Boneyard beaches littered with dead tilapia line the shores of California's Salton Sea. Thousands of fish die here every year, suffocated when winds stir…Read More »
up low-oxygen water from the lake depths.
A fascinating and foul discovery on the skeleton-clad shores recently revealed the fate of the rest of the fish remains. Their flesh drops to the lake floor, where anaerobic bacteria transforms it into adipocere, also known as corpse wax, researchers from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania reported here Monday (Oct. 28) at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting.
An up-close portrait of a corkscrew-shaped plankton, a peek into a painted turtle's eye and a magnified view of a marine worm are among this year's winners…Read More »
of a photography contest that honors all things microscopic.
The prizing-winning images of Nikon's Small World competition were announced Wednesday (Oct. 30). Top honors went to a stunning photo of a colonial plankton organism, Chaetoceros debilis, taken by Wim van Egmond, a freelance photographer from the Netherlands, associated with the Micropolitan Museum in Rotterdam.
Credit: Kata Kenesei and Barbara Orsolits | Courtesy of Nikon Small World.
Pictures taken through a microscope have obvious value for scientists, but photomicrographs, as they are called, can be appreciated as objects of beauty…Read More »
in their own right.
This week, the camera-making company Nikon will announce the winners of its annual Small World Competition, which honors snapshots of amazing structures and organisms that are impossible to see with the naked eye.
It may look wicked, but a stunning — if not scary — new view of the Witch Nebula unveiled by NASA for Halloween is actually the home of baby stars just…Read More »
beginning their cosmic lives.
The image, taken by NASA's now-retired WISE infrared space telescope, shows a nebula that bears an uncanny resemblance to a wicked witch in profile, hence its name. NASA featured the image as its space photo of the day to mark Halloween today (Oct. 31), noting that the nebula witch appears to be "screaming out in space."
During an expedition last March to a remote part of northeastern Australia, where few humans have tread, scientists discovered three unique species of…Read More »
vertebrates: an impressively camouflaged leaf-tail gecko, a golden-colored skink and a rock-loving frog.
The researchers were exploring the rain forests on top of the Cape Melville Range, a 9-mile-long (15 kilometers) mountain range located on Australia's Cape York Peninsula, which juts out just south of Papua New Guinea. Surrounded by nearly impassable chunks of granite, the misty region has been cut off for millions of years and dubbed a "lost world," according to National Geographic, which funded the expedition.
By the time Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast coast of the United States one year ago, it had weakened in wind speed from a Category 3 to a Category 1…Read More »
storm. But people living in the storm's path quickly learned that this lower rating said little about the storm's destructive capacity.
By landfall, wind speeds had fallen below 94 mph (153 km/h) — the cutoff for Category 1 hurricanes — but the storm surge (the water that a storm pushes in front of itself above predicted tide levels) was greater than any other surge recorded in New York City's history, reaching up to 14 feet (4.3 meters) in lower Manhattan. Many of the 150 deaths associated with Sandy have been attributed to flooding from this surge along the New York and New Jersey coastlines.
Researchers have dissected the two deep-sea oarfish that washed ashore in southern California this month. So far, they found that one was teeming with…Read More »
worms and the other was about to have babies.
On Oct. 13, an 18-foot-long (5.5 meters) oarfish was dragged to shore by a snorkeler at Catalina Island. Because the species lives in deep, dark waters, up to 3,000 feet (915 meters) below the surface, intact specimens are rarely discovered. Strangely enough, another smaller oarfish washed ashore north of San Diego just a few days later.
A ghostly nebula shining about 5,000 light-years from Earth is also the coldest known object in the universe.
The dead star creating the Boomerang Nebula…Read More »
is sloughing off gas from its shell, which is producing the strangely shaped cosmic object, astronomers have discovered. The gas is cooling as it flows away from the white dwarf star in a process similar to how refrigerators stay cold by using expanding gas.
The brain may be an even more powerful computer than before thought — microscopic branches of brain cells that were once thought to basically serve as…Read More »
mere wiring may actually behave as minicomputers, researchers say.
The most powerful computer known is the brain. The human brain possesses about 100 billion neurons with roughly 1 quadrillion — 1 million billion — connections known as synapses wiring these cells together.
Credit: Cell Picture Show by Joanna Aizenberg, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Do these look like real-life tentacles? Look again.
This seemingly bizarre beast is made of self-assembling nanofibers. Joanna Aizenberg and her laboratory…Read More »
are pioneers of self-assembling nanofibers that function as catch-and-release devices. Here, a scanning-electron microscope image of nanoscale bristles made of epoxy resin and immersed in a liquid. As the bristles dry, they can grab nearby particles, such as the sphere in this image, or a drug. They also store energy and can release the item. That's quite a few functions for something only about 1/1000th the width of a human hair.
Credit: Manish Mamtani/U.S. Department of Interior
Fall is a special, fleeting time of year, when the weather turns colder and the daylight hours grow shorter. Those who venture into national parks at this…Read More »
time are rewarded with views that only come once a year. At many parks, this involves leaf peeping, but in Canyonlands National Park, no leaves are required to see the reds and oranges of autumn.
At Canyonlands the sunlight paints a colorful landscape across the carved sedimentary rock. Canyonlands preserves one of the last, relatively undisturbed areas of the Colorado Plateau, a geological province that encompasses much of the Colorado River. Located in southeastern Utah, the park is an explorer's paradise full of canyons, mesas and deep river gorges, all part of a unique desert ecosystem.
Rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.
Canyonland's beauty is no secret. On average 440,039 people visited the park each year. Hikers, mountain bikers, backpackers and four-wheelers all enjoy the rugged, remote trails within the park. So grab a jacket, and get out and explore.