Space

What are the bright flashes coming from Ceres, the dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter?

The dwarf planet, Ceres, continues to puzzle NASA scientists as its Dawn spacecraft approaches the planet to begin its orbit around the mysterious object. The latest images from Dawn were taken about 29,000 miles away from Ceres and have revealed two mysterious bright flashes of light on the planet’s surface. The two bright spots of light appear next to each other in the bottom of a huge crater or volcanic depression. Dawn will go into orbit around Ceres on March 6, 2015 after which NASA will receive higher resolution photographs from the spacecraft. NASA explained, "The brightest spot continues to be too small to resolve with our camera, but despite its size it is brighter than anything else on Ceres. This is truly unexpected and…
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Space

Comet Lovejoy photobombs Dark Energy Camera (world’s most powerful camera)

Scientists operating the world’s most power digital camera, the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, were “shocked” to find Comet Lovejoy ambling through its field of view this week. Luckily for us however, the photobomb has provided us with a stunning view of Comet Lovejoy. On December 27, 2014 the Dark Energy Survey was scanning the southern sky when Comet Lovejoy pass through the camera’s view. At the time the picture was taken, the comet was 51 million miles away from earth (the Dark Energy Camera is sensitive to light from as far as 8 billion light years away). Given that the comet is only about 3 miles wide, it’s stunning to think something that small could be photographed when it is that far away from us!…
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Medical

Optical illusion – the Blue and Black Dress (or the white and gold dress?)

You may find this surprising but to some crazy people, the dress above appears to be black and blue. To other, more rational, sane people, the dress appears to be white and gold. The intense debate over the color of the White and Gold Dress has taken the Internet by storm as families and friends argue over the true color of this unusual dress. Actually, the dress itself is not the trick – it’s the lighting. Reeko has talked about sight and color before, how the light reflects off the object you “see”, enters the eye through the lens, and hits the retina in the back of the eye causing signals to be sent to the visual cortex in the brain. Your mind then interprets the…
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Space

NASA plans to explorer the moons of Saturn with… a submarine?

Titan, one of Saturn’s 60 something moons, is covered with lakes and seas of liquid methane which means landing a spaceship on Titan would be quite difficult. But landing a spaceship *under* the methane seas of Titan… well, that’s an entirely new set of problems – and NASA intends to figure out how to do it. To explore Titan’s undersea world, NASA proposes development of a submersible autonomous vehicle – in other words, a remote-controlled submarine.  By 2040, they would like to send this submarine to Titan’s largest northern sea, Kraken Mare, which is comparable in size to the Great Lakes in the United States. The submarine will investigate Titan’s ocean to discover and determine its chemical composition, how its currents flow, and what the…
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Plants

The amazing Snapdragon Flower Seed Pod looks like a human skull

They’re beautiful when alive but once they shrivel up and die, things get a bit creepy.  Meet the Snapdragon flower seed pod which bears the stark appearance of a human skull (or a human face screaming in agony). The Snapdragon flower (aka Antirrhinum or dragon flower) can be found in many household gardens and gets its name from its flower which resembles a dragon’s head (squeeze the snapdragon flower and the “dragon” mouth will open and close making it “talk”). Yet once the flower has died it leaves behind a seed pod with the macabre appearance of a human head. The Snapdragons name (Antirrhinum) comes from the Greek words “anti,” meaning like, and “rhin,” meaning nose.  Many years ago, people thought the plant possessed mystical…
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Space

Scientists discover black hole that is 12 billion times larger than the Sun

Researchers in China have discovered a massive black hole that is 12 billion times the size of the sun. 12 billion times as big as our gigantic Sun! For reference, a billion is a thousand millions or 1 with nine zeroes after it. If you counted every second of your life, you’d only live a bit longer than 2 billion SECONDS. A billion pennies stacked on top of each other would reach 870 miles into the sky. The black hole they found is larger than any of its age ever found. A black hole is a dense region of space that has collapsed in on itself in a way that nothing can escape – not even light. This one was given the typical goofy astronomer…
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Technology

Join the movement – stop the abuse of robot dogs!

Regular visitors to Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab know Reeko loves robots. In fact, he’s pretty much fanatical about Boston Robotics’ four-legged dog robots (fanatical enough that some of us are beginning to worry). Check out the amazing video below which features a public service announcement call-to-action to stop the abuse of robot dogs.  Join the movement! #stoprobotdogabuse   Funny video–stop robot dog abuse   Weighing in at 160 pounds, these wonderful robot dogs are able to run, climb stairs, jog next to its owner, and even recover its balance after being kicked! The robotic dog uses cameras and sensors to help it navigate over rough, uneven terrain. It can recognize humans and other robotic dogs and we think, but are not totally sure, that it…
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Animal Kingdom

Monster? Sea Serpent? Alien? No- it’s a rare creature from the deep – the terrifying frilled shark

Wait – sit back down! It’s not an alien nor closet ghost but yeah, with 25 rows of over 300 teeth it could tear off your face. The picture above is a rare frilled shark that was caught by a startled fisherman in Australia. Its oversized-mouth is packed with needle-like teeth and the shark's weird-looking 6-foot body looks like an eel’s giving it a bizarre sea-serpent-like appearance. The frilled shark, which gets its name from its six pairs of gills, is known to live at extreme depths in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is very infrequently caught, or even observed, by fishermen. Its prehistoric origins are obvious (it's been termed a "living fossil") and it’ll scare senseless any fisherman that accidentally snags one.  After changing…
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Science Photos

Reeko’s salute to the wonderful (and funny) world of animals

They can be scary, ugly, cute, and funny. They’re a critical part of our ecosystem, required for the very survival of mankind – animals! Here’s Reeko’s salute to those fuzzy (and feathery) creatures we all love oh so much.  Check out the animal pictorial below (click picture for larger version).
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Animal Kingdom

Scientists discover “tissue-paper” fish at record oceanic depth in Mariana Trench

It has a clear, translucent body, broad wing-like fins, and a flowing “tissue-paper-like” tail – and set a new record for the deepest fish ever recorded! It was captured on film in the Mariana Trench by a camera in a robotic submarine. Unfortunately, no scientists were around as the fish swam slowly past the camera, stopped and waved, and continued on its merry little way. The fish is believed to be a type of Snailfish and was discovered at a record depth of 26,722 feet. That’s about five miles below the surface! At these depths, the pressure from the water above is so great, it would crush most animals. Scientists think this may be the deepest any living animal can survive. At greater depths, muscle…
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