corpse flower

A Fetid Phenomena

As if 2016 hasn’t already been strange/horrible enough, now we have to contend with all of America’s Corpse Flowers mysteriously blooming at once. Over seven Corpse Flower in the US have bloomed within months of each other. Even the Denver Botanic Garden’s own “Little Stinker” made a showing this past Saturday (but has since closed up).

This is extremely unusual since there have only been 157 recorded corpse flower blooms ever between 1889 and 2008. This year in the US alone, at least seven flowers have bloomed. Typically the flowers only bloom about once every six years.

One of the most popular explanations for the rampant blooming is because US greenhouses and botanical gardens share seeds with one another, meaning most of the corpse flowers that are currently blooming are likely related (think: cousins). Or maybe this is just the stinky harbinger of events to come…

Phoenix Microburst 1

Photographs Of A Microburst Pouring Down On Pheonix

Phoenix Microburst 1

Phoenix Microburst 2

Helicopter Reporter Jerry Ferguson (with help from Pilot Andrew Park took these unbelievable photos earlier this week while filming the weather for a local television station. No, it is not an A-bomb detonated over Phoenix. The photo depicts a dangerous weather phenomenon known as a microburst.

Microbursts are small but powerful rushes of rain-cooled air that collapse toward the ground from a parent thunderstorm. They are basically like a tornado in reverse – while a tornado funnels wind in and up, a microburst’s wind is funneled down and out. Microbursts are created by the downdrafts found in strong thunderstorms and are triggered by two main physical processes — the drag that’s created by falling rain and hail, and evaporation. Once the downdraft hits the ground, the wind — with gusts up to 150 mph — spread out over the land in all directions.

Microburst Crosssection

Below is a timelapse video of the same storm shot by Bryan Snider from the vantage point of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The rainshafts in this footage make it look like Mother Nature turned on a faucet.



Via Colossal

Aerial Lightning 2

Dramatic Aerial Thunderstorm Photos

Aerial Lightning 2

Aerial Lightning 1

As an official member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, photos like these make me swoon. These shots are from Ecuador Airlines pilot Santiago Borja. The first was captured through a Boeing 767-300 cockpit window at 37,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The second was taken last October along the coast of Venezuela.

In the Washington Post, Borja explained the obstacles he met when taking these types of photos. “Storms are tricky because the lightning is so fast, there is no tripod and there is a lot of reflection from inside lights,” he said. Turbulence and near darkness also added complications to the shot.

View more of Borja’s travel and storm photos on Instagram.
via Colossal

Fish In A Jellyfish

Fish Trapped Inside A Jellyfish

Fish In A Jellyfish

Australian Ocean photographer, Tim Samuel, captured these astonishing photos of a fish swallowed whole by a jellyfish near Byron Bay, New South Wales. The fish is possibly a juvenile trevally, which are known to use jellyfish stingers as protection. On his Instagram account Tim says, “He was trapped in there but controlled where the Jellyfish was moving.” The photographer had initially considered trying to set the fish free, but ultimately determined “to let nature take its course.”

Fish In A Jellyfish

Battle Of The Octopus


This territorial struggle between two octopuses (octopi, octopodes) is a thrill to watch. The tentacle free-for-all and color changing turmoil from the sea provides for an exciting couple of minutes. The ambushes an guerrilla style aggression exhibit the undeniable intelligence of our cephalopod friends.

Teahupo'o Surf 2

Teahupo’o From The Sky

Surfing Magazine has released this spellbinding drone footage of surfers charging the infamous Teahupo’o wave break in Tahiti. The footage provides a new beautiful perspective of this powerful surf spot.

The name ‘Teahupo’o’ loosely translates to English as “to sever the head” and is regarded as one of the most challenging surf breaks in the world. The wipeout 3:17 minutes into the video helps explain why. The drone piloting at the 3:30 mark, when the camera films two waves in a single sequence, is incredible. And to top it all off I’m pretty sure the surfer at 3:53 is lit on fire!

The moody music is a song by Brigitte Fontaine called “Le Goudron”. Do the video justice and watch it at full screen with volume up.

Via Metafilter

First Space Flower

First Ever Extra Terrestrial Zinnia Flower

First Space Flower

This orange beauty, bathing in natural sunlight for the first time, is the first Zinnia flower to have ever grown entirely in space. It’s part of the VEG-01 experiment on the International Space Station.

The Veggie experiments will allow the crew members to begin the first steps of in-orbit food production as well as educational outreach and recreation for long-duration missions. The experiment allows scientists to gain a better understanding of plant cultivation and will help determine ways to carry out self-sustaining life support systems during long distance space travel, possibly to Mars.

The facility has previously grown lettuce which was consumed by the crew last year. The next set of crops, called VEG-03, has two types of Chinese cabbage and more romaine lettuce. It will arrive at ISS in March via SpaceX’s CRS-8 mission. In 2018, NASA will send a set of dwarf tomato plants to ISS and we could witness crew members eating the first space salads.

Surprising, the Zinnia flowers almost died from over watering, a mold outbreak, and too much bureaucracy from NASA:

In late December, Kelly found that the plants “weren’t looking too good,” and told the ground team, “You know, I think if we’re going to Mars, and we were growing stuff, we would be responsible for deciding when the stuff needed water. Kind of like in my backyard, I look at it and say ‘Oh, maybe I should water the grass today.’ I think this is how this should be handled.”

The Veggie team on Earth created what was dubbed “The Zinnia Care Guide for the On-Orbit Gardener,” and gave basic guidelines for care while putting judgment capabilities into the hands of the astronaut who had the plants right in front of him. Rather than pages and pages of detailed procedures that most science operations follow, the care guide was a one-page, streamlined resource to support Kelly as an autonomous gardener. Soon, the flowers were on the rebound, and on Jan. 12, pictures showed the first peeks of petals beginning to sprout on a few buds.

Space Flower

Space FlowerAll photos via Scott Kelly/NASA