Tag Archives: nature

Forget Everything You Thought You Knew About “Horsepower”

Every time the newest model of truck or car comes out, the car manufacturers loves to tell you how much “horsepower” the vehicle has, conjuring up visions of muscular stallions galloping through the countryside. But I put the term “horsepower” in quotes because these visions are misleading. See, in our modern world, horsepower is simply a scientific unit that we accept as a standard. But to understand what it actually means, you have to understand where it actually comes from. The

This Amazing Ant Behavior Is Leaving Even Ant Experts Dumbfounded (Video)

Recently, a video surfaced of ants doing something quite amazing: forming multiple daisy chains to pull a massive centipede (presumably back towards their colony). Check out the amazing video below: According to Terry McGlynn, an Entomologist at Cal State University at Dominguez Hills, the video shows a species of Leptogenys ant somewhere in southeast Asia. What really shocked McGlynn about the video was that even ant experts had never witnessed this particular behavior before. Don’t get me wrong, ants have a long history

Just How Big Was the Biggest Bird Ever?

25-28 million years ago, a massive seabird known as Pelagornis sandersi dominated the skies. With wingspans reaching up to 24 feet in length, P. sandersi’s wingspan was more than twice as large as the largest living bird capable of flight, the Royal Albatross (which can have a wingspan of up to 11.5 feet). P. sandersi‘s wingspan was also… As big as many World War I fighter jets: Longer than three Yao Mings lined up head to toe: And longer than most adult anacondas: The bird was so

Pictures That Show You Just How Extreme California’s Current Drought Is

If you weren’t aware, California is going through a very serious drought. 2013 saw the lowest rainfall numbers in California’s recorded history, and 2014 has been by far the hottest year on record for the state, according to the NOAA. The Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) is a standardized metric which compares long-term droughts by looking at rainfall, temperature and soil moisture levels. The scale goes from +6 (very wet), to -6 (very dry). Anything below a -4 is considered

Did You Know… There’s A Plant That Produces Both Tomatoes and Potatoes?

The “TomTato” is a veggie lover’s dream: above ground, it’s a tomato plant; below ground, it’s a potato plant. The idea was the brainchild of the horticultural firm Thompson and Morgan, based in Ipswich, England. Although the concept sounds crazy, the plants are not genetically modified; rather, they are created using grafting. This process involves making matching incisions into two different plants which allows you to connect them. A similar process was recently used by a professor from Syracuse University to create

Why This Beetle Is Whiter Than Anything Human Technology Can Produce

If you ever visit Southeast Asia, you might come across the whitest thing you’ve ever seen. And it’s not this guy: It’s the Cyphochilus beetle, a beetle whose shell is whiter than even the whitest paper, the whitest snow, even the whitest paint. In fact, it’s brighter than anything that human technology could create using a material as thin as the beetle does. So what is this material? Well, it’s called chitin. Chitin is similar to the cellulose, the main material in a plant’s cell

The Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya, India (Photo Gallery)

Earlier this week, I was watching an episode of the BBC series Human Planet and saw clips of some amazing, natural-looking root bridges in India. I immediately wanted to know more about them. Cherrapunji is a subdivisional town in the East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. With over 75 feet of annual rainfall, the climate in this region is one of the wettest in the world. The intense rains have created a perpetually wet and often harsh

“Firenados”: What Causes A Fire Tornado? (Photo Gallery)

Seven News in Australia recently released video of a fire tornado captured by Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film and Television. A still from that video went viral and had everyone asking: What is a fire tornado? And what can cause one? The recently surfaced “Firenado” picture was captured by Chris when he noticed a wildfire near Curtin Springs in Australia. Right as he began filming the blaze, a small tornado landed. Chris said that when the tornado touched down, “It

These “Hero Rats” Are Saving Countless Lives By Detecting Land-mines and Tuberculosis (Video)

As a boy, Bart Weetjens loved to play with his pet rats. One thing that always stuck in his memory was the rat’s strong sense of smell and the ease at which they could be trained. Bart recalled these skills years later as a student at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, where he was working on an analysis of the global land-mine detection problem (ie. how to find all of the unexploded mines left over from countless wars around the world).

Villagers Just Caught the Largest Ever Aquatic Insect And It’s Bigger Than Your Hand

Villagers from a village in the Sichuan province of China just collected the largest ever aquatic insect specimen. The bug, a massive dobsonfly, has a wingspan of more than 8 inches. The previous record-holder for the world’s largest aquatic insect was a South American helicopter damselfly, which had a wingspan of 7.5 inches. Though dobsonflies are relatively common (there are over 200 species across Asia, Africa and South America), one of this size had been unheard of until now. Looking at

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