Thursday, March 31, 2011

An extraordinary sandstorm in Kuwait :

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gloating Over Mass Deaths

I'd heard that Americans on Facebook were claiming within hours of the event that the March 11 Japan earthquake and tsunami were, somehow, "revenge for Pearl Harbour", but it took the compilation below to ram home just how truly strange and downright insane this mass FU-ing of the tens of thousands who died, the millions who've had their lives ruined, actually was :

(click image to enlarge or go here)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I might have to file this under Planet Of Shit-Scary, Horrific Things.

Two views of the March 11 tsunami destroying the Japanese port city of Kesennuma.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crows, They're Up To Something But We're Not Clever Enough To Work Out What

A fascinating but slightly unnerving piece on '6 Ways Crows Are Smarter Than You Think' uncovers these facts :
* Not only can crows recognise human faces, they can hold grudges against the person who owns that face

* Not only can crows communicate detailed information to each other in all that cawing, they can do so to conspire, to plot and plan.

* Crows have regional accents, and recognise where another crow is from by the sounds of their caws.

* Half a million crows descended on a small, farming town. There was a plan to kill and bag a few hundred thousand of them. One crow was shot, and the rest communicated with each other, within minutes, to sound a warning to fly high enough to avoid the guns.

* Crows pass down memories and information to next generations about places to avoid because one crow had been shot there. And it's not a general area, they avoid specific houses where grandpa crow was shot dead all those years ago.

* Crows understand the natural laws of water displacement.

* They can look at a piece of wire and work out if they bend the end into a hook they can use it to pull something tasty that was out of reach into beak range.

* Not only do crows know how to make tools, they know how to make tools which can be used to make more tools.

* Crows can remember the days garbage trucks visit a neighbourhood, and the route they take.

* The smart little fuckers can also learn the pattern and timing of traffic lights.

Lots More Crow Brilliance Here

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Black And White And Totally WTF

BuzzFeed has '50 Unexplainable B&W Photos'. Here's five of the downright most strange :

I wonder if these photos would be more interesting, or much less, if we knew the story behind them?

The Other 45 Are Here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Too Much Of An Ocean View

The US Navy photographed this incredible sight in the Pacific Ocean, off Japan :

The Tokyo Sway

How far we've come in only a few thousand years. Where once we built cities that could be leveled by a common large earthquake, now we can build cities of gleaming towers that reach to the sky and only sway, instead of collapsing, under the rocking and heaving of one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history :

It's like tempting the ocean to take your life. But it's also a joyous celebration of fearlessness and an astounding confidence that the judgments made are not the wrong ones :

But if you were a youth, if you saw this scene unfolding in front of you, if you were wearing a wetsuit, wouldn't you want to give it a try, too?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Scientists Don't Know Why Earthquakes Come In Clusters

They don't know how yet, but imagine if scientists could look at a pattern of earthquakes and predict an expected size and location for a devastating quake, allowing for necessary evacuations a day or two in advance, then we will have cracked one of the greatest, most devastating, mysteries of Mother Nature.

From the Sydney Morning Herald :
The director of the Australian Seismological Centre in Canberra, Kevin McCue, said yesterday's quake in Japan, the largest recorded there, would not have been linked to the one that struck Christchurch last month.

''This earthquake is a rupture of the plate boundary,'' Professor McCue said. ''The Christchurch earthquake was not. It was an earthquake on the conjugate fault, a fault that's at an angle to the main fault and 100 kilometres away from the plate boundary.

...Professor McCue said earthquakes on plate boundaries often came in quick succession. ''We had a sequence of earthquakes in 1906 where there were at least six 'grade earthquakes' around the Pacific. And now we've had Chile last year and this one,'' he said.

''It's something we observe in all extreme events - they are clustered in time. That's what we observe they do but we don't have an answer for it.''

The Full Story Is Here

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquakes as the soundtrack of Planet Earth :

Tectonic: Earthquakes Generate Music in Realtime from Micah Frank on Vimeo.

Wait for the end, it's worth it :

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If you were an alien and came to Earth and saw someone doing this with a piece of wood and some little wheels, you'd have to be impressed, surely. More impressed at least than the many wandering past in the background, completely oblivious to the rare skill & creativity on display :

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

This doesn't qualify as a "strange thing", but is sure is an awesome sight to behold :

Your Funeral, Terminator Style

Methods of cheaply disposing of the recently departed without polluting the environment & using up wood for coffins, or filling the air with smoke from cremations, get steadily more bizarre :
Promessa, in Sweden, has come up with a method of burial that negates the worst aspects of the disposal of remains. They want to freeze human bodies, then shatter them into a million pieces. The body is chilled to around negative 18 degrees Celsius. Once it's cold enough, it's submerged in liquid nitrogen. As the body becomes colder, it gets more brittle. Once it's brittle enough, it's shocked with soundwaves that crumble it into powder.And that's just the start.
And that's just the start.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Okay, Elephants might not be completely terrified of mice, but they certainly do seem to be afraid of them :

But are the Mythbusters wrong? Are elephants really afraid of mice, in the way some humans freak out when they see a spider scurrying towards them?

Or are these elephants in fact purposely trying to avoid stepping on them? Maybe they've had enough experience stepping on small animals as youngsters to not want to get squished rodent between their toes.

Also, it must not be forgotten, that elephants use their trunks like we use our hands. When they're looking around for fruit on a forest floor, their trunks are snuffling around through undergrowth and grass.

It might simply be they know enough to avoid small darting things because snakes, and some rodents, would bite at a trunk that accidentally finds them amongst the fruit and leaf litter around the base of tree..

Or maybe there's simply a kind of heeby-jeebies terror of small animals running up the inside of their trunks and getting caught.

Whatever the reason, the idea proposed by MythBusters that elephants are irrationally scared of mice is ridiculous.

Considering the (however small in scale) level of threat posed by rodents, spiders, snakes to a snuffling trunk, it makes sense that elephants would learn over the years to rear back and step cautiously around a quick moving something they've only just seen or become aware of.

Elephants can hardly be compared to a man or woman standing on a chair shrieking insanely because there's a mouse, spider or monster cockroach darting around the floor.

Elephants have far more dignity than that.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A Christchurch man survived the recent tragic earthquake and found this visitor in his hall :

The intruder, nicknamed 'Rocky', is being auctioned to raise funds for survivors of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake.

More Here

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Dolphins Save Doberman

A beloved Doberman went missing in Florida and wound up in a canal, unable to escape. It took refuge on an almost submerged sandbar, and there it might have died when the tides rose.

But two dolphins decided they could help by alerting humans to the dog's precarious location.

At least, that's how this story read to me, you tell me I'm wrong :
It all started when D'Alessandro and her husband, Sam, walked out of their go fishing. Behind the home is a canal where "we saw these two dolphins and they were splashing and making this big commotion.

Dolphins usually swim through the canal behind the home, as it leads into the Gulf of Mexico, but this time the dolphins weren't just passing through.

"They were just there, in one place, splashing water against the canal wall," she said.

Why would dolphins help a dog in distress? Compassion? Empathy? Maybe one just wanted to prove to the other that he knew how to get humans' attention.

Or maybe it's a mammal code of behaviour not as preciously human as we once imagined.
Dawn Of The Zombie Puppies

He was just one of five puppies euthanised by a vet. His little body was checked for signs of life, nothing, he was tossed into a bin with the bodies of other dead animals.

But the next day :
an animal control officer looked into the bin and discovered that the one pup somehow survived.

"He was just as healthy as could be," Scott Prall told News 9.

The puppy has found a new home.