Animals use electricity to move, and so electricity can be used to make them move, as the scientists at Backyard Brains show in a neat DIY experiment that can be done with a cockroach's leg. For a larger scale version, they connected the device to a squid, which produce pigmented cells called chromatophores to reflect light. By using an iPod blasting Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Membrane" as the stimulant, they discovered a lovely, abstract look at the process.
This planet is home to some incredibly awesome things, and every year we enjoy hearing about the new creatures that had, until recently, escaped biologists' attention. Among scientists' top 10 new species for 2010: A leech with gigantic teeth, a bioluminescent fungus, a mushroom with gills for breathing underwater and a spider that spins material 10 times stronger than Kevlar.
See them all in our gallery.
Isabella Rossellini returns this month to the Sundance Channel with a new set of episodes of her Green Porno series, which focuses on the mating habits of the animal kingdom. The very short films are set in a post-Muppet landscape of bright colors, simple sets, and massive paper costumes. The sequences are designed to be simple and punchy, to carry well on the Internet, mobile devices and other iterations of "the third screen."
This season moves from the insect world to the water, and includes a whale, a starfish, a limpet, and an anglerfish (although not all at once -- that would break with the scientifically accurate nature of the program).