South America

Showing 16 posts tagged South America

This incredible animation by Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck chronicles the story of British naturalist, anthropologist, biologist, geographer, and intrepid adventurer Alfred Russel Wallace, who was also Charles Darwin's lesser-known partner on the joint presentation On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. From Smithsonian Mag: 

It was during fits of malaria that Wallace started to come up with the idea of natural selection. He sent his manuscript to Darwin, who puts together a set of notes to be presented alongside Wallace’s. When the Linnean Society of London hears the case for natural selection in 1858, Wallace and Darwin share the credit.

So what happened? Why do we remember Darwin and not Wallace? Well, for one, when Darwin published On the Origin of Species, he barely mentions Wallace at all. And Wallace doesn’t complain. In fact, he loves the book. And with that, he fades away.

Though we doubt the story was quite that simple. Read more about the differences of their ideas, see more of Wallace’s Collection (like these) at London’s Natural History Museum, and check out another of his contributions: the Wallace Line.

Related watching: TED Ed’s Five Fingers of Evolution and How Mendel’s pea plants helped us understand genetics, and previously from Lichtman and Shattuck, a favorite: Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale).

via sagan sense.

Check out this bright green and blue Four-Toed Whiptail Lizard, Teius Teyou, a common animal in the grassy sands of Paraguay, South America. Biologist Dr Jonny Miller introduces the reptile, named for the four long, spindly toes on its back feet.

Only Superman himself could chase and catch one of these lizards - the one I’m holding in the video had fallen into a bucket trap from which I retrieved it. Bucket traps are designed for exactly that purpose - for animals to fall into! Biologists and conservationists use them to discover what species of small animal, particularly reptiles and amphibians, small mammals and large insects, are living in the area. The traps are checked regularly, a note of any visitors is made, and the bucket guests are then released as quickly as possible into the habitat.

Dr. Miller is currently in Paraguay studying capuchin monkeys and has been blogging about the animals there at planetparaguay.com.

In the archives with Dr. Miller: the Common Potoo and the aforementioned Red-Tailed Vanzosaur.

In 2002, Brazilian engineer Alfredo Moser invented a simple way to bring the sun’s light indoors: fill a clear plastic 2 liter bottle with water and two capfuls of bleach, then make a hole in the roof and secure it with a waterproof sealant.

The result: 40 to 60 watts of free, natural light.

How does it work? The bleach keeps the water from turning green, and the water refracts sunlight. To see this innovative but simple invention in action, watch the the ecoideasnet video above (with captions on). Chilean Miguel Marchand helps to install the bottle lights, or Moser Lamps, in the home of a family that lives in the Andes.

Around 1.6 billion people — 25% of the Earth’s population — live without electricity, but with this simple idea, they can enjoy sustainable light in their home for free. Moser Lamps are becoming popular solutions in the PhilippinesIndia, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Argentina, Fiji, and other countries, and give an incredibly useful second life to plastic bottles.

If you make a Moser Lamp, please contact us by twitter, facebook, or email to let us know!

h/t BBC News

Related watching: La casa ecológica de botellas, and more videos about sustainability.