What a Volcano Can Do to an Airliner

In 1982, a Boeing 747 was being flown by British Airways from Kuala Lumpur to Perth on one leg of a London to Auckland flight. They were well over the ocean when strange things started happening. The passenger compartment started filling up with blue smoke, even though there was no fire detected on board. Then the crew started seeing bluish flickering lights. They recognized St. Elmo's fire, but had never seen it so strong.

Within two minutes, the situation suddenly went from strange to alarming as engine No.4 surged and flamed out. The crew immediately performed the engine shutdown drill, cutting off the fuel supply and arming the engine fire extinguishers just as they had been trained. But less than a minute later engine two also flamed out, followed almost immediately by engines one and three. The crew could scarcely believe it: all four engines had failed almost simultaneously – something which had never happened before on a 747. The mighty airliner, with 263 people aboard, had suddenly become the world’s biggest glider.

What the crew didn't know was that they had flown through a cloud of volcanic ash, thrown up by the erupting Mount Galunggung in Indonesia. Weather radar doesn't detect volcanic ash clouds. The ash did even more damage, as the plane's interior lost its pressure and the windshield became opaque. Should they drop to a lower altitude so they could breathe, or try to maintain altitude to make it to the nearest airport in Jakarta? How would they land if they can't see? Would they have to land a 747 on the water? Read the story of British Airways Flight 9 at Today I Found Out. 


Artemis 1 Records an Earth-Moon Transit

When the moon comes between the sun and person looking at it, that's a solar eclipse. When the shadow of the earth blocks our view of the moon, that's a lunar eclipse. So when the moon blocks our view of the earth, would you call that a terran eclipse? Wait, how can the moon block our view of the earth? It happens when we send a camera to the other side of the moon, which is what NASA did with the Artemis 1 mission. On November 28th, while Artemis was looping around the moon, it set a record for the furthest spacecraft designed to carry humans (even though it wasn't carrying humans this time). That was 268,563 miles (432,210 kilometers). It broke the record set by Apollo 13 in 1970. As for the eclipse pictured above, NASA calls it an "Earth-moon transit." I think terran eclipse is a better term, but that's just me.

Strangely, several commenters at YouTube called this video a fake because the moon is shown bigger than the earth, and we know that's not right. I wonder where they think the camera is? Read more about the accomplishments of the Artemis mission at Space.com. -via Damn Interesting


What Does The Rosetta Stone Actually Say?

Here’s what we know about the Rosetta Stone: it’s a stone that is inscribed with a decree about all the good things Pharaoh Ptolemy V did for the priests and the people of Egypt. It’s also notable for the three different languages used to portray this message: Demotic, hieroglyphic, and Greek. 

That’s what all of us can say about it, whether it’s via a quick search on the Internet (which we are guilty of, it happens to the best of us, sometimes we don’t know the full details about this Stone except for languages) or stock knowledge. There are still things about the famous artifact that evade us, such as why was it built. Additionally, what does the stone actually say, word for word? 

Well, if you’re curious about that, Ilona Regulski has got you covered. Watch the curator of the Egyptian written culture at the British Museum in London as she walks viewers through the stone and its ‘decree’, issued during the Ptolemaic dynasty in 196 BCE here!

Image via Wikimedia Commons


The Library of Obsolete Sounds

Ever wondered where you can get all the sounds from the different aspects of life? Well, wonder no more with this unique collection!

Obsolete Sounds is an archive of sorts that is claimed by its creators as “the world’s biggest collection of obsolete and disappearing sounds,” contains over 150 different audio clips of rare and disappearing types. The collections houses rare clips from retro video games, recordings of old-fashioned transport, and plenty of mechanical sounds from outdated hardware.

Visitors to the online collection can find the classic Nokia ringtone from the 5120 model, the whirring of an old Seagate hard disk drive, the sound of an old 56K modem connecting to the Internet, and many, many other sounds. The high variety of odd sounds makes us question how did the creators of the library obtain all of these? 

According to the founder, Stuart Fowkes, they have collected sounds from over 1,000 artists in the world. That will certainly provide the library with such a wide range. Check out the Collection of Obsolete Sounds here.

Image screenshot via Obsolete Sounds


There’s An Ancient Alien Statue On Mars

Space is a wide, vast nebula of different objects and phenomena that we might never uncover in our lifetime. Even if we develop our technology, again and again, there might be some things that we will never know about. 

The uncertainty of the unknown pushes experts to continue their explorations day by day. NASA, one of the most prominent astronomical organizations today, has consistently sent out different probes in various parts of space. One of them is on Mars. 

The rovers in the Red Planet have sent something interesting, though. Among the bricks of information and images, scientists have discovered a photo of an ancient “alien” statue. Scott C. Waring of UFO Sightings Daily discovered the artwork while zooming in on a large image released by NASA. He points out how one of the rocks looks like it isn’t a rock at all, but a statue with eyes, a nose, and a mouth. 

Take this with a grain of salt, of course, as there is no official statement concerning the matter. However, the CIA did once claim there were ancient civilizations on Mars. It’s best to look at the photo yourself and decide. Zoom into this large image where the sculpture is said to be, and let us know what you think!

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


The Ragdoll Husband: Uncovering The Truth

Well, this is certainly fascinating. On the surface, this incident just seems to be done by a woman who is crazy in love. 

A woman who lives in Brazil has defied all the odds of modern romance. Not only has she met, dated, and married a ragdoll that looks like someone’s mom DIY-ed them in just a few hours for a school project, but she also gave birth to their baby. 

You’ve read that right! A woman has delivered an equally ragdoll baby in an actual hospital, with an actual doctor overseeing the delivery. 

But the story actually starts when she brought home the doll and did a live stream on Facebook. Friends suggested naming the mysterious ragdoll boyfriend Marcelo, and that’s where it all started. 

The amount of people she pulled into this stunt is incredible. Her wedding day was grand and around 300 people showed up. Not only that, but she also got some free stuff from different corporations! 

Check out Kurtis Conner’s breakdown of the whole event in the video linked above. Personally, we believe it was a fun, harmless thing that everyone enjoyed. 

We’re definitely rooting for her, but we’re more curious as to how she was able to get the doctors on her side in pulling the birth of her ragdoll son!


Is Our Obsession with Sleeping Stopping Us From Doing So?

Maybe it’s because we’re pressured to sleep? This might sound a bit confusing, but hear us out. We can’t sleep because we’re thinking about it. 

Many of us are obsessed with keeping track of how many hours of sleep we are getting. Some have tried to extend their hours of sleep, from meditating to valerian root supplements to moon milk, and have had no results. 

At some point, their obsession with ensuring they get a lot of sleep becomes an immense pressure on their psyche. Having a tracker can add to the pressure, especially with people emphasizing the need to sleep. 

Did they get any sleep? Sadly, no. According to a 2017 case report in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, there is a term for this phenomenon, called orthosomnia, the condition refers to people who obsess over their sleep. The researchers further explain why people get this disorder, "because the perfectionist quest to achieve perfect sleep is similar to the unhealthy preoccupation with healthy eating, termed orthorexia".

While not being recognized as a disorder, Dr. Nicola Barclay, lecturer in sleep medicine at the University of Oxford, believes otherwise. "Orthosomnia is a genuine condition and a real worry, especially as people rely increasingly on sleep trackers, most of which are wildly inaccurate, giving a very poor estimate of your real sleep. If your sleep tracker tells you you’ve had four hours of poor quality sleep — even if the truth is far from this — the chances are this will psychologically impact your mood, energy levels and productivity the following day. It’s this reliance that creates a vicious cycle and will negatively impact on your sleep," she explained.

Image credit: Ivan Oboleninov


This McDonald's Bathroom in Japan has a Phone-Washing Station

For most of us, washing our hands after using the toilet is a reflexive act ingrained by long habit. But how often do you wash your phone? I think that I intentionally do about once a month, but that probably isn't enough.

The news website Japan Today reports that the Japanese company WOTA recently introduced the WOSH system of sanitation stations. It's a portable, stand-alone barrel-shaped hand washing sink that includes a phone washing tool that uses ultraviolet light. The company claims that in just 30 seconds (long enough for you to wash you hands), it will sterilize your phone of 99.9% of pathogens.

-via Massimo


The 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Award Winners Announced



Wildlife photographer Jennifer Hadley snagged the top prize in the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography competition. The above image, titled 'Not so cat-like reflexes' was declared the overall winner for 2022. You can go ahead and laugh; the cub was okay. Hadley was in Tanzania and saw two lion cubs in a tree. One was acting like he wanted to get down, but didn't know how. He found a way. You can see the entire sequence of photos here

After much agonizing he went for it and hilarity ensued. There was a collective gasp as he fell but don’t worry, he landed on his feet and walked away unscathed, perhaps with just a bruised ego. I imagine him thinking, I hope no one saw that. Oh kitty, I got it all on camera.

We hope it was a learning experience for the cub. The same photograph also won Hadley the Alex Walker’s Serian Creatures of the Land Award. Hadley also won the Affinity Photo 2 People's Choice Award with this image entitled 'Talk to the Fin.'



You can see all the award winners and highly commended photos, too, in this year's winner's gallery.


The Parrot Fever Panic of 1929

People had plenty to worry about in 1929, like the Wall Street crash that ushered in the Great Depression and the difficulty of getting a drink. On top of that, people who owned parrots started dying. When word got out, people were very concerned, and even started abandoning or killing their parrots, which were a very popular pet at the time. The culprit was psittacosis, which scientists knew very little about at the time, and had no cure.



The news media had a field day with the illness, first stoking panic, then pulling back to say the disease was overblown, then stoking panic again. Scientists worked overtime, and research into parrot fever led to the establishment of the National Institute of Health. Cracked tells the tale of parrot fever and the 1929 panic over the disease, strangely, in a series of pictofacts images.  


The Mission: Impossible Theme Played with a Banjo

The theme music to this classic television series, which aired between 1966 and 1973 is compelling and immediately recognizable. When Argentinian composer Lalo Schifrin wrote it for the series, NPR reports, it was an instant hit. That is endured into the modern film series, which has reworked the theme but found it irreplaceable.

In this remix, musician Jamie Dupuis uses a guitar and a banjo to perform the theme.

Although the banjo is traditionally associated with bluegrass music, it's appropriate for so many other pieces, such as "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Eine Kleine Natchmusik" and "Flight of the Bumblebee."

-via Born in Space


Ze Frank Announces His True Facts Animal Awards



In showing us the world's creatures most worthy of a laugh, Ze Frank has encountered some very weird animals. Many have impressed him so much that they deserve an award, but for some superlative accomplishment that no other awards will cover, because they're being all sciency and back-to-nature. So he had to make up his own awards show.

With categories like Animals That Look Like Ants, Most Horrifying Orifice, Oh So That's What You Sound Like, Most Creative Use of Mucus, Most Adorable Thief, An Ass That's Happy to See You, and Least Likely to Become a Team Mascot, you can imagine some of these animals are pretty gross. Or if you've ever seen a True Facts video from Ze Frank. While technically SFW, this video contains jokes and images that you don't really want to discuss with your supervisor. Or your kids. The video has a one-minute ad at 4:24.


Time's Person of the Year is Exactly Who You Thought It Would Be

Once upon a time, there was a popular comedian who had a TV series. In the series, his high school teacher character ranted about government corruption and was secretly videotaped, leading to his unlikely election as president. Then the plot came true in the real world. Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected president of Ukraine in 2019. His main qualifications were that 1. his showbiz career trained him to be a very effective communicator, and 2. he loves his country. Zelenskyy inherited a nation that had a chunk occupied by Russia, partisan fighting in another region, and a bureaucracy riddled with corruption. Then there was that unpleasantness that led to the impeachment of a US president.

Then in February of this year, Russia attacked all of Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv. Zelenskyy could have evacuated, but he famously said, "I need ammunition, not a ride." Since then, he's been busy enlisting material help from other countries and rallying his own citizens in defense of Ukraine. An example is how he visited Kherson in person just two days after the Russians withdrew, despite security concerns. Knowing the danger, he also knew it would be an important symbolic gesture to Russia and the world, and a boon to the Ukrainians of Kherson. Read more about Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Time's Person of the Year for 2022, at Time magazine. -via Fark

(Image credit: The Presidential Office of Ukraine)


Polyergus: Ants That Keep Slaves



Nature is brutal. About 50 species of ant engage in keeping slaves of another species. The most efficient and ruthless of them is Polyergus. Their main activity is raiding nests of Formica ants to take their babies and put them to work. Or at least the ones they don't eat. Sometimes they take over an entire colony of ants to make them slaves. Their two-tiered colonies consisting of a relatively few cruel bullies that don't even get along with each other and the many more who do their work may remind you of some human societies we've heard of. However, ants, lacking any kind of agency, are doomed to continue this because that's how they evolved. Kurzgesagt explains how Polyergus acquires and maintains their slaves. We also learn some pretty interesting, if disturbing, things about ants along the way. The last two minutes of this video is a promotion.


Remains of the Last Tasmanian Tiger Found



The Tasmanian tiger is no more, and it was never a tiger. The thylacine was the world's last predatory marsupial, and there were 5,000 or so of them in Australia, mostly in Tasmania, when Europeans colonized that country. Blamed for livestock deaths, the settlers hunted them in the 19th century until they went extinct in the 1930s. We have film footage of a thylacine supposedly named Benjamin at the Beaumaris Zoo, who was thought to be the very last Tasmanian tiger. But now we find that there was another.

A female thylacine was sold to the Beaumaris Zoo in 1936. This thylacine was not documented at the time because the transaction was illegal. But she was there, and she outlived Benjamin. When she died, a taxidermist preserved her skin and bones for educational purposes. No one knows how long it's been since those bones were seen, as they were stored at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and only recently uncovered. The discovery is important, but the fate of the Tasmanian tiger is no less sad for knowing one specimen lived a little longer. Read about this new discovery at Smithsonian. -via Damn Interesting 






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