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Are Starfish Robots the Next Big Thing in Automated House Cleaning?

d5c2Tody Starfish Robot Are Starfish Robots the Next Big Thing in Automated House Cleaning? They make great cleaners in our aquariums, so why wouldn’t starfish be just as awesome at cleaning our homes? According to a recent posting on Discovery News, Turkish designer Rana Alper used starfish as a jumping off point for his design on the ultimate house cleaning robot. Named “Tody”, this robot doesn’t have the typical five legs we see on starfish in the ocean, but instead uses four flexible arms that are said to be lined with gecko-inspired grippers that help it climb all over various surfaces. The unit is made of polymer-metal composites that move with the help of artificial muscles. With this combination of appendages, the Tody can crawl around all over the floor, on top of furniture, and even up curtains. The robot cleans with its massive array nozzles, which is made up of 22 steam nozzles and 29 vacuum nozzles per arm. The water reservoirs and dust bags are located within Tody’s body. The soft-sided robot comes from Turkish designer Rana Alper, and takes much of its form from nature. The shape resembles a starfish, but its mobility and ability to use its arms for various tasks comes from the octopus. MORE: Are Starfish Robots the Next Big Thing in Automated House Cleaning?

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Yellowline Arrow-Crab, Stenorhynchus seticornis

faf3Arrow Crab 457x305 Yellowline Arrow Crab, Stenorhynchus seticornisGood morning from windy, dry Curacao!! As some of you know the World Cup of Soccer is underway which translates to non-stop craziness around here!!! There are soccer parties everyday on the beach and at every snack in town, people driving around with different country flags on their cars and going crazy if their teams win and everyone is wearing soccer clothing. My colleagues are shocked that I know nothing about the sport and that I am not watching every second of every game, sorry! MORE

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Vancouver Aquarium Unveils 45 Million Dollar Expansion

I began by public aquarium career at the Vancouver Aquarium where I worked as an aquarist for over 7 years. So, I am eager to see what the 58 year old Vancouver Aquarium has in store after it’s 45 million dollar renovation. As Canada’s largest and first public aquarium, it has lead the way for public aquariums. The aquarium has a notable history, including being the first aquarium in the World to capture and display an Orca. This past Friday the Aquarium unveiled the work of the expansion, including its new entrance, 360 degree wrap-around screens that vancouver Vancouver Aquarium Unveils 45 Million Dollar Expansiondisplay pictures of the Worlds’ Oceans, and a large globe that has been positioned so that visitors can see Canada more easily. Updates were made to the Clownfish Cove children’s area which include an animal rescue center and underwater tunnels. MORE

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The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium-Sized Aquariums

kole tang 300x169 The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium Sized AquariumsKole Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus)Among the so-called bristletooths of the genus Ctenochaetus is one of my favorite tang species and one that I highly recommend to other hobbyists with well-established, medium-sized to moderately large systems—the Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus). Physical traits C. strigosus, which is also sold under the common names yellow-eye tang, gold-ring bristletooth, and several others, has an ovate, laterally compressed body. Adults are brownish overall (juveniles are more yellowish) with numerous thin, horizontal, light-blue stripes on their flanks; tiny light-blue spots on the head and throat; a neon-blue margin on the dorsal and anal fins; and a bright-gold ring around each eye. Depending on where they’re collected, some specimens may be mostly spotted instead of striped. The maximum recorded size for this species is about 7 inches. The term “bristletooth” refers to the comb-like teeth this species and its congeners use to graze and forage. In fact, loosely translated, the generic name Ctenochaetus means “comb bristle.” Feeding In nature, C. strigosus feeds largely on detritus and microalgae—hence the preference for keeping this species in well-established tanks More: The Kole Tang: A Commendable Surgeonfish for Medium-Sized Aquariums

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Florida to Ban All Pterois Lionfish Imports Beginning August 1st

e18aFuzzy Dwarf Lionfish Florida to Ban All Pterois Lionfish Imports Beginning August 1st
We keep harping on the lionfish invasion of the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and pretty much all waters surrounding Florida because it is a serious, ongoing issue with seemingly no end in sight. Despite the best efforts of scientists to understand the issue, legislators to fix the problem, and recreational fishermen to eradicate the invaders, the problem persists to the point where different and often drastic measures have to be given a good look. The latest attempt to help tackle the invasion is the straight up ban on the import of all lionfish from the Pterois genus into Florida. But is it the right move? As spelled out in one of Ret Talbot’s latest contributions to the Reef2Rainforest blog, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioners unanimously approved the prohibition of the “importation of live lionfish from the genus Pterois“, approved divers to use rebreather equipment to harvest lionfish, and will allow the Executive Director to issue permits to spearfisherman to remove lionfish and other non-native species from areas where the activity was previously prohibited. Ret goes on to point out that lionfish from the genus Dendrochirus are not considered in this ban despite there being significant genetic similarities between them and members of the Pterois genus. This new set of rules goes into effect on August 1st, and as usual, there are good arguments from both sides of the aisle. One of the key incentives intended by this ban is that marine aquarium importers who still rely on lionfish as part of their product offering will start collecting fish out of Florida waters to fill their demand. This approach, coupled with aggressive erradication efforts from other industries, is hoped to be able to keep the lionfish under better control, though nobody knows what real impact will be had. MORE: Florida to Ban All Pterois Lionfish Imports Beginning August 1st

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Night-diving with Ikelite/GoPro Video Camera

d5a3Nightdive Ikelite 1 650 457x305 Night diving with Ikelite/GoPro Video CameraGood afternoon from sunny, windy, dry Curacao!! Last night I had a fantastic evening of underwater adventure with my two friends Tessa (above) and by new diving buddy Gitland. I had already spent hours of getting ready for this dive during the day by setting up two full DSLR Ikelite housings, one with a D-200 and the other a D-800. Tessa was the lucky recipient of getting to use the new state of the art Ikelite/GoPro video camera with the duel VEGA Video lights, talk about a sweet looking underwater outfit! Like three navy seals on a mission we entered the sea in all it’s darkness at around 8:00 and took off straight down to around 75 feet! We instantly discovered a pretty big Caribbean octopus out hunting on the sand and proceeded to pull up along side for a few photos and a little video. MORE

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Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip: Strike A Pose And See Your Progress

Changes in your saltwater tank aren’t always easily noticeable. Here’s one way to make sure you don’t miss a thing  MORE: Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip: Strike A Pose And See Your Progress

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