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North Pole of Mercury
Temperatures at the dark craters of the north pole of Mercury can dip to
as low as 370 degrees below zero.

Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab/Carnegie Institution of Washington

There's Ice in Mercury

Of all the planets in the Solar System, Mercury is the closest to the sun. You'd naturally think that it's also the hottest, but it's not (that distinction belongs to Venus). Oh, no doubt Mercury can get quite hot - its surface temperature can reach up to 800 °F, but at the poles, its temperature never gets above freezing. That's where NASA's Messenger Spacecraft found a large volume of water ice - estimated to be 100 billion to 1 trillion tons of ice, actually.

Maat Mons of Venus
Maat Mons, the highest volcano on Venus. Image: NASA/JPL

It Snows Metal on Venus

Snowcapped mountains on Earth are majestic, but they're by no means unique in our Solar System. Venus has its own snowcapped mountains, but instead of water, the "snow" is made of heavy metals like lead sulfide (galena) and bismuth sulfide (bismuthinite).

Olympus Mons of Mars
Olympus Mons on Mars. Image: NASA/JPL

Mars has the Tallest Mountain in the Entire Solar System

Let's skip Earth for now and head on over to Mars. If you think our Mount Everest is tall, check out the Olympus Mons on the Red Planet. At about 14 miles (22 km) tall, it's three times as tall as Mount Everest's height above sea level. It's pretty big, too. Olympus Mons is approximately the size of Arizona.

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Scientists Finally Confirm the Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs

There has been a great deal of speculation over the years and substantial evidence that an asteroid is likely what extinguished all dinosaur life. Science could never prove what asteroid may have triggered the extinction. One of the most likely candidates, the 9-mile-wide asteroid that impacted Chicxulub, Mexico, was believed to have occurred 300,000 years prior to the extinction.

Now, however, European and American scientists have re-tested debris from Chicxulub using state-of-the-art equipment and narrowed the asteroid impact down to a period of 11,000 years, between 66.03 and 66.04 million years ago — almost simultaneous with the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.

The collision, which left behind a 180-kilometer (110-mile) crater, released 420 zettajoules of energy — 100 teratonnes of TNT. The impact created a huge dust cloud that blocked out the Sun, starting the extinction ball rolling by killing off much of the world’s plants, and thus the herbivores soon after. Due to high levels of oxygen in the Cretaceous atmosphere, the impact may also have caused intense, global firestorms that killed off many other species. Because the asteroid landed in the ocean, megatsunamis would’ve swept the world’s coasts, too.

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Image HotSpotter - WordPress Plugin for Interactive Image Maps

Attention WordPress bloggers- I just wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a new WordPress plugin called Image Hotspotter, which makes available interactive image maps in your WordPress blog.

Using a simple click-and-drag interface, you can create any number of active, responsive hotspots in a single image. Each hotspot can be setup with a few useful options. Upon hovering your mouse, a custom HTML box can follow your mouse pointer, and clicking can either load a URL or pop up a custom HTML box.

Bloggers with a keen sense of aesthetics will enjoy creating elegant image-based content in your pages and posts. Please check it out at ImageHotSpotter.com. I just released it and would very much appreciate your support! Link


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Direct Permalinks for Google Drive

If you've ever researched Internet-based data storage, you're probably familiar with Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive, and other similar services. Google recently threw their hat into the ring by merging Google Docs into their new service, Google Drive, which is maybe the most inexpensive cloud storage available and even provides 5 GB for free.

While uploading years and 100+ GB worth of family photos and videos, I realized Google Drive is lacking in one area: sharing. Sharing any file is allowed, but is really unusual in that you cannot give someone a link directly to a file. Instead, you can only share your file via Google's file viewer. For an example of the file viewer in action, see this Google Drive link.

This means you also cannot embed any of your stored images directly onto a web page. In response to these limitations, I developed as a public service a solution called GD URL that allows you to create a direct, permanent link to all your files stored with Google Drive.

If you ever might need this service, please give it a try at gdURL.com. I hope you find it helpful!


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Olympians Decorate with Performance-Enhancing Tape


You probably noticed and have been wondering why so many Olympians from numerous events have masses of tape adhered across various body parts. It's called Kinesio Tape and was developed by a Japanese chiropractor to help heal injuries and and boost performance.

Kinesio claims to cut pain and boost performance. And judging by its prominence at this year's Games, athletes think it works.

"If you don't know the proper taping technique, you're not going to get the results you want," said Good, adding that more than 100,000 athletic trainers worldwide have taken the paid Kinesio Taping course, about 10,000 last year in the United States alone.


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  • Member Since 2012/07/15


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