Tag Archives: amazing

10 Amazing Sights Discovered Over Google Earth

I’ve really loved the Google Earth/Maps technology ever since it’s first rolled out of the Silicon Valley giant many years back. The prospect of having my own digital satellite at my fingertips has been simply mind-blowing, keeping me constantly fascinated by how easy it is for me to reach far away places. Thanks to Google Earth I can now physically see where I need to go, what routes to take or even my cousin’s car in front of her flat in The Village. The possibilities are incredibly wide, as well as the privacy issues…but that’s a story for another time.

Along the years Google Earth hasn’t just been a source of geographical information, but also a valuable tool in spotting remote places and making surprising findings. It helped find a forest packed with undiscovered species, early mammal fossils or even a huge cannabis plantation (sure beats finding crop circles), and much, much more. Bellow, I’ve listed a few truly amazing sights captured with Google Earth, that are either fun, odd or simply mind blowing captured by people with waaay too much time on their hands.

1. Arizona <3 Oprah

Oprah Crop Circle

Throughout this list you’ll see a lot of crop circle ‘art,’ but this one can be considered by far one of the weirdest, not because it foretells of the arrival of an alien master race to enslave us all, but rather because it’s a really clear example of how far obsession and cult-like personality can go. Above captioned is the portrait of famous talk-show host Oprah Winfrey carved in a 10-acre crop by an Arizona farmer. Now that’s a fan! [see it on Google Maps | Coordinates: +33° 13′ 33.18″, -111° 35′ 48.32″]

2. The Jet Plane Inside a Parking Lot

fighterjet

Talk about a smooth ride! We’re used to using jet planes either on air stripes or in the sky, where they belong, not in a residential parking lot in a Parisian suburb as is the case in the above photo. Weird as heck! [see it on Google Maps | Coordinates: 48.825183,2.1985795]

3. A Farmer Who Hates Internet Explorer

firefox

Back in 2006, the Oregon State University Linux Users made this huge Mozilla Firefox logo in a corn field to celebrate the world’s most favorite web browser’s 50 millionth downloads. I can really say I get the man… as can anyone who’s used Internet Explorer lately. (See on Google Maps | Coordinates: +45° 7′ 25.39″, -123° 6′ 49.08″ ).

4. The Huge Bunny In The Woods

134186-03_bunnyhuge

Built by a group of artists from Vienna, this huge 200 feet bunny rabbit thingy was built in Prata Nevoso, Italy a few years back. Quite cute. (See on Google Maps | Coordinates: +44° 14′ 39.38″, +7° 46′ 11.05″)

5. The Bloody Iraqi Lake

iraq-blood-lake

This lake’s colour, located outside of Baghdad, Iraq, has been puzzling people for a lot of time now. Most likely, the reddish colour is a product of pollution or a water treatment facility (which might explain the corrosive colour). Then again, this might as well had been the dumping pool for Saddam’s enemies. (See on Google Maps | Coordinates: 33.39845000,44.48416800 )

6. Building A Brand, Can By Can

coca-cola

What’s quite possibly the largest logo on Earth (if not, it’s definitely the biggest Coke logo), this is what advertising enthusiasts drool about. This huge Coke ad, 50m tall and 120m wide, was built using 70,000 empty coke bottles in northern Chile near Arica desert. This veritable Coke monument was meant to mark the anniversary of 100 years since the brand’s inception, as one can see in the photo (“100 años” – 100 years). Don’t worry, tree huggers, the Aniro desert is one of the most barren places on Earth. (See on Google Maps | Coordinates: -18° 31′ 45.21″, -70° 15′ 0.07″)

7. The Noble Clay Indian

134186-07_indianface

This is one of the most famous Google Earth photos to have circulated on the web. Dubbed the Badlands Guardian, this eroded valley very much resembles the face of a man, and if you take a closer look at the tip of the head, you might notice something like the feather head-piece decoration native Americans used to wear. NOW, if you take an even closer look, you might notice what may seem like a pair of iPod headsets. Pretty funky, right? Unfortunately, it’s just a road with an oil rig at its end. (See on Google Maps | Coordinates: +50° 0′ 37.76″, -110° 7′ 0.86″ )

8. African Zoom

elephants

Google Earth is great, but it’s hard to tell a lot of things apart at low res, this wonderful piece of African life, however, depicting a herd of elephants on the move, is one sweet exception. You can even see details in the grass! Simply wonderful. (See on Google Maps – be sure to zoom… a lot! | Coordinates: +50° 0′ 37.76″, -110° 7′ 0.86″)

9. The Highest Place … In Your Living Room

everest

Peeking at 8,848 meters  or 29,029 ft, Mount Everest is the highest place on Earth. Let’s face it, neither of us will ever get to climb it, but thanks to Google Earth, we now have an incredible view of the mountain from the high-up. When I first found it, I was simply stunned by its beauty. Be sure to scroll around it when viewing it – the perspective of it all will undoubtedly send a few shivers up your spine. So serene, yet to deadly! (See on Google Maps | Coordinates: +27° 59′ 9.12″, +86° 55′ 42.38″)

10. Stunning Victoria Falls

victoriafalls

One of the tallest and, at the same time, most spectacular waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls never ceases to amaze people. This true spectacle of nature should be on everybody’s must-see/go-to list, but until you book a flight to Zimbabwe, Google Earth should do the trick. (See on Google Maps | Coordinates: -17° 55′ 31.84″, +25° 51′ 29.60″)

Note: Use the coordinates for inputting into Google Earth. If you’d have the software installed, you can use Google Maps as an alternative. It’s not even half as fun, but still pretty incredible.

 

The eye of the Sahara

A topographic reconstruction (scaled 6:1 on the vertical axis) from satellite photos. False coloring as follows: bedrock=brown, sand=yellow/white, vegetation=green, salty sediments=blue. Credit: NASA

This has got to be one of the strangest places on Earth- – but you couldn’t make much of it if you were just walking by.

It’s located in a rather remote area and the few people who noticed something odd about it didn’t know just how odd it really was. That’s why the 50 km formation didn’t receive much attention until some astronauts made reports about it .

Photo by NASA.

Located in Mauritania, the Eye of the Sahara is not really what you would call a structure, but rather a huge circular formation; it was originally thought to be a crater, but the more recent and accepted theories suggest that it is, in fact, a product of erosion that took place in geological time.

Also known as the Richat Structure, the Eye of the Sahara has been studied by numerous geologists.

“The Richat structure (Sahara, Mauritania) appears as a large dome at least 40 km in diameter within a Late Proterozoic to Ordovician sequence. Erosion has created circular cuestas represented by three nested rings dipping outward from the structure. The center of the structure consists of a limestone-dolomite shelf that encloses a kilometer-scale siliceous breccia and is intruded by basaltic ring dikes, kimberlitic intrusions, and alkaline volcanic rocks” – small excerpt from a paper.

You can also see it on Google Maps, it’s really a brilliant view, and you can zoom in and out for proportions (coordinates are 21.124217, -11.395569).

 

Picture sources: 1 2 3

bombardier beetle

The amazing bombardier beetle sprays boiling chemicals from its butt

Animals have evolved all sorts of gimmicks for either attack or defence. Some are really over the top, but that doesn’t make it less effective. Take the bombardier beetle, for instance, which sprays a deadly mix of boiling chemicals from its butt. This is one insect you don’t want to mess with.

bombardier beetle

Inside the bombardier’s abdomen is a blast chamber where two chemicals, hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones, react to form a superheated spray called  benzoquinone. These two chemicals sit idly most of the time, but when the bug feels threatened it releases a catalyst that sets off the benzoquinone reaction.

This mixture explodes from the beetle’s hind like a lawn spray, instead of a streamlined jet, spewing the boiling chemicals in virtually all directions at a rate of 500 to 1000 squirts/second. The heat is enough to kill smaller threats like ants, and can scare away anything bigger from amphibians to humans.

“You’ve got 100 degrees centigrade temperature, you’ve got a chemical burn, the steam comes off like a smoke, and then also the reaction kind of hisses,” said entomologist Terry Erwin of the Smithsonian Institute.  “There might be 200 of these beetles under one rock, and they all fire at the same time, and you’ve got a smokescreen, or vaporscreen, as it were,” Erwin said.

Once the pressure is released via the expulsion of the newly created benzoquinone, the valve opens once more, allowing for the next explosion. In a good day, the bombardier beetle can fire up to 20 times before running out of ammo.

The transverse slice shows the chambers that house the chemical soups the bombardier beetle uses to squirt a boiling spray. Credit: Geoff Brightling

The transverse slice shows the chambers that house the chemical soups the bombardier beetle uses to squirt a boiling spray. Credit: Geoff Brightling

Since the spray is pulsed, the blast chamber has enough time to cool and prevent overheating that might damage the beetle. Its first line of defence, however, is the blast chamber itself whose walls are very dense. Moreover, once the cannon is ready to fire all of the reacted mixture is expelled.

This sophisticated adaptation is certainly fascinating, and a prime example of how ingenious evolution’s solutions can be. There are even practical benefits to observing the bombardier beetle. Researchers at MIT are closely following the beetle and hope their work might lead to better blast protection systems, and even the creation of new types of propulsion systems.

Giving Primates a Third Arm (and Why it Matters)

When you first hear of the work done by Miguel Nicolelis and his team, though the “cool factor” is high, you might wonder as to the practical application. Miguel has spent the last number of years (and, in fact, most of his career) working to gives our primate cousins a third (robotic) arm. In his new book, Beyond Boundaries, he takes the reader through the process that led to this extraordinary accomplishment. Here is one of the earlier videos of his work:

There are a couple very noteworthy items about the research:

Thought-Based

What makes this work exceptional is the fact that there is no physical input made by the primates. The arm is entirely controlled by thought. Electrodes were implanted into the skulls of the animals in order to monitor key areas of the motor cortex, which ultimately translate to commands to move the robotic arm. In the book, Miguel stresses the importance of what he dubs “neural symphonies,” which he uses to explain the idea that it requires the harmonious interplay of many neurons to trigger/predict an action (previous research, such as into the Grandmother Neuron or Halle Berry Neuron, indicated strict specialization of each neuron which initially seems at odds with Miguel’s work). Ultimately his team of researchers were able to construct algorithms which were able to understand movement with a very high degree of accuracy.

Self-Learned and Natural

To teach the primates to use the arm, researches first taught them to play a game with a joystick to move the arm. When the joystick was removed in favor of the direct neural interface, the subjects initially continued to move their arms as they mentally moved the machine. What is truly astonishing, though, is that some figured out on their own that they no longer needed to actually move their arm. Thanks to the wonders of neuroplasticity, they had actually re-mapped their brain to include this third arm, and ultimately became more efficient by merely thinking of moving it rather than moving their existing arm. In short, the subjects had learned to control the arm naturally as if it were an additional appendage rather than an extension of existing appendages.

Practical Application

To bring all of this into the real world, Miguel proposes what he calls a “shoot the moon” project to give paraplegics back the ability to walk. I’ll let him explain this amazing and worthwhile goal, from his recent appearance on the Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Miguel Nicolelis
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

As with most new science, the practical application will begin with medicine. I do not think, though, that the importance of this work can be over-stressed. We are effectively learning to remove the brain’s dependance upon parts of the body, which will open up a whole new world not only for medicine but for human evolution.

Only in China: risk your life several times for a good tea house

Well the teahouse itself isn’t dangerous at all, but as in life, it’s about the journey, and not about the destination. Do you think you have what it takes to get to this amazingly dangerous place? Well, the first step is not always the hardest, and this time it’s the easiest – you just take the tram up to the mountain. After that, it all goes crazy…

Hold on tight, and remember, never look down; and if you’re feeling dizzy, just remember that a good tea place is worth risking your life. Several times.

Oh, and in case there’s an earthquake… oh well, just pray.

Keep an eye out, especially when meeting somebody coming from the opposite direction, because believe it or not, there’s quite a lot of traffic up there.

Yeah, that’s it, just walk on that tiny slippery portion of the rock and you’ll be just fine.

If you’ve made it this far, the odds are you’ll be just fine from now on.

Yep, and there you have it – the teahouse you’ve risked your life for. Enjoy your tea ! Your brought the tea, didn’t you ?

6 geographical facts you’re not going to believe

Our world is a strange and awesome place — but some things are just hard to believe! Here are some mind-blowing geography facts.

Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined

Photo: LASZLO ILYES.

Canada is the second largest country on the face of the Earth, and it has a lot to brag about. Out of all the natural lakes in the world, more than 50% are situated in Canada.

Photo by Christianabend.

The number of lakes larger than three square kilometers is estimated at close to 31,752 by the Atlas of Canada, of which 561 lakes have a surface area larger than 100 km2, including four of the Great Lakes. All in all, a whopping 9% of Canada’s surface is covered in fresh water.

After Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world

Warsaw. Photo by Adrian Grycuk.

Warsaw is Poland’s capital, having under 3 million inhabitants, out of which 95% are have Polish origins. However, besides Warsaw, there isn’t a single city with a larger Polish population than Chicago, even though Poland number 40 million inhabitants.

Polish market

Polish market in Chicago

Chicago is the third largest city in the US, with 7.5 million people living in the metropolitan area. Due to the huge Polish population, the architecture and culture of the city greatly resemble that of Poland, and you can find Polish theaters, markets, even a newspaper.

Girls Wearing Traditional Polish Outfits. Photo by włodi

Girls Wearing Traditional Polish Outfits. Photo by włodi

It’s pretty difficult to say just how much of Chicago’s population is Polish, with estimates ranging from 150,000 inhabitants to 10 times more – there’s no exact number.

Chicago. Photo by Allen McGregor.

The largest city in the world is Hulunbuir, at 263,953 km2

Where would you expect to see the world’s largest city? China, India, Russia? Just so you can make an idea, this city in inner Mongolia (China) is about as half as big as France, and it’s just a city !

The grasslands of Hulunbuir. Photo by llee_wu

However, the urban agglomeration is just a small fraction of the city, with the area population density being otherwise really small. All accross the megacity you can see large landscapes of grassland, and industrialization is only existant in the center. For all its surface, the city has “only” 2.5 million inhabitants.

The driest place on Earth is near Ross Island, Antactica; it hasn’t rained there for millions of years

Photo by NASA.

Yes, Antarctica is the driest place on the Earth, with the Atacama desert being 2nd, and Sahara the third.

The deepest hole dug by man is over 12 km deep

The Kola Superdeep Borehole has a depth of 12,261 meters — that’ s one and a half Everest long, or deeper than the Mariana trench.

The core is under this rusty, metallic cap. Photo by Rakot13

The core is under this rusty, metallic cap. Photo by Rakot13

The borehole also led to some interesting discoveries, including a massive amount of hydrogen, so massive that the mud was actually “boiling” with it.

In New York, there are more Italians than in Rome, more Irish than in Dublin and more Jews than in Tel Aviv

The big apple stands out anytime, no matter who you are or what you’re interested in. But still, I was really shocked to see this. I mean, with Rome having more than 3.5 million people, Dublin at 1 million and Tel Aviv at more than 3, that’s almost 8 million people !

Times Square, New York. Photo by Terabass.

Not to mention the other nationalities (which are quite abundent), one can only wonder how many Americans are living in New York.

Now c’mon people, hit me with your best geographical fact !

Picture sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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Amazingly long fish filmed

Mark Benfield from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge was undertaking a survey when he spotted this amazing oarfish at about 10 meters long. The fish is one of the longest in the world, and it’s general aspect resembles that of a serpent, so it’s possible it lies at the basis of some sea serpent myths.

oarfish

Professor Benfield explains how they found the fish:

“We saw this bright vertical shiny thing, I said ‘are they lowering more riser?’ as it looked like they were lowering a huge pipe. We zoomed in a little bit and we said ‘that’s not a riser that’s a fish! What was interesting about the fish was its swimming behaviour,” said Professor Benfield.It moved by undulating its dorsal fin in waves that propelled it backwards at quite a good speed.”

oarfish_20_f2xr

Oarfish are amazing deep sea creatures that can go up to 17 meters long. They are sometimes found washed up on beaches or dying in the upper part of the ocean, and this is the first time they’ve been filmed in the deep. Unfortunately, I can’t give you the footage here, but you can find it on BBC.

1911 : the year Niagara froze

A while ago I wrote a post about what I believe the most spectacular waterfalls in the world are, but you guys gave me some excellent feedback and I fould out about more amazing waterfalls, so thanks a whole lot!!
I’ve kept researching waterfalls and I found something that really totally took me by surprise: Niagara froze – totally!! It happened a long time ago in 1911 and as a result, the quality of the photos isn’t amazing, but the photos themselves are.

The first thing I asked myself when I came across this set was “can Niagara actually freeze??” As it turns out, the answer is yes. What happens is during a very harsh winter a crust of ice accumulates along the fall creating this amazing natural landscape.

You have to keep in mind that it doesn’t actually freeze solid, but the ice thickness went up to 50 feet (almost 17 meters).

The blanket of ice has been known to spread along the whole Niagara river and people used to cross it until 1912, when there was a tragic accident when the ice broke. Also, I have found no irrefutable evidence that this event took place in 1911, so maybe there’s other similarly awesome photos – if you have, or stumble upon such pictures, please be so kind as to share them with us.

Hubble takes amazing pictures of mammoth stars

Two of the biggest and most impressive stars from our galaxy have been “surprised” in some really amazing poses by the the NASA/ESA Hubble telescope. Until now, a cloud of mystery surrounded them, but these pictures in greater detail than ever before.

The pair of colossal stars (named WR 25 and Tr16-244, located within the open cluster Trumpler 16) are embedded in the Carina cluster; this huge cauldron of dust and gas is located more than 7000 light years. This cluster has some of the hottest and brightest stars around, including the infamous Eta Carinae, the star with the biggest luminosity yet found.

They may seem a single object, but Hubble's smart cam can tell the difference

These stars emit almost all of radiation in ultraviolet and thus appearing blue to the naked eye. You can definitely say that they live fast and die young, because of the power they use to burn the hydrogen. WR-25 is the one at the center of the top picture, is the brightest of the three. The runner up is the one at the left of the image. They have a special interest for astronomers due to the fact that they’re very rare compared to other stars and they are associated with star forming nebulae, giving important details about ow galaxies formed and evolved.

For example, the two brightest stars are probably the reason why a giant gas nebula from the Carina cluster is slowly evaporating into the stars, due to their very powerful radiation. This radiation is probably also responsable for the curious shape the globe has, similar to a hand holding a finger that suggests rebelion.