Amazing

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Amazing Photography Science

An Out-Of-This-World Aerial Shot of a Volcano Erupting in Russia

July 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

This past weekend, a volcanic eruption on Russia’s Kuril Islands was so massive it was quite literally visible from space. An astronaut on the International Space Station’s (ISS) Expedition 59 crew documented the plume from Raikoke Volcano, which reached eight miles into the sky. The ISS orbits 250 miles above earth. NASA explained:

On the morning of June 22, astronauts shot a photograph of the volcanic plume rising in a narrow column and then spreading out in a part of the plume known as the umbrella region. That is the area where the density of the plume and the surrounding air equalize and the plume stops rising. The ring of clouds at the base of the column appears to be water vapor.

Because of the reach of its plume, the ash and gas pose a flight risk to airplanes. Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers in Tokyo and Anchorage have been monitoring its movements. Raikoke rarely erupts; its last explosion was in 1924, and before that, 1778. You can explore more scientific documentation of the blast on NASA’s Earth Observatory blog. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Amazing Science

Underwater Footage Captures the Mesmerizing Iridescent Webs of Two Blanket Octopuses Near the Philippines

June 27, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

While navigating the waters near Romblon Island in the Philippines, diver Joseph Elayani came across a magnificent sight. Elayani and fellow divers encountered two female Blanket Octopuses shimmering in the dark water, their rainbow figures illuminated against the dark and speckled sea. The animals get their name from the billowing net-like membranes that stretch between a few of their arms. When threatened, this web is stretched to create a ghostly silhouette to frighten away potential enemies. The mysterious creatures’ mating habits are just as confounding as their blanket-like attribute. Males grow to be about an inch long, while females can grow up to six-feet-long and weight up to 40,000 times the size of their partner. You can view more of Elayani’s dive on his Youtube channel. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Amazing Art

Rainbow Village: An Entire Community in Taiwan Hand-Painted by a Single Man

May 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

When Huang Yung-Fu learned that the village where he had lived for decades was slated for demolition, the Taiwan resident decided to showcase the continued vibrancy of his home. Huang was the last remaining resident of the community that had once housed 1,200 households, mostly Chinese Nationalist veterans like Huang, who had been defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communist regime. By the mid-2000’s, real estate developers had bought out many residents to be able to raze the area, with Huang as the last holdout. Left on his own, the elderly veteran, who also has a strong creative streak, started painting every available surface of his surroundings. Walls, rooflines, and pathways became canvases for multi-colored Chinese characters and figurative motifs.

Since beginning the open-ended project about ten years ago, Huang’s community has become known as Rainbow Village and he, the Rainbow Grandpa. In 2010 a local university student came across Huang’s vibrant paintings and helped raise awareness for the Rainbow Village. Over a million tourists visit each year and the Taiwanese government has since pledged to keep the village intact. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Amazing Design

You Say Potato, I Say Hotel Room: a Private Airbnb Fashioned From a Retired 6-Ton Promotional Spud

May 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photos by Otto Kitsinger

What better way to be a couch potato than spending a relaxing weekend at a potato-shaped hotel? The new venue, which is available via Airbnb, is located in Boise, Idaho—a state that even touts its potatoes on vehicle license plates. The larger-than-life potato began its journey seven years ago on the back of a semi truck, as it traveled widely to promote the state’s famous starchy vegetable with the Idaho Potato Commission. Its most recent iteration as overnight accommodations was the project of Kristie Wolfe, who added a retrofitted silo complete with a bathtub and fireplace. The 6-ton potato palace has open availability for many nights over the summer, as of press time. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

A Group of Powerful Telescopes Captures the First-Ever Image of a Black Hole

April 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Image © Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al.

The first-ever recorded image of a black hole has just been released—and it doesn’t look like you might think. Though one might guess that a picture of a black hole would be not much to look at, the image shows a glowing reddish-orange ring that almost pulsates under the viewer’s gaze. This landmark visual was created using the power of the Event Horizon Telescope. As of today, the group of eight Earth-based radio telescopes has successfully captured and documented the first-ever direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

The black hole is at the center of Messier 87, a galaxy located in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It is located 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun. The National Science Foundation explains on their website:

Black holes are extremely dense pockets of matter, objects of such incredible mass and minuscule volume that they drastically warp the fabric of space-time. Anything that passes too close, from a wandering star to a photon of light, gets captured. Most black holes are the condensed remnants of a massive star, the collapsed core that remains following an explosive supernova… Using powerful observatories on Earth, astronomers can see the jets of plasma that black holes spew into space, detect the ripples in space-time from black holes colliding, and may soon even peer at the disc of disrupted mass and energy that surrounds the black hole’s event horizon, the edge beyond which nothing can escape.

You can learn more in this press release and watch a livestream below, or on YouTube, of the National Science Foundation’s press conference on the image resulting from the Event Horizon Telescope project.

 

 



Amazing Food

Endless Layers of Colorful Candy Melt Away in a Satisfying Timelapse Video

February 27, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The creators of the Let’s Melt This YouTube channel are anonymous connoisseurs of melting, having put a torch to everything from flat screen TVs to hamburgers. They put a classic candy to the test, using a 1900°F blow torch to melt a famously long-lasting giant jawbreaker candy ball. The task took 3 minutes and 46 seconds, and the video itself is sped up to about a minute and a half to show the satisfying removal of colorful layers. The graffiti-splattered white coating gives way to layers of vibrant orange, yellow, blue, green, and red as the candy steadily shrinks. Let’s Melt This has been less active of late, but you can explore their archive of melts on their YouTube channel. (via The Awesomer)

 

 

 



Amazing

Freediving Champion Guillaume Néry Swims Across Several of the World’s Oceans with One Breath

February 18, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In the newest film by Guillaume Néry (previously), the world champion free diver swims across the world in one breath, or at least creative editing and camera tricks present the illusion of this great feat. One Breath Around the World follows Néry to the spectacular scenes he explores without a snorkel or air tank, like a variety of underwater caves or a pod of clustered whales. The film is shot by his wife Julie Gautier (previously) who was also free diving as she filmed Néry throughout France, Finland, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines, and other oceanic destinations. The film was created through the pair’s production company Les Films Engloutis. You can see more of their spectacular underwater films on Vimeo. (via My Modern Met)