New images from European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory show new insights into how matter is distributed in our galaxy – it’s threaded with filamentary structures. The filaments are enormous formations of gas and dust with complex structures as seen above. It is estimated that G49, the filament on the first image, has a total mass of around 80,000 times that of our Sun!
Thanks to Herschel, several of these unbelievably massive filaments have now been discovered in our own Milky Way. 
Copyright: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/Ke Wang et al. 2015

Blooms in the Sea of Marmara

Situated between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara is a rich soup of nutrients and life and surrounded by a rich history of civilization. Like the Black Sea to its northeast, the Marmara has an unusual layered structure with fresher water near the surface and much saltier water near the bottom. That fresh surface is fed by exchanges with the Black Sea and by flows from the Susurluk, Biga, and Gonen Rivers. The fresh water (just two thirds the salinity of the ocean) makes it easier for floating, plant-like organisms—phytoplankton—to grow, as does the abundance of nutrients pouring into the seas from European and Turkish rivers.

The Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of a phytoplankton bloom in the Sea of Marmara on May 17, 2015. The sea is surrounded on all sides by the nation of Turkey. The swirling shapes on the water are phytoplankton, with the yellow-green and red-purple filaments likely (but not necessarily) representing different species.

Those wavy colored lines not only show where the densest concentrations of plankton are floating, but also reveal the eddies and currents within the small sea. Waters rushing in through the narrow Bosphorous Strait (at Istanbul) and Dardanelles Strait (off the left side of the image), as well as a jagged coastline and tectonically fractured seafloor on this edge of the Asian and European continents, all conspire to create intricate mixing patterns. If you download the large image and open it in full resolution, you also can see ship tracks crossing the bloom lines.

“I often see features in imagery and wonder: what could be causing that?” said Norman Kuring, an ocean color specialist at NASA Goddard. “Remote sensing is great for the big picture, but it still needs data from the surface for validation and interpretation.”

According to scientists Baris Salihoglu of Turkey’s Institute of Marine Sciences and Ahsen Yuksek of Istanbul University, the blooms in the satellite image are mostly Prorocentrum micans and Noctiluca scintillans. They recently sampled the waters of the Marmara and found that Prorocentrum bloomed first, though Noctiluca eventually dominated.

According to Ajit Subramaniam of the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, both species are dinoflagellates, known to discolor the water (a phenomenon often called red tide). Neither is directly toxic to humans, but they can kill marine life by becoming caught in fish gills, depleting the sea of oxygen, or excreting ammonia into the water. “Noctiluca is phagotrophic—a really interesting beast since it eats other phytoplankton that can then change its color,” Subramaniam noted. “It switches from being photosynthetic to becoming heterotrophic.”

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured wider views of bloom events in the Sea of Marmara on on May 23 and May 25.

References and Related Reading

Hurriyet Daily News (2013, April 26) Red tide poses risk for sea ecosystem. Accessed May 30, 2015.
NASA Earth Observatory (2012, May 19) Bloomin’ Black Sea.
NASA Earth Observatory (2012, September 10) Istanbul at Night.
NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (2003) Sea of Marmara: Where Ancient Myth and Modern Science Mix. Accessed May 29, 2015.
NASA Ocean Color (2013) Phytoplankton in the Sea of Marmara. Accessed May 30, 2015.

NASA image by Josh Stevens (Earth Observatory) and Norman Kuring (NASA Ocean Color group) using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

Eta Carinae and the Expanding Homunculus Nebula : How did the Eta Carinae star system create this unusual expanding nebula? No one knows for sure. About 170 years ago, the southern star system Eta Carinae mysteriously became the second brightest star system in the night sky. Twenty years later, after ejecting more mass than our Sun, Eta Car unexpectedly faded. Somehow, this outburst appears to have created the Homunculus Nebula. The three-frame video features images of the nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, 2001, and 2008. The Homunculus nebulas center is lit by light from a bright central star, while the surrounding regions are expanding lobes of gas laced with filaments of dark dust. Jets bisect the lobes emanating from the central stars. Expanding debris includes streaming whiskers and bow shocks caused by collisions with previously existing material. Eta Car still undergoes unexpected outbursts, and its high mass and volatility make it a candidate to explode in a spectacular supernova sometime in the next few million years. via NASA


Feather-horned Beetle (males) - Rhipicera femorata

Though small in size (10-25 mm), the rare Feather-horned Beetles, Rhipicera femorata (Coleoptera - Rhipiceridae), native to Australia, are indeed stunning by their large, fan-shaped antennae composed by many long segments. Antennae of female are filamentous, but those of male are flabellate (bearing a cusp-shaped dense comb of side-branches towards the tip).

The flabellate antennae of males are presumably particularly sensitive to the female’s scent and function as true tracking devices helping them to reach on her. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Ron N. Beths (CC BY-NC 2.0) | Locality: Perth Urban Bushland, Western Australia, Australia (2013, 2014) | [Top] - [Bottom]

The Cockatoo Flounder usually looks like a perfectly ordinary flounder, well-camouflaged against the silty seabed between Australia and Japan.

But when camouflage fails, weird measures are called for.

As they make their escape, they extend numerous long, bright white filaments from under their head. Not only does it make this 20 cm long fish look bigger, but the filaments also appear disturbingly reminiscent of sticky sea cucumber guts.

It’s a really cool beard, anyway.

…Video: liquidguru

Crunchy Soil

If you ever go off-trail in the iconic deserts of the American Southwest, you might notice a distinct crunch when you step. It’s a very significant crunch—it’s the sound of a very important soil called cryptobiotic soil or biological soil crust.

Like most soil, cryptobiotic soil has a few components but one of its most important is cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria is a binding agent when it gets wet. Tiny little filaments from the bacteria extend and move around in the soil, locking soil and other particles in place. This is a huge help against soil erosion, since particles that otherwise would be washed away quite easily are now safely stuck in cyanobacteria’s sticky network.

Cyanobacteria are also nitrogen “fixers”. Nitrogen is incredibly important for plant growth, but as it is in the atmosphere, it’s completely useless. Nitrogen must be converted from N2 to NH4+ or NO2. Cyanobacteria in soil crusts do a great job at that and provide needed nitrogen in a land of limited resources.

Cryptobiotic soil is a very fragile resource, so if you ever hear that crunch or notice a black crusty top layer to the soil, it’s time to get back on the trail. It can take up to 7 years for a biological soil crust to regenerate after its been damaged. These soil crusts have suffered a lot at the hands of rogue hikers, mountain bikers, and ATV’s. Loss of soil crust can lead to increasing rates of soil erosion, which is devastating for desert ecosystems.


Photo credit: Canyonlands National Park

For more information:

To read more about soils:

M1: The Crab Nebula: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messiers famous 18th century list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, debris from the death explosion of a massive star, witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054. This sharp, ground-based telescopic view uses narrowband data to track emission from ionized oxygen and hydrogen atoms and explore the tangled filaments within the still expanding cloud. One of the most exotic objects known to modern astronomers, the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star spinning 30 times a second, is visible as a bright spot near the nebulas center. Like a cosmic dynamo, this collapsed remnant of the stellar core powers the Crabs emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. Spanning about 12 light-years, the Crab Nebula is a mere 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. via NASA

the signs as small precious things
  • aries:a small gossamer thread
  • taurus:a filament of time
  • gemini:greying wispy silver hair
  • cancer:the glisten of calm waves
  • leo:a breath, then dust motes catching shifting light
  • virgo:tiny honey droplets
  • libra:frost turning wide fields pale overnight
  • scorpio:minty breath
  • sagittarius:rose scent on a warm gold afternoon
  • capricorn:pond ripples with tiny mottled fish beneath
  • aquarius:opalite in a child's pink hand
  • pisces:a downy gosling in dawn light

Cooperating bacteria paint Van Gogh patterns

“Stronger together” : Indeed together cells can face environmental challenges that they separately cannot, which is a property well-known of multicellular organisms. It was recently shown that even bacteria can cooperate in order to migrate in filamentous loops called “Van Gogh bundles”. Migration is allowed by the coordination of two types of cells : matrix-producing cells form the bundle while surfactin-producing cells secrete the slippery track on which the bundles can move and push themselves from the colony.

Above : Red and green fluorescent cells represent, respectively, surfactin- and matrix-producing cells in the double-labeled PtapA-CFP PsrfA-YFP WT strain (CFP and YFP are artificially colored green and red, respectively).

van Gestel et al., PLOS Biology 2015


So we all know about how awesomely Detect Life boosts your Alteration, but, dang, that spell eats magicka like nobody’s business, so you can never hold it all that long…

Enter the Secret of Arcana exploit.

The Secret of Arcana, if you’re unfamiliar, is one of the powers you can select from the Black Book Filament and Filigree (available in Kolbjorn Barrow at the end of the Unearthed quest, through the Dragonborn DLC).  Basically, the effect of this power is that spells cost no magicka for 30 seconds.  This is a hugely beneficial power, especially for a warrior type who probably doesn’t have a very big pool of magicka to draw from, so higher-end spells are just impossible without that 30 seconds of free spellcasting.

However, there’s a bit of a work-around here.  Yes, for 30 seconds, using the Secret of Arcana, spells cost no magicka.  BUT, if you cast a continuous-effect spell (like Detect Life) and hold it, it’s going to keep right on costing 0 magicka until you release it.  Doesn’t matter if it’s 30 seconds, 60 seconds, or 10 freaking minutes.  As long as you hold that spell, it’s going to keep right on going.

Long story short, go to someplace well-populated like Solitude, activate your Secret of Arcana, then cast and hold Detect Life for as long as you want, and just watch your Alteration zoom right up.

As my characters tend to be more warrior-types that don’t have much use for Alteration, I find this most handy when I’m looking to speed to the next level in pursuit of a particular perk.  Or a few, actually.

(Detect Life spellbooks are rare, but if you go to Treva’s Watch and do the Infiltration quest for Stalleo, he’ll give you a Detect Life book as a reward regardless of what level you are)

On a completely unrelated leveling note, I always try not to buy training in skills that I actually use.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but if your character is primarily a one-handed swordsman, your one-handed is going to max out without any help.  If all you wear is heavy armor, your heavy armor is going to max out by itself.  Your light armor, on the other hand, isn’t going to increase at all.  So you may as well pay to boost those unused skills - doing it this way is also a lot easier on the pocketbook.

Both are handy methods, I’ve found, for getting the maximum advancement out of my characters.

Ловля на нитчатые водоросли

Способы ловли
нитчатые водорослиНитчатые зеленые водоросли (шелковник) - одна из самых интересных и необычных насадок для ловли плотвы. Обнаружить эти растения, похожие на пряди тоненьких зеленых ниток, можно практически в любой реке. Растут они на камнях, корягах, плитах на дне. В жаркую погоду, размножаясь, могут просто плавать на поверхности.


Пряди аккуратно отделяют от камней, промывают в чистой воде и нарезают ножницами на нити длиной 8-12 см. Осторожно сделав петлю, полученную насадку цепляют на крючок. Хвостик отрезают так, чтобы он свисал не более чем на 2-3 см. Можно обмотать водорослями и цевье крючка, закрепив их внизу. Жало при этом остается открытым.

Рекламное агенство Импульс занимается изготовлением рекламы всех типов, а изготовление наружной рекламы в Харькове это их основная ниша. Любые виды наружной рекламы в кратчайшие сроки и по самым привлекательным ценам.


Перед забросом насадку для придания более аппетитного распушенного вида прополаскивают в воде. Для насадки используются только молодые пряди шелковника, имеющие ярко-зеленый цвет. Хранят во время рыбалки водоросли в мокрой тряпице, оберегая от солнца.

Ловят на нитчатые водоросли впроводку. Поплавок обычно отпускают впол-воды. При отсутствии поклёвок можно немного уменьшить или увеличить глубину отпуска. Удилище должно быть достаточно жестким около 5 м длиной, оснащенное проводочной катушкой. Особое внимание уделите оснастке. Неяркий поплавок должен быть очень чувствительным. Отгрузка - не более 1,6-1,8 г. Зелёная леска - 0,15-0,18 мм. Грузила подбирайте маленькие, располагайте их последовательно на леске. Ближе к крючку ставятся самые маленькие и легкие дробинки. Используйте крючок № 3,5-4,5 с длинным цевьем. Лучший результат дают крючки из тонкой проволоки.


В реке, где вы собираетесь ловить, должен обязательно расти шелковник. Ловить следует на течении ниже того места, где есть скопления водорослей. Чаще всего это места со средним и тихим течением ниже плотин, мостов, перекатов.

Стоит заметить, что рыбалка на водоросли чаще всего бывает удачной в жаркое время года, когда вода хорошо прогрета. Помимо основной составляющей уловов - плотвы, на “зелень” можно поймать язя, голавля, красноперку.