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A rainforest in…Iran? A volcanic eruption…on Venus? This week, ScienceBloggers are bringing our attention to places where nature is defying our expectations. No matter how well we think we know the patterns and forces of the universe, we are constantly surprised: On Gene Expression, Razib takes a look at Iran’s lush Caspian and Hyrcanian forests; Erik Klemetti discusses the possibility of a recent explosive eruption on Venus; Ed Yong describes the discovery of a bacterial genome that hides entirely within the DNA of a fruit fly; and in a TED Talk on Greg Laden’s Blog, Freeman Dyson makes the case that we ought to be looking for life not only on Mars, but on Jupiter’s moon Europa. “Why not look?…My philosophy is look for what’s detectable, not for what’s probable. There’s a long history in astronomy of unlikely things turning out to be there.”

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