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lake louise, alberta

11/20/14 2 Comments

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canada’s natural beauty reflected through wan mekwi‘s lens. via natgeotravel.

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peacock showdown

08/25/13

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2 reasons to love this pic:

  • peacocks are mainly known for their pristine beauty so seeing two of them fight takes your mind in a different place (here’s a video of two other ones going at it)
  • perfect timing.  great photos inspire a story and this one forces you to think about what happened before and what happens next (notice how the peacock on the ground is looking up at the white one like he’s wondering what’s next as well)

if somebody knows who took this photo, tell me so i can give credit where credit is more than due (spotted @ lit reactor).  

related: see a lioness square off with a fawn (leave your assumptions at the door) | can you find these “invisible” animals?

idyllic noise

06/26/13 3 Comments

take a good look at this:
idyllicnoise

would you believe that instead of four separate pics, what you’re looking at is a single shot of items in an apartment room?  if you need some help, click on the pic to see it from a different angle.

in the comment section, list the things that photographer bela borsodi did to create this visual illusion.  via asapscience.

more brain teasers: scrabble-inspired brain teaserwhen shouldn’t you trust love? | the stable marriage problem | see if you can solve this math square | who is right? the professor or the student? | the integer called bleen | genius logic | einstein’s riddle

the real reason bodies of water are different colors

06/17/13 2 Comments

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written by will mcgough for mental floss:

When I saw the Caribbean Sea in person for the first time, my eyes metaphorically popped out of my head. As a kid who grew up in South Jersey, I was used to the dirty, almost brown, kinda-sorta blue color of the coastal Atlantic Ocean. But this was different. Staring at that bright, vibrant, and seemingly crystal-clear water, I had many questions. Where did that color come from? And why can I see my feet here, but not at home? Is the Caribbean water cleaner? Is the sun stronger down south? And how come it’s green-blue near the shore, yet navy blue a mile off shore?

Having traveled quite a bit since, I’ve heard all kinds of explanations from common folks, some chalking color differences up to pollution and others to salinity. While I’m certain that many factors, including those two, play some small role, the biggest influencers are the floor, depth, and microorganisms of the body of water.

First off, let’s tackle why water, in most cases, appears blue to begin with.

SHEDDING A LITTLE LIGHT

If you’ve ever taken a cruise, you know that the farther offshore you sail, the deeper and bolder the blue becomes (navy blue). That’s because there are no reflections off the sea floor in very deep water, meaning that a majority of the sun’s rays are absorbed by the water itself. Water molecules, by nature, absorb reds, greens, oranges, and yellows, but spit out blue.

“When sunlight hits the ocean, some of the light is reflected back directly but most of it penetrates the ocean surface and interacts with the water molecules that it encounters,” explains NASA’s Oceanography Division. “The red, orange, yellow, and green wavelengths of light are absorbed so that the remaining light we see is composed of the shorter wavelength blues and violets.”

SANDING OFF

As the water depth decreases and the light is able to penetrate all the way to the bottom, the makeup of the floor becomes a factor in determining water color. For example, the coarse Caribbean coral is going to reflect light differently than the fine sand found in the Northeast. These differences in absorption and reflection affect visibility as well as color.

Whatever light is not reflected back from the top layer of water or the bottom of the sea floor is absorbed by something in the water. As we saw above, lots of light is consumed by the water molecules themselves, but microorganisms living in the water also “eat” their fair share. The final major players in determining color are the particles and organisms found and suspended in the water. Phytoplankton, for example, harbors chlorophyll that absorbs red and blue light and reflects green. If a high concentration exists in one area, the water will take on a green hue. The more there are, the greener the water will appear.

Those three factors—depth, floor makeup, and life (plus intangibles, like pollution, as mentioned above)—will interact to produce whatever color we happen to see. The same principles apply to other bodies of water, like lakes, craters, and rivers. It’s all about what’s in and under the water.

And, despite our focus on the oceans, it’s not all about being green, blue, or brown. Check out these uniquely colored tourist attractions found in different parts of the world as examples. If you thought the greenish-blue of the Caribbean was impressive, the red and black volcanic lakes should knock your socks off.

LAGUNA COLORADA, BOLIVIA

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Courtesy of Flickr user Valdiney Pimenta

Red sediments and algae pigmentation produce the unique red color of this salt lake in Bolivia, which is further contrasted by the white borax islands that are spotted throughout it. Located at more than 13,000 feet above sea level, the lagoon is part of the Andean Fauna National Reserve and is a common roosting spot for a variety of flamingo species.

KELIMUTU VOLCANO, INDONESIA

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Courtesy of Flickr user NeilsPhotography

This volcano harbors three crater lakes at its summit that are strikingly different from one another in terms of color. Typically, Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) appears blue, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) green, and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) either black or red, although they all are known to change shades quite frequently and unpredictably. The latter two are separated by a crater wall, creating a stunning distinction when viewed side-by-side, especially when they are green and black, as seen in the photo. Thus far, research has revealed no official explanation for the differences and changing colors, but the general consensus is that chemical reactions are being triggered by volcanic gas activity that drives nutrient-rich water to the surface.

LAKE PUKAKI, NEW ZEALAND

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Courtesy of Flickr user Peter Nijenhuis

Glacial erosion fills this body of water with glacier flour, or finely-ground rock particles, resulting in a frosty, cloudy-blue color (this mixture is sometimes referred to as glacial milk). Lake Pukaki has a surface area of approximately 111 square miles and was formed when glacial debris known as moraine dammed up the valley. There are glacier lakes in at least a dozen countries throughout the world that take on this “milky” appearance. While they are not abnormally colored, the Great Lakes are the largest glacial lakes in the world.

rainbow showers

05/09/13 4 Comments

color rain

by skurtur (via street art utopia).  if an angel spilled god’s paint all over the earth, would you pull out your umbrella like the adult or just bask in it like the kid?

previously: mo’ money, mo’ problems | smug shrinks humanity | the greatest street fighter | you can only ride this once

see an amazing hurricane on saturn

04/30/13 2 Comments

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pictured above is a gigantic storm brewing on the north pole of saturn (taken by nasa’s cassini spacecraft).  some perspective:

– the eye of hurricanes found on earth usually range from 5 mi (8 km) to over 120 mi (200 km).  the eye of this storm is 1,250 miles (2000 km) wide.

– hurricane katrina reached 175mph (78 m/s).  this hurricane is almost doubling that at 330mph (150 m/s).

learn more about it on nasathe atlantic & national geographic.

related: watching god play

horizontal rainbow in paris

04/27/13 3 Comments

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taken by betrand kulik. here’s nasa‘s explanation for this natural layer cake of color:

Why is this horizon so colorful? Because, opposite the Sun, it is raining. What is pictured above is actually just a common rainbow. It’s uncommon appearance is caused by the Sun being unusually high in the sky during the rainbow‘s creation. Since every rainbow‘s center must be exactly opposite the Sun, a high Sun reflecting off of a distant rain will produce a low rainbow where only the very top is visible — because the rest of the rainbow is below the horizon. Furthermore, no two observers can see exactly the same rainbow — every person finds themselves exactly between the Sun and rainbow’s center, and every observer sees the colorful circular band precisely 42 degrees from rainbow’s center. 

related: pictures of perfection | great blue hole | watching god play | all of the lights

utopia dystopia

03/01/13

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in a sense, perception is like filling in a coloring book.  people can see the same page/info but color it different ways thanks to things like their background, crayons/tools available to them, and how much they like to color inside/outside the lines.  this can affect a person being viewed as a hero or a terrorist, a war as a revolution or rebellion, or like in dylan glynn‘s drawing, a place as a utopia or dystopia.

related: a radical experiment in empathy | two sides of patriarchy

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