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


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)


Photographer Nicky Bay Documents Mirror Spiders Adjusting their Silver Plates to Appear More Reflective

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 reflective surface.


92% of people on Earth are breathing polluted air

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.

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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.

Video Courtesy of the Prelinger Archives


Print-on-demand bone could quickly mend major injuries 

Material is flexible, cheap, and easy to produce.


Guy sends a GoPro into space with a balloon, The footage is breathtaking.