Ship Tracks off North America

January 20th, 2013

This picture of ship tracks off North America isn't at all what I thought from the title when it popped up in my feed reader. They're not 'tracks' as in a bow wave1, but the trails of clouds that form because of the trail of aerosols – be it exhaust fumes or just desert dust – that a ship leaves behind it.

There's also a rather nice animation showing almost 12 hours-worth of the tracks' movement.

  1. Which was what I'd assumed the picture would show.

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Lakes and Oceans

April 9th, 2012

xkcd: Lakes and Oceans. Very nice.

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A seaside grave's days are always numbered

November 7th, 2011

Stefany Anne Golberg contemplates how the ocean recycles our tragedies:

By next spring, [The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] announced, debris from Japan's tsunami could start washing up along the coast of Hawaii. In two years, it could travel to the West Coast of the United States – to Washington, California, Oregon. For two more years after that, from 2014 to 2016, bits of crushed homes, children's toys, fishing nets – up to 20 million tons of homeless stuff – could circle back to Hawaii. It might be, researchers say, that for the next 10 years, tsunami souvenirs could hover around coastal landlines, visiting the shores of America again and again.

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Scary, sexy beasts

March 27th, 2011

Meet Buster:

Buster is feeling shy, as usual. Buster is so acutely shy that researchers at the Seattle Aquarium can't tell whether this giant Pacific octopus is a boy or a girl. If Buster is a boy, he'll have a special tentacle (the third to the right, going clockwise, from the front of its mantle) that is both an arm and a dick. And, since the suction cups on octopuses* also function as taste buds, his special tentacle will be an arm and a dick and a tongue – making all octopus sex fisting and intercourse and cunnilingus, simultaneously. The young blonde giving the "feeding demonstration" to a large pack of squirming schoolchildren explains these facts more delicately.

"What if you tasted everything you touched?" she asks. The children are silent. "When you open the bathroom door? When you tie your shoes?" The kids offer a few ewws to her and each other. An assistant perched on top of Buster's tank, her feet dangling above the water, skewers some oily herring onto a spear. While the assistant submerges and gently jiggles the herring in front of Buster's cave (the only things visible are an eye and an indistinct bulge of octopus flesh), the guide gives her spiel about octopuses – how the only bony part of their body is a beak, allowing them to squeeze into small places; how octopuses have three hearts in their mantles; how they squirt ink at predators to disorient them; how they are masters of disguise. They have three sets of camouflage cells that can mimic almost any pattern behind them – a checkerboard, multicolored coral, the moving shadow of a passing cloud – and they can flatten and pucker the texture of their skin to blend into most surfaces. (Compared to octopuses, chameleons are pikers.) Despite the vast palette of their skins, octopuses are colorblind. […]

[Via The Essayist]

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Mariana Trench

February 19th, 2010

The Mariana Trench To Scale. Impressive.

[Via Lots of Co.]

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