Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11/30 Moment of Zen: Nuclear Photography

Rocket Week Continues

While the US Government documented its nuclear experiments in excruciating detail, most of those images are still highly classified. German newspaper Der Spiegel recently ran a story about some of the military photographers who worked on this during its heyday in the mid-late 20th century, including a slideshow of some of those images that have been released. Images of the blasts themselves, like the one above, were shot on special XR (extended range) redscale film, which makes them look like something surreal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/29 Moment of Zen: Space Junk In Kazakhstan

The Russian Space Program still rents its land from Kazakhstan, near a town the USSR built for the purpose and named Baikonur (Kaz. "rich with light"), and fires off its rockets about as far inland as you can get. While most of the USA's space program cast-offs splash down in the water, Russia's land out in the desolate scrub of the steppe, which better resembles the expanses of Nevada where the US performed its nuclear tests in the mid to late 20th century (incidentally, Kazakhstan was the major proving ground for the USSR's nuclear program as well). There, they are quickly harvested for their titanium-rich scrap metal. Click the picture to see more photos of space junk harvesting.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11/23 Moment of Zen: More Creative Uses for Squash

Squash Use #327: Thwarting Robbers

A would-be convenience store robber in Manchester, NH was undone when one of the store's customers bonked him over the head with a squash earlier this month. Click the picture above (Squash Use #164: Making Pictures of Dinosaurs) for more on this story

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22 Moment of Zen: Volcanic Lightning

Volcanos: Hogging All The Awesome?

Explosions, lava, ash, steam, lightning? As if volcanos weren't impressive enough, vulcanologists (volcano scientists) are increasingly documenting the occurrence of lightning as part of a volcanic eruption. Here's some more links to pictures of volcanic lightning and possible scientific explanations.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11/17 Moment of Zen: Population Mapped As Area

Click map for larger version

What if the largest countries had the biggest populations?

Curious folks decided to see what would happen if they lined up the lists of the world's countries in order by land area and by population, then, for each list number, map the name of the country with that population onto the shape of the country with that land area.

A couple things to notice:

  • Four countries, the US, Yemen, Ireland and Brazil, have the same position on the population list as the area list.

  • The South Asian countries, usually squished into a small corner of the map, occupy several of the largest areas, including Canada (India), Greenland (Vietnam) and Australia (Pakistan).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

11/15 Moment of Zen: Masquerade (Basket)Ball

Sorry for the pause—I had a 4-day weekend from Homework blogging with Veterans' Day and a bit of professional development.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11/10 Moment of Zen: Space Bubble

Scientists Excited At Cluelessness About Bubbles

Something big is going on at the center of the galaxy, and astronomers are happy to say they don’t know what it is. A group of scientists working with data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope said Tuesday that they had discovered two bubbles of energy erupting from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The bubbles, which will be in a paper to be published Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal, extend 25,000 light years up and down from each side of the galaxy and contain the energy equivalent to 100,000 supernova explosions.

“They’re big,” said Doug Finkbeiner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, leader of the team that discovered them. The source of the bubbles is a mystery, [but] what it’s apparently not is dark matter, the mysterious something that astronomers say makes up a quarter of the universe and holds galaxies together.

Friday, November 5, 2010

11/5 Moment of Zen: The Trabantimino

The Amazing Collapsible Family Muscle Car

37-year-old artist and photographer Liz Cohen, has spent the last eight years in body shops across the country, building a custom hybrid like no other – with her own hands. Her collapsible Trabantimino is part Trabant, the VW of Soviet East Germany, as extinct now as the Berlin Wall, and part 1973 Chevy El Camino. Currently on display at the Salon 94 Gallery.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11/4 Moment of Zen: Azhdarchids

What do you get when you cross a giraffe with goose?

Apparently, you get an Azhdarchid, the largest flying animal to have ever lived, standing about 20 feet tall (male giraffes average about 18') and with a wingspan of up to 50 feet. Click above to read more about the azhdarchid and several other lesser-known prehistoric monsters at Environmental Graffiti.