Thursday, 28 May 2015

Wool, too tight for comfort?

Wool has been a precious raw material for people for a long time. Yarns have been spun out of wool fibres for several millenniums. As the range of available fibres was limited in the past, wool used to be a very valuable commodity. Today we are able to select between

Friday, 15 May 2015

The story of a broken heart

Reddish colours and smooth faces claim the attention of any mineralogist. Vanadinites, the crystal incrustations showed in the image, are a rare mineral. They only occur as a product of oxidation of other minerals composed of lead, like galena.

The origin of the one photographed is Morocco, where its arid climate makes the perfect conditions for its synthesis.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Desmids, beauties in microscopy

This photomicrograph shows Micrasterias fimbriata, a type of green alga called a desmid. Micrasterias fimbriata belongs to one of the rare desmids of the Lowlands. This one was recently found in a fen in the north of Belgium. Micrasterias is named from the Greek mikros, "small" plus aster, "star".

Desmids usually inhabit the acidic waters associated with sphagnum (peat) bogs. These particular desmids are flat, plate-like single cells made up of