On Friday night, a rare lunar phenomenon will occur called a black moon — or rather, the second new moon within a one-month period. It’s a remarkable scientific event, but for those of you who want to witness it with you own eyes, you’re going to have some trouble.
Mt. Erebus in Antarctica, the southernmost active volcano in the world, is known for the numerous ice fumaroles - also known as ice chimneys - that dot the surrounding landscape. The ice towers are created when snow and ice begin to form around gas escaping from the pressurized caves beneath the ground. These caves are of special interest to astrobiologists, as they are untouched by humans and contain only extremophile bacteria and fungi. It is believed that such caves may exist on Mars, suggesting that it may be possible for life to exist there.
Eating carrots doesn’t make you see
better. Your body does convert beta-
carotene into vitamin A, but it’s not
enough to enhance the vision of the
average person. The myth comes from
WWII, when the British tried to hide
their new radar technology by tricking
the Germans into thinking their pilots
had developed ‘night sight’ from eating
large quantities of carrots. Source
NASA has had enough of astrology. Astronomers have spent years patiently trying to explain why zodiac signs are not science, and NASA finally seems fed up with the public’s obsession with them. NASA just dropped the ultimate astrology smackdown in a Tumblr post that’s since gone viral.
Lava flows like these Hawaii’an ones are endlessly mesmerizing. This type of flow is gravity-driven; rather than being pushed by explosive pressure, the lava flows under its own weight and that of the lava upstream. In fact, fluid dynamicists refer to this kind of flow as a gravity current, a term also applied to avalanches, turbidity currents, and cold drafts that sneak under your door in the wintertime. How quickly these viscous flows spread depends on factors like the density and viscosity of the lava and on the volume of lava being released at the vent. As the lava cools, its viscosity increases rapidly, and an outer crust can solidify while molten lava continues to flow beneath. Be sure to check out the full video below for even more gorgeous views of lava. (Image/video credit: J. Tarsen, source; via J. Hertzberg)
You can train to become a weed
sommelier. The art of ‘interpening’,
or interpreting marijuana terpenes,
allows you to navigate through the
unreliable and often arbitrary names
of various strains by using a 'weed
wheel’ and 'interpening loop’ to
identify the plant’s flower structure
and determine its qualities. SourceSource 2
For the last several years Singapore-based photographer Nicky Bay (previously here and here) has been documenting the life of the mirror spider,
an unusual arthropod whose abdomen is covered in bright reflective
panels that appear almost metallic. Bay recently noticed that some of
the spiders exhibit unusual behavior in addition to their shiny
appearance: apparently the spiders are able manipulate the mirrors in
situations where they might feel threatened. In some instances the gaps
between the silver plates almost completely disappear creating a larger
We already know pollution has had a devastating effect in dense cities like Beijing, where heavy smog days keep schoolchildren indoors. But a new report from the World Health Organization indicates that 92% of people on Earth live in places with polluted air. They created an interactive map to show you if you’re one of those people.
Slow motion can help us see more clearly, right? It helps us to know who crossed a finish line first if two athletes are separated by a few hundredths of a second. But new research shows that slow motion also has another effect – a psychological one. NPR’s Shankar Vedantam reported on the studies findings:
Usually, when we see people taking time to perform an action, it usually means they are thinking through what they’re about to do. They intended the action. On the other hand, when something happens suddenly, we’re more likely to say it was an accident. It appears that even though we know that slow motion is motion that has been slowed down, our minds still unconsciously apply the same rule of thumb and ascribe greater intentionality to the action than if we saw it at regular speed.
Listen to Shankar’s report about possible implications for both athletes and the criminal justice system here.