Mother Nature

Foreboding Skies

Mammatus clouds are pouch-like protrusions hanging from the undersides of clouds. Composed primarily of ice, these cloud pouches can extend hundreds of miles in any direction.

People associate them with severe weather, and it’s true they can appear around, before or after a storm. Mammatus clouds can appear ominous, but contrary to myth, they don’t continue extending downward to form tornadoes.

Amazingly Detailed Scientific Art

These wonderfully detailed scientific paintings are pretty amazing. They come from a time when, instead of documenting the natural world with photographs, scientists made detailed drawings and paintings. Ernst Haeckel was one such scientist/artist. Here is a collection of some of his art.

Here’s a photograph of the artist:

Beautiful Beaches That Glow In The Dark

Greek philosopher Anaximenes is thought to have made the first report of marine bioluminescence. This was back in circa 500 C.E., when he saw an inexplicable glow as his oar cut through the water at night. Modern scientific explanations describe the phenomenon as a type of chemiluminescence born when light-releasing luciferin generated by organisms interreacts with oxygen. In most, if not all, cases this reaction is accelerated by the presence of a luciferase enzyme.

Marine creatures, insects, algae, bacteria and fungi all produce the magical glow that is bioluminescence; and different species do so for different reasons – including disguise, communication, for lighting and as lure. Bacteria and fungi usually shine constantly during phases of bioluminescence, while algae and marine animals give off intermittent light. One of the most widely observed forms of the phenomenon is caused by dinoflagellates, a type of phytoplankton.

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