Stories tagged Amazing fact

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Antarctica's Blood Falls

by Anonymous on Aug. 30th, 2013

In the harsh and inhospitable environment of Antarctic, there exists a bizarre waterfalls from which blood-colored water flows. Known (not surprisingly) as Blood Falls, the strange phenomenon was first discovered back in 1911 by Australian explorer Griffith Taylor who came upon the remarkable waterfalls seeping from the face of a glacier now called Taylor Glacier in his honor. But even more bizarre than the waterfalls itself, is what causes it to flow red.

A subglacial lake buried 400 meters beneath the glacier lacks heat, oxygen, and light. But an unusual group of microbes living within its waters have somehow adapted a way to survive in the harsh and super-salty environment by "breathing" iron or sulfur and converting those elements into energy. The high iron content, which the glacier accumulated by scraping up the bedrock, interacts with the air (oxidation) staining the ice around the outflow in a deep rust color.

The microbes have been trapped in the lake beneath Taylor Glacier for about 3 million years, and analyses found them to be similar in their robustness to microorganisms living in equally hostile environments in the depths of Earth's oceans. Jill Mikucki, a geomicrobiologist from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville discovered 17 types of microorganisms in water samples she collected from the lake.

The microbes seem alien in their behavior and could provide new insight into how organisms might be able to survive in the harshest of environments. They also enhance the possibility of finding similar life on Mars or other inhospitable bodies populating our Solar System.

SOURCES and LINKS
Weather Channel story
Washington Post story
Blood Falls photos at Atlas Obscura

Invasive species in Minnesota lakes is an ongoing problem. But this story – an alligator shot by Minnesota game officials in a Scandia-area lake – may just take the cake. Oh, and they think there might be one or two more gators still in the lake.

In honor of Shark Week...

by Anonymous on Aug. 08th, 2013

Terror from the deep
Terror from the deepCourtesy Beaukiss Steve
...here's the worst shark attack in history. For my money, the scariest part of the movie "Jaws" was Captain Quint's retelling of this horrible tragedy.

Minnesota from space: Astronaut Karen Nyberg has included an image of her Minnesota hometown of Battle Lake to her gallery of photos from space as she works on the International Space Station.
Minnesota from space: Astronaut Karen Nyberg has included an image of her Minnesota hometown of Battle Lake to her gallery of photos from space as she works on the International Space Station.Courtesy Karen Nyberg
It's summer. You're toiling away at work while friends are out traveling, posting images of their fun and exotic discoveries on social media. But they can't beat Minnesota-native astronaut Karen Nyberg. From her perch aboard the International Space Station, she's created an extensive gallery of images from space including this image of Minnesota that includes her hometown of Battle Lake. There are come very artistic displays of global weather activities in these photos.

Bill Nye gives us a quick, and fun, lesson on how we can avoid problem asteroids of the future.

Muskie, regular coloration: Here's a regularly colored muskie....now imagine it all white as an albino.
Muskie, regular coloration: Here's a regularly colored muskie....now imagine it all white as an albino.Courtesy Engbretson, Eric / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
I confess, muskies freak me out. They're scary looking. And now I read that a guy caught a 46-inch albino muskie. No way am I going in that lake!!! You can read about, and see photos of, this rare catch here.

Historic scientists: Newton, Galileo, and Einstein
Historic scientists: Newton, Galileo, and EinsteinCourtesy Public domain via Wikipedia
Kapil Bhagat, a graphic artist living in Mumbai, India, created a series of clever, minimal graphics honoring historic scientists and their discoveries for India's National Science Day. I especially like the one for Einstein. National Science Day is celebrated in the India each year on February 28. Go here to check out some of his very cool artwork on Tumblr.

Not surprising, I guess, but still troubling. The new study appears in the journal Science, and a report on it appears at Smithsonianmag.com.

Siberian tiger: New legislation deals with private ownership of large cats.
Siberian tiger: New legislation deals with private ownership of large cats.Courtesy Mark Ryan
According to the World Wildlife Federation there are now literally more tigers in captivity in the United States than exist in the wild. That's about 5000 captive tigers versus 3200 wild ones. You might think, well sure, that's not surprising, there are a lot of zoos in America. But tigers held in zoos aren't even included in the estimate. The WWF is referring to tigers as exotic pets, held in American backyards, urban apartments, sideshows, truck stops and private breeding farms.

The "Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act HR 1998" is new legislation introduced on May 15, 2013. The bill would prohibit private possession and breeding of not only tigers but also lions, cheetahs, cougars, leopards and other large, dangerous cats that could threaten public safety. The bill would not affect public zoos or wildlife sanctuaries, and would allow current private owners to keep their cats provided they register them with the US Department of Agriculture.

SOURCE
WWF story