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Giant Iceberg Collision as Seen From Space

The collision in early February of the 60-mile-long B-9B iceberg with the protruding tongue of the Mertz Glacier in East Antarctica is captured here in a series of satellite radar images.

The crash created a second massive iceberg nearly 50 miles long and 25 miles wide, named C-28. The name means that it’s the 28th glacier since 1976 that has broken off from the quadrant of Antarctica that faces Australia.

The two icebergs have since drifted into a polynya, which is an area of open water that’s surrounded by sea ice but stays unfrozen for much or all of the year. The bergs are obstructing the ocean circulation created by the polynya, and could deprive local marine life of oxygen if they don’t move.

The images were taken by the synthetic-aperture-radar instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite.” (Wired)

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How Big Waves Go Rogue

Freak wave. Picture taken in the Bay of Biscay...

An extra-tall wave struck a cruise ship off the Mediterranean coast of Spain this week, claiming two lives and injuring one person on board. Though the wave may not qualify as a “rogue wave,” it could have been created by the same forces.” (Wired)

World’s Biggest Recorded Tsunami

1720 feet-tall – Lituya Bay, Alaska, July 9, 1958 (geology.com). Yes, that’s 1720 feet, 1/3 of a mile high.

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Longest Solar Eclipse of the 21st Century

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A totally eclipsed sunset in Antarctica.

The event begins at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, July 22nd, in the Gulf of Khambhat just east of India. Morning fishermen will experience a sunrise like nothing they've ever seen before. Rising out of the waves in place of the usual sun will be an inky-black hole surrounded by pale streamers splayed across the sky. Sea birds will stop squawking, unsure if the day is beginning or not, as a strange shadow pushes back the dawn and stirs up a breeze of unaccustomed chill.

Most solar eclipses produce this sort of surreal experience for a few minutes at most. The eclipse of July 22, 2009, however, will last as long as 6 minutes and 39 seconds in some places, not far short of the 7 and a half minute theoretical maximum. It won't be surpassed in duration until the eclipse of June 13, 2132.” (NASA).

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Spheres of Influence: A Collection of Spherical Sites

Another view of Kugelmugel

‘…[A] collection of a few of the more interesting spheres found around the world.

Sweden Solar System: The world’s largest model of our planetary system centered around the largest spherical building in the world.

The Mapparium: An three story inside-out glass globe built in 1935.

The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory: A gigantic spherical neutrino detector built into the largest man made underground cavity in the world.

Costa Rican Stone Spheres: Mysterious spherical rock formations from an earlier era.

Paris Sewer Museum: Giant wooden balls helped keep the Parisian sewers clean.

The Republic of Kugelmugel: A spherical “micro-nation” in the heart of Vienna…’ [via boing boing]

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‘Hallucination’ fish netted in English Channel

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A fish that has been reported to cause LSD-like hallucinations when eaten has been found in the English Channel, many hundreds of miles away from its normal habitat.

The fish, Sarpa salpa, is commonly caught off the coast of South Africa and in the Mediterranean but turned up in the nets of Cornish fisherman Andy Giles.

Sarpa salpa is a popular dish in Mediterranean restaurants but cases of it supposedly causing hallucinations have been reported.” (Guardian.UK).

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What a Ride!

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“A bat that was clinging to space shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank during the countdown to launch the STS-119 mission remained with the spacecraft as it cleared the tower, analysts at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center concluded.

Based on images and video, a wildlife expert who provides support to the center said the small creature was a free tail bat that likely had a broken left wing and some problem with its right shoulder or wrist. The animal likely perished quickly during Discovery’s climb into orbit.” via NASA.

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In Search of the Mongolian Death Worm

This is an image for the article about the All...

“Trudging gingerly across the arid sands of the Gobi desert, Czech explorer Ivan Mackerle is careful not to put a foot wrong, for he knows it may be his last. He scours the land and shifting valleys for tell-tale signs of disturbance in the sands below, always ready for the unexpected lurch of an alien being said to kill in one strike with a sharp spout of acidic venom to the face. A creature so secretive that no photographic evidence yet exists, but the locals know it’s there, always waiting in silence for its prey, waiting to strike – the Mongolian Death Worm.” via Environmental Graffiti.

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Diamond no longer nature’s hardest material

Diamond Age

‘Diamond will always be a girl’s best friend, but it may soon lose favour with industrial drillers.

The gemstone lost its title of the “world’s hardest material” some time ago, to man-made nanomaterials of slightly greater toughness. Now a rare natural substance looks likely to leave them all far behind – at 58% harder than diamond.

The first, wurtzite boron nitride has a similar structure to diamond, but is made up of different atoms.

The second, the mineral lonsdaleite, or hexagonal diamond is made from carbon atoms just like diamond, but they are arranged in a different shape.’ via New Scientist.

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Deep-sea superorganism

Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis).

“Here is some terrific video of a bioluminescent deep-sea siphonophore — an eerily fantastic creature that appears to be a single, large organism, but which is actually a colony of numerous individual jellyfish-like animals that behave and function together as a single entity. The individual units, called zooids, all share the same genetic material and each perform a specialized role within the colony. The best-known siphonophore is the poisonous Portuguese Man o’ War (Physalia physalis), which lives at the surface of the ocean, unlike the one shown in this video (filmed at a depth of 770 meters). Some siphonophore species can grow up to 40 meters (130 ft) in length.”

via Pink Tentacle.