Monkey Orchids: Dracula Simia And Dracula Anthracina Flowers Look Like Baboons (PHOTOS)

Orchid see, orchid do.

That's right. Despite their uncanny resemblance to some baboons, these are actually two distinct types of orchids: Dracula simia and Dracula anthracina.

According to the University of British Columbia's Botanical Garden and Centre For Plant Research, Dracula simia translates to "little dragon monkey." It was named in 1978 and grows between 3,280 and 6,560 feet above sea level in forests in southeast Ecuador. Its name comes in part from its cape and fang-like resemblance, evocative of the Count Dracula character from the Bram Stoker classic.

Eeerkia Schulz, a 57-year-old amateur photographer, snapped these photos at the Gardens of Herrenhausen flower show in Hanover, Germany.

"When I found these flowers I couldn't believe how much they looked like monkeys," Schulz said, according to Caters News Agency. "I can't believe how lovely they are and everyone that I show pictures of them to are instantly surprised just like me."

Nature doesn’t need an audience. These wonderful orchids come from the south-eastern Ecuadorian and Peruvian cloud forests from elevations of 1000 to 2000 meters and as such not many people throughout history got to see them. However, thanks to intrepid collectors we do get to see this wonderful Monkey Orchid. Someone didn’t need much imagination to name it though, let’s face it.

Its scientific name is Dracula simia, the last part nodding towards the fact that this remarkable orchid bears more than a passing resemblance to a monkey’s face – although we won’t go as far as to be species specific on this one. The Dracula (genus) part of its name refers to the strange characteristic of the two long spurs of the sepals, reminiscent of the fangs of a certain Transylvanian count of film and fiction fame. (Source)

Rock Stars Wearing War bonnet

The wearing of American Indian regalia by non-Indians, particularly the feather headdress or “war bonnet,” is a vexing issue in Indian country. It’s stirred up a lot of controversy in recent years as a hipster fashion trend, but it’s been with us for decades. Still, many people of all races wonder, what’s the big deal?

Adrienne K of Native Appropriations writes that a non-Indian casually wearing an Indian headdress “furthers the stereotype that Native peoples are one monolithic culture, when in fact there are 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures.

It also places Native people in the historic past, as something that cannot exist in modern society. We don’t walk around in ceremonial attire everyday, but we still exist and are still Native.” She also draws attention to the deep spiritual significance of a headdress and maintains that when a non-Indian wears one “it’s just like wearing blackface.”

In a post at the author writes of wearing the headdress: “Unfortunately if you’re a woman, you’re thumbing your nose at our culture which explicitly disallows you to wear the headdress. … If you’re a man, it’s still not appropriate to wear one, unless you’ve actually earned it, according to your tribe (no, you cannot pretend you’ve made a new tribe etc.)”

We won’t pretend that every single Native would agree with these statements—Indians are not a monolithic culture—but certainly many, perhaps even most, would say they dislike the headdress’s status as a gimmicky costume or hipster fashion accessory. But non-Native musicians seem particularly enamored of it—here are a baker’s dozen who’ve donned the feathers:

1. Jamiroquai

British band Jamiroquai gets its name from tacking “jam” onto (slightly misspelled) “Iroquois.” So lead singer Jay Kay obviously digs the Indians in his own jammy way. Although perhaps he does not dig them enough to do the research.

2. Outkast

Outkast’s performance at the 2004 Grammy Awards may be one of the most detested cultural misappropriations, largely because of the Poca-hottie dancers filling up the stage, but the buckskin getups worn by Andre 3000 and Big Boi certainly didn’t help. But it is the DJ (possibly Mr. DJ, Outkast’s go-to spinner) who really takes the cake, wearing a giant headdress as he scratches. Get down with your bad self, Chief. Suzan Shown Harjo, writing for Indian Country Today, described the costumes as “Indian drag” and remarked of her Grammy-watching experience, “I felt like I’d been mugged in my own home.”

3. Karen O

With this adornment the lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs begs the question, “is a feather headdress sacred if it’s not made of feathers?” Karen O’s is made of hand-shaped fabric cutouts—they’re clearly meant to suggest American Indian garb (as are the rainbow-colored tennis shoe-moccasins), but has Karen (or her designer) “done enough” to distance this from a true headdress?

4. Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent probably thinks he can get away with anything he wants because he is crazy as a loon, and except when he suggests he might kill the President he pretty much does. So it’s little surprise that he busts out this enormous gag headdress whenever he can. It’s ironic that the man who wrote “Great White Buffalo” in praise of Native American lifeways could be so clueless about the significance of this headdress.

5. Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater

Chicago blues man Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater doesn’t have any known Native heritage, but he does have a hat. He often wears it on stage; like many of the musicians here he probably doesn’t see any harm in it. Now, naming one of his albums Reservation Blues—that was pushing it a bit, we thinks.

6. Ke$ha

Even those who have no interest in American Indian culture gave this outfit a hearty whaaaa…? when Ke$ha wore it on American Idol. And then they proceeded to rip her showmanship. Newsday blogger Jamshid Mousavinezhad wrote a post titled “Kesha Annoys Us All on American Idol“ in which declared it “a train wreck of a performance.”

7. Stevie Ray Vaughan

8. Thundercat

Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner is a bass player who’s worked with Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg, and has been the touring bassist for Suicidal Tendencies since 2002. You might for a moment think he’s going all in on the pretendian thing with the name Thundercat—but he’s not. It comes from the ’80s animated series about cat-like space warriors.

9. Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki ft. Kid Cudi & Travis Barker 'Cudi The Kid' from Jam Sutton on Vimeo.

Producer/DJ Steve Aoki wears it at the beginning and end of this video for “Cudi the Kid (ft. Travis Barker and Kid Cudi)”—he probably thinks the cultural mashup of a Japanese guy in a feather headdress looks cool. Not as cool as the burning clowns and psychotic nuns we see later in the clip, but still, not bad. Sacred regalia can’t really compete with burning clowns, but then, what can?

10- Juliette & the Licks

The Indian headdress was a favored accessory of proto-hipster Juliette Lewis during her run as the lead singer of Juliette & the Licks. For some artists, though, the goal is to be offensive, and all there is to do is congratulate her on achieving it.

11. 1910 Fruitgum Company

Sometimes an album cover doesn’t directly relate to any of the music on the disc—sadly, that was not the case with Indian Giver, an album by bubblegum popsters 1910 Fruitgum Co. Actual lyrics to the title track included “Indian giver, Indian giver / You took your love away from me. / Indian giver, Indian giver, / Took back the love you gave to me.” With a song like that, you might as well go whole hog and Skin it up on the cover. They’re mixing their metaphors here, though — Pocahontas (Eastern), feather headdress (Plains), and cigars (wooden).

12. Dr. John

In his early days, Dr. John performed as Dr. John the Nite Tripper, and wore a feather headdress that has some American Indian styling to it. However, Dr. John has always been fascinated with voodoo, so its possible that the real target of his disrespect is Haiti, with only a glancing blow struck against American Indians.

13. The Dirty Diamond

Here’s some not-bad psychedelia from a group that clearly worships at the altar of George Harrison and Ravi Shankar. You have to wonder, though, why nobody on the set thought to tap lead singer Sam Babayan on the shoulder and whisper in his ear, “Dude, wrong kind of Indian…”
Via Indian Country Today (Article originally published)

Feathered war bonnets (also called warbonnets or headdresses) are worn by honored Plains Indian men. In the past they were sometimes worn into battle, but most often worn for ceremonial occasions as is the case today. They are seen as items of great spiritual and magical importance.[1][2] The eagle is considered by Plains tribes as the greatest and most powerful of all birds, and thus the finest bonnets are made out of its feathers.

Its beauty was considered of secondary importance; the bonnet's real value was in its supposed power to protect the wearer. The bonnet is still only to be worn on special occasions and is highly symbolic.

The bonnet had to be earned through brave deeds in battle because the feathers signified the deeds themselves. Some warriors might have obtained only two or three honor feathers in their whole lifetime, so difficult were they to earn.

Today will be one second longer than usual, and we have the moon to thank for the extra time.

A "leap second" will be added to the world's official clocks this evening (June 30), to account for the fact that Earth's rotation is slowing ever so slightly — meaning our days are getting longer, at the rate of about 1.4 milliseconds every 100 years.

"At the time of the dinosaurs, Earth completed one rotation in about 23 hours," Daniel MacMillan, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in a statement. "In the year 1820, a rotation took exactly 24 hours, or 86,400 standard seconds. Since 1820, the mean solar day has increased by about 2.5 milliseconds."

It's happening because of tidal forces between the Earth and moon. This mutual gravitational jostling results in the transfer of our planet's rotational momentum to the moon, pushing it away from us at about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) per year.

Earth's rotational slowdown won't stop until it becomes tidally locked to the moon, researchers say — meaning we will always show the same face to our celestial neighbor. The moon is tidally locked to Earth now, keeping its far side forever out of sight. [Hit Snooze: 10 Best Alarm Clocks]

Scientists figured out the planet's lagging rotation rate using a technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry. VLBI measures how long it takes radio waves emitted by faraway active black holes called quasars — the brightest objects in the universe — to reach a network of telescopes set up around the world.

From the tiny differences in arrival times to these various instruments, researchers can calculate Earth's rotational speed and a number of other interesting characteristics about our planet and its path through space.

Decades ago, scientists realized that some measurements and technologies required more precise timekeeping than Earth's rotation could provide. So in 1967, they officially changed the definition of a second, basing it on measurements of electromagnetic transitions in cesium atoms rather than the length of a day.

Such "atomic clocks" are accurate to approximately one second in 200 million years, researchers say. The widely used time standard based on the cesium atom is called Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC.

Timekeepers add leap seconds to UTC every once in a while to square it up with another time standard that's based on Earth's day length. So June 30 will get an extra second just before 8 p.m. EDT (midnight GMT on July 1).

The master clock at the U.S. Naval Observatory will move to 7:59:60 p.m. EDT, or 23:59:60 UTC, before ticking over. In practice, this means that clocks in many systems will be turned off for one second, NASA researchers said.

Saturday's adjustment will mark the 25th time a leap second has been added since the practice was initiated in 1972. The most recent leap second was inserted on New Year's Eve of 2008. (Source)

VIDEO UN Debate: Should We Use Earth Time or Manmade Time?

There's a leap second scheduled for June, and this one little second has sparked a big discussion over how humanity keeps time.

James Ayer's paintings of Native American history are not just the results of a simple act with the stroke of a brush. A lot of time and attention to details are paid by him. His paintings are actually the result of years of research combined with his personal exploration and observation.

During this time he studies historic artifacts and researches customs and rituals. Then he combines all of these with his understanding of the struggles of modern Native American cultures.

All of this started shortly after he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991. It was then that he began to travel, live, and work with indigenous peoples worldwide. He still continues to do that to this present day.

In his own words he describes these experiences; "In the course of my exploration and research, I have had the honor of experiencing dozens of tribal customs and cultures, including the semi-nomadic Samburu and Turkana people in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Native American reservations from Maine to Arizona, where I lived with the Iroquois in the Northeast, the Sioux in the Great Plains, and the Hopi in the Southwest. I have also witnessed the Arapaho Sundance Ceremony during a visit to the Wind River Reservation in Ethete, Wyoming and spent time with the Traditional Navajo weavers and sheepherders at the historic Toadlena Trading Post region of the Navajo reservation in New Mexico."

"Most of my paintings are fictionalized accounts of Native American lifeways rather than literal representations of specific events. Yet, I make sure that every facet of my work is historically correct — from the style of a man’s plaited hair to the weapons used and even the motifs which decorate tipis, clothing, and shields.

Out of respect and honor for the people and cultures I paint, I strive to achieve the utmost honesty and authenticity I can attain. I have a belief that this authenticity provides a more poignant impression for the viewer." Enjoy some of his wonderful paintings below.

Bring It On - Mandan by James Ayers

With Her Thoughts – Lakota by James Ayers

Undaunted Brave – Cheyenne by James Ayers

Boundless Warriors by James Ayers; Ute

"Mountain Spirit" by James Ayers

Prayer to the Great Spirit

Contemplative Gaze – Lakota

Daytime Gaze

Two Souls, One Spirit

Her Husband’s Shirt

High and Mighty

Message of Love

Kiowa Cradleboard

Beaver Felt Hat

Official website of James Ayers


Adorable baby sloths

From tiny hedgehogs to playful puppies, baby animals are undoubtedly some of the most adorable things on the planet -- turning even the toughest among us into cooing balls of happiness.

But baby sloths -- with their placid smiles and bright, beguiling eyes -- are perhaps the most nom-worthy of them all.

Sloths move only when necessary and even then very slowly: they have about a quarter as much muscle tissue as other animals of similar weight. They can move at a marginally higher speed if they are in immediate danger from a predator (4 m or 13 feet per minute for the three-toed sloth), but they burn large amounts of energy doing so. Their specialised hands and feet have long, curved claws to allow them to hang upside-down from branches without effort.

While they sometimes sit on top of branches, they usually eat, sleep, and even give birth hanging from limbs. They sometimes remain hanging from branches after death. On the ground the maximum speed of the three-toed sloth is 2 m or 6.5 feet per minute.

It had been thought that sloths were among the most somnolent animals, sleeping from 15 to 18 hours each day. Recently, however, Dr. Neil Rattenborg and his colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Starnberg, Germany, published a study testing sloth sleep-patterns in the wild; this is the first study of its kind. The study indicated that sloths sleep just under 10 hours a day.

Sloths go to the ground to urinate and defecate about once a week, digging a hole and covering it afterwards. They go to the same spot each time and are vulnerable to predation while doing so. The reason for this risky behaviour is unknown, although some believe that it is to avoid making noise while defecating from up high that would attract predators. Consistent with this, they reportedly relieve themselves from their branches during storms in the rainy season. Another possible explanation is that the middens provide the sloths with one of their few methods of finding one another for breeding purposes, since their sense of smell is far more acute than their eyesight or hearing. It has also been pointed out that individual sloths tend to spend the bulk of their time feeding on a single "modal" tree; by burying their excreta near the trunk of that tree, they may help nourish it.
(Via Wikipedia)

VIDEO Too Cute! Baby Sloths