Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Smog getting you down? Consider this: even Pluto has got that!
Scientists stitched together images from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft when it was about 120,000 miles (200,000 kilometers) away from Pluto. The resulting image of Pluto's receding crescent shows a spectacular blue "haze" in the dwarf planet's atmosphere:
Scientists believe the haze is a photochemical smog resulting from the action of sunlight on methane and other molecules in Pluto's atmosphere, producing a complex mixture of hydrocarbons such as acetylene and ethylene. These hydrocarbons accumulate into small haze particles, a fraction of a micrometer in size, which preferentially scatter blue sunlight – the same process that can make haze appear bluish on Earth.
As they settle down through the atmosphere, the haze particles form numerous intricate, horizontal layers, some extending for hundreds of miles around large portions of the limb of Pluto. The haze layers extend to altitudes of over 120 miles (200 kilometers). Pluto's circumference is 4,667 miles (7,466 kilometers).
The selection of what book should represent each country is subjective, of course - it's impossible to boil down the literary history of a country to a single book, but nonetheless the work is quite impressive. See if you agree with the book/country pairings:
Canada - Anne of Green Gables
U.S.A - To Kill a MockingBird
Image: David Penning/Missouri Southern State University
It's a snake-eat-snake world out there.
Predators usually chase after smaller (and thus easier) prey, but king snakes "just don't seem to be abiding by that rule," said biologist David Penning of Missouri Southern State University to National Geographic. "When we pair a small king snake with a larger rat snake, they don't avoid it. They actively and directly will attack a larger individual.... "
Marcus Woo of National Geographic has the explanation of how the king snake is truly deserving of its name.
I have a feeling that after the writer of this Chinese menu from an unindentified Taiwanese restaurant failed to find the appropriate Google translation (but it's delicious!), he or she kind of gave up.
Ms. French fries sounds reasonable enough, but "McDonald's best friend"?
Justin Cousson of Hollywood, California, converted over 30 instances of his roommate's messiness in the living room, kitchen, and laundry room into art pieces. Like this one above, titled "Cheese Knife".
"Knife left out on counter in striking distance of knife block, having been only used to remove seal of ice cream carton, which was also left on counter, leaving quite the sight as the last thing I saw before I gratefully leave town for two weeks." (mixed media 2017, $500).
"Sour cream covered spoon, left in sink before leaving town for four days"
(mixed media 2017, $3,400)
"Boxes left on couch because what even *is* breaking them down and recycling or leaving them not on the couch" (mixed media 2017, $6000)
In Tuesday's Wheel of Fortune episode, a contestant named Kevin was one letter away from solving the puzzle and winning the game ... but his dirty mind proved to be his undoing (and his ticket to Internet infamy).
After Kevin called for a "K" (with confidence, no less) and lost the game to a fellow contestant, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak joked, "... although you got the right answer, I'd rather see Kevin's play."
Every year since 2011, the Takhini Hot Pools, a hot springs resort in Yukon, Canada, has held The International Hair Freezing Contest (Previously on Neatorama). Contestants would soak in the hot springs, dip their heads in the hot springs and wet their hair, then mold their hair into the most creative 'dos and let the cold winter air freeze it.
Take a look at the photos of some of this year's participants:
Just how cold was it there? Take a look at the temperature shown on the thermometer below:
What a perfect birthday cake for a geologist! We don't know anything about the person who baked this "sedimentary layer cake", but we'd wager he or she's down to earth about the amount of time and labor it took. So let's not take it for granite. Plus, it sure builds my apatite! Yum!
Like Master Splinter once said, "The path that leads to what we truly desire is long and difficult, but only by following that path do we achieve our goal." And by goal, I think he meant pizza and by path he meant trash cans.
Now this is a backyard firepit fit for Conan the Barbarian! Forget firelogs - keep yourself warm with fires fueled by burning the skulls of your enemies. But there's no need to vanquish Thulsa Doom and his armies - you can buy these skull "logs" over at Amazon - via The Awesomer and Valhalla's Chosen.
Matt and Nancy are getting married in May. Matt happens to be the sheriff. When the wedding invitations went out, the recipients were startled, and some of them probably hyperventilated before they read the fine print. The bride's nephew EXSUPERVILLAIN shared the themed invitation with some rather sloppy redaction. With a username like that, he was probably more startled than anyone. -via reddit
Oakland, California, resident Phoebe Calef noted that someone recently cut down a tree near her home and turned it into a rustic chair ... and the perfect canvas to bring the last lines of Shel Silverstein's classic children's book "The Giving Tree" to life.
Who lives in a pineapple under the street? Urban Spongebob! And you thought it was the just the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who lived in the city drains. And Pennywise. The next step is to see how many puns can be made about the sponge that might be found under this colorful manhole cover. You'll find about a hundred attempts in the discussion at reddit.
This is why we can't have nice things. The Hide-Away Piano Bar in St. Louis had a great idea, but now it's only a great sign. I mean really, what could possibly go wrong with Lightsaber Night at a bar? Todd may be persona non grata in the neighborhood for quite some time, but the guy who did the sign is a hero for bringing a smile to the internet. -via reddit
Do you want to try to guess who this actor is before I give the answer? Then stop reading now.
In 2004, there was a miniseries called Angels in America, based on the play by Tony Kushner. Several of the characters were supernatural in origin, and a handful of actors played multiple roles. Meryl Streep played four roles, one of which was Rabbi Chemelwitz. Yes, that's Streep under all that makeup. -via Eddie Deezen
Yes, these are water towers in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and yes, they do look like that. The story goes that teenagers painted "hot" and "cold" on the town's two water towers. When the utility company next painted the tanks, they kept the graffiti titles, and just prettied up the lettering. Then a third tank was added, and it was labeled "warm." I don't know how true that is, but it's pretty neat. -via reddit
A few days ago, redditor jr0d7771 posted this picture and gave us a conundrum. There are obviously five young women sitting on the couch. But there are four pairs of legs. The woman in the middle appears to have none. Can you figure it out?
First off, you shouldn't be led by my assumption that it's the middle woman who has no legs. It could be any of them. When you've given up, you can read about the investigation and conclusion at The Concourse.
The good news is that I cut that tree down with my new chainsaw in no time flat. The bad news is that it fell on the neighbor's car.
In this case, two billboards are better than one. Once you get someone to pay attention to your advertising billboard among the hundreds of others around it, the battle is won. So these two businesses were consolidated by a poor tree. This was spotted in Nixa, Missouri. -via reddit
This UFO was spotted flying over Jibbon Beach, just south of Sydney, Australia. If you look closely, you might see a yowie hiding in the forest. Remember this photograph, because you may see it on conspiracy websites in the future. There's a perfectly logical explanation.
Senorwest got this photograph while taking long exposure night shots. The lights in the sky are a police helicopter that was circling, looking for a fugitive. It has that shape because Senorwest set up a 30-second exposure and caught most of the circle, which gave it a perfect "U" shape. The dots along the shape are the pulsing of the spotlight. Cool picture.
This biker is ready for Halloween! Spotted in Mission Viejo, California, he’s got all the equipment he needs: ACME rockets, a butterfly net, and a “Yikes!” sign he can use when he drives off a cliff without realizing it. And all the time, that roadrunner will always be one step ahead of him. You can enlarge the picture at imgur and see the details better. -via reddit