It's time to break this blogging hiatus, so I'm going to start with something easy: a Linkfest!
Link 1: Manuel Lima of Visualizing Complexity was kind enough to send me this link to a featured project, a visualization of "The Evolution of the Origin of Species." The diagrams model each edition of the book as a "literary organism," illustrating changes from one edition to the next down to sentence level! The results are highly organic, beautiful, and undeniably reminiscent of complex phylogenies:
Click the link to see how it all works... the morphs from one edition to the next are worth seeing and make the entire thing clearer.
Link 2: From National Geographic.com: Ancient Birds had Iridescent Feathers!
As someone who desperately wants to be a paleo-artist, any hint of evidence about what color fossil organisms may have been just tickles me pink! Or rather tickles me iridescent black! (On the other hand, part of what has always attracted me to paleoart is the relatively high amount of artistic liberty it can offer, but those are selfish, selfish thoughts!)
Link 3: From BBC Earth News: Axolotle verges on wild extinction.
This is truly depressing. I worked with these guys for two years as an undergrad and they are the coolest critters. Amphibian extinctions around the world have to be one of the scariest and saddest environmental problems we currently face.