What a weird week for weather, huh? On earth, it was so cold that Canada got frostquakes. In space, a massive solar flare sent so many particles hurtling toward us that northern lights were visible outside of the Arctic circle. Here are some landscape reads for this week, taking you under the sea and deep inside of trees.
There are more naturally glow-in-the-dark fish than we ever thought
"It's like they have their own little private light show going on," says John Sparks, a fish curator at the American Museum of Natural History. Sparks helped lead a new study cataloguing the pervasiveness of fluorescence in tropic fish. We can't see it with human eyes — the research required special yellow filter cameras — but we can imagine how coral reefs light up like a spectacular Christmas show for fish. [Nature]
The extreme cold was good news for trees
The invasive emerald ash-borer is, like invasive species are wont to be, a very resilient creature. "[The emerald ash borer] will cease feeding. It will stay under the bark so it's protected there. It will actually purge all the stomach contents of its gut because that could freeze," entomologist Tom Tiddens told NPR. But, as the polar vortex sent the midwest into a deep freeze, it may have cold enough to kill 80 percents of the insects. [NPR]
Millionaires, it's really hard to give away land for a national park
Roxanne Quimby, perhaps best known as the co-founder of Burt's Bees, and her son have spent years trying to give more than 100,000 acres to the federal government. What would be Katahdin Woods and Waters National Park has, however, been up against fierce opposition in Maine for reasons that shadow both local and national politics. [New York Times]
Who's stealing ferrets in England?
Nobody knows what's happening to all of the stolen ferrets (illegal drug research? black market pets? your best guess?), but rural England has seen a spate of thefts in recent years. Pest controllers use the ferrets to hunt for rabbits, and they are unhappy with the mystery thieves. Rabbits, however, have something to celebrate. [Wall Street Journal]
A symphony of trees
Trees have long been cut, carved, and polished into musical instruments, but Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto is making music from live, intact trees themselves. The Forest Symphony installation plays music based on recordings of a sensor that measures the "bioelectric potential of trees." It might seem jarring at first to see trees represented as data on the project's site, but what are trees but green factories optimised for storing energy from light waves? Nature is pared down to its essential equations and then reassembled — as art. [Forest Symphony]