Giant Tarantula Discovered

 Venomous Sri Lankan Spider Threatened By Deforestation ,It's huge, fast, venomous and the size of a human face. For some, Poecilotheria rajaei, a giant tarantula discovered recently in Sri Lanka, is the stuff of nightmares.

But for wildlife advocates, the spider might represent another cause for conservation: The tree-dwelling spider is threatened by habitat destruction.

"They are quite rare," Ranil Nanayakkara, co-founder of the Sri Lankan organization Biodiversity Education and Research, told Wired. "They prefer well-established old trees, but due to deforestation the number have dwindled and due to lack of suitable habitat they enter old buildings."

Although some experts would like to conduct DNA sampling to determine whether the giant tarantula is in fact a new species, taxonomical evidence strongly suggests that it is a member of the genus Poecilotheria.

Poecilotheria are tree-dwelling tarantulas that known for their bright coloring and potent venom.

In 2010, biophysicists at the University of Buffalo identified a protein in tarantula venom that showed promise as a possible treatment for muscular dystrophy.

According to National Geographic, the goliath bird eater tarantula of South America may be the largest spider in the world, with a leg-span that can reach up to a foot in diameter.

Source:amkon.net

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A Swedish Hotel Where Guests Pay to Be Homeless

A Swedish organization is offering visitors a unique hotel experience: They can spend a night as a homeless person for $15. The "hotel," run by Faktum magazine in the city of Gothenburg, has 10 "rooms," including a sleeping bag in a park, a dirty mattress under a bridge, or the floor of a vacant paper mill. There have been some 1,000 bookings since the hotel's establishment in November, the Local reports.

"Few actually make it through the night and we had a very cold, harsh winter. But some really tried, with one woman managing to stay for about four hours," says the magazine's editor. "A couple of guests ... told me that it made them appreciate their ever day life in a new way. The simple things like a warm bed, a roof, and a job." But the local government doesn't love the project, he notes. "We really want to raise awareness of the homeless situation so that our politicians will take action," he says. But "they like to think that everything is fine in our city."

Source: fodor's.com

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Scientists discover invisible fish

American scientists have discovered an interesting invisible fish. It was pirate perch, a favorite of many aquarists. However, it is not invisible in terms of visibility but, rather, in terms of scent. Olfactory receptors of virtually all its victims are unable to detect its scent. So far this is the only example of universal chemical invisibility in the animal world.
Many animals, both victims and predators, use odor masking feature. Animals try to mask their scent so that certain types of living beings could not detect them. People, who mainly rely on sight, may think of such camouflage as inadequate. However, in nature the ability to detect prey or enemy by smell is no less common than the visual aspect. Therefore, species that do not have a scent are often invisible to the world.
It was long believed that this masking can be misleading only to representatives of the same species. There is a certain "competition" between olfactory receptors and olfactory signaling molecules. If in the course of evolution a mutation occurs that slightly alters the structure of the molecule, the receptors may not be able to detect it. But because these same olfactory receptors of different animals are different, it is difficult to create a camouflage that would deceive them all.
A very clever caterpillar of the large blue butterfly (Phengarisarion) that lives in the ant houses of Myrmicasabuleti can be used as an example. Not only it lives there, but it also feeds on the ants' larvae. Most interestingly, it gets away with it because ants do not smell it.  
However, the scent molecules of this caterpillar can deceive only the ants of Myrmicasabuleti type. If the caterpillar gets into the nest of another species, it would stop being invisible and will be immediately killed. Other ants' smell receptors have a very different structure, so the olfactory camouflage will not work.
Biologists were surprised to discover a creature with the ability to remain "invisible" to completely different species. It is pirate perch (Aphredoderussayanus) found in North American waters, the fish appreciated by many aquarium owners. This perch is nearly omnivorous and therefore it attacks tadpoles and fry of other fish as well as aquatic insects with the same frequency. Simply put, its menu is very versatile. Interestingly, none of the victims smell the perch.
The results revealed that the insects and amphibians indeed avoided appearing in the ponds populated by predatory fish. However, this did not concern the pirate perch as they did not detect its presence. It was true for all the victims. Conducting controlled experiments, the scientists found that the insects and amphibians could not smell the predator. This allowed the bloodthirsty pirate to sneak up to the unsuspecting victim and grab it.
The article published by the zoologists mentions that the pirate perch somehow managed to become invisible for a number of potential victims. It is unclear how it was able to change the structure of its signaling molecules so that they are no longer picked up by completely different receptors. According to researchers, it remains to be seen with the help of biochemists.
So far this is the only example of universal chemical invisibility. However, scientists believe that this ability is not uncommon, and many other predatory fish also can mask from several kinds of animals. This is especially true for those types that hunt at night or lie in wait to ambush prey. The reason they have not been discovered is because they were not "caught in action" like it happened with the pirate perch.

source: pravadaru-By:AntonEvseyev
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Oprah named most influential celebrity for second year

Oprah Winfrey was crowned America's most influential celebrity for a second straight year on Friday, despite having dropped off daily television in 2011.

Forbes magazine ranked Winfrey, 59, ahead of Hollywood titans Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood and towering over other TV figures such as journalist Barbara Walters and financial guru Suze Orman.

 Forbes said that 48 percent of people surveyed rated Winfrey as influential, down just one point from last year. The list was drawn from polls of Americans conducted by E-Poll Market Research, which ranks more than 7,500 celebrities based on 46 different personality attributes.

Winfrey ended her daily "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May 2011 after 25 years to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which features lifestyle programming aimed at women.

After struggling in the ratings since its launch, OWN has seen audiences rise recently, thanks to Winfrey's January world exclusive with cyclist Lance Armstrong admitting to years of doping, and her wide-ranging interview with R&B singer Beyonce.

Forbes noted that Winfrey's magic had rubbed off as well, with one of her protégées, TV physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, ranking sixth on the list.

 Film directing, however, seems to be the profession most associated with influence, as four directors, including Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese, crowded into the Top 10.

E-Poll Chief Executive Gerry Philpott said that while influence could mean different things to different people, most often it reflects someone's impact on the culture.

Dropping out of the Top 10 entirely was last year's No. 2 finisher, actor Michael J. Fox, who has been out of the public eye of late.

Eastwood, who made headlines by addressing an empty chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention, rounded out the Top 10.

The Top 10 Most Influential Celebrities of 2013, according to Forbes are;

1. Oprah Winfrey, 2. Steven Spielberg, 3. Martin Scorsese, 4. Ron Howard, 5. George Lucas, 6. Dr. Mehmet Oz, 7. Barbara Walters, 8. Frontman Bono, 9. Suze Orman, 10. Clint Eastwood.

Source: Reuters

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Branson’s wedding is trunk'n disorderly

TYCOON Sir Richard Branson had a jumbo headache at his son’s wedding — when an ELEPHANT gate crashed it drunk.

The Virgin billionaire’s heir Sam wed society beauty Isabella Calthorpe at an idyllic South African game reserve.

But the happy couple tied the knot under a sacred marula tree, the fruit of which ferments into alcohol when ripe.

Their uninvited guest had already packed his trunk with the stuff and was tipsy by the time he reeled out of the bush and into the open-air reception.

He immediately began SCOFFING the wedding cake, which was elaborately decorated with strawberries and pieces of exotic fruit.

Then he SMASHED and UPTURNED tables and chairs at the immaculately decorated venue before rangers managed to shoo him away.

An onlooker said: “It was hilarious. He was really enjoying himself.

“He didn’t want to leave and couldn’t get enough of the cake.”

The marriage of Sam, 27, and Isabella, 32, was such a high society affair it had been dubbed “the nearly royal wedding”.

The glamorous guest list was topped by actress Kate Winslet, who is married to Sir Richard’s nephew Ned Rocknroll, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The reception was held on a hill called Nelson’s Koppie at the Inyati Game Reserve.

Most of the guests had just toddled off to bed when the boozy elephant ambled in around 5am — but his antics were the talk of the breakfast tables later.

One guest said: “It was lucky he didn’t arrive any earlier. He would have been quite a handful.”

Source: thesun.co.uk

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