The astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) occasionally take photos of Earth. Some of them are really cool. Here are the top ten most beautiful Earth images taken from the ISS in 2015 (well, IMHO, of course).
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Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA, Flight Engineer Tim Kopra of NASA and Flight Engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency wished the people of Earth a Happy New Year. Kelly is nearing the completion of the ninth month of a year-long mission on the orbital laboratory, while Kopra and Peake arrived December 15, 2015, to begin a six-month mission on the complex.
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In 2010, during an expedition of the Spanish research ship Miguel Oliver, the researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute discovered a new type of shark in the Pacific Ocean near Central America, off the coasts of Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica. The shark was glowing in the dark. Now it is officially a new kind of shark: its scientific name is Etmopterus benchleyi (it features a tribute to the famous 1974 novel “Jaws” author Peter Benchley), but since it is pure black, it is called “Ninja lanternshark”.
Continue reading The shark that glowing in the dark has been announced as a New Species: the “Ninja lanternshark”
Our planet is getting warmer every year, and the horrible fact is, global warming is accelerating. As a natural result, the glaciers are melting at an increasing speed.
Almost 10% of the world’s land surface is currently covered with glaciers, mostly in places like Greenland and Antarctica. The amount of water locked up in ice and snow is only about 1.7 percent of all water on Earth (332,500,000 cubic miles, or 1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers), but the majority of total freshwater on Earth, about 68.7%, is held in ice caps and glaciers. And if all land ice melted the seas would rise about 70 meters (about 230 feet).
What if all these ice melted? What would Earth look like? Alex Kuzoian of Business Insider prepared a video showing the effects of the global melting, and if it happens, “this would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world’s major cities.”
Continue reading What Earth would look like if all the ice melted
Earth has a mild climate, which enables the life on its surface. But there are some places exist which probably you won’t want to be there, at least uncovered. Here are the hottest and coldest places of our planet.
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Photographers and wild Animals: the wildlife photographers wait for endless hours to get the perfect shot, and sometimes they are surprised by the animals causing adorable pictures of their unexpected encounters.
Continue reading Photographers and Wild Animals: Unexpected Encounters
Redwoods (scientific name: Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest trees in the world, they easily reach heights of 300 feet (91 meters) and even more. They are not the tallest only, also evergreen and very long-lived: their lifespan is more than 1000 years, and some have been documented at even more than 2,000 years old. They can grow up to 29.2 feet (8.9 m) in diameter at breast height/dbh. Redwoods live in California, United States; and before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850s, this massive tree occurred naturally in an estimated 2,100,000 acres (8,500 km2) along much of coastal California (excluding southern California where rainfall is not sufficient) and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon within the United States. Now, unfortunately, an estimated 70% or more of ancient old-growth redwood trees have been displaced by environmental changes or cut down.
Among the redwoods, a tree named Hyperion dwarfs them all. The tree was discovered on August 25, 2006, by naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, and is 379.7 feet (115.7 meters) tall.
The tree is estimated to contain 530 m3 (18,600 cu ft) of wood and to be roughly 700–800 years old. Researchers stated that woodpecker damage at the top may have prevented the tree from growing taller. According to Michael Taylor, “It’s possible it could’ve topped out at 380 feet (116 meters)”.
Continue reading The Tallest Tree in the World: Hyperion
When I was a child, one of my favorite books was (and still is) Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. Published in 1873, the novel tells the story of Phileas Fogg, an English gentleman, and his newly employed French valet Passepartout. Fogg is a member of the Reform Club, a private members club on the south side of Pall Mall in central London. While the club members talking about the recent advances in technology, especially the new transportation methods including railway, Fogg sees an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that “with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days”. Other club members are skeptical about this claim. But Fogg insists it is doable.
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Our old planet, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. In fact, the human mind can no longer make any sense of large numbers like that. Numbers like 1, 2, 14, 20, 50 are all quantities that we encounter quite frequently in our daily lives. And our brain evolved to conceptualize numbers like that: our ancestors saw two lions; they hunted five deer in one hunting party, the population of their tribe was 20, etc… But when the numbers are getting big, i.e. 1,000; 10,000… the problem begins: these numbers become increasingly difficult to conceptualize. Now, what happens when we try to conceptualize quantities like billions, like the Earth’s age? We can’t actually rationalize the immensity of such a big number. Because we haven’t a model of 4.54 billion that’s been compressed into something recognizable to the human mind.
To put this number into a perspective, Alex Kuzoian of Business insider prepared a beautiful video: you can watch Earth’s lifespan as the distance from Los Angeles to New York City. Along the trip, we see the formation of our Moon, the beginning of the life, the evolving of the multi-cellular organisms, and the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Probably the most interesting part is that modern humans only evolved 175 meters (570 feet) from the finishing line of this journey. And the big jump to the first multi-cellular organisms.
Continue reading If Earth’s life time was the distance from Los Angeles to New York City
Four of the five species of the big cats (the Panthera genus – lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard), the exception being the snow leopard can hybridize with each other to produce numerous hybrids. In fact, breeding of two different pantheras to produce hybrid big cats has been banned in many zoos and animal sanctuaries due to no conservation value of the hybrid, and the risk it poses on the mother that gives birth to it.
For instance, the liger’s increased growth rate and enormous size can cause the tigress giving birth to have a difficult delivery, endangering both the mother and her liger cubs, which may be born prematurely or require a Caesarian. Common problems in cubs that survive are neurological disorders, obesity, genetic defects, and a shortened lifespan; though a few have reportedly made it to their twenties, many don’t survive past the age of seven.
Moreover, male ligers have lowered testosterone levels and sperm counts, rendering them infertile while females, though capable of reproducing with either a lion or a tiger, often give birth to sickly cubs that don’t survive.
However, hybrids do occur by accident in captivity.
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Most hybrids would not survive in the wild due to the males being infertile, but a few (such as the Leopon – leopard father, lion mother) are fertile and have a chance of survival in the wild.