Environment

Tree Kangaroos Face Extinction

If it's not freaky to you how many animal species are disappearing due to human actions and waste, I'm not sure what to say. Yes, we're all a little jaded regarding just how much of an invasive species we are on this planet after hearing about all of the terrible things we do to not only one another but the planet itself, but hopefully we're still shocked enough to want to do something about it.

The Strange Allure of Kaindy Lake

An underwater forest sounds like something fanciful, maybe from the Lost City of Atlantis, but they do exist for real on Earth. The Sunken Forest of Lake Kaindy located in Kazakhstan is one such place and its beauty is completely breathtaking. The lake itself measures 400 meters in length and was formed when an earthquake blocked off the area, creating a natural lake for rain water to fill in.

The Strange Allure of Kaindy Lake

An underwater forest sounds like something fanciful, maybe from the Lost City of Atlantis, but they do exist for real on Earth. The Sunken Forest of Lake Kaindy located in Kazakhstan is one such place and its beauty is completely breathtaking. The lake itself measures 400 meters in length and was formed when an earthquake blocked off the area, creating a natural lake for rain water to fill in.

Biodynamics: When magic, astrology and farming collide

Manage your crops with magic and astrology!

Some populations seem more susceptible to superstition than others. Sailors, baseball players, and yes, vintners. People who grow wine have long had a reputation for strange beliefs and superstitions regarding their crops. Perhaps it is because, much like baseball and sailing, growing wine grapes and making wine is a perilous activity which is as liable to random failure as it is success.

But it wasn't until this Cracked.com article that I discovered how truly bizarre some vintner practices really are. It all stems from a practice with the bland and reasonable name of "biodynamics." Biodynamics began in the early 1920s with a spiritualist named Rudolf Steiner. Steiner's beliefs were a mix of astrology, mysticism, and spirituality. 
 
In 1924 a group of farmers asked Steiner to opine about the best way to grow crops. Although Steiner had no farming experience, he cobbled together a plan which treated the entire farm as one single organism. Steiner's method aimed to increase soil fertility without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. 
 
All well and good. Doesn't sound too bad at this point, does it? Let's get into specifics. 

Sasquatch Sightings: The Hermit Factor

If you happen to spot a Sasquatch in Montana's Rocky Mountains, ask him if he answers to "Noah."

I have a pet theory about Sasquatch. My personal hunch is that most (maybe all) Sasquatch sightings are actually encounters with men who, for whatever reason, have taken to the woods. You live in the great outdoors for a year or two, things happen. You stop shaving your face or cutting your hair. Your Polar Fleece jacket finally disintegrates, so you don a makeshift poncho made from a bear skin. Your boots fall apart, so you go barefoot.
 
Sound unlikely? The truth is, there are many documented cases throughout history of people who have abandoned society to live in the woods. And guess what? The sort of person who moves to the forest to live alone among the animals is also not the sort of person who will react kindly to encountering other humans. 

Trucker Bombs

As hazardous as they are disgusting

 

So-called "trucker bombs" are becoming a big problem for America's highways for several reasons. What is a trucker bomb, you may ask? 
 
Let's set the stage. You are a long-distance trucker. You are also (for reasons which will soon become clear) male. You have been up for twenty hours straight, probably on meth. Also you have been drinking a lot of coffee and Gatorade and Red Bull to keep awake.
 
No matter what, you have to keep on driving. But guess what? You also have to pee. 
 
What's a guy to do?

Wisconsin Noises: Solved

Swarm of earthquakes rocked Clintonville
It was difficult to tell where the noises were coming from. Sometimes they sounded like "rattling pipes," other times like "distant thunder." Sometimes they were accompanied by a rattling or shaking of the earth, although it was difficult to tell which came first. Were the noises making the earth tremble, or vice versa?
 
The U.S. Geological Survey has finally solved the superficial mystery: the noises were due to a "swarm" of shallow surface earthquakes. These earthquakes caused a variety of noises, depending on what they were shaking at the time. And obviously they would account for localized trembling of the ground, as well.

The Mysterious Sounds of Yellowstone Lake

Unlike recent "sky sounds," this one is probably real
The Ghost Theory blog had an interesting article recently about a phenomenon that I had not heard of before: strange sounds in the sky over Yellowstone Lake. Unlike the other recent "sky sounds" that have been fairly conclusively proven to be hoaxes, these sounds have been reported hundreds of times, over at least the last hundred years. The reports come from both inexperienced park visitors and well-established naturalists, guides, rangers, and other respected figures.
 
The sounds happen most often on a quiet morning, when the lake is still. An observer standing on the shores of the lake may hear a sound that seems to be approaching from a distance, like the whistling wings of a flock of ducks. The sound has a distinct element of horizontal motion, as if it is passing overhead or moving across the lake. 

Phosphorescent Mushrooms

In 1840 a botanist in Brazil encountered a group of children "playing with a glowing object that turned out to be a luminescent mushroom." He sent samples back to Kew Gardens, where it was named after him: Agaricus gardneri. The glow-in-the-dark mushroom was then promptly lost to science, and not rediscovered until a recent intrepid midnight rainforest survey by a San Francisco State research team.
The Brazilian phosphorescent mushroom is locally known as "flor-de-coco," for its habit of growing at the roots of a particular species of dwarf palm. It is one of the world's brightest phosphorescent mushrooms, almost bright enough to read newspaper by, according to some accounts. But it is by no means the only phosphorescent mushroom.

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