Tuesday, 25 February 2014

How NASA might build its very first warp drive

How NASA might build its very first warp drive

How NASA might build its very first warp drive
A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity. We contacted White at NASA and asked him to explain how this real life warp drive could actually work.
The above image of a Vulcan command ship features a warp engine similar to an Alcubierre Drive. Image courtesy CBS.

The Alcubierre Drive

The idea came to White while he was considering a rather remarkable equation formulated by physicist Miguel Alcubierre. In his 1994 paper titled, "The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity," Alcubierre suggested a mechanism by which space-time could be "warped" both in front of and behind a spacecraft.
How NASA might build its very first warp driveSEXPAND
Michio Kaku dubbed Alcubierre's notion a "passport to the universe." It takes advantage of a quirk in the cosmological code that allows for the expansion and contraction of space-time, and could allow for hyper-fast travel between interstellar destinations. Essentially, the empty space behind a starship would be made to expand rapidly, pushing the craft in a forward direction — passengers would perceive it as movement despite the complete lack of acceleration.
White speculates that such a drive could result in "speeds" that could take a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in a mere two weeks — even though the system is 4.3 light-years away.
How NASA might build its very first warp driveSEXPAND
In terms of the engine's mechanics, a spheroid object would be placed between two regions of space-time (one expanding and one contracting). A "warp bubble" would then be generated that moves space-time around the object, effectively repositioning it — the end result being faster-than-light travel without the spheroid (or spacecraft) having to move with respect to its local frame of reference.
"Remember, nothing locally exceeds the speed of light, but space can expand and contract at any speed," White told io9. "However, space-time is really stiff, so to create the expansion and contraction effect in a useful manner in order for us to reach interstellar destinations in reasonable time periods would require a lot of energy."
And indeed, early assessments published in the ensuing scientific literature suggested horrific amounts of energy — basically equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter (what is 1.9 × 1027 kilograms or 317 Earth masses). As a result, the idea was brushed aside as being far too impractical. Even though nature allowed for a warp drive, it looked like we would never be able to build one ourselves.
"However," said White, "based on the analysis I did the last 18 months, there may be hope." The key, says White, may be in altering the geometry of the warp drive itself.

A new design

In October of last year, White was preparing for a talk he was to give for the kickoff to the 100 Year Starship project in Orlando, Florida. As he was pulling together his overview on space warp, he performed a sensitivity analysis for the field equations, more out of curiosity than anything else.
How NASA might build its very first warp driveSEXPAND
"My early results suggested I had discovered something that was in the math all along," he recalled. "I suddenly realized that if you made the thickness of the negative vacuum energy ring larger — like shifting from a belt shape to a donut shape — and oscillate the warp bubble, you can greatly reduce the energy required — perhaps making the idea plausible." White had adjusted the shape of Alcubierre's ring which surrounded the spheroid from something that was a flat halo to something that was thicker and curvier.
He presented the results of his Alcubierre Drive rethink a year later at the 100 Year Starship conference in Atlanta where he highlighted his new optimization approaches — a new design that could significantly reduce the amount of exotic matter required. And in fact, White says that the warp drive could be powered by a mass that's even less than that of the Voyager 1 spacecraft.
That's a significant change in calculations to say the least. The reduction in mass from a Jupiter-sized planet to an object that weighs a mere 1,600 pounds has completely reset White's sense of plausibility — and NASA's.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Wonderful view of China's Canyons

Wonderful view of China's Canyons

They do say that Mother Nature is the ultimate artist & today we wanted to prove it to you. And whilst wonderful realm of Photoshop certainly has the ability to transform, morph and often dazzle it pales in comparison to some of the natural wonders in the world. One those places is called Zhangye Danxia Landform located in Gansu province China. It’s a sprawling landscape of mountains, valleys and peaks – but there’s something that makes it vastly different from any number of mountain ranges around the world.
Its colours.
The vibrant streaks of tangerine and terra cotta blend into ribbons of jonquil and miakdo before contrasting with dusty Columbia blues and yet none of it is man-made. It’s a process which geologists call ‘Petrographic Geomorphology” whereby the Earth’s natural elements from rain, wind erosion, oxidation and a combination of minerals and elements all meld together to create these stunning and unique colours. It certainly doesn’t happen quickly either, the Zhangye Danxia Landform has been developing for approximately 24,000,000 years – perfection as they say, takes time.
The site itself is now a huge tourist attraction and thankfully many of its valleys have now been listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site to that it can be preserved for future generations to enjoy and experience its natural wonder.
The Simply Dazzling And Colourful Mountains Of Zhangye Danxia Landform In China
Photo by: Melinda Chan
The Simply Dazzling And Colourful Mountains Of Zhangye Danxia Landform In China
Image credits: Melinda Chan
The Simply Dazzling And Colourful Mountains Of Zhangye Danxia Landform In China
Photo by: Mohsin A. Soomro
The Simply Dazzling And Colourful Mountains Of Zhangye Danxia Landform In China
Photo by: laboiteverte.fr
The Simply Dazzling And Colourful Mountains Of Zhangye Danxia Landform In China
Photo by: Melinda Chan
The Simply Dazzling And Colourful Mountains Of Zhangye Danxia Landform In China

10 Incredible Ways Science Is Making Tomorrow’s Cops

10 Incredible Ways Science Is Making Tomorrow’s Cops

Public opinion about the police force tends to vary. Some see them as a mighty legion of men and women who exist to serve and protect, while others see them as the invasive, abusive minions of a Big Brother figure. Nevertheless, the police are undeniably an important part of society. From issuing parking tickets to arresting drug lords, police forces work hard to prevent criminal pursuits and maintain peace and order in the community.
Because crime keeps up with current technology, police forces are pressured to do the same. Thankfully, various innovations in science and technology are making police work faster and more effective than ever before. Here are some cool ways science is advancing police work.

10High-Tech Handcuffs

February 20th marks National Handcuffs Day, an unofficial holiday that commemorates the birthday of modern handcuffs. The design we all know and love was patented in 1912 by George A. Carney, and has remained almost unchanged since its invention. Today, modern handcuffs are widely used by police departments around the world and are mostly produced by the Peerless Handcuff Company, which bought the patent from George A. Carney.
A new model of handcuffs seeks to challenge the century-old handcuffs designed by Carney. A fascinating—yet frightening—design of high-tech handcuffs promises to not only restrain, but also to electrocute or drug the detainee when necessary. The handcuffs, developed by a US company called Scotsdale Inventions, contain a microphone, a camera, and sensors that can determine a detainee’s present location and physical health. It also contains a device that can send electric shocks to anyone who tries to resist arrest.
The shocks can be activated either by the one guarding the detainee or by the detainee himself through acts of aggression. If a detainee attempts something violent, like grabbing a police officer’s weapon, while wearing the high-tech handcuffs, an immediate shock gets delivered straight into their wrists. The intensity of the shocks can range from 20,000 to 150,000 volts, and can last as long as 10 seconds.
The restraining device also contains a “substance delivery system” which injects different types of drugs into a detainee’s system. A needle or a gas injection system installed in the handcuffs can deliver either a strong sedative or a paralytic.
As cool as this may seem, it’s also pretty terrifying. While detainees can be violent at times even while in handcuffs, police-perpetrated torture and abuse of detainees in handcuffs is not unheard of, and this device could just make it all the easier.

9GPS Bullets

According to the FBI, one out of every 100 high-speed police pursuits ends in a fatality. Police pursuits account for at least one death per day, and they cause one percent of all police officer deaths in the US. Forty percent of all police chases end up in crashes, and one third of the deaths that result from violent police pursuits are of innocent bystanders. In December 2013, four separate police pursuits in four days caused the deaths of five people in Los Angeles alone.
Because of these terrifying numbers, many people are criticizing the effectiveness of police pursuits in combating crime. That is why a company is lending their help to make police pursuits less violent and more effective. A Virginia-based company called StarChase invented a small GPS device that can be shot toward a vehicle fleeing from the scene of the crime. While the suspect is speeding away, the GPS device—and not a police car—will track the suspect’s location and relay this information to police officers in nearby areas.
Once the GPS device is attached to the escaping vehicle, police officers around the area will be alerted of the car’s coordinates every three to five seconds. The police car that shot the GPS device can even turn off their siren and slow down to make the suspect think that no one’s giving chase. As many as 15 law enforcement agencies are already using this device, including officers located on the US-Mexico border, where car chases are a fairly common occurrence.

8Cameras That Predict Aggression

3- aggression
Many political leaders endorse the widespread installation of CCTV cameras to keep a watchful eye on their constituents. An extreme example would be the Russian government, which placed surveillance cameras inside the shower rooms of the participants of the Sochi Olympics. Despite claims that CCTV cameras are meant to prevent crimes from occurring, official numbers would reveal that surveillance cameras have actually done almost nothing to prevent criminal activities. In the UK, it was found that that only one case a year is solved per 1,000 surveillance cameras installed.
However, a new innovation in surveillance technology may actually be able to bridge that gap. Shahriar Nirjon and his fellow researchers from the University of Virginia have created a camera that can predict if a person is about do something violent. The camera generates a 3D skeleton figure of the subject and analyses its movement, looking out for precursors of potentially aggressive actions. Nirjon’s camera was able to predict a kick with 90 percent accuracy without even requiring the subject to face the camera. The researchers say they also plan to enable the camera to predict verbal aggression.
The camera was based on the gaming sensor Kinect and was originally intended to warn hospital staff when a patient is about to get violent, but these aggression-predicting cameras could easily be used to replace the ineffective security cameras currently installed in metropolitan areas.


4- nypd
New York City has one of the biggest police forces in the world, with 34,500 police officers and 51,000 employees overall. That averages out to around one cop per 250 New Yorkers. Despite having a security force larger than the FBI, New York is still home to a huge number of criminal activities. Violent crimes in New York are around one third higher than the US average, while 2,817 registered sex offenders are recorded to be living within the city.
Only last year, the NYPD revealed a program to modernize their police force that could curb New York’s crime problem once and for all. The program is called NYPD2020, and its primary project is creating a wave of police cars that are equipped with high-tech tools that will make police work much more efficient. One such tool is an infrared scanner that can read and remember every number that it detects—from plate numbers to addresses—and can automatically send that data to an NYPD command post. This will be efficient for tracking vehicles that may have been stolen or used for previous criminal activity. The cars would also be equipped with cameras that can stream live videos back to the NYPD headquarters. The department also plans to add fingerprint scanners and facial-recognition software to these modern cruisers.


One of the most important—yet difficult—tasks of forensic investigation is identifying corpses. During the recent devastation of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, hundreds of bodies had to be buried in mass graves before they were properly identified. In India, the police estimate that as many as 102 dead bodies were left unidentified each day in the country.
Researchers from North Carolina State University have devised a system to make identifying dead bodies easier. Forensic anthropologist Ann Ross and her team created a software called the 3D-ID that can determine the identity of a body using its skull. The software compares the skull with a database of CT scans that are stored in the software, which will help the investigator identify the ancestry and sex of the unidentified body, narrowing down the potential choices. The investigator can then use this information to arrive at an accurate identity for the body.
5Near-Instant DNA Profiling
6- dna
Contrary to what popular TV shows might tell you, matching a DNA sample isn’t as simple as “running it in the lab” overnight. Rigorous methods are involved with DNA profiling, all of which require long hours and expensive equipment. However, a company called LGC Forensics promises a new device that can profile a person’s DNA in just under an hour.
They call it the RapiDNA system, and it’s a portable tool that can be brought to the scene of the crime for immediate analysis. Around the size of an airline carry-on bag, the RapiDNA system can extract genetic information from organic materials like blood, semen, or saliva left on a crime scene. This information can be compared with available profiles on the National DNA Database to successfully match the DNA with a suspect. All of this can be accomplished in less than 60 minutes.
Because justice is sometimes slow for victims of horrible crimes, the RapiDNA system aims to make police work easier and faster by providing a tool that can help put them on the criminal’s tail almost immediately after a crime is committed.

4Corneal Imaging

Eye on blue background (shallow DoF)
TV shows like NCIS and CSI regularly depict scenes where the detectives consult the department’s computer geek and try to determine who a suspect is by analyzing low-resolution images that were taken during the crime. Perhaps drawing inspiration from this ridiculously common TV trope, researchers Rob Jenkins and Christie Kerr are developing a method called corneal imaging, a simple way to identify people or objects reflected on the cornea of a person’s eye—from nothing more than a photo. Using a typical digital camera, the scientists took pictures of a person’s face and enhanced the eye of the person in the photo using an image processing software. They found out that the cornea of the subject was able to reflect the images of the people near them when the photo was taken.
To see if these reflections can be put to practical use, a face-matching experiment was conducted by the researchers. They asked each of five volunteers to have their photos taken. While not being photographed, some of the volunteers were asked to stand close to a volunteer who was currently having their picture taken so that their image would be reflected on the subject’s cornea. Another set of volunteers was asked to match the actual pictures of the volunteers with the corneal reflections that were derived from the photos. The volunteers were able to successfully match the photos with the corneal images 84 percent of the time.

3Virtual Autopsy

8- autopsy2
Autopsies are an integral part of an investigation, especially in cases that involve horrible incidents like murder or suicide. However, autopsies aren’t always a guaranteed thing when the police are dealing with a corpse. There are many religions, for example, that do not allow their dead to be autopsied. Various cultural backgrounds of the victims may also prevent pathologists from even considering putting the deceased bodies under the knife.
That is why a newly developed method of autopsy may be very helpful in these types of situations. With virtual autopsy, a combination of CT and MRI scans will generate a 3D image of a body, which a pathologist can “dissect” using a computer. Without actually cutting up the body, the pathologist will be able to determine the nature of the person’s death.
Aside from religious and cultural issues that the virtual autopsy solves, the method can also prevent more errors in describing autopsies, as the 3D image can be shown to other pathologists to acquire a consensus on the victim’s death. It will also be the first time police departments can keep a real 3D image of a victim’s body for documentation purposes. And believe it or not, decomposing bodies can also receive a more thorough analysis through virtual autopsy than with the physical procedure.

2Robot Cops

9- robocop
In the 1987 film Robocop, Alex Murphy was brutally killed in the line of duty by a crime syndicate, then brought back to life in the form of a law enforcing cyborg who paraded vengeful justice through the streets of Detroit.
Though perhaps not as dramatic as what happened to Alex Murphy, there’s something similar happening in real-life police departments. There are a huge number of real police officers who suffer from serious injuries on a daily basis. Aside from having to endure physical pain and limitations, disabled police officers are also usually the first to go when police departments decide to cut costs and save money. In 2010, as many as 18,000 injured police officers from the UK faced the threat of being relieved from duty because they weren’t fit enough to work on the streets anymore.
A collaborative effort between Florida International University and the US Navy Reserves may help disabled police officers become a force to be reckoned with on the front lines once again. The project is taking two robots from the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition and redesigning them as wheeled police officers that can patrol streets and alleys, write parking tickets, and even respond to 911 calls.
For these robots to be able to do these things, disabled police officers will be assigned to control them virtually from their offices in the police headquarters. This will allow disabled and seriously injured officers to work without being physically present in the streets. The researchers say the challenge in designing the robots is that they need to look intimidating enough to scare away outlaws, but also approachable enough that a three-year-old won’t hesitate to ask for their assistance.


10- recognizers
According to psychologists, super-recognizers are people who can never forget a face. While some people might find their ability creepy and unsettling, the London police think otherwise. Super-recognizers are currently one of the most effective tools the London police force uses to solve crimes in the city. Around 200 people with this special ability have been recruited by the London Police Department to become a part of a special unit of police officers that fight crime using this “superpower.” The super-recognizer squad have been able to solve crimes ranging from simple muggings to big-time drug deals, using mainly their uncanny ability to recognize a perpetrator’s face.
During the 2011 London riots, as many as 30 percent of the 5,000 total arrests made were because of the super-recognizers. One super-recognizer even identified 300 rioters by himself during the investigation. On the other hand, the department’s facial recognition software was only able to identify one rioter. Super-recognizers were also useful during the Notting Hill Carnival, where they were able to prevent potential criminal activities by identifying known criminals and gang members in the crowd.
Others aren’t too thrilled with the London Police’s use of super-recognizers. NO CCTV, a UK-based pro-privacy organization, says that this “gimmick” is just another ploy to push widespread surveillance among the citizens of London. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of super-recognizers in combating crime is undeniable.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Magnetic Putty Completely Makes you wordless

Magnetic Putty Completely Makes you wordless

Magnetic Putty is Completely Amazing/Terrifying timelapse science magnets
Magnetic Putty is Completely Amazing/Terrifying timelapse science magnets
Magnetic Putty is Completely Amazing/Terrifying timelapse science magnets
Magnetic putty is just like any other putty in that you can handle it, sculpt it, and squeeze it in a fist as you visualize your enemies. But place it anywhere near a strong magnetic field and it will SPONTANEOUSLY ANIMATE and move to consume anything magnetic in its path like a voracious mutated slug. In fact the putty won’t stop moving until the object has been equally engulfed on all sides. PBS Digital Studios and Shanks FX used the putty in parts of their recent film short SCI-FLY, and just posted this extended cut of special effects shots that explore its heinous capabilities. To be fair, these clips are sped up quite a bit as the actual motion of the putty consuming other objects is only faintly perceptible in real time.

Monday, 10 February 2014

10 Underwater Animals With Astonishing Abilities

10 Underwater Animals With Astonishing Abilities

Humans have a lot of talents. Some of us can juggle, others can play the guitar, while others can juggle guitars (probably). Yet most of what we can do relies on our brains and hands. That means that there are a whole bunch of things we’ll never be able to do, like tie ourselves in a knot, liquefy our bodies to squeeze through small spaces, or swallow a guitar (short of some horrifying juggling accident). Those kinds of talents are left to other animals, like the underwater critters here.
Black Swallowers Eat Enormous Prey
1- swallower
The horrifying black swallower has a talent that’s given away by the huge sack of a stomach that dangles beneath its body. Chiasmodon niger has many of the features that make other deep sea fish frightening, like its bulging black eyes and abominable teeth. Yet it’s the fish’s ability to swallow its prey whole that makes it stand out. When the black swallower finds something it wants to munch on, it darts out, grabs hold, and inches its jaws over the victim until the entire prey is consumed.
It’s not fussy about what it eats, and it can swallow animals twice its length and over 10 times its mass. Its stomach becomes so stretched that it ends up translucent, so you can see the swallower’s latest meal being digested. And digestion takes so long that the swallower can’t process some of its bigger targets before they start to decompose. This ends up filling the stomach with gas, and turns the fish into a balloon. It’s these inflated black swallowers that end up floating to the surface, and they are the ones we find most often.

Sea Slugs Can Perform Photosynthesis

2- sea slug
The sea slug Elysia chlorotica has an ability that’s never been found in any other animal—it’s able to photosynthesize its own food using sunlight. The ancestors of the slug lived on a diet of algae. The slug is able to steal the chloroplasts—organelles that perform photosynthesis—from the algae and incorporate them into its own cells. This gives the slug a distinctive green color, and they have been nicknamed “leaves that crawl.”
Even more surprisingly, the slug has stolen genes from the algae and is able to produce its own chloroplasts. Researchers found the genes even in juveniles that have never eaten. Yet in an added wrinkle, other scientists have found that the slugs are able to go for long periods of time in the dark without eating, and still survive quite happily. It suggests that the photosynthesis may not be the only key to their survival strategy. However much importance it has for the slug, it’s a unique talent that no other animal can boast.

Planarians Heal Better Than Wolverine

3- planarian
credit: Vengolis
Planarians are a type of freshwater flatworm, which is an animal notable for its ability to regenerate. In fact, their regenerative abilities have given them two list-worthy talents. If you decapitate a flatworm, it will grow a new head. That’s impressive by itself, but researchers have found that the new head gets the memories that developed before the old one was removed.
Scientists trained some planarians to tolerate light, which the worms normally avoid, then chopped off their heads. Two weeks later the worms had regenerated their missing noggins, but retained the learned tolerance to brightness. The researchers aren’t certain how this happened. It may have been a change to the animal’s DNA, or an unknown mechanism.
Another team of researchers have found that a single cell has the ability to regrow an entire body. They bombarded a flatworm with radiation until its tissues were destroyed and its cells were no longer able to divide properly. They then injected a single cell from another adult, which was able to regrow every single part of the animal. This shows that adult stem cells in flatworms are able to turn into literally any body part, unlike adult human stem cells, which tend to be more limited.

Hagfish Tie Themselves In Knots

We’ve mentioned hagfish here before, but being around for 300 million years gives you plenty of time to develop more than one interesting trait. There’s one talent possessed by these gooey not-really-fishes that we’ve never covered—hagfish are able to tie themselves in knots, an ability that comes in useful both in defense and when catching prey.
When hagfish hunt, they do so by searching for fish burrows. When they find a fish hiding in a hole, they lunge face-first into the hole to pull it out. But sticking your head into a tunnel while your rear end flails around isn’t the easiest way to pull out a fish that doesn’t want to be eaten. To make it easier, the hagfish tie their rear end into a knot which is bigger than the hole. This gives them a perch around the top so they can pull themselves—and their lunch—back out.
Hagfish have also turned this ability into an escape trick. If they’re being held at one end, they’ll tie the free end into a knot. They can then push the knot up their body, and when it reaches whatever’s gripping the hagfish, the knot pushes against the predator and pulls the hagfish free.

Sea Cucumbers Liquefy Themselves

4- sea cucumber
Sea cucumbers have a famous defense mechanism that we’ve told you about before. They eject their guts at predators, and regrow them later. Yet they have a second, equally unusual defense mechanism—they can liquefy themselves. Essentially, they unhook the bonds keeping their cells together and let themselves flow into (or out of) awkward spaces.
When it’s where it wants to get to, the sea cucumber can solidify itself again and become difficult to extract from a hiding place. This talent is so extreme that it’s even possible for a cucumber to liquefy itself to death. It would turnpurely into goo, and would simply flow through your fingers if you were holding it (at which point you would tell aquarium staff, “I swear I didn’t do anything!”).

Mudskippers Can Climbs Trees

5- mudskipper
There’s a famous quote attributed to Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” If you search Google for “Einstein fish tree,” you’ll find thousands of motivational posters with Einstein’s face and the quote included, even though he never said it.
Should you come across any of your friends sharing one of those pictures, feel free to show them this video of a fish climbing a tree. That genius of the fish world is the mudskipper, a fish that spends much of its life out of the water. It lives in areas filled with mangrove trees, and is quite happy to pull itself up a log or branch. It uses its pelvic fins as a sort of suction cup to keep it attached, and pulls itself up with its pectoral fins.
Mudskippers have developed small sacks around their gills that let them hold a breath of water, much the same way we would hold a breath of air. They climb trees so they can stay out of the water during high tide.

Archerfish Shoot Down Prey

Despite what Hollywood may have taught you, talented archers aren’t all rebellious young women or Jeremy Renner. The archerfish is small tropical fish that feasts mainly on insects. It gets its name from the astonishing way it catches its prey. The fish, which are typically no more than 10 centimeters (4 in) long, can shoot a jet of water up to 2 meters (6 ft) at insects hanging on vegetation near the water.
They’re able to accurately hit their small targets, in the dark, with enough force to successfully knock them into the water. They produce the jets by pressing their tongue against a groove in the roof of their mouth, much like the barrel of a gun. The speed of the water leaving their mouth increases throughout the spit. That allows all of the water to arrive at the same time, and hit the prey with six times the force the fish could produce with just the force of its muscles.

The Teddy Bear Crab Makes Living Weapons6- teddy bear 2

credit: honorsbio2
The teddy bear crab is a small crustacean covered in bushy, white bristles. While a furry crab is curious enough, the species Polydectus cupulifer also has an unusual behavior. It picks up stinging anemones, one in each claw, andwields them as weapons. The crab doesn’t just stand there looking like a miniature yeti with red pain-pompoms, though. It can tell which anemones are useful, and turns the anemone around so it can grip it from the right angle. Then, the crab is able to strike with just the right part of its weapon.
The anemone isn’t just something to attack predators with, either—it’s also a food source. The crab will happily collect food from its “companions,” even going so far as to reach inside the anemone’s digestive system to pull out anything the anemone has already eaten.

The Pirate Perch Hides In Plain Sight

7- pirate perch
Photo credit: Fredlyfish4
The pirate perch is an unusual fish. When it’s young its anus is located in the normal place you’d expect to find an anus, but as it matures, its anus moves to just underneath its chin. Yet it’s not the migrating anus that warranted it a place on this list. And as if we haven’t said the word anus enough in this paragraph already, we’d like to point out that the species name is A. sayanus.
Scientists investigating the response of beetles and frogs to predatory fish have found that the pirate perch has another unique feature. When they gave beetles and frogs a choice of ponds in which to live and reproduce, the animals avoided those that contained fish who were likely to choose them for dinner, with one exception. The potential prey were perfectly happy to set up home in ponds containing pirate perch.
The researchers aren’t sure whether the pirate perch is cloaking its chemical signature or disguising itself as something else, or if there’s some other factor at play. Whatever is going on, the pirate perch is able to hide its presence in a way that other fish simply can’t, making it uniquely talented.

The Tigerfish Plucks Birds From The Air

The tiger is a deadly predator with very sharp teeth that you’d very much like to keep away from your face. In that way, the tigerfish is suitably named. This African fish is often compared to the piranha, as it’s aggressive and uses its razor-filled jaws to tear its prey into pieces. Unlike the piranha, there is a giant variety of tigerfish—the goliath tigerfish—which can grow to weigh 50 kg (110 lb) and eat crocodiles.
Yet it’s the hunting ability of the smaller variety that’s got it a spot on this list. Recently, researchers have recorded its ability to catch birds. While many fish are known to eat birds floating on the surface, a tigerfish in a South African lake was caught on film leaping out of the water and catching a swallow while the bird was flying through the air.
While nobody has yet observed the goliath tigerfish displaying this behavior, we’re probably going to avoid helicopter rides over African lakes for awhile, just in case.