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The Artful Amoeba

A Blog About the Weird Wonderfulness of Life on Earth
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    Jennifer Frazer Jennifer Frazer is a AAAS Science Journalism Award-winning science writer. She has degrees in biology, plant pathology/mycology, and science writing, and has spent many happy hours studying life in situ.
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  • Wonderful Things: The Starry Night Beneath the Caribbean Sea


    One of the most astounding events of my life was immediately preceded by one of the scariest: I turned out my dive light in the ocean at night.

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    Cosmic Karma: Mosquitoes Have Flying, Blood-Sucking Parasites of Their Own


    In 1922, a scientist named F.W. Edwards published a paper describing a remarkable thing: a flying, biting midge collected from the Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia that he named Culicoides anophelis. What made the midge was remarkable was the thing it bit: mosquitoes.

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    Deep Sea Explorations Amaze with Live Stream Video


    On Tuesday I wrote about my experience diving in a deep-sea submarine, but going on right now are two live-streaming deep-sea expeditions that allow you incredible access to the deep sea from the comfort of your own home. If you really want to know what the deep sea looks like, you can get an incredible [...]

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    551 Feet Under the Sea: What It’s Like to Ride in a Deep-Sea Sub


    I heard a screwing noise as the hatch of our sub was sealed. A bright orange hose from topside that had been inserted into the sub to blow fresh air as we loaded had been removed, and the interior felt warm and damp and close. All was still. Though I’d worried how I’d feel at [...]

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    How To Visit the Deep Sea


    For at least the last 15 years, I have dreamed of travelling to the deep sea. If you read this blog regularly or have ever watched a documentary about the deep sea, you understand why. As marine biologist (and co-sighter of the first underwater giant squid) Edith Widder says in one of her many fascinating [...]

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    Lone Survivor? Weird New Animal May Be Long Sought Living Ediacaran


    It’s not every day a new animal is discovered that could shake up the roots of animal taxonomy and simultaneously form its own new phylum, the top classification in the Animal Kingdom, but today is such a day. The new animals – Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dengrogramma discoides – are not yet certain to represent a [...]

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    A Few Moments With an Earthly Alien Close Cousin to You


    In the comments of the following video on Youtube, a viewer asks, “Is that a real video ? Or Cgi ?” What you will see in this video is very much real, but I can see why someone might get confused. The serene, fuzzy, and vaguely sparkly pink tube you just saw is both profoundly [...]

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    Dandruff-Causing Skin Fungi Discovered Unexpectedly in Deep Sea Vents, Antarctica


    Until relatively recently, the fungus Malassezia was thought to have one favorite home: us. As the dominant fungus on human skin and sometimes-cause of dandruff, the yeast Malassezia was thought to live a simple if sometimes irritating domestic existence humbly mooching off the oils we exude. No more. Thanks to the efforts of scientists over [...]

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    An Eye-Popping New Look at Flowers’ Highly Public Private Parts


    People who lack the gardening bug often regard flowers like fashion models: pretty but boring. Jens Petersen, the man who gave us the groundbreaking photographs of fungi in “The Kingdom of Fungi”, which I reviewed here in March, has a new book of photographs (still available only in Danish, unfortunately, and called Blomsterliv — “Flower [...]

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    Deepsea Challenge Hits Theaters; Here’s the Biology Behind the Film


    Note: James Cameron’s National Geographic film “Deepsea Challenge 3D” documenting his trip to Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench has been released at last — to about 300 “select theaters” on August 8. So far, critics’ reviews have been mixed, with some saying that the movie is long on Cameron and short [...]

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