Peg O' The Day : Sun Surface

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Witness a close-up of the sun as you've never seen it.

The twisting tubes, known as spicules, are fiery jets of fast-moving superheated gas that constantly burst from the solar surface.

At around 300 miles in diameter they spurt upwards from the sun at supersonic speeds of 45,000mph.

They can be likened to pipes of gas, each as wide as a small country and as long as half the Earth.

This picture, taken by astronomer Dr. Kevin Reardon, covers just 65,000 square miles.








The Quietest Place On Earth


Drum roll for...Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota, awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records 'The Quietest Place on Earth.'

How do they do it?

Start with a room within a room, within a room. A six-sided anechoic chamber floats over a pit on I-beams that sit on top of springs. And then a five-sided chamber of identical construction surrounds all that.

Both chambers are made of double-wall steel-insulation-steel and are held within a larger room that was built with solid one foot thick concrete walls and ceiling panels. (Keeping up?) The smaller room is filled with 3.3 feet thick fiberglass acoustic wedges.

On January 21st of 2004 engineers measured the room at negative 9.4 dB (with A-weighting), thus earning it the GBOWR title.


The result is that all reverberation is removed; all sounds that aren't coming from your own body disappear. After a few moments in the anechoic chamber you hear your heart beat, your blood pulse, and the sound of your own ear buzzing and your body functioning like you've never heard before.

In complete silence, you lose all sense of space and surroundings. The absence of reflected sound and reverberation makes "feeling out" the room impossible.

"Why?" you're asking.

Orfield Labs specializes in acoustic research for a wide range of products, including motorcycles, dishwashers, and artificial heart valves.

Full-Length Redwood Portrait

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At 1,500 years old and 300 feet tall this titan in California's Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park has the most complex crown scientists have ever mapped.

Taken by Michael Nichols, this photomosaic is composed of 84 images using three cameras, a robotic dolly, and a gyroscope. Nat Geo sent him to spend an entire year hiking 2,000 miles from Big Sur to the Chetco River in Oregon photographing redwood trees.

His mission was to capture the majesty of some of the tallest trees on Earth, some of which have been standing for two thousand years.

The result is the first-ever full length portrait of a giant California redwood.

So, can you find the five people in this picture?

Technical assistance: Ken Geiger, NG Staff; Nathan Williamson; Walter Boggs, David Mathews, and Kenji Yamaguchi, NG Staff; Jim C. Spickler; Giacomo Renzullo; Marty Reed, Steve Sillett, and Marie Antoine, Humboldt State University.

Russian Ground-Effect Airplane

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Witness the 'Lun.' A 350-ton ground-effect monster built in 1987.

Bigger than an Airbus A380, this ground-effect "ship" was commissioned as a high-speed military transport. Designed to cruise at ten feet above the water surface and land in a 15-20 foot swell.

Armed with Moskit cruise missiles, a hit by just four of them sinks any known vessel.

This Goliath sits rotting on the shores of the Caspian Sea like some discarded prop from Star Wars.



Peg O' The Day : Monster Crab



Behold the largest land-living arthropod in the world, the coconut crab (Birgus latro) doing his morning rounds.

Known for their ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers and eat the contents (go figure that p.s.i), he's probably at the limit of how big terrestrial animals with exoskeletons can get under the prevailing conditions. Unlike other crabs, their body is divided into four regions; the cephalic lobe, forepart, trunk, and opisthosoma.

And should you have the misfortune to get pinched by one of these giants (assuming you’re still conscious), you’d do well to remember this cool-headed advice from Victorian naturalist Thomas Hale Streets:

"It may be interesting to know that in such a dilemma a gentle titillation of the under soft parts of the body with any light material will cause the crab to loose its hold."

Tickle it as you scream...then run.

Peg 'O The Day : Hermit Crab In Glass Shell

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To better study the 60 species of hermit crab living on their shorelines, scientists at the New Zealand Marine Studies Center and Aquarium created these beautiful glass shells.

Says curator Adelle O'Neill, "We brought the shells out there and sure enough in a week to ten days the hermit had decided that the glass house was better than their own house and had made it their home."

And glass is made from sand. Nice.

Towing Icebergs


Towing Icebergs


No, it's not a political metaphor, it's an idea for any corporation looking to link itself with an environmental message.

Lasso a 200,000-ton iceberg off Newfoundland with an anchor handling tug (you
can just make out the eight-inch poly rope on the left side), tow it down the North American coast and park it off Coney Island.

Of course, it melts on the voyage South but that's the point.

Plant a billboard on it that reads: IGNORE ME NOW

Don't think the New York Post would.

Guaranteed page hits : 100m.

Cost : +/-$200k


How To Tow An Iceberg