Environment

Amorphophallus-Apr282012 worlds tallest flower
Environment Lighter News Science

World’s Largest (And Stinkiest) Plant About To Bloom Near Niagara Falls

It’s stinky and it’s huge—and it’s about to bloom.

The world’s tallest flower is set to bloom this week.

Its scientific name is The Amorphophallus titanium (Titan Arum for short).

The extremely rare flower is at the Niagara Parks’ Floral Showhouse, near the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in Ontario. When it blooms, it will be the 22nd of its kind to bloom in a botanical garden.

Titan Arum is also known as the corpse flower. That’s because of the stinky odour it gives off. It smells like rotting meat.

Its horrible smell helps the flower attract insects that it needs for pollination. (Lots of insects are attracted to rotting meat.)

Titan arum normally grows in the rainforests of Sumatra.

However, this one—and another one that is also growing and will bloom after the first one—was donated by a man who lives in New Hampshire, U.S.

Lake_Vostok_drill_2011
Environment News Science

Does Ancient Antarctic Lake Hold Secrets To Life In Outer Space?

A team of Russian scientists in Antarctica has found an ancient lake buried under more than three kilometres of ice.

The lake – Lake Vostok – has been sealed off from the rest of the world for at least 15 million years.

Scientists think the lake may contain tiny organisms, like bacteria, which are not found anywhere else on earth.

If the organisms exist in the lake, it would be because they have been able to adapt to living in the darkness, saltiness and extreme cold of the hidden lake. In that case, they would likely have developed special features that no other organisms on earth have.

World's smallest chameleon with a finger
Animals Environment News

World’s Smallest Chameleon Discovered

Scientists have discovered a chameleon so small it could sit on your little finger.

The chameleon, which is about three centimetres long, lives on a small island called Nosy Hara, off the coast of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean.

It is the smallest chameleon and possibly the smallest reptile ever discovered. It lives among rocks and leaves on the forest floor. At night it sleeps on plants, about five to 10 centimetres above the ground.

It is mostly grey and brown with an orange tail, and it doesn’t change colour like most chameleons do. The scientists say this is because it’s already the right colour to blend in with its surroundings.

Cycad at the royal palace grounds, Laung Prabang, Laos
Environment News Science

12-Million-Year-Old Plant May Soon Be Extinct

Cycads, a very rare type of plant, are in danger of becoming extinct because of poachers.

Poaching usually means to hunt animals illegally. In this case, trees are being taken from the wild.

They are then secretly sold for a lot of money – up to $100,000 each – to people who collect unusual plants.

The first cycads existed during the time of the dinosaurs, during the Jurassic period. The kinds of cycads that are alive today have been around for 12 million years.

They look like a cross between a fern and a palm tree, and they can take hundreds of years to grow to their full size.

Southeast Europe storm 26 January 2012
Environment News Science

Europe In The Grip Of A Cold Snap

Some countries in Europe are experiencing a bitterly cold winter.

Ukraine, in eastern Europe, has been especially hard hit. More than 100 people have died there in the last week, as temperatures dropped as low as -30C. Many of the people who froze to death were homeless people living in the city’s capital, Kiev.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, there have been avalanches and strong winds. The country declared a state of emergency.

One woman in Croatia had to have neighbours help her give birth to her baby after the ambulance could not reach her because of a blizzard. She later named her baby Snjezana, which is Snow White in Croatian.

Truck in Thai flood, 2011
Environment News

TKN Exclusive: How Thailand’s Floods Have Affected Me

Nat Atherton is a Canadian living and working in Thailand. He gave TKN a first-hand account of the day-to-day havoc this year’s floods have caused.

The flooding here has been horrible. It hasn’t yet come into the centre of the capital (Bangkok), where I live, but has affected many of the people I work with.

Many of the poorer Thais live in the surrounding areas, which are flooded chest deep (1.5 metres) in some places.

I know a great many people who have lost their houses.

Many others haven’t been able to go home to check on their homes since rivers of dirty water separate their work from their houses.

Many well-known tourist districts have also been affected, including the world’s largest outdoor market, Chatuchak.

Shark Lagoon at the proposed Toronto Aquarium
Animals Entertainment Environment

New Toronto Aquarium — 13,500 Creatures, Shark Tunnel

The people who are building a huge new aquarium in downtown Toronto have released some exciting new details about it.

Ripley’s Entertainment Corporation – which publishes Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – plans to open the aquarium in 2013.

It will be one of the largest aquariums in North America.

It will be located near the base of the CN Tower.

More than 13,500 underwater creatures from around the world will be on display at the aquarium.

There will be exhibits on jellyfish, seahorses, stingrays, the Great Lakes, tropical reefs and more.

The aquarium is designed to be fully interactive.

Bornean Rainbow Toad; image: Indraneil Das/AP
Animals Environment Science

“Extinct” Rainbow Toad Found In Borneo

A colourful, spindly-legged toad was recently spotted by scientists in Borneo.

The last time anyone had seen it was 1924, when it was reported by European explorers.

The bright green, purple and red toad is known as the Sambas Stream Toad, or the Borneo Rainbow Toad.

Many people had assumed it was extinct.

In July, three of the toads were found on three separate trees in Borneo, Indonesia which is an island off the coast of Southeast Asia. Borneo is the third-largest island in the world.

A professor at the Sarawak Malaysia University led the expedition to look for the toads.

Rita and Albert Chretien
Environment News

BC Woman Survived In Wilderness For Seven Weeks

A woman from British Columbia, who was lost for nearly 50 days, has been found alive. Rita Chretien left Penticton, B.C. with her husband, Albert. They were going to a trade show in Las Vegas when they decided to go off-road to see some landscape. They got turned around and their van became stuck in mud on a remote road in northeastern Nevada.

The couple waited for three days before Albert set out for help.

Meanwhile, Rita survived eating a small amount of trail mix and other food the couple had in the van. When that ran out, she stayed alive by eating melted snow.

Environment Science

“Uncontacted” Tribes Found In Brazil

There are some people in Brazil who have never met a person from the “modern” world. They live in the rainforest. They don’t have houses or cars or computers. They are an “uncontacted tribe” of people.

The tribe’s people live in huts, hunt animals, and make their own tools. Photos show them with black and red dye on their bodies, holding long sticks.