Entries tagged with: nature

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*rugenius in food+drink - 2 Notes

The London Chestnut Harvest

chestnutmain.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

While most of the rest of the country is caught up in the Apple Harvest, we have a slightly more unusual harvest at this time of year, chestnuts. Chestnuts aren’t everywhere in the city, but where they are, they can’t be missed. Native to Japan and China, some of London’s tree are over 400 years old, having been planted primarily as decorative trees. The trees are heavy with nuts, which start off in tennis ball green balls of excruciatingly sharp spikes that mature into a mellower brown and when that happens, there’s a bit of a frenzy. Not just from human collectors (of which there are a fair few!), but also from squirrels, parrots and other wildlife as the trees unleash literally tons of food!

Processing chestnuts is by far the most time-consuming, labor-intensive and absurd culinary activity we’ve ever taken on (this from a couple that make their own marshmallows and ice cream from scratch), but it’s also one of the most satisfying transformations from tree to delicacy I’ve ever attempted!

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

Bob Croslin's Bird Series

bcbarnswallow.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

The photographs that make up this bird series from photographer Bob Croslin are striking. With clean black backgrounds and incredibly sharp focus, there are no distractions from the beautiful features of Croslin’s avian subjects. The series captures injured animals from The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in the Gulf Coast of Florida. The sanctuary has been helping injured birds for 40 years and has rehabilitated thousands of individuals and the species range from delicate swallows to the heftier spoonbills and pelicans. I love how the individuals look so composed, almost defiant in their portraits. See some more of our favorite images from the series on the next page!

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*notcot in playful - 2 Notes

Mark Hoppus' Octopus

hoppus1.jpg On surprise packages that arrived while i was out of town… this amazing box came from Mark Hoppus ~ the play on his last name has created/enhanced his affinity for octopi, naturally having one as his personal logo. There’s not much to say here ~ the goodies pretty much speak for themselves… letterpressed. octopus. in a top hat! thats the coaster… and also some basic octopus logo stickers and a baseball cap. Check out the details on the next page! (Thanks, Mark!)

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*rugenius in home+decor - 1 Notes

By Nord Autumn/Winter 2012

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The Danish designers of By Nord create stunning products “inspired by the diversity of the raw yet beautiful Nordic nature”. Their products are minimalist, yet capture the incredible detail of their subjects. By Nord’s new Autumn/Winter ‘12 line includes gorgeous new line of bedding, including king and queen sized duvet covers and a pretty line of bone china ornaments for Christmas including polar bears, reindeer and penguins!(yes, we know it’s only September, but they’re beautiful!). More photos of the new line (and a few old favorites) on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

The Maras of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

maramainpic.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

When you first see a Mara or Patagonian cavy (Dolichotis patagonum), it’s hard to know what to make of it. It looks like a chimerical creature, part rabbit, part deer with it’s hunched posture and long slender legs. But the mara is neither! They are actually rodents and most closely related to guinea pigs. Those long deer-like legs are adaptations for running and even have hoof-like claws on the hind feet! All advantageous for foraging in their native Argentine grasslands. These little creatures can reach speeds of 45 kilometres per hour.

Maras are one of the few mammals species that appear to be truly monogamous, pairing for life and with pairs generally avoiding and fending off others of the same species. Yet curiously, maras raise their young together in communal creches! Like guinea pigs, the babies (usually 2) are born well developed with their eyes open.

We encountered this lot at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, where maras are one of three species which have more or less free range throughout the park. It’s a great place to encounter them and it’s fascinating to watch them play and forage among and between all of the other animal enclosures. We spotted a new baby too, which was the size of a young rabbit (and extremely cute!). More photos on the next page and you can find out more about these charming little creatures from ARKive!

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*notcot in travel - 1 Notes

Tuscan Trees + Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake

firenze0.jpg Currently in Florence, Italy with Mercedes-Benz to try out the new CLS Shooting Brake. It’s quite fun (esp the AMG one) ~ and even prettier in person! Josh Rubin of CoolHunting and i were driving together for much of today, and as we went from airport to castle to florence and such, we were ultimately hunting for the ultimate tree/forest lined spot to shoot some car pictures… and as i was driving, Josh suddenly found the perfect spot and although we had to go a few twists and turns before being able to safely turn back to make it up the street he spotted, it was totally worth it!

Welcome to Localit√† Lilliano near Poggibonsi, Siena, Italy. It is one of the most magical streets you’ll ever wander down. The trees are AMAZING. The way they branch… the lush green color… the way they line the whole street… the way the sunlight dances through the leaves and off the matte designo magno white paint job of the CLS Shooting Brake… SO. before i crash this 3am, i had to share these pictures of the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake and the trees on the next page!!!

p.s.
There’s something very Rorschach looking about some of the tree images!

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*rugenius in design - 0 Notes

Anachroquarianism by Kristjana S Williams

animalmap.jpgThe latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as we begin our coverage of London Design Festival 2012.

To kick off London Design Festival 2012 we caught up with the talented natural history inspired illustrator Kristjana S Williams, whom we featured earlier for her work with Zubrowka. Her latest exhibition, Anachroquarianism, is housed in the gorgeous Shapero Rare Books, a gem of a store specializing in antiquarian prints, rare books and other treasures located on Saint George Street just off Hanover Square. We loved the bookshop setting and the way Williams’ beautiful illustrations worked with the backdrop of antiquarian collectibles and natural history prints and illustrations from the 19th century.

The exhibition opened to the public on September 14th and will run until the 22nd as a part of the London Design Festival 2012 and Williams’ limited editions prints will be available both at the exhibition and online from Outline Editions. See more photos of the press preview and some of our favorite pieces next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

Todd Forsgren's Ornithological Photographs

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

It’s an unusual sight for most of us, beautiful birds captured on camera, not in the freedom of flight, but tangled in the confines of mist nets. Photographer Todd Forsgren captures birds in unusual poses. Inspired by the work of Audubon, bird-watcher Forsgren’s photos shows fascinating bird species captured in mist nets, the thin barely visible nets that act like huge spiderwebs used by researchers to collect data on birds.

Unlike Audubon’s original subjects which were shot, stuffed/mounted, then painted, Forsgren’s subjects are only briefly captured by researchers before being released (after being weighed, measured and given leg rings). The photographs are poignant and beautiful glimpses at some rarely seen species in often awkward poses, which Forsgren describes as the “fragile and embarrassing moment before they disappear back into the woods, and into data”. Beautiful! See more selections from the series on the next page!

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Ross Penrose: Inside Nature's Giants

skeletal1.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of New Designers 2012 Part 2, which is open to the public from July 4th - 7th.

For his BA Graphic Design course at Plymouth College of Art, Ross Penrose created a line of merchandise inspired by Channel 4’s Inside Nature’s Giants series. Ross came up with the idea when watching the fascinating anatomical series (as we all do!). I love the detailing of his work. The beautiful scale models are pre-laser cut on sheets of plywood (with gorgeous detailing!) and all come together in a single pack including a hardcover book of information about the anatomy of the species you construct! More photos on the next page.

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*rugenius in design - 0 Notes

Hayley Dix's Wire Wonderland

hayleydix-newdesigners-2012-3631.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of New Designers 2012, which is open to the public from June 27th-30th.

Another highlight from New Designers this year was the Wire Wonderland series from Hayley Dix. The beautiful wireframe birds look like charming, whimsical drawings perched on real branches! They are both abstracted and natural at the same time. More photos of the adorable woodland creatures on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

Tiny Pheasant Chicks!

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw as she shares some of her work with London’s largest city farm, Mudchute Park & Farm.

We’ve had Wyandotte chicks and little mandarin ducklings, but the latest brood are the tiniest little precocious chicks yet. Fitting comfortably in an espresso cup, the latest arrivals are golden pheasants (Chrysolophus pictus), an ornamental breed native to the forests in mountainous areas of western China.

You can also see the little chicks on the Mudchute Farm blog and be sure to visit the them at the farm, where they are currently living in a brooder near Pets Corner. Lots of hatching pics and video on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

Raphael Kim's Rotifer Farm

rotimain.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of Show RCA 2012. The show opens to the public on the 20th of June and closes on the 1st of July.

Love this project from Raphael Kim, a fellow former biologist, Kim’s project is not only a beautiful piece to look at, but also biologically fascinating! His Rotifer Farm is all about interactions between microbial communities and people. As Kim points out, we have few conscious interactions with this incredible diversity of creatures (the only time we even notice them is usually when you come down with a stomach bug!).

Rotifer Farm is a home designed to explore interactions between humans and this microscopic world of rotifers. Rotifers are a group of considerable scientific interest on account of their incredible hardiness as well as fascinating locomotion (via coronal cilia), parthenogenetic reproduction. However, they’re not a group we consciously interact with much outside of the lab. Kim’s Rotifer Farm takes the microbial communities outside of the lab creating an intermediate space between the world of research labs and our everyday lives, creating a more tangible experience.

The farm is organized in a number of different circuits with different developmental stages (including those pretty pink eggs) and comes with pipettes for moving your little rotifer friends from one section to the next. Raphael even went to spend a few months with a rotifer specialist in Okinawa, where he obtained some of these incredible images and videos of rotifers feeding and glowing.

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*rugenius in wearable - 1 Notes

Emma Montague's Mandibular Eyewear!

montague-RCA-2012-2971.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of Show RCA 2012. The show opens to the public on the 20th of June and closes on the 1st of July.

As a natural history enthusiast who spends her spare time surrounded by skeletons, I was intrigued when I recognized cervid mandibles at the jewellery section of the Show RCA 2012. These incredible sunglasses are the work of Emma Montague of the Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery department. Emma was inspired by the relationship between the shape of the jaw bone and sunglasses when she put her Ray Bans down beside a mandible (as you do!). The result are a beautiful series of sunglasses made from black horn, the jaw bones of deer and acetate. They are the byproduct of trophies and in the collection, Emma marries luxury and decay and the raw with the refined. As for the mandibles? They come from the deer culled by The British Deer Society. More photos of the series on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

Illustrations by Sophie Alice Wiltshire

illmug0.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of Show RCA 2012. The show opens to the public on the 20th of June and closes on the 1st of July.

Another highlight from Show RCA 2012, is the work of ceramist and illustrator Sophie Alice Wiltshire. Wiltshire’s beautiful illustrations make gorgeous mugs and stunning tiles! Her illustrations are inspired by visits to the incredible spirit collections at the Natural History Museum, London (which are my favorite collection there too!). More photos of her beautiful natural history inspired pieces on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

How to Hatch Your Own Eggs

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This post is sponsored by Bing. Only Bing brings the best search and the best people from your favorite social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, together to help you spend less time searching and more time doing. ¬†It’s amazing what you can do when your friends are part of your search.

Lately, you’ve seen our Wyandotte Chicks and our Mandarin Duckling swimming ~ our incredible editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw, has been busy adding poultry hatching and running a nursery for adorable baby chicks and ducks at home on top of her busy tasks with NOTCOT lately! So when Bing approached us to sponsor posts to share some of our expertise, this seemed like an amazing opportunity to share what the whole team here at NOTCOT has been learning about how to hatch poultry from Justine! So read on to see what she has to teach us! (As well as lots of fun pictures and videos!)

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

Duckling Swimming Underwater!

duckmain.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

As a little side project, I’ve been helping hatch poultry for the always wonderful Mudchute Park & Farm and our most recent arrivals have been two beautiful Mandarin ducklings. You can find out more about their incubation and see the eldest just after hatching on the Mudchute blog.

Ducklings should be introduced to water early on as these mandarins would naturally have jumped from their nest in a hole in a tree and headed straight for the water with their mom. So we got a paint tray (they’re ideal because they are fairly shallow and graded, allowing the ducklings to get in and out of the water on their own and introduced the ducklings on their first day post-hatching. I expected the little ducklings to paddle contentedly at the surface, but to my surprise, the youngest duckling dove right in and began swimming underwater (more like you might expect from a gannet, puffin or penguin!). She does it in a crazed frenzy, swimming madly around, completely submerged then leaping out of the water entirely! It’s all a mad blur in real time, but photos capture the frenzy (and mess), her expression almost reminds me of the portraits of dogs underwater. More photos of our adorable little duckling splashing around on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

From Tadpole to Toadlet

toadlet-main.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

This spring, I had the opportunity to raise a number of toads from tadpole and track their development along the way! Metamorphosis is always fascinating and it’s incredible to see how much they change as they grow on their journey from tadpole to toadlet! More photos and video on the next page.

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

Breeding Jellyfish at the Horniman Aquarium

mainjelly.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

In addition to showcasing beautiful displays, the staff of the aquarium at the Horniman Museum and Gardens also conduct fascinating research into the species in their collection, including coral reef diseases and embryonic development. The team have shared some gorgeous photos from their research into the breeding of Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) with us and they provide a beautiful insight into this very complicated life cycle! More photos of the beautiful and otherworldly looking phases of developing jellies on the next page.

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*notcot in nature - 0 Notes

Environment Exhibitions at RHS Chelsea

environmental.jpg A little botanical inspiration from our London-based editor Justine Aw, who visited this year’s RHS Chelsea, which is open to the public from May 22nd to 26th.

The “Environment” section at RHS Chelsea was one of my favorite corners of The Great Pavilion. The section is new to the show and housed some of the most interesting displays that seemed so relevant to urban London, exploring how we can find green spaces in the city and manage to fit plants into our busy metropolis. From hydroponic air-lifted green soilless bottle walls to cress growing in a grid of bottle caps and even plants growing in old sneakers! See it all on the next page…

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

Carnivorous Plants at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

carnivorousmain.jpg A little botanical inspiration from our London-based editor Justine Aw, who visited this year’s RHS Chelsea, which is open to the public from May 22nd to 26th.

As you know, here at NOTCOT, we adore our carnivorous plants (remember our own cape sundew? and trips up to California Carnivores?). Well, the carnivorous plants on display at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show did not disappoint. Although I only spotted two stands of carnivores on display, they were both stunning with some remarkable specimens from glistening sundews, to delicately drooping pitcher plants. Enjoy more photos of carnivorous plants at Chelsea on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 1 Notes

The Westland Magical Gardens by Diarmuid Gavin

chelsea-main.jpg A little botanical inspiration from our London-based editor Justine Aw, who visited this year’s RHS Chelsea, which is open to the public from May 22nd to 26th.

My highlight of this year’s show was almost certainly The Westland Magical Garden designed by Diarmuid Gavin. The enormous structure is over seven stories high and home to over 3,000 plants. From the ground, it simply looks like an overwhelming fortress, a tangle of greenery and scaffolding from below, but is home to so many treasures and makes stunning use of the space and views! It is seven stories of surprises! Above all, it remains playful with swings, ludic furniture and an incredible slide all the way to the ground from the fifth floor!

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

NOTCOT Supports: Penguin SatCam

mainpenguins.jpg Introducing NOTCOT Supports, a new series of posts where we put our money behind projects we love! This one comes from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Awtoday we have just adopted a penguin colony in Antarctica!.

That’s right, at the NOTlabs we still have our Puma Penguin Army… so now, we’ve just adopted our very own real life Antarctic penguin colony and hope to bring you updates from colony NOTCOT! It’s all part of an awesome new project by my former Zoology colleague Tom Hart, a self-described ‘penguinologist’ who has done some amazing research into penguin behavior and conservation over the past few years. Antarctica is the perfect environment for penguin colonies, but as the highest, driest, coldest continent on earth, it isn’t the easiest or most accessible to researchers. After piloting time lapse data collection, Tom is now looking to set up a series of time-lapse cameras in Antarctica and link them to a satellite phone, enabling researchers to gain access to remote areas accessed by humans only once every five to ten years. You can find out more about Penguin Lifelines and how to help this exciting new penguin research via the penguin cam RocketHub page where you can adopt a penguin colony yourself and even get the opportunity to go out to Antarctica for a mission!!!

We look forward to bringing you updates from the NOTCOT colony in the future, but in the meantime, here is some of that incredible footage from the team. Love the serenity of Antarctica and the stark contrast between the real time footage and frenzied time lapse of five months of furious penguin activity (and serious weather!).

Join us in supporting the Penguin Satellite Camera Project here, and see more pictures of the penguins and adventures on the next page!

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*rugenius in nature - 2 Notes

From Egg to Chick

chicks.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

Incubating your own eggs is something a lot of kids get to do in school, but something I’ve never actually done myself, so I was very excited to get the chance to incubate our own little brood! It was a fantastic birthday-present of sorts with a borrowed incubator and permanent home in the country all lined up.

I’ve always been fascinated by livestock breeds, so we’d thought a lot about what types of breeds we’d be after (those considering poultry in the UK, but confused about breeds should make a trip down to the incredible Domestic Fowl Trust). With a few favorites in mind, we were happy to find a few local breeders and picked up 6 Wyandotte hatching eggs (3 silver-laced and 3 gold-laced). We documented their 21 day journey from eggs to chick and hope you enjoy their journey as well as a live stream of the chicks as they grow over the next week or two! See it all on the next page!

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*notcot in playful - 0 Notes

Marc Newson's Rocky for Magis

horse1.jpg Magis’ Me Too collections always have such awesomely playful pieces… this year’s addition launched at Milan is Marc Newson’s Rocky. A rocking horse of course! The official info - “The second of Marc Newson’s designs for Children, Rocky is a modern take on a traditional object, a pop version taking its character loosely from medieval jousting horses. The parallelogram motion mimics the movement of a traditional rocking horse. It is made from rotationally moulded polyethylene chosen for both its durability and recyclability.” Adorable isn’t it? See another pic on the next page…

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*rugenius in nature - 0 Notes

Violet Oil Beetle and the Oil Beetle Hunt!

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

Despite being a zoologist, I confess, I wasn’t 100% sure what this amazing creature was when I first caught sight of it. A bright glint of blue and purple in the sunshine, it didn’t fit with its surroundings and the Londoner in me immediately dismissed it as a stray bit of foil or plastic. But then we noticed it was moving on its own, waddling along in a very exposed position at the edge of a Dorset field.

On closer inspection, it looked a bit like a rove beetle with its half-sized elytra (those hard outer wings), but it far larger and more iridescent than any rove beetle I’d ever seen (some 30mm long)! So we snapped a few photos of the beautiful beetle for ID, then popped it back on the soil, where it started to dig. Check out our photos and find out more about these beautiful and fascinating insects on the next page!

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