Each summer, sharks get a bad rap, with the mere sight of a dorsal fin clearing entire beaches. Indeed, as the unprecedented seven shark attacks in the span of a few weeks off the coast of North Carolina have shown, sharks are ace killers, apex predators perfected for the hunt. They pick up on the scent of blood from miles away, their sleek, torpedo-like bodies and powerful jaws no match for the unsuspecting fish or seal.
And if that’s not frightening enough, it turns out that these killing machines also have a secret weapon—a sixth sense—that allows them to prey in murky waters or even complete darkness.
Sharks can sense electricity. All animals produce weak electric fields because ion concentrations inside their bodies differ from ion concentrations in the surrounding seawater. This difference produces a slight voltage, which sharks detect at close range—from about half a meter away—when going in for the kill.Read More
Put together a team of your best bag men and cat burglars, because the world’s finest opal, the “Virgin Rainbow,” is about to go on display at the South Australian Museum.
But just what makes the Virgin Rainbow, currently valued at around $1 million, so sought after?
The beauty of precious opals like the Virgin Rainbow is a product of the unique way they are formed. Opals are unique among gemstones in that they are not technically minerals, but “mineraloids,” meaning they don’t generally occur in a uniform crystalline structure. The blobby gems are formed out of a mix of water and silica which form a gel, that eventually hardens into the dancing, multi-colored jewels most people are familiar with.Read More
Say you want a three-minute break from work, something to help you kick back and forget about the world for two verses and three choruses. Alternatively, say you want a three-minute sum-up of the current zeitgeist, a way to figure out where our collective heads are at right now. Where do you go?
Why, the Billboard Hot 100, of course.
The Hot 100 serves many needs. Just as a Billboard-populated Top 40 is the easiest way to DJ a party with a variety of guests, a cheap jab at the moment's #1 is the best way to criticize the entire United States at once. But how did the Hot 100, which turned 57 years old today, become America's go-to weekly popularity contest?Read More