Random weirdness for the week of July 15, 2015


One of Svalbard’s famous creatures is coming out of the closet and exhibiting its vibrant hues after six years in the latest release of the horror/drama/comedy series “Sea Monsters of the North.” An ichthyosaur known as “Gamla,” who starred in the 2009 flick “Death of a Sea Monster,” has been hauled out of the basement and is on display for the first time at the Zoological Museum at the Natural History Museum in Oslo. The specimen dug up by paleontologist Jørn Hurum and a team of assistants is believed to be the most complete ichthyosaur skeleton found in the Arctic, with only the end of its tail missing, according to a blog entry at National Geographic’s Explorers Journal website. Moving the 5.5-meter specimen a lengthy process, with preparation of the display occurring “under the gaze of a T-rex,” according to the blog by Aubrey Roberts, one of Hurum’s assistants. The eye-catching colors are because “the support for the specimen consisted of paraloid pellets, which stick together after adding ethanol. Colored glass sand was added for aesthetic purposes,” Roberts wrote. “With all that preparatory work, a total of close to 300 hours over the course of four months was used to get the specimen ready for display”…

Since Earth is being captivated by our first good look at Pluto this week, we’re throwing in this clickbait from an article titled “The Codes of Life” that starts with exploring the outer solar system, and then somehow moves to DNA and creating non-genetic forms for things like digital data using glass beads. The article is totally over our heads, but the fun graph: “If kept in the clement European air …they estimate a (lifespan) of around 2,000 years. But place these glass beads in the dark at –0.4˚ F, the conditions of the Svalbard Global Seed Bank…and you could save your photos, music, and eBooks for two million.”