Fallujah - Chemical Cave

This one is prettyyyyy pretttyyyy pretty good. Pretty good.

Five things about lightning we all need to remember

1. You get a fern-like scar if lightning hits you

If you are hit by lightning, chances are your skin will be severely burnt and get a Lichtenberg figure, which is a tree-like scar that lasts for a few hours or days after the incident.

Dr Mathew Avram, director of Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, explained how the marks are formed at NBC News: “The feathering marks are formed by the transmission of static electricity along the superficial blood vessels that nourish the skin.”

2. There’s lightning in the atmospheres of other planets in the Solar System

Alien lightning is a very rare phenomenon that’s usually located in gaseous planets. The Cassini spacecraft spotted these flashes of light on Saturn back in 2011. According to Denise Chow at space.com, “the energy from the visible lightning flashes could have spiked up to three billion watts over one second,” which is fairly similar to some of the strongest lightning flashes on Earth. Astronomers also believe that alien lightning exists on Uranus, Neptune and Saturn’s moon Titan.

3. A lightning bolt is hotter than the surface of the Sun

The average temperature of a lightning bolt is 27,700 degrees Celsius, or five times hotter than the temperature of the surface of the Sun, which is 5,505 degrees Celsius, reports Flora Lichtman at Popular Science.

4. How many times per day does the Earth get hit by lightning?

On average, every year 25 million lightning strikes hit the ground during 100,000 thunderstorms, according to National Geographic. This means that our planet is struck by about 100 lightning bolts every second.

5. Lightning never strikes the same place more than once

If you’ve heard this before, whoever told you is entirely wrong. Lightning often strikes the same place. According to the US National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services the Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.



This is an absolutely beautiful tribute to those(many of them children) whose lives were savagely taken from them two years ago today. It’s tough to forget about this.

Tuesday is the third anniversary of the day Anders Breivik ignited a car bomb in downtown Oslo, then slaughtered 69 people, many of them children, at a summer camp on the island of Utøya. To commemorate the 2011 attacks in Norway, the country is building what basically everyone agrees is an incredibly moving tribute memorial on Utøya, designed by Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg. It won’t be so much ‘built’ as removed: a piece of earth literally cut away to signify the absence that those deaths impressed on the country. Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/07/22/3462728/how-to-memorialize-a-massacre/

This didn’t post yesterday for some reason, so forgive the typo regarding the days

This Metalhead Has Been Elected President of Indonesia

Indonesia Metalhead President Joko Widodo

Last fall, we ran a story about Indonesian presidental hopeful Joko Widodo. Joko loves bands like MetallicaNapalm Death and Led Zeppelin, and he was hoping to run the Indonesian government.

The results are in and Joko is the next president of Indonesia. Joko got 53.15% of the vote while rival Prabowo Subianto only received 46.85%. Joko was accused of electoral fraud by his rival, but after a vote recount was cleared of all doubts.

Joko, a man of the people, promised more social welfare for the poor. He is popular with the youth of Indonesia and seen as a “clean” politician. Joko was previously a furniture maker who grew up in a small village.

According to the BBC, there could still be an appeal of his victory with the final ruling happening on August 22nd.

No word on if Joko’s election win would bring metal acts to Indonesia, which itself has a burgeoning metal scene.

[via Metal Hammer]

Stephen Hawking: Why I support Assisted Dying

Cambridge scientist Stephen Hawking is backing the Assisted Dying Bill which is being debated by peers on Friday.

The 72-year-old cosmologist said it was “discrimination against the disabled to deny them the right to kill themselves that able bodied people have.”

He said safeguards would be needed to ensure the person truly wanted to die.

Lord Falconers’s bill proposes allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.

More than 130 peers have put their names down to speak.

The Bill would enable doctors to help patients die by prescribing a lethal dose of drugs.

Two physicians would have to certify that the patient was terminally ill and expected to die within six months.

'Freedom of the individual'

Prof Hawking said it would be “wrong to despair and commit suicide, unless one is in great pain, but that is a matter of choice.

"We should not take away the freedom of the individual to choose to die."

But he admitted that he had once briefly tried to end his life when he had a tracheostomy - an operation to fit a breathing tube.

"I briefly tried to commit suicide by not breathing. However, the reflex to breathe was too strong."


Conservative ‘Christian’ Says President Obama’s Execution Should Be Worse Than Being Drawn And Quartered

Conservative rage against President Obama just reached its most dangerous levels yet, and the Secret Service really needs to do more than investigate these bloodthirsty animals.

Stephen Steinlight works for the Center for Immigration Studies and unsurprisingly, he’s a Tea Party loving conservative “Christian” who wants to see President Obama killed. Not just killed, but publicly executed in the bloodiest, most brutal and painful way possible.

During a speech to the Highlands Tea Party on July 17th, Steinlight repeated the call for Obama to be impeached, a call that has also been made by the likes of Sarah Palin who claims God supports impeachment. But Steinlight didn’t stop there. He also called for President Obama to be publicly executed, and suggested that the method be worse than hanging or being drawn and quartered.

We all know, if there ever was a president that deserved to be impeached, it’s this guy, alright? And I wouldn’t stop. I would think being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him.

For those who don’t know what being drawn and quartered means, this conservative “Christian” is saying that tearing President Obama into four separate pieces via tying him to four horses isn’t a good enough form of execution to satisfy him. He apparently wants Obama’s death to be even more gruesome and cruel.

This is perhaps the most deplorable and disgusting thing ever uttered by a conservative about President Obama. To be blunt, Steinlight should be arrested or at the very least fired from his job. This is totally unacceptable speech that will only drive conservatives closer to actually trying to make it happen for real and comes on the heels of ‘Moms With Guns’ founder Kathy Perkins calling for an assassin to kill Obama on Facebook.

Conservative fervor to actually put Obama to death has reached a fever pitch in this country and it only gets worse every day. They are desperate to get President Obama out of office and they’re willing to do so by any means necessary. At the same time, the more conservatives fantasize and obsess over killing Obama, the bloodier and more tortuous the method of execution gets. It’s especially disturbing since these people have the gall to say these things and call themselves “Christians” at the same time. This madness will not end unless authorities or voters start taking this kind of talk more seriously. Every time a conservative talks about killing the president, it’s a threat to national security and the political discourse. It’s the way conservatives stoke rage in the hope that one of their own will actually follow through and carry out the crime. It’s their way of trying to provoke fellow conservatives into overthrowing the government with a bloody coup just because they want their own way. It’s dangerous and shouldn’t be tolerated in a civilized society by anyone. Law enforcement authorities shouldn’t tolerate it and voters shouldn’t tolerate it either. Forget impeachment. THIS is what should really inspire Democrats to vote in 2014.

To view video:


via US Uncut

Workers of supermarket chain Market Basket are protesting at the company’s 71 New England locations after the board fired longtime CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

Demoulas is adored by employees because he believes in treating them well by providing solid benefits and a profit sharing plan. Thousands of people protested at the company’s headquarters in Massachusetts on Monday after management fired lifelong employees for demanding the CEOs return. Communities across New England are electrified as workers are joined by shoppers and community supporters. Store shelves are going empty because truckers refuse to make deliveries.

UFO Friend, Foe, or Fantasy - 1966 Documentary

Presented by Walter Kronkite, this classic overly skeptical but still important to research one-hour documentary includes an interview with a 32-year old gum-chewing Carl Sagan. Although his presentation skills aren’t quite refined at this point (spit out the gum, Carl!), the early seeds of his scientific skepticism are quite evident!


This Tree Is Growing 40 Different Kinds Of Fruit At Once

This single (and quite colorfully blossoming) tree grows 40 different varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and even almonds — but just how does it do it?

It does it through the process of chip grafting. After sculptor Sam Van Aken bought a failing orchard in upstate New York full of hundreds of different fruit trees, he began the pain-staking process of grafting several of the different varieties together into one tree. Six years later, the result is this 40-fruit bearing tree, which includes some heirloom varieties that are centuries old.

Image: Sam Van Aken


Sixth-Grader May Have Stolen Credit For Marine Biologist’s Lionfish Research

Sixth-Grader May Have Stolen Credit For Marine Biologist's Lionfish Research

There’s a new development in the story about 12-year-old Lauren Arrington’s remarkable science fair project about the invasive potential of lionfish. A marine biologist is now claiming that the project was based on published work he did back in 2011 — and that the girl is the daughter of his former supervisor’s best friend.

Stories of lead researchers stealing the work of their grad students is not uncommon, but this represents a major twist. It seems that in this case, a proud parent (and close friend of a college professor) encouraged his daughter to conduct a science fair project that was largely based on the work of that professor/friend’s graduate student. Arrington’s science fair project seems to have been inspired by the work of a grad student, Zack Jud, who published very similar results back in 2011 — work that Arrington’s father was an author on.

Since the story broke a couple of days ago it’s been picked up by numerous media outlets. The news eventually got the attention of Jud, who claims that his many years of groundbreaking work on lionfish in low salinity estuarine habitats is being completely and intentionally ignored.

Sixth-Grader May Have Stolen Credit For Marine Biologist's Lionfish Research

Zack Jud in 2010, when he first discovered lionfish occupying estuarine habitats — three years before Arrington’s”discovery”. Via his Facebook.

"At this stage in my career, this type of national exposure would be invaluable…if only my name was included in the stories," Jud wrote on his Facebook page. “I feel like my hands are tied. Anything I say will come off as an attempt to steal a little girl’s thunder, but it’s unethical for her and her father to continue to claim the discovery of lionfish in estuaries as her own.”

Unethical, indeed. Clearly, it’s important that this scientific work — which highlights a worrisome ecological problem — receives the media attention it deserves. But it’s also important that credit be given where it’s due.

And it appears that Jud has a strong case. Here’s what Fischer Aitchtuoh from the Central Florida Aquarium Society has learned:

D. Albrey Arrington, the father of Lauren Arrington, appears as an author on this paper released June 2011. He had absolutely nothing to do with the research however, he was clearly aware that lionfish were found in low salinity parts of the estuary years before the science fair project was carried out. By this time, Jud had planned on running salinity tolerance trials for quite a while before Arrington executed her project, invalidating the premise that any related research had been ultimately replicated or expanded upon by ecologists. Jud’s work further revealed wild lionfish in salinities in as low as 8 ppt, just a hair above the young girls 6 ppt “breakthrough” in captivity.

subsequent paper that Jud published in 2012 that documented movement patterns of lionfish within the estuary. The “discovery” was made years before the science fair project was carried out. Arrington’s project lowered the salinity bar from 8 ppt (Jud’s previous finding, which Arrington knew about) to 6 ppt. Jud subsequently demonstrated that lionfish could survive in salinities as low as 5 ppt for extended periods of time, and as low as 1 ppt for brief periods (in the wild, around low tide during the wet season).

Frustratingly, there’s actually a petition going around demanding that Arrington’s name be added as an author to Jud’s most recent scientific publication.

Jud is now trying to figure out what to do about the situation without doing anything to discourage the girl.

"Most of you are aware of the massive amount of time I put into exposing kids to science, and I obviously don’t want to do anything to diminish this young lady’s curiosity or enthusiasm," he writes. "I’m thrilled that she chose to look at lionfish for her science fair project, but encouraging an outright lie is poor parenting and a horrible way to introduce a youngster to a career in the sciences."

Read more at Jud’s Facebook page and CFLAS.

Top image Albrey Arrington via Sun Sentinel.


This giant duck could provide solar and hydro power


Inspired by Florentijn Hofman’s giant Rubber Duck sculpture, which graced Australian waters back in 2013, a team of UK designers have developed Energy Duck, an energy generator.

Hundreds of photovoltaic panels will cover this 12-storey high floating solar farm, which also has hydro turbines to produce energy at night. According to Matt Hickman at Mother Nature Network, Energy Duck is also a reminder of “how climate change has adversely impacted the breeding habitats of the common elder duck, a large sea duck found in the northern coasts of Europe and North America.”


Image: Land Art Generator Initiative

The ‘duck’ will be constructed from a lightweight steel frame and will be installed at Refshaleøen, a former industrial site that’s across Copenhagen Harbour’s most famous public art statue—The Little Mermaid. 

Energy Duck has been designed to transmit all the energy it produced to Copenhagen’s public grid. According to Gizmag’s Bridget Borgobello, “the giant structure has been designed not only to generate clean electricity for the local residents of Copenhagen, but also to provide a unique visitor centre”.

According to Mother Nature Network, Denmark’s capital aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.


The largest aquatic insect in the world has been discovered in China, with a wingspan of 21 cm. And those enormous tusks? They’re for mating. via ScienceAlert


Who can tell me whose balcony this once belonged to?? Hint: it was his birthday today! This picture was taken when I went to the Keys a few years back :)

Helloooo Monterey Bay :D