Category Archives: Weird Science

REM Sleep

REM Sleep

REM Sleep is one of the most mysterious functions of the human body, yet we know it is very important to our body, our emotional state, and perhaps even more. We all experience this sleep cycle every night, but what is really going on while we are sleeping? Science has yet to discover the secrets we hold in our minds, whether asleep or awake, and when it comes right down to it we are left to ponder the possibilities for ourselves.

REM Sleepphoto credit: aguscr via photopin cc

The weird science of sleep has provided us with some information; it is known that the process of sleep aids the body in healing, replenish energy, and rejuvenate the mind. Scientists have been studying the state of REM Sleep for decades in an attempt to learn more, however its the key secrets remain unknown.

We instinctively know when we are wearing down and need sleep, we all know what happens when we don’t get enough, and we are aware that the REM sleep cycle is the most important part of sleep. We also know that too little sleep can lead to health issues. But what if REM Sleep provides other benefits?

REM Sleep 1
photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

We often find it intriguing that something we all experience on a daily basis is still such a mystery. However,  it is possible that we once knew much more about sleep than we do today.

Many ancient civilizations believed that humans were once capable of much more than we are aware of today, and that sleep, among other things, was a way to connect with natural abilities we may have lost touch with as time went by.  Many people today believe it is certainly a possibility, and we may all have a remnant of these capabilities left in us, if we simply train ourselves to use it.

Lucid dreamingphoto credit: Muffet via photopin cc

Lucid Dreaming

Lately, the concept of Lucid Dreaming has sparked much conversation and interest. It is believed that Lucid Dreaming is a means to control ones’ dreams, enabling them to experience more out of life than what our waking, physical being is capable of experiencing. It is possible that this may be the process of tapping into those ancient abilities we were once believed to have had.

No doubt, REM Sleep is somehow of great importance to our well-being, both in mind as well as body, but for now we will all have to explore the mystery of this mysterious sleep state for ourselves!

REM Sleep

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Aurora Borealis – Naturally Weird Science of the Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis

Even before it was dubbed Aurora Borealis by Pierre Gassendi in 1621, the amazing light show witnessed around the northern pole of the earth had been astonishing mankind. Also known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora is caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun, this strange yet awe inspiring natural wonder lives up to its majestic name; Aurora for the Roman ‘Goddess of the Dawn”, and Borealis, the Latin word for “The God of The North Wind”.

Naturally Weird Science

Charged particles carried from the sun to the earth by solar winds enter the earths’ atmosphere at the magnetic poles and collide with gas particles, emitting the light known as the Aurora. Called ‘Aurora Australis’ at the South Pole, this electrifying lightshow can present its self in several different colors depending on the type of gas particles that are colliding in the atmosphere, and the altitude at which they collide.

aurora-borealis-1
photo credit: GuideGunnar – Arctic Norway via photopin cc

The most common green coloring is caused by oxygen molecules colliding about 60 miles above the earth, while oxygen particles colliding at high-altitudes of up to 200 miles produce rare red Auroras. Blue or purplish-red auroras are caused by Nitrogen particles.

Thought to be affected by sunspot activity since about 1880, the lights can extend anywhere from 50 miles to 400 miles above the earths’ surface, and appear in various forms such as rays of light, arcs, rippling streamers, and eerily glowing clouds.

Aurora Borealis 5
photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting) via photopin cc

Northern Lights Influence

It is no wonder that various cultural groups around the world possess legends about the Aurora Borealis, nor that the lights were considered to be harbingers of bad things to come in medieval times. The lights have also been mistaken for reflections of torches or campfires by many northern civilizations inhabiting Europe and North America, and particularly the Maori people of New Zealand in the past.

Even today, the odd glow of the Northern Lights apparently strikes fear into the hearts of some people, causing doctors to classify this fear as Auroraphobia! Whether or not ones’ fear of this natural spectacle grows to the extent of an all-out phobia, it is understandable that some feel threatened by this eerie light.

Aurora Borealis
photo credit: nick_russill via photopin cc

Fortunately for the purposes of this article, there are plenty of people who are drawn to the Northern Lights like moths to street lights. Lacking their phobic counterparts’ potentially irrational fear of the lights, these adventuresome individuals bring stunning images of the atmospheric oddity to the world.

Aurora Borealis 4
photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video via photopin cc

For many, the fascination for the odd glow of natural luminescence such as this knows no bounds, and we creatively attempt to recreate this naturally beautiful lighting with fiber optics, neon lights, and glow in the dark plastics, among other things. No matter how hard we may try though, nothing compares to the shows that Mother Nature puts on, especially the Aurora Borealis!

Aurora Borealis – Naturally Weird Science of the Northern Lights

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The Weird Science of Bioluminescence

Apollo E-Cigarettes

The Weird Science of Bioluminescence

The Weird Science of Bioluminescence is definitely an intriguing subject, and one that most of us cannot resist! Though we know this natural form of light is the result of a chemical reaction within a living organism, it is hard to pass up a glance at one of these illuminated critters, an perhaps gain a little more knowledge about how they produce their weird, glowing light.

A form of Chemiluminescence, which means a chemical reaction where light is produced, Bioluminescence, is simply Chemiluminescence that occurs inside a living organism. The coloring of bioluminescent organisms is determined by the arrangement of luciferin molecules, an enzyme or chemical which is the catalyst that makes bioluminescence possible. This is the reason why some bioluminescent organisms display a green colored light, while others display a yellow colored light.

Weird Science Bioluminescence

Some marine animals do not actually produce the light themselves; instead they absorb Luciferin by eating or hosting bioluminescent organisms in their bodies. The squid for example, houses bioluminescent bacteria in its’ light organs, forming a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria.

weird science bioluminescence 1

Some Bioluminescence Facts:

  •  The light produced by Bioluminescence generates little heat, in fact, less than 20% of the light produces heat, thus it is known as “cold light”.
  • The ocean is home to most of the worlds’ bioluminescent organisms, including certain types of jellies, bacteria, fish and plankton.
  • Bioluminescent plankton can sometimes cause the normally dark ocean to glow or sparkle at night.
  • The firefly is a land dwelling organism that generates bioluminescence, and there are also fungi, such as mushrooms that are bioluminescent as well.

bioluminescence 1

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Bioluminescent 1

This fascinating form of light is as weird as it is beautiful, and even though we may understand how it is produced, it will most likely always be a captivating curiosity for mankind to ponder. Surely bioluminescence must have been thought provoking for ancient man; imagine what our ancestors might have thought when they came across a glowing cluster of mushrooms!

bioluminescent Mushrooms Fungi

Despite our current scientific knowledge of this natural occurrence of light, or perhaps because of it, The Weird Science of Bioluminescence is sure to continue to spark imagination, and leave us mesmerized!

The Weird Science of Bioluminescence

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Header Image Credit: cowbite via photopin cc
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robertpaulyoung via photopin cc
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Lightening Pictures and Facts | 10 Interesting Facts About Lightening

Lightening Pictures and Facts

When it comes to natural entertainment, very few things on earth can compare to lightening! Mother Natures’ lightshows are always spectacular sights to see, lighting up the skies with stunning works of art that last only a few seconds, while discharging extraordinary amounts of electricity.

No doubt mankind has always been astounded by lightning. Very few people can resist the chance to see this illuminating yet fleeting show, thought some are lucky enough to catch it on camera. View our lightening gallery for some captivating lightening pictures examples!

10 Interesting Facts About Lightening (Also See in Image Gallery above.)

  1. If you get struck by lightning while in your home, chances are you were talking on the phone; the leading cause of in-home lightening related deaths.
  2. Some scientists theorize that the immense energy and heat given off by lightening may have aided in the evolution of life on earth as it has been discovered that it transforms elements into the compounds found in all organisms.
  3. The US experiences over 100,000 lightning storms per year, creating over 25 Million cloud to ground lightning bolts. An estimated that the earth its self is struck by more than a hundred lightning bolts every second!
  4. Odds of being struck by lightening in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000, while odds of getting struck by lightening in the US during the course of any given year is 1 in 700.000.
  5. Ice particles colliding while swirling around in a thunderstorm cause enormous charge differences which are thought to be a key component to lightening.
  6. Lightening has also been known to be created by nuclear blasts, volcanic eruptions, and heavy snowstorms.
  7. You can be struck by lightning even if you are 10 miles away from a thunderstorm.
  8. Though statistically the odds are slim, lightening can strike in the same place more than once.
  9. The air surrounding a lightning bolt can reach temperatures up to five times hotter than the suns’ surface. This sudden increase In temperature causes the noise known as thunder.
  10. There are about 2,000 deaths per year, worldwide caused by lightening.

While there are many undoubtedly interesting things yet to be discovered about Lightening, we will continue to watch the skies for this always unique experience. We hope you have enjoyed these Lightening Pictures and Facts!

Lightening Pictures and Fact

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Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption of 2011

Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption

In March 5th, 2011, a stunning volcanic eruption occurred on the island of Hawaii when a nearly mile long fissure erupted with fiery flare, giving the world an up close view of this spectacular natural event. This Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption was watched intently by scientists and was actually a monumental event in modern times.

Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption

The eruption was a small scale example of the type of eruption which occurred in Iceland in the late 1700’s, causing tens of thousands of deaths  both on that continent, as well as Europe. Though the Hawaii fissure eruption was small in comparison to the awesome event that rocked Iceland hundreds of years ago, it was none the less an event that amazed onlookers.

Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption 2

Preceded by months of earthquakes of various magnitudes, the eruption was a change from the typically steady activity of the Big Island volcano, Kilauea. Volcanologists around the world were surprised at this sudden and violent activity, but in the same token, the entire world was also treated to one of natures’ most stunning types of volcanic eruptions.

An adventuresome and otherwise devoted Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory Scientist was actually crazy enough to get the world an up close and in person look at the eruption on video (see below).

Fissure eruptions are caused by lava literally blasting it’s way out of the ground along natural fissures and can obviously cause devastating damage. Kind of like an earthquake fissure that tears apart the ground leaving a huge gash in the earth, only with lava spraying out of it.

Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption 3

Fortunately, the Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption of 2011 only produced harmless yet awesome fountains of lava this time around, though scientists warn that the show at Kilauea is far from over.

Hawaii Volcanoes Fissure Eruption

Also see: Hawaii Volcanoes

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photo credit: Konabish ~ Greg Bishop via photopin cc
photo credit: Konabish ~ Greg Bishop via photopin cc