Mushrooms don’t rely on a stray breeze to spread their spores; they generate their own air currents instead. The key is evaporation. The mushroom cap contains large amounts of water, and, as this water evaporates, it cools the mushroom and the air next to it. This cool air is denser than the surrounding air, and so tends to spread out and convect. At the same time, though, the water vapor that evaporated from the mushroom is less dense than nearby air, which helps it rise. This combination of spreading and rising air carries spores away from the mushroom cap and, as seen in the video above, can combine to form beautiful and complex currents that spread the spores. (Video credit: E. Dressaire et al.)
Zombie by Fela Kuti (1976)
Fela Kuti is one of Nigeria’s most famous and influential modern musicians. Here’s a track from his classic afrobeat-funk album Zombie. Although, he is also known for his ground-breaking record Expensive Shit, which ranked on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1970s.
We at The Common hope to bring you more great world music in the future!
"Bring back Nelson Mandela", by the great South African brass player Hugh Masekela
Snow Goggles: Wells Fargo Museum, Anchorage, Alaska
Snow goggles were worn by the Yup’ik and other arctic and subarctic cultures to help fight against the bright glare of the winter sun as during this time the sun only appears near the horizon for a short window before dipping back down again for a long night. As the landscape is covered in snow, or water if by sea, hunters are doubly susceptible to things like snow blindness, due to the entire winter environment reflecting the sun’s warm rays. The goggles also act as a means to prevent the sharp bite of snow and ice crystals if the wind should happen to pick up.
This pair of goggles is likely from Saint Lawrence Island and appear to be made of carved whale bone. The black line that would keep the goggles attached to the face is made from baleen. It’s really amazing how versatile that material is.
"Comet ISON down … but not out?"
Emily and I watched this Minotaur I rocket launch on Tuesday night from a hill in Patterson Park, near our house. The rocket lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, and was visible as a little streak of orange fire rising from behind the Key Bridge high into the sky, with brief disappearances between each stage.
This is one of the most fascinating images I’ve seen of Saturn’s rings: vertical structures casting shadows via http://astrobob.areavoices.com/2009/08/07/whats-hiding-inside-saturns-rings/ (NASA/Cassini Mission).
This is the best data viz I’m seen in a long time.
Basically, the case against cars in a single GIF.
More than 800 Elementary students in Hong Kong’s Repluse Bay (second photo and fourth photo) celebrate kids Ocean Day on November 7th by raising awareness about the shark fin trade and the recent ban on trolling in Hong Kong waters. The campaign echoes the long running Ocean Day events held in San Francisco (fifth photo) and San Diego (third photo and first photo), among other coastal pacific north merican cities, to highlight the effects of ocean acidification from climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, habitat destruction, and pollution. Local elementary schools hold contests to select the picture to be used.
In this gut-wrenching talk, Sergeant Andrew Chambers shares the haunting story of his time in Iraq and the tough transition home that landed him in jail. It’s a powerful testimony to the struggle our soldiers face when they come home, and the tragic ways that they can be denied the help they need.
For anyone looking to support a veteran, we encourage you to heed Chambers’s advice: "Find a veteran and listen to his story. A lot of us just need somebody to talk to."
I usually see Dirac delta written with, you know, the letter delta.
Joyce Bell Burnell, discoverer of pulsars, is joining the ranks of my Cosmic Pioneers series this evening.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell, born 1943, is a Northern Irish astrophysicist who discovered the first radio pulsars (signals coming from rapidly rotating neutron stars). Some have called this the “greatest astronomical discovery of the twentieth century.”
She made the discovery while under her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish, for which Hewish shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics with Martin Ryle, while Bell Burnell was left out despite having observed the pulsars.
European Space Agency posted this amazing–20+ minutes long but worth watching–video about how astronauts return home from the ISS in the Soyuz space capsule, with never before seen inside footage.