: Jon Fife

This beauty is a pretty rare photograph of a Blue Racer snake. I say rare because its not often you get such a brilliant blue reflecting from the scales, as often they seem more gray in color. Its formal name is Coluber constrictor but despite this, they normally simply pin their prey to the ground and swallow them alive. They are known mostly east of the Rockies but have been seen as far south as Mexico.

Blue Racer

Photo: Jon Fife

1. Green Tree Python
Morelia-viridis

Photo: Micha L. Rieser

Morelia viridis, the Green Tree Python is a stunner that is found in New Guinea, Indonesia and parts of Australia. It, along with the Emerald Tree Boa, have a unique way of sleeping. They loop one or two coils along a branch, saddle style and place their head in the middle. Remember if it is in Indonesia, it is a python, if it is in South America, a boa. They are often mixed up because they are the only two that sleep this way.

Green Tree Python

Photo: Silvain de Munck

Sadly it is threatened due to the destruction of its habitat by logging, as well as by the pet trade. For her grace, her beauty and her threatened status, she easily deserves the number one spot in our countdown.

As I said earlier, whether you shudder at snakes or you like them, their beauty cannot be denied. There are others some feel more beautiful but I think this gives a good cross section of their amazing diversity in appearance. Several are threatened by loss of habitat, thereby threatening other species. However, hopefully we can remember that they are needed in this world to keep the food chain balanced. If for no reason but their beauty I hope you will think twice when you hear of new logging in the Amazon or other areas.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4. 5 , 6

Droid 2 R2-D2 boot animation, live wallpapers leak out at light speed

Droid 2 R2-D2 boot animation, live wallpapers leak out at light speed




Not willing to wait for the genuine R2-D2 edition Droid 2 later this month? Then it looks like you can now get the next best thing -- the Star Wars-themed boot animation and live wallpapers from the phone have already been dug out from the recently leaked ROM and made available for download. Those include the Millennium Falcon flying through an asteroid field, the always exciting jump to lightspeed, an interactive R2-D2, and everyone's favorite: the space slug. Head on past the break for a pair of videos, and hit up the links below to check out the rest (and download them).

Android Community
sourceAndroid Police, Droid Life

Tiny Entourage: Entourage Parody with Little People - Leprechaun Freaks and Turtle Sex Tape

Tiny Entourage: Entourage Parody with Little People - Leprechaun Freaks and Turtle Sex Tape

heavy.com — In this hilarious spoof of HBO's hit show Entourage, Tiny Turtle needs to get into character once he discovers his sexy girlfriend's Secret Shave.

Clcik here for all the Videos: http://www.heavy.com/comedy/comedy-videos/2010/09/tiny-entourage-the-secret-shave/

Check Your iPhone 4's Antenna Reception With Field Test Mode In iOS 4.1

From: http://gizmodo.com/

Check Your iPhone 4's Antenna Reception With Field Test Mode In iOS 4.1

Now you can put your iPhone into field test mode, which will allow to easily and precisely test your cell signal reception quality. You just need to follow these two easy steps:

• First, upgrade your iPhone 4—or any iPhone—to iOS 4.1.
• Dial *3001#12345#* into your phone.

Done. The signal bars will be replaced with a number (like -85). The more negative the number, the worse the signal is. Example: -110 is worse than -85. Once activated, you can switch between signal bars and number by touching on the number.

Try the test mode now. Then use a finger to connect the two metal bands on the lower left corner, over the black plastic strip. That will short-circuit the magical gap and bring the phone's signal down quite significantly.

To get out of the field test mode, just hit the home button. [Thanks KTK1990!]

Send an email to Jesus Diaz, the author of this post, at jesus@gizmodo.com.

Speed Bumps of the Future: Creepy Optical Illusion Children

From: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/

Today, West Vancouver officials will roll out a new way to keep drivers alert and slow them down: a little girl speed bump. A trompe-l’œil, the apparently 3D girl located near the École Pauline Johnson Elementary School is actually a 2D pavement painting, similar to the one shown here.

3dgirl

In what sounds like a terrifying experience, the girl’s elongated form appears to rise from the ground as cars approach, reaching 3D realism at around 100 feet, and then returning to 2D distortion once cars pass that ideal viewing distance. Its designers created the image to give drivers who travel at the street’s recommended 18 miles per hour (30 km per hour) enough time to stop before hitting Pavement Patty–acknowledging the spectacle before they continue to safely roll over her.

The illusion is part of a $15,000 safety program that will run this week, led by the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and the public awareness group Preventable.ca. As drivers approach, the police will monitor the fake girl’s effects. Despite fears that drivers may stop suddenly or swerve into actual 3D children, David Duane of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation told CTV news that the bump was meant to bring attention to driver-caused pedestrian injuries, and that the fake girl should not cause accidents:

“It’s a static image. If a driver can’t respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn’t be driving….”

In 2008, Philadelphia used similar, virtual speed bumps–more common in Europe–in its “Drive CarePhilly” campaign. Philadelphia, however, chose a less anthropomorphic route–opting for three spikes.

J.J. Abrams teams up with 'Dark Knight' scribe on a new thriller

by Michael Ausiello
from: http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/

abrams-jonah-nolan

Image Credit: David Livingston/Getty Images


If pedigree alone were enough to get a TV show greenlit, this next project would be a slam dunk: J.J. Abrams is currently shopping a crime-thriller series created by Jonah Nolan, brother and frequent collaborator of The Dark Knight/Inception auteur Christopher Nolan.

This would mark the first small-screen foray for Nolan, who not only co-wrote The Dark Knight and The Prestige but penned the short story on which Memento was based.

According to an insider, one network is extremely interested in the untitled project. My hunch is, it won’t be the only one.

All in all, it’s shaping up to be a busy development season for Bad Robot boss Abrams, who is also pitching an Alcatraz-set drama series written by fellow Lost producer Elizabeth Sarnoff.

Obama extends best wishes for Rosh Hashanah

From: http://content.usatoday.com/


President Obama has taped a special message for the Jewish holidays, including renewed hope for Middle East peace talks.

A transcript:

As Jews in America and around the world celebrate the first of the High Holy Days I want to extend my warmest wishes for the New Year. L'shana Tova Tikatevu -- may you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the spiritual calendar and the birth of the world. It serves as a reminder of the special relationship between God and his children, now and always. And it calls us to look within ourselves -- to repent for our sins; recommit ourselves to prayer; and remember the blessings that come from helping those in need.

Today, those lessons ring as true as they did thousands of years ago. And as we begin this New Year, it is more important than ever to believe in the power of humility and compassion to deepen our faith and repair our world.

At a time when too many of our friends and neighbors are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, it is up to us to do what we can to help those less fortunate.

At a time when prejudice and oppression still exist in the shadows of our society, it is up to us to stand as a beacon of freedom and tolerance and embrace the diversity that has always made us stronger as a people.

And at a time when Israelis and Palestinians have returned to direct dialogue, it is up to us to encourage and support those who are willing to move beyond their differences and work towards security and peace in the Holy Land. Progress will not come easy, it will not come quick. But today we had an opportunity to move forward, toward the goal we share -- two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

The scripture teaches us that there is "a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." In this season of repentance and renewal, let us commit ourselves to a more hopeful future.

Michelle and I wish all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah a sweet year full of health and prosperity.

(Posted by David Jackson)

Rock Band 3: Keyboard Trailer



The new trailer shows off Rock Band 3 keyboard gameplay from tracks by Huey Lewis and The News, Ida Maria, Tears for Fears and Them Crooked Vultures. Rock Band 3 will be released on October 26th in North America and October 29th for the rest of the world for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Nintendo DS.

We're going to need a bigger bowl! Fisherman catches massive 30lb 'goldfish'

By Mail Foreign Service

From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

It might look like an enormously generous fairground prize.

But no goldfish bowl in the world could contain this catch.

The orange koi carp weighs 30lb - the same as an average three-year-old girl - and is thought to be one of the largest of its kind ever captured.

What a whopper! Angler Raphael Biagini got the surprise of his life when he landed this gigantic koi carp on a fishing trip to France. At 30lb it's thought to be the largest of its kind ever caught in the wild

What a whopper! Angler Raphael Biagini got the surprise of his life when he landed this gigantic koi carp on a fishing trip to France. At 30lb it's thought to be the largest of its kind ever caught in the wild

It took Raphael Biagini ten minutes to reel the creature out of a lake in the south of France - moments after fellow anglers told him they had spent six years trying to snare the legendary 'giant goldfish'.

Mr Biagini, pictured, said: 'To begin with, we couldn't tell what was at the end of the line, but we knew it was big.

'The fish was a good fighter, but not enough to win.'

After an impromptu photoshoot, the 30-year-old from Montpellier returned his prize catch to the water.



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