Before he latches onto a female, this Indian Bullfrog is a boring dull browny green with dreary vocal sacs, but once he is on the prowl his body turns bright yellow and his vocal sacs a deep blue. Although he is quite large, measuring six and a half inches from snout to vent, this frog can jump across a body of water as if it was land. He is found in south east asia and you definitely don't want to know about his tragic end.
What a sad story. The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, above, dropped the groundhog, borrowed from State Island Zoo, during the Groundhog Day ceremony. A few days later the groundhog died, apparently as a result of the fall. The zoo kept the death quiet until recently.
This beautiful treehouse, which is designed by Blue Forest, a British firm, provides one area for adults and another for children. The two buildings are joined with rope bridges.
The interior, which boasts three rooms, has walls made from cedar.
No idea where I found this photograph, but the tree is beautiful.
Hip dysplasia is, sadly, a fairly common problem for dogs. It occurs when there is abnormal development with the ball and socket joint. Alia Weiss has developed this harness which strengthens muscles and enables the femur to remain in the correct position.
This gorgeous car is envisioned for the future, sadly it is not available now. Dominic Wilcox designed the driverless car which includes a bed for the passenger. The glass is handmade and is the result of the visit by the designer to Durham Cathedral.
I can always tell when it is time to feed the cats, they descend upon me where ever I am. Gizmo is at one end of the keyboard, Queenie at the other, and Stampy - no room on the desk - is sitting on the cupboard.
Architects from fourteen offices in Los Angeles have designed a series of cat houses which include resting spots and climbing arrangements. The Architects for Animals group was behind the idea together with Fixnation, a group of volunteers who humanely trap animals and ensure they are neutered before being returned to their environments which now include interesting homes.
This interesting triangular tree house is made entirely from bamboo.
This fascinating building, sensibly called the Lotus Building, is at Wujin in China. It houses the planning bureau, exhibition halls, meeting rooms and conference centres and has been built on an artifical lake.
This pet cubby, a recent find at a garage sale, has entranced all the animals in this house. Gizmo is the latest occupant.
I dislike ostentation but this bath, made out of a single block of Brazilian quartz, is beautiful. And so it should be as it would cost more than a million dollars in Australian money. It was the second such quartz bathtub made by an Italian company, Baldi.
Now we know what to do when our car dies. This car pool provides another meaning for the term. It was designed by Benedetto Bufalino and is a jacuzzi.
This is not a beautiful hat made of flowers, but is a jellyfish, oddly enough, called the flower hat jellyfish or Olindias formosus. Be warned, the fluorescent tentacles sting.
This item should be kept a secret from Stephen Fry and his panel of QI experts. It was made by Jason Seconda from Philadelphia who insists his philosophy on balloon art tries to shatter the idea that such undertakings are cheesy.
This five year old cat has a wonderfully divided face with each half having an eye of a different colour. She is known as the chimera cat.
This beautiful animal is the first of a new order which has been called Relicanthus daphneae. It was formerly thought to be a sea anemone. The creature has six foot long tentacles.
After centuries of investigating the human body, a new bit has been found, the anterolateral ligament which is in the knee. Doctors at University Hospital Leuven, in Belgium, made the discovery.
This beautiful photograph shows a Julia butterfly and a bee, both drinking the tears from a crocodile which lives at the Puerto Viejo River in Costa Rica. It is suggested the tears are the source of scarce minerals and protein. The crocodile sat calmly for more than 15 minutes allowing the butterfly and bee to drink their fill.
It is of course a bus stop! It is one of 7 models of bus stops designed for Krumbach in Austria. The designer is Sou Fujimoto.
But the eggs of a sea slug. If you would like more information about sea slugs you can visit the Sea Slug Forum
This mobile loo uses sustainable energy with a solar powered water treatment system enabling the unit to be used in places where plumbing does not exist. The exterior refers to truck art from India.
But you need to travel to Maastricht in the Netherlands to enjoy the ambience.
Beware the tiny hairs on this caterpillar which transforms into a Giant Silkworm Moth. The hairs are used to inject venom which offers such side effects as headache, fever and vomiting. Next anti clotting agents form in the blood which leaks resulting in internal bleeding. The end result is death. But don't panic, apparently the venom is in minute doses and you would need to be stung around 20 times to get a full dose.
You'd need a whole canteen of cutlery to make this bird - the second photograph shows the detail in the tail. Made by John Lopez, he originally worked in bronze but now ranges far and wide and enjoys scrap iron sculpting.
Called the electric egg, this vehicle was designed and made by Paul Arzens. It is now on display with sixteen other concept cars. Just visit the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to view them. The car above dates from 1942 and is described as a dream car along with vehicles by Ferrari, Bugatti and Porsche.
This is a new jellyfish which was found in the Gulf of Venice. Molecular analysis, which involved DNA barcoding, showed the jellyfish belonged to a new species within the genus Pelagia. The jellyfish, named the Pelagia Benovici, is believed to have been introduced from elsewhere.
This Siamese Fighting Fish is a popular buy for home aquariums and this beautiful photograph was taken by Visarute Angkatavanich who lives in Bangkok. Because of their murderous intentions, it is not possible to keep two male Siamese Fighting Fish in the same tank. More of Mr Angkatavanich's photographs of fish can be seen on his website.
This beautiful spider, and they are all beautiful, was made from watch parts by Justin Gershenson-Gates who recycles everything and turns the bits and pieces into sculptures and jewellery.
Celtic stories tell us kelpies are supernatural water horses and these two 100 foot high horse head sculptures bring them to life. They are covered with stainless steel cladding covering a steel shape. You can find them at the Forth and Clyde Canal which is surrounded by a 350 hectare park called the Helix. This project connects 16 communities.
Not only is this a very open office, but the concept of desk ownership has gone out of the window. Everyone of the 125 workers at advertising agency, Barbarian Group in New York City, can be seated at this 1100 foot long desk. Costing US $300,000, the desk flows around the huge office space and in the process creates seven archways. Another fifty employees could come on board and still find room at the desk. Whether productivity has improved is a very good question Diana.
Two unused grain silos and innumerable shipping containers have been combined in Johannesburg to provide cheap student accommodation. The building contains study facilities, computer rooms, libraries, lounges, and flats for 375 students.
What a pity this image is not real. Daniel Barreto digitally composed the woodhouses. He photographed trees and front doors and shop fronts and combined them.
The head of the Pacific Barreleye fish is transparent and is filled with fluid. Not many people will ever see this fish as it lives at depths between 2000 and 2600 feet. The head helps the fish to see better and the eyes are also interesting, they can collect any light available. Because the eyes are both at the front of the head, which is not normal for fish, it is able to see things other fish can't.
This is a Dracula ant, a blood sucker, which has recently been found in Madagascar. A wonderful term, nondestructive canabilism is used to describe the ants behaviour. They suck the blood of their young!
An online design community, Makerbot's Thingiverse has made this 3d item, the Plotclock. The clock writes the time on a whiteboard and when a new minute arrives, the clock wipes off the previous time and writes the current one. This online community includes more than 100,000 models. One of the terms is that those who upload do not include content which contributes to the creation of weapons or illegal materials.
livescience.com reports the development of a prototype version of a biobattery which can use sugar as an energy source. Researchers at Virginia Tech have designed a biobattery which fully converts sugar to energy thus providing more power than previous biobatteries and, as well, a greater battery charge than the well-known lithium-ion batteries. The difference is quite large, instead of a phone lasting one day from lithium-ion batteries, with a sugar powered battery it could last ten days.
The 17 times great nephew of Richard III has agreed to have his genome sequenced so it can be compared with that of Richard. Researchers at the University of Leicester, who discovered the remains, plan to do a complete genetic analysis. Numerous things can be discovered including whether his scoliosis was genetic, and whether portraits completed after his death are accurate as far as hair colour and eye colour are concerned.
Under the microscope is a 30,000 year old virus which has been discovered in the Siberian permafrost. Although this virus won't harm people or animals, there is a faint worry that as Siberian wastelands are further explored, eradicated viruses may be released. Our modern day immune systems would not necessarily be able to cope. Not all gloom however, one virologist says he is more concerned about people being displaced by rising sea levels.
A Japanese artist, Chiharu Shiota presented this abandoned and burnt concert piano, wrapped in black thread at an art installation. She saw her neighbour's house burning when she was young and this inspired the idea.
Janienne began Orange Pigeon, which makes wishes come true for adults with terminal illnesses, after she saw her friend Nadine, who was diagnosed with cancer, and realised there were no make-a-wish-come-true organisations for adults. If you read the FAQ on her site you will find out why the site has this name. The organisation, which is independently audited, has granted many wishes to adults. You can donate specifically for pamper packs, outings, make-overs or even to bring a family member to the bedside of someone who is critically ill.
This unusual portrait of Einstein has been made from found objects and recycled materials. UK artist, Jane Perkins, has a series, called Plastic Classics, which feature portraits of famous people.
And now it is the turn of the Israeli Studio, Ototo, to invent this bright flower which keeps the lids of saucepans opens and twirls around as a result of the rising steam.
This poor camel must have been in shock a month or so ago when, for the first time in 112 years, it snowed in Cairo.
The World Photography Organisation was flooded with entries from 166 countries for the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. About 140,000 images were submitted and short listed photographs will be on display in London in May. The photographs above are from Hasan Baglar, shortlist open, nature and wildlife.
A idea which began in 1998 in Taiwan, that of cat cafes, has really taken off in Japan where there are now more than 150. Because of space issues, many Japanese are unable to keep pets. There is a basic cost for cat time plus the cost of coffee. Sleeping cats must not be woken and visitors are not allowed to use camera flashes. The cat cafes are termed exhibition facilities which means fewer regulations regarding animals and food. The latest idea is for owl cafes, but not much cuddling goes on in them.
I'm not sure if China has cat cafes but Beijing has a residential building with a mountain on the top. It was built by the resident of the top floor flat and although the rocks are artificial, the trees and grass are real. The resident failed to ask permission for the mountain from the local authorities or from other residents and it is believed the mountain must now be removed.
This dear little house was built from natural and reclaimed materials by a former art teacher who built it in the garden of his home in Oxfordshire. The total cost for the house was $250 which was used for some straw and nails.
It is understandable that the Swiss are the top consumers of chocolate in the world as their chocolate is wonderful, but Australians, as the top icecream consumers? Consumption per capita is 17.7 litres, a long way ahead of USA in second place with 13.7 litres. Then comes New Zealand, Sweden and Ireland.
My mother used to make icecream, a concoction based mostly on real cream and eggs, however most of the icecream one buys in shops is a chemical collation which is artifically flavoured and coloured (from coal tar), and which includes stabilisers, emulsifieers, humectants. Do you prefer strawberry icecream? The flavour is benzyl acetate, this nitrate solvent can cause unpleasant health problems. Or, if you prefer the taste of nuts don't think about rubber cement because the nut flavour is butraldehyde which is an ingredient in rubber cement.
Photographer Tsuneaki Hiramatsu took a number of 8 second exposure photographs, merged them, and the result is an unusual view of fireflies in a forest in Japan. Fireflies are not flies but are carnivorous beetles. Queensland has a firefly spotters page which includes a lot of information from people around Queensland and NSW. If you are near Springbrook (Qld) between 15 November and 20 December, you can take part in a conducted tour of the firefly breeding area.
This is a smart student unit which is made from laminated locally sourced wood and has a footprint of ten square metres, a reduction of current living requirements by 60 percent. The unit, designed by Engbom Architects of Sweden, provides affordable housing for students and includes a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping loft and small garden plus a patio. Twenty-two units will be provided for students this year.
French artist, Benedetto Bufalino combined with designer Benoit Deseille to transform a telephone box into an aquarium. The first installation, in Lyon, France, was followed by others in Biarritz, France, Port Louis, Mauritius and Gent, Belgium. Durham in the UK hosted an aquarium telephone box at the end of last year.
This gorgeous photograph was taken by Markus Reugels, of a drop of water, taken in a split second. He uses good colouring, a variety of surfaces, wind movement and carefully adjusted lighting to come up with the photograph.
Salt is so scarces in the Amazon rainforest that butterflies drink the tears of yellow-spotted river turtles! Even bees follow this pursuit and scientists say the turtles don't seem to mind. Perhaps they took a poll.
My daughter Suzanne, who with her family has just visited Paris, kept me in mind and photographed the chocolate frogs in Montmatre and the frog at Disneyland.
This plant, named the Starlight Avatar, based on the Nicotiana alata, has been genetically modified to produce light during their lifespan of two to three months. Bioglow in Missouri, which has produced the plant, is now working on plants which emit various coloured lights. Twenty of the plants will be auctioned at the end of January.
At last, furniture especially made for cats. Cat lover, Stefan Hofmann, who also happens to be a carpenter and a designer, has come up with a range of furniture which sells through his company, Goldtatze. The furniture is modular and includes bridges, places to perch and rest, and places to scratch. Why waste a wall when you can turn it into a playground for your cat?
This interesting lamp is made from plastic bottles which have been heated and blown into different shapes. Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves are the designers of the Stand Light.
A photograph of a cat walking through leaves is not normally very interesting but our household was amazed when Queenie went downstairs and over to the back gate. Why? Because it is the first time Queenie has gone outside the house in the past three years. I have often wondered if she is agoraphobic.
Henrietta Lacks may have died on 4 October, 1951, but cells from her cancerous tumour have lived on. They created the first known human immortal cell line and have been used around the world where they are used for research into many diseases. More than 20 tons of her cells have been grown by scientists. Jonas Salk used a HeLa strain of cells to develop the polio vaccine.
The photograph shows a section of a painting which is the result of going through a photographic scanning system. The system captures three dimensional images and the results are identical to the original. Forgers who painstakingly copied masterpieces by hand will now be out of work. Apparently this process captures 40 million 3D full colour points.
An American software developer ended up penniless and having to live in a car. He became fond of the small space and decided to build a treehouse in his spare time although he had no experience as a carpenter. He chose an egg shape and built it, around a hemlock tree, on crown land. The treehouse has a sleeping loft plus a further 100 square feet of space which meant much clever thinking to fit everything in.
One of my granddaughters, Alishia Smith, looking very pretty and sophisticated, graduated recently from year 7 at Victoria Park State School. Graduations these days are
full on affairs with catered lunches and dinners.
Next year Alishia goes to Mackay State High School, a family tradition as her mother, Amanda, my son Nick, his wife Denese, my grandson Kial, my daughter Suzanne, and my grandson Lee, all went there.
And moving from a gorgeous granddaughter to a gorgeous frog, the object above was made by Frenchman, Edouard Martinet, from pieces of junk. He makes the most delightful creatures, and his hobby began when he made a mosquito for his sister from some bicycle parts. Today his items sell for between 24,000 English pounds to 32,500. The Courtauld Institute has had a showing of his work and an exhibition of his insects can be viewed at the Sladmore Contemporary Gallery in London until the end of January. His creatures are kept together with screws and take around four weeks to make.
The object above may look like a flower but it is an insect, the orchid mantis, which uses its appearance to attract prey. The orchid mantis, whose legs look like petals, can only be found, with great difficulty, in the rainforests in Southeast Asia. The mantis climbs onto orchids and sways and the black spot on the end of its abdomen, which looks like a fly, attracts other flies which are swiftly eaten.
This cat is featured in a special calendar which celebrates felines wearing miniature versions of designs made for humans, by United Bamboo. Perhaps opp shops could followsuit. The photograph above is by Noah Sheldon.
If it hadn't been for some crows Aileen would never have realised she had a koala in her garden. She was initially alerted to his presence when crows were loudly upset at the koala's arrival near their nest. The koala moved and Aileen was lucky to find him again.
This delightful caqueta titi monkey is one of 20 species of titi momkey which lives in the Amazon basin. Callicebus caquetensis is a new species which was one of more than 440 new species of animals and plans which have been discovered during the past four years. These monkeys purr when they are happy.
Other new species discovered by members of the Living Amazon Initiative, WWF, include a lizard which is patterned with flame type colouring, a frog the size of a thumbnail and a vegetarian piranha.
This corn, variously known as Rainbow Corn and Glass Gem Corn, was the result of an Oklahoma farmer deciding to follow up on the fact that every now and then his corn had kernels of a hue other than yellow. Before he died Carl Barnes passed on his collection of Glass Gem Corn to a fellow corn breeder and thence to Bill McDorman who owned Seed Trust. The seeds are sold through the website of Native Seeds/Search which is a non profit organisation begun to preserve the agricultural heritage of Native Americans.
Once upon a time the vehicle above was a 1961 Jaguar e-type. Swiss artist, Fabian Oefner, has transformed the car into a work of art called "disintegrating". He uses needles and string and takes individual photographs of each part which are then blended together to make the final image.
The book, above, was written by Matthew Inman who runs an online site called The Oatmeal which includes articles, quizzes and comics. Matthew began programming at the age of 13, was employed for a few years, then began a dating website and finally began The Oatmeal. I don't have to worry about my cats, they are pacifists like me.17th archive 15th archive