About the video (courtesy of NASA):
Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate. SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.
On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event–the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.
The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum. The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light. 304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.
A spate of bizarre crimes has people wondering if zombies walk among us.
“First came Miami: the case of a naked man eating most of another man’s face,” according to an Associated Press account in the New York Daily News. “Then Texas: a mother accused of killing her newborn, eating part of his brain and biting off three of his toes. Then Maryland, a college student telling police he killed a man, then ate his heart and part of his brain. It was different in New Jersey, where a man stabbed himself 50 times and threw bits of his own intestines at police. They pepper-sprayed him, but he was not easily subdued.
“He was, people started saying, acting like a zombie. And the whole discussion just kept growing, becoming a topic that the Internet couldn’t seem to stop talking about.”
And why not? With the success of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” zombies are in. People on Facebook discuss methods for surviving a zombie apocalypse. Max Brooks, son of famed comedian Mel Brooks, penned books called “World War Z” (individual accounts by survivors of the fight against the undead) and “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.”
Amazon offers everything from zombie hunting licenses to zombie games; one user compiled a “Modern zombie apocalypse survival kit” on Amazon, providing a list of items to have on hand when the dead begin to rise. About one item on the list, the user wrote: “This tomahawk can penetrate the skull easily to damage the zombie brain, which is required to kill the ghoul. Of course, your primary weapon will be a 12 gauge shotgun which can blow away zombie brain from a safer distance.”
Zombies are everywhere in pop culture. In the decades since George A. Romero first terrified audiences with his low-budget, black and white “Night of the Living Dead,” zombies have evolved from slow-moving agents of mindless destruction to, well, quick-moving agents of mindless destruction in the “Resident Evil” series and “28 Days Later.” Zombies loom large in humorous films, too, such as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland;” an upcoming movie, “ParaNorman,” features a boy who can speak to the undead and must protect his town from ghouls and zombies.
It’s a jump, though, to go from the pop culture version of zombies to the recent crimes in Miami, Texas and New Jersey. Those aren’t made-up things; they’re horrific events that actually happened.
So why are people making that leap?
According to AP:
“Zombies represent America’s fears of bioterrorism, a fear that strengthened after the 9/11 attacks, says Patrick Hamilton, an English professor at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., who studies how we process comic-book narratives. Economic anxiety around the planet doesn’t help matters, either, with Greece, Italy and Spain edging closer to crisis every day. Consider some of the terms that those fears produce: zombie banks, zombie economies, zombie governments.
“When people are unsettled about things beyond their control — be it the loss of a job, the high cost of housing or the depletion of a retirement account — they look to metaphors like the zombie.
“’They’re mindless drones following basic needs to eat,’ Hamilton says. ‘Those economic issues speak to our own lack of control.’”
Here’s something a bit less rare than the Venus transit but unusual nonetheless.
It’s video of a large iceberg tipping over.
The video was posted to YouTube in March by a user called osibaruch.
“This Iceberg was ‘calved’ by Argentina’s Uppsala glacier,” osibaruch wrote. “While we were passing by it with a catamaran, the huge berg lost a part of itself (look at the right side sinking) and then flipped over with a huge roar. In the process of melting this happens all the time, but it is seldom that it is captured on video WHEN it happens.”
What are the biggest unsolved mysteries of the cosmos?
That’s what the journal Science [pay site] set out to identify in its current issue.
“To round up some of the most enduring mysteries in the field of astronomy … Science enlisted help from science writers and members of the Board of Reviewing Editors to choose eight puzzling questions being asked by leading astronomers today,” according to the Huffington Post. “As Robert Coontz, deputy news editor at Science, writes in his introduction to the series, the participants decided that, ‘true mysteries must have staying power,’ rather than being questions that might be resolved by research in the near future. In fact, while some of the topics discussed may one day be solved through astronomical observations, others may never be solved.”
Here, in no particular order, are the biggies:
– What is dark energy?
– How hot is dark matter?
– Where are the missing baryons?
– How do stars explode?
– What re-ionized the universe?
– What’s the source of the most energetic cosmic rays?
– Why is our solar system so bizarre?
– Why is the sun’s corona so hot?
To learn more, check out the above sites or go to www.space.com.
Don’t read this if you have a sensitive stomach.
This is really gross.
Mao Sugiyama of Tokyo was born with all the usual male parts, but apparently he didn’t feel like a boy. Didn’t feel like a girl, either. He seemed to think he belonged in a third category: asexual. And he meant asexual in the way dictionaries define it: “having no evident sex or sex organs; sexless.”
So he decided to have his genitals removed.
But that’s not all.
On April 8, Sugiyama issued the following tweet, according to the Huffington Post:
“I am offering my male genitals (full penis, testes, scrotum) as a meal for 100,000 yen [or about $1,250]. … Will prepare and cook as the buyer requests, at his chosen location.”
He wasn’t joking. Days after his 22nd birthday, he had elective surgery to remove his junk. Then he took his severed body parts, divided them “between five people and garnished (them) with button mushrooms and Italian parsley. On April 13, five of six diners who signed up for the $250-a-plate feast, sat down to dinner. The sixth person was a no-show.”
Dozens of others flocked to the venue to watch, and graphic photos went up on the Internet. (You can view them at the link above. No way I’m posting them here.)
No one was arrested, the Huffington Post reported, because no law had been broken. Cannibalism isn’t illegal in Japan.
Grossed out yet?
If you like “Ancient Aliens,” then you probably recognize Giorgio Tsoukalos’ name. If not, you’ll definitely recognize him when you see his face. He has a distinctive look: Skin that glows orange, dark hair that rises from his head in improbable curls.
Tsoukalos, who has the best job in the world, produced and appears in many episodes of the History Channel’s hit show. He travels to exotic locations around the world and poses questions for which there are no real answers. He usually tries anyway, and his default answer is “aliens.”
“Ancient Aliens” is the most speculative program on television. And nobody speculates as much as Tsoukalos, who says things such as “I don’t think that Atlantis sank; I think that Atlantis lifted off” and “It wasn’t God. It wasn’t angels. They were extraterrestrials.”
Now he’s become a full-fledged Internet meme.
A friend sent me these last night. They seem like things Tsoukalos would really say.
Last year, an undergraduate student named Sean Murphy was working on an experiment. Part of it involved looking at photographs of human heads. He aligned them so that their eyes were on the same level.
As he flipped through them, he noticed something weird.
The faces, even those of attractive people, were transforming. Looking at each photograph individually, everyone looked normal. But when he fixed his gaze on the space between each set of photos and flipped through them quickly, the faces turned grotesque, misshapen and horrifying.
It worked with celebrities, too. In general, celebs are some of the most attractive people on the planet, but subjected to the same technique Murphy had used on everyday faces, the celebs looked hideous.
He and his colleagues named the visual illusion the “Flashed Face Distortion Effect.”
“The effect seems to depend on processing each face in light of the others,” according to this website. “By aligning the faces at the eyes and presenting them quickly, it becomes much easier to compare them, so the differences between the faces are more extreme. If someone has a large jaw, it looks almost ogre-like. If they have an especially large forehead, then it looks particularly bulbous.”
In effect, our brains turn pretty people ugly.
See for yourself.
Is Bigfoot real?
That’s what researchers at Oxford University in England and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland hope to find out.
The Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project is taking a scientific approach to the Yeti myth, trying to “entice people and institutions with collections of cryptozoological material to submit it for analysis,” according to wired.co.uk. “Anyone with a sample of organic remains can submit details of where and when it was collected, among other data.”
Samples can include teeth, scat or body parts, but scientists are mainly interested in hair, according to the project website. That doesn’t mean you should grab that clump of hair you found in the woods last year and send it out via airmail. Instead, you should send the researchers your contact information, a physical description of what you’ve got, photographs if you have them, an explanation of how and where you obtained the material, your guess as to what it is and a statement saying that you’re authorized to share the material and they’re welcome to publish their results.
If they’re interested, they’ll send you a sampling kit. Don’t send remains without hearing from the team first; they won’t be tested, and they won’t be returned.
Materials will be accepted through September. After that, the most promising samples will be subjected to genetic testing.
The results will be published in a peer-reviewed science journal.
Many cultures have legends about giant beasts that walk upright and stalk the forests. Tales of Sasquatch and Bigfoot abound in North America, including variations such as the Skunk Ape (Florida) and the Ohio Grassman. In other countries, the creatures are known by such names as Orang Pendek (Southeast Asia), Yeren (China), Mande Barong (India) and Almas (Asia/Mongolia).
Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics from Oxford’s Wolfson College, told wired.co.uk: “Theories as to their species identification vary from surviving collateral hominid species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo floresiensis, to large primates like Gigantopithecus widely thought to be extinct, to as yet unstudied primate species or local subspecies of black and brown bears. …
“Mainstream science remains unconvinced by these reports both through lack of testable evidence and the scope for fraudulent claims. However, recent advances in the techniques of genetic analysis of organic remains provide a mechanism for genus and species identification that is unbiased, unambiguous and impervious to falsification. It is possible that a scientific examination of these neglected specimens could tell us more about how Neanderthals and other early hominids interacted and spread around the world.”
Everyone feared the worst when a contractor found human bones in January while installing a pool in the backyard of a Florida home.
It seemed even more like murder when two skulls were recovered. One belonged to an adult male, the other to a 10- or 11-year-old boy. The child’s skull bore remnants of flesh, suggesting a recent kill. Pottery and textiles were found with the bones, as well as a scrap of newspaper dating to 1978.
What no one suspected, though, was that the remains had an origin much more mysterious than murder.
“When x-rayed by the medical examiner’s office, it was clear that the bones were hundreds of years old, and that the human tissue on the cheek of the skull had been mummified,” according to an ABC News story. “The skulls featured an ‘Inca bone,’ a telltale sign of a human from the Incan culture of Peru.”
The bones date back to somewhere between 1200 and 1400 A.D.
How they ended up in Florida is anybody’s guess.
It’s possible that someone brought the mummies back from Peru as a souvenir or a keepsake of home.
“Back in the 1030s or 1940s, people would go on vacation and buy things like that, and maybe they buried them when they didn’t want them anymore,” Jan Garavaglia, a Florida medical examiner, told ABC. ”Another possibility is that it used to be a migrant farm worker camp, and some cultures will bring part of their heritage with them when they leave. It could be that they were moving on and decided to bury it there.”
Don’t get any ideas. Transporting body parts as macabre souvenirs is now illegal.
Welcome to the Oddities blog, where we’ll discuss everything from the Loch Ness monster to quantum physics.
This NewsOK blog will focus on weird-but-real science, folklore, UFO sightings, archeology, speculative technology, astronomy, strange theories, medical advancements, the oceans, “Ancient Aliens” and more. Hopefully we’ll still be around when the Mayan calendar ends.
If you enjoy learning more about the world and cosmos around you, or if you just like to read about the bizarre and unusual, bookmark this site and check back regularly. We plan to keep going until Earth collides with Nibiru/Planet X.
Hope you enjoy it.