Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mountains in motion: the Canadian Rockies

Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies.

Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies is an award-winning short film documenting the life of the alpine landscape through time-lapse photography. In an effort to highlight the wildness of these mountain places and how they have inspired explorers of the past, present and future, time-lapse sequences were patiently gathered from exposed summits, by glacial lakes, and under aurora-filled skies.

Hours and even months of change lapses in a matter of seconds, providing the viewer with a rare insight into the ever-changing nature of the landscape. Weaving throughout the film are reflections of an early mountaineer, who is deeply moved by his own encounter with the mountains and the revelations of explorers who have come before him. “What is this power that lures me upwards, into the unknown,” he wonders, “that pulls me deeper, despite snow, wind and exhaustion?”

Made on a shoestring budget and with entirely volunteer hours, the film brought together artists from two vastly different parts of North America - Banff, Alberta, and Atlanta, Georgia. Strangers at the start, the film team developed strong friendships over the course of production and were united by their common goal of capturing the beauty and essence of a place that inspires them every day.

This 100% human-powered film combines advanced time-lapse photography with an original story and musical score to bring the landscape center-stage and offers a thrilling new perspective that re-establishes the Canadian Rockies among the finest mountains in the world.

Jeff Bridges joins TGen's diabetes initiative

'The Dude endorses The Waylon Jennings Fund for Diabetes Research

Actor Jeff Bridges has joined the National Honorary Committee in support of The Waylon Jennings Fund for Diabetes Research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Bridges - who won Best Actor for playing a troubled musician in the 2009 movie Crazy Heart - joins country music stars Keith Urban, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson and Billy Ray Cyrus in support of a nationwide initiative aimed at finding new diabetes treatments for the 26 million Americans with this disease.

His Dudeness

"Waylon is a hero of mine and I am proud to support The Waylon Fund for Diabetes Research," said Bridges, whose popularity made a quantum leap with his portrayal of "The Dude" in the 1998 cult-classic film The Big Lebowski.

"I've always admired Waylon as an artist and an Outlaw. He was someone who did it his way, just like my character, The Dude. And in the true Outlaw spirit, he kicked down the doors that were closed to him with both feet. Waylon is a true inspiration for both musicians and scientists who are fighting diabetes," said Bridges, who also is involved in ending hunger, filming two new movies and recently penned a book with co-author Bernie Glassman: The Dude and the Zen Master.

Bridges has often said his character Bad Blake in Crazy Heart was inspired by thinking of himself as the fifth member of The Highwaymen, a supergroup formed by outlaw-country veterans Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kristofferson and Waylon.

Working with Waylon's widow, Jessi Colter, and their son, Shooter Jennings, TGen established The Waylon Fund in 2011. Waylon, who lived much of his storied career in Arizona, died in 2002 at age 64 from complications of diabetes. He is buried in Mesa, Ariz.

TGen's research into diabetes will allow physicians to more accurately predict who has the greatest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and related complications, while also identifying targets for treatment of the disease.

"'We are so honored to have the support of Mr. Bridges for our efforts to better treat diabetes and its complications," said Dr. Johanna DiStefano, Director of TGen's Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Division, who leads a team of scientists working in five areas of research: diabetes and heart disease, diabetic nephropathy, diabetes and obesity, diabetes and liver disease, and diabetes and individualized treatment strategies.

For more information, please visit, and click on The Waylon National Honorary Committee button at the bottom of the page.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Devastating street drugs

Drugs and drug addictions ruin lives. Everyone knows that. But the individual using drugs is not the only one affected. Novus, a medical detox center in Florida, compares one person’s addiction to a tidal wave that consumes whole families. “Family members undergo fundamental personality changes as a reaction to the addiction – and to each other. They exhibit erratic behavior in their own way, just as surely as the addict does,” says Novus writer Rod MacTaggart. “More than half of all child and spousal abuse stems directly from addiction,” adds MacTaggart. Whatever particular form the drug takes, there is so much pain involved, as well as so many other complex issues, that a lot of people need professional help to confront the problem and move forward. Counselors face a difficult but no less crucial task helping both addicts and their families to recover. Compounding the problem, when it comes to getting high, drug addicts and dealers are notoriously resourceful and inventive. If they cannot get their hands on regular substances, they often resort to less conventional, homemade types of intoxicants. We list 10 of the most devastating such street drugs 
wreaking havoc on people’s lives.

Read more here

A creeptastic view

Last week, spiders descended in droves upon a town in southern Brazil — literally.
When 20-year-old web designer Erick Reis left a friend’s house on Sunday, he saw what looked like thousands of spiders overhead, reported G1, a Brazilian news site, on Feb. 8. The large, sturdy spiders were hanging from power lines and poles, and crawling around on a vast network of silk strands spun over the town of Santo Antonio da Platina.
Reis did what many of us might do: He pulled out his camera and shot a video of spiders seemingly falling from the sky.
As creeptastic is it may be, “The phenomenon observed is not really surprising,” said Leticia Aviles, who studies social spiders at the University of British Columbia. “Either social or colonial spiders may occur in large aggregations, as the one shown in the video.” The reason, she and others say, is simple: This is how they hunt.
An early report suggested the swarming spiders were Anelosimus eximius, a social species of spider that weaves communal webs, lives together as adults, and shares childcare duties.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Women in the world

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes the right that no human being should suffer degrading, cruel or inhumane treatment. Yet this basic right is violated wherever there is gender disparity and women are not treated equally. Across the globe, outdated attitudes and religious dogma pertaining to women’s sexual and reproductive self-determination ensures that an unacceptable percentage of the world’s female population is still discriminated against.

In many cases, conflict disguises such concerns, with war and natural disasters often deflecting international attention from the plight of these women. Recent events, however, have raised awareness. The Arab Spring uprisings highlighted women’s rights in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. And recently, in December 2012, the world was shocked when a 23-year-old woman was brutally raped and tortured on a bus in Delhi, India and later died from her injuries.

Being subjected to this kind of abuse is bound to result in serious psychological trauma. What is more, studies have found that one in three women suffer from mental health issues. Yet even so, alarmingly, ingrained attitudes and discrimination frequently make it incredibly difficult for women in some cultures to seek help.

Read on for the 10 worst countries in the world for women. Be warned, however: you may find some of the content upsetting.

10 worst countries for women in the world
Equality for women?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Superb Bird-of-Paradise: Psychedelic Smiley Face

When you see a Superb Bird-of-Paradise displaying, it doesn't look like a bird at all. The change is so complete that females just see a jet-black disk with an electric-blue "smiley face" pattern. A close look at the transformation reveals how modified feathers on the head, back, and flank combine in an unexpected way to create a spectacular effect.
Explore more at:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A heroic rescue

The dreadful plight of a baby elephant trapped in the mud of the Kapani Lagoon and her mother, who had also got stuck trying to save her yesterday generated a frenzy of activity. South Luangwa Conservation Society together with  ZAWA – the wildlife authority – agreed with and all joined forces to try and save mother elephant and her baby.


There are step by step photos here: