NatGeo :: Mystery Solved: Why We Sunburn



via National Geographic

Mystery Solved: Why We Sunburn.



Though the culprit of sunburn is obviously sun exposure, researchers have gotten down to a chemical level in order to explain the event. When killed by ultraviolet light, a certain type of RNA in a cell breaks down. This sends out a message to surrounding cells that results in inflammation in healthy skin around the dead cell. The RNA responsible for sunburn is a noncoding RNA, meaning it controls how our genes work as opposed to holding genetic information.


As much as we dislike sunburn, the inflammation may actually help as it allows our skin to heal after ridding itself of the dead cells. The researchers also theorize that the inflammation may also help to kill cells with genetic damage lessening the chance of them becoming cancerous. The findings of this study may aid in the development of inflammation blockers which would go a long way in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.




Alphabet Challenge :: U :: Ural Owl

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge


Ural Owls – Photo Gallery – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine.

via Encyclopedia Britannica Kids

– Scientific Classification – – Ural Owl

Fun fact about owl wing structure: in order to fly as silently as they do, their feathers lack barbicels. These are the third degree of feather structure after barbs and barbules that provide cohesion. Without them, the feathers are downy. They also act as insulation.

Alphabet Challenge :: C :: Corals

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge

Corals, Coral Pictures, Coral Facts – National Geographic.

Most people may not realize that coral reefs are centered around actual organisms. Coral polyps are invertebrates (related to sea anemones and jellyfish) surrounded by a limestone skeleton called a calicle. The polyps attach to rocks, bud and clone, and begin the basis of a coral reef. Once attached to one another, forming a colony, the polyps act as a single organism. The joining of colonies over hundreds and thousands of years is what form coral reefs. A single polyp can live for 2 years to hundreds of years and colonies can survive 5 years to several centuries. Since coral polyps are actually translucent animals, the bright colors come from the association with zooxanthellae algae.

When stressed by such things as temperature change or pollution, corals will evict their boarders, causing coral bleaching that can kill the colony if the stress is not mitigated

The destruction of coral reefs is becoming an issue leaving coral in an endangered status.

Corals are so sensitive to climatic change that scientists study coral reef fossils to construct highly detailed chronologies of prehistoric climate patterns.

Photosynthesis from the algae support the coral for the most part, but they also posses barbed, venomous tentacles that can be used to capture zooplankton and small fish. Though coral covers about 1% of the ocean floor, they support about 25% of all marine creatures. Within 30 years, threats to coral reefs (pollution, sedimentation, global warming, etc.) could kill 30% of the remaining coral reefs.

DEEPSEA CHALLENGE – National Geographic Explorer James Cameron’s Expedition

James Cameron speaking at TED 2010.

James Cameron speaking at TED 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DEEPSEA CHALLENGE – National Geographic Explorer James Cameron’s Expedition.

James Cameron had a successful trip to Earth’s deepest point! You can use the link above to learn more about his expedition.

Video — World’s Deadliest Scorpion? — National Geographic

via Wikipedia

Video — World’s Deadliest Scorpion? — National Geographic.

Scorpions are gross. This one, the Indian Red scorpion, is 50-90mm of “don’t tick me off”.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Chelicerata
  • Order: Arachnida
  • Family: Scorpiones
  • Genus: Hottentotta
  • Species: H. tamulus

After being stung by this species, symptoms include:

Children are the most frequent victims of this arachnid. The cardiovascular and pulmonary systems are most affected by the venom.



  1. Wikipedia – Indian Red Scorpion