Saturday, September 28, 2013

Jaguar Attacks Crocodile

Here's some incredible footage from National Geographic of a jaguar making a quick meal out of a large caiman crocodile in Brazil's Pantanal wetlands. It's fascinating watching the behaviour of this massive cat as it quietly moves through the water. The hunt scene is narrated by conservation scientist Luke Dollar who helps manage NG's Big Cats Initiative.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Phoenix Dust Storm Timelapse

Above is a video of another massive dust storm consuming south Phoenix, Arizona on July 18, 2011. This one measured 3000 feet high. These storms occur when a strong wind front picks up loose sand and dust from the dry surface. They can often be triggered by major thunderstorms nearby. They are more common in the Arabian peninsula and the Sahara, two of the main terrestrial sources of airborne dust. Photographed below is a dust storm touching down in Al Asad, Iraq on April 27, 2005.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Father & Son DIY Outer Space Filming

Keeping the same theme as the previous post, here is a less technologically advanced way of capturing video footage from the stratosphere. A father and his seven year old son built a homemade spacecraft and sent it almost 19 miles into the air. An insulated case held a video camera, an iPhone, and GPS equipment. Hand-warmers were packed on the inside in order to keep the equipment from freezing in the cold temperatures.

All in all they spent 8 months preparing for the mission. The father, Luke Geissbuhler, added: "It would have to survive 100 mph winds, temperatures of 60 degrees below zero, speeds of over 150 mph, and the high risk of a water landing. To retrieve the craft, it would need to deploy a parachute, descend through the clouds and transmit a GPS coordinate to a cell phone tower. Then we have to find it."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Booster Cam Video of Atlantis Launch

NASA has just released this video from space shuttle Atlantis' launch into orbit on July 8th. Multiple cameras provide unique angles from the ground at Kennedy Space Center (0:00), through takeoff and separation (2:22), to the water landing somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean (4:37). One of the most crisp and impressive angles starts at approximately 18:00 into the video.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Footage

Here are a series of videos capturing the raw power of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan. Videos captured massive waves hitting the port of Sendai city. Youtube erupted with cell phone videos documenting the flooding in nearby towns, a gigantic whirlpool forming, and an airport runway being submerged. This video was shot from inside the same airport as it faced the oncoming waves.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celery Rose

After being picked, if given proper care, a rose might last about two weeks before wilting. Petal blight - the reason for wilting - is caused by invading fungal pathogens that produce a sugar alcohol called mannitol, which breaks down the flower's defense system. It turns out that the enzyme mannitol dehydrogenase, found abundantly in celery, improves the life of rose petals when the gene responsible for its production is spliced into the rose genome. North Carolina State's Dr. Dole and Dr. Williamson are leading the research aiming to create a hybrid rose that is more resistant to disease.

The roses won't smell or feel any different, the only thing that should change is their vase life. "This gene is naturally found in many plants, but it's uncertain whether the rose already has it," said Williamson. "If it does, it doesn't produce enough enzyme to help the plant fight against petal blight." The team is also studying the type of sugar-water mixture that would best suit the rose after being harvested.

Ultimately, they are hoping to double the survival time of your generic flower shop rose. This could have a huge impact on the flower industry, especially when you consider that 1.2 billion rose stems are sold within the USA annually.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Frozen Smoke

A group of scientists have engineered a new form of "frozen smoke" that could potentially detect pollutants, store energy, and improve robotic surgeries. Frozen smoke is popular term used for aerogel, a manufactured material originally created in 1931 by Samuel Stephen Kistler, which has the lowest bulk density of any known porous solid. In fact, aerogel holds 15 titles in the Guiness Book of World Records, including 'best insulator' and 'lowest density solid'.

The current team of researchers including Professor Lei Zhai and Jianhua Zou have been able to use nanotubes to add some practical uses to aerogel. A press release from the University of Central Florida explains how these improvements allow the material to detect the slightest changes in pressure, making it perfect for robot hands used in precise surgical procedures. The nanotubes also increase the material's surface area, which enhances its ability to store renewable energy.

Although some skeptics question the safety nanotechnology, new advancements continue surrounding aerogel. Zhai thinks his innovations are just the tip of the iceberg and said "This has many potential applications and could really open up new areas to explore that we haven't even imagined yet."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Insects Trapped In Love

This love story between two invasive pests is set in the southern states, but most notably Texas. The cotton bollworm entered from Mexico around 1916 and within 20 years had spread to over 119 counties within Texas, infuriating farmers along the way. The adult is a small moth, but before reaching maturity it goes through three other stages of development: egg, larva, and pupa. The larvae have been described as being aggressive, occasionally carnivorous and are reported to even cannibalize each other. During the destructive larval stage it eats the maturing seeds within the cotton boll.

In the 1960s and 1970s chemical insecticides, including DDT, were used in an attempt to control their spread. The following decade ushered in a heightened interest in nonchemical pest control. After experimenting with hormone manipulation, the Texas Department of Agriculture came up with a romantic solution. Through the use of insect pheromones, researchers tricked male bollworms into mating with female budworms (another invasive pest). Since the different species had mismatched genitalia, upon mating the insects became locked together and died. Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What If Planets Orbited Earth With Our Moon?

Obviously this could never happen, but it's an exercise in creating perspective! This incredible video created by Brad Goodspeed illustrates how large each planet would appear in the sky if it shared an orbit with the moon (380,000 kms from Earth). He doesn't include the smaller planets and also omits Saturn. He went with representatives of the size classes of planets to keep the maximum dramatic effect. Watch in HD and get ready to feel small! You can follow Brad Goodspeed on Twitter @BradGoodspeed

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Fingered Dinosaur

A team of scientists have dug up the first dinosaur ever known to have only one finger. They found the skeletal remains embedded in an 80 million year old rock formation in Inner Mongolia, China. The dinosaur, named Linhenykus monodactylus, was roughly one meter tall and belongs to the alvarezsauroids family of dinosaurs, a group whose members were previously thought to be flightless birds.

It is well known that carnivorous dinosaurs kept losing fingers as they evolved over their ~160 million year existence. The earliest meat eaters had five fingers, while later species had four or three. Even the infamous and highly popularized Tyrannosaurus Rex only had two fingers. The researchers believe that Linhenykus monodactylus likely adapted to have just one claw-like digit for digging purposes, perhaps to specialize in retrieving certain insects. The findings have been published in the most recent release from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.