March 29, 2015
Scientists have discovered a frog that changes its skin texture to match its surroundings.
The mutable rain frog can go from smooth (left) to spiny in minutes.
Pristimantis mutabilis, described in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, is believed to be the first amphibian known to have this shape-shifting capability.
The scientists believe the ability to change skin texture to reflect its surroundings may enable Pristimantis mutabilis to help camouflage itself from birds and other predators. Learn more here, here or here.
March 29, 2015
When water in the atmosphere falls back down to Earth it is called precipitation. There are many different types of precipitation including rain, freezing rain, drizzle, snow, sleet, hail and even virga. Precipitation plays a major role in the water cycle – which can be grossly simplified as: water evaporates from earth and goes up into the atmosphere, then falls back to earth as precipitation.
Looks pretty cool from above too:
This picture was shot by Australian scientist Huw Alexander Ogilvie when he was flying over the Pacific Ocean back in 2005. You can get a high resolution version here.
March 13, 2015
The solar system’s largest moon, Ganymede, in orbit around Jupiter, harbors an underground ocean containing more water than all the oceans on Earth.
Scientists were already fairly confident in the ocean’s existence, based on the moon’s smooth icy surface—evidence of past resurfacing by the ocean—and other observations by the Galileo spacecraft, which made a handful of flybys in the 1990s. But new observations by the Hubble Space Telescope remove any remaining doubt. Ganymede now joins Jupiter’s Europa and two moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, as moons with subsurface oceans—and good places to look for life. Learn more here or here.
March 2, 2015
In the tradition of ‘Killer Whale vs Seal‘, ‘Lion vs Buffalo vs Crocodile‘, ‘Shark vs Octopus‘, ’Leopard vs Porcupine‘, ‘Hornets vs Honey bees‘, ’Salmon vs Grizzly Bear‘, ‘Hippopotamus vs Crocodile’, ‘Polar Bear vs Walrus Colony’, ‘Giraffe vs Giraffe‘, ‘Caterpillar vs Frog‘, ‘Frog vs Poison Newt’, ‘Rubber bands vs Water Melon’, ‘Sarcastic fringehead vs Sarcastic fringehead’, ‘Jaguar vs Crocodile‘, ‘Snake vs Crocodile‘, and ‘Centipede vs Snake‘ here is ‘Moray Eel vs White Tip Reef Shark':
February 27, 2015
Fire is combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke. A match is a tool for starting a fire.
Check out a match pyramid made of 5000 matches. Watch the chain reaction intensify as a wave of fire spreads over the pyramid. It took over 10 hours to build and 10 seconds to destroy!
February 27, 2015
What happens when you drop a perfectly balanced stack of balls? And how is the result like a supernova?
Watch to find out …
February 22, 2015
We’ll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.
February 16, 2015
If you must preserve messages for people in the far future to read, Blu-ray discs and USB sticks are no good. For real long-term storage, you want a DNA time capsule.
Just 1 gram of DNA is theoretically capable of holding 455 exabytes – enough for all the data held by Google, Facebook and every other major tech company, with room to spare. It’s also incredibly durable: DNA has been extracted and sequenced from 700,000-year-old horse bones. But conditions have to be right for it to last.
Research suggests that data in DNA form could last 2000 years if kept at a temperature of around 10 °C. The Global Seed Vault in the Arctic could preserve it for over 2 million years at a chilly -18 °C, offering truly long-term storage. Learn more here.
February 14, 2015
Objects that fly faster than the speed of sound (like really fast planes) create a shock wave accompanied by a thunder-like noise: the sonic boom.
February 11, 2015
Researchers know why popcorn kernels burst open, but they’ve long puzzled over the source of the “pop” sound. When popcorn heats up, the moisture inside turns into steam, building up pressure until the hull splits and fluffy white corn bursts out, often as the kernel sails into the air. The pop, slow-motion videos reveal, happens out of sync with the hull’s rupture and the corn’s launch into the air, eliminating two possible explanations for the noise. That left one remaining cause: The sound comes from the release of water vapor as the kernel opens. Learn more here.