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Architecture & Design Nature

Xavi Bou’s ‘Ornitografías’: If birds left tracks in the sky…

Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou turns bird flight into art in a project he calls Ornitografías.

Using his degrees in geology and photography and experience as a lighting technician in the fashion industry, Bou extracts high-resolution photos from video stills to illustrate the path of birds in motion.

The result is a spectacular piece of art hinged on the physics and mathematics of flight.

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Nature

Radiant Sodalite mineral rock

How neat is this sodalite mineral rock?

A rare discovery, sodalite rocks form from crystallized from sodium-rich magmas and are typically blue or violet in nature.

Think of the sodalite as a normal stone with special effects — a la tenebrescence — that make the minerals glow when exposed to light. Check out its cousin, the fire opal.

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Nature

Float Like a Dragontail Butterfly…

The green dragontail butterfly (Lamproptera meges) of South and Southeast Asia is a mesmerizing insect.

Small and delicate, it is one of the few species of swallowtail butterfly with transparent wings. With a life span of 7 to 12 days, Earth’s real-life fairies are truly nature’s flying jewel.

Credit to wildlife photographer Kazuo Unno for snatching these photos of the whirring creatures — like poetry in motion!

If you like the dragontail butterfly, be sure to check out the dead leaf butterfly as well. Also worth viewing: the beautiful Archduke butterfly in its baby caterpillar state.

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Nature

Dragon Storm: A thunderstorm over the Great Pyramids of Giza

A storm nicknamed the “Dragon Storm” made its way through Egypt on Thursday.

The storm produced a mixture of high winds, heavy rain, and hail that caused sand storms and flooding, respectively.

With all that’s going with the Coronavirus today and the bushfires raging over Australia at the end of 2019, it feels like a maelstrom of “biblical” phenomenons are happening in the world all at the same time.

The Dragon Storm reportedly killed over 20 people, making it the worst storm in Egypt since 1994.

But where there’s natural destruction, there’s often beauty.

Take the photography above over the Great Pyramids for instance.

While there’s some debate over the authenticity of the photo, it nonetheless illustrates the fascinating intensity of nature.

Dragon Storm: A thunderstorm over the Great Pyramids of Giza
The Dragon Storm over Egypt

Images via AccuWeather and Jason Benz.

Categories
Animals Nature Travel

These owls in a Tokyo cafe are named after musicians and bands

James Mollison of TOPIC ventured into one of Tokyo’s animal cafes where you can sip your coffee with your animal of choice (cats, dogs, and rabbits). But this coffee shop was a little different.

Tokyo’s Pakuchi Bar is apparently one of eight owl cafes in the big city. The owner, Tomo Nanaka, owns 30 of them which she allows in public on the weekends and on special holidays. Even more, she’s named them after musicians and bands.

Below are some of my favorite. From left to right: Kurt Cobain, The Chemical Brothers, Beck, and The Cure.

These owls in a Tokyo cafe are named after musicians and bands
Kurt Cobain, a northern white-faced owl
These owls in a Tokyo cafe are named after musicians and bands
The Chemical Brothers, a black-banded owl
These owls in a Tokyo cafe are named after musicians and bands
Beck, a snowy owl
These owls in a Tokyo cafe are named after musicians and bands
Cure, a western screech owl

There’s a video too.

(All images via James Mollison)

Categories
Space

What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.

U-2 pilot and instructor and avid photographer Ross Franquemont took these snaps of the spectacular aurora borealis — or, northern lights, while flying the legendary U-2 spycraft.

“I had no idea how fast the aurora moved and changed. It danced around, changing shape several times a second. That made it a challenge for the photographer in a spacesuit sitting in shaking metal can moving 500 mph,” Ross told The Aviationist about the photos.

The northern lights, which also occur in the Southern Hemisphere — the “Aurora Australis” — have always fascinated mankind. They develop as a result of a solar storm that originates from the sun and blows a stream of charged electrons toward Earth.

The process creates a natural light phenomenon when the electrons collide with the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The colors green and red display between 60 to 150 miles in altitude when the electrons hit atoms of oxygen. Meanwhile, the blue and purple/violet colors occur up to 60 miles away from Earth’s magnetic field.

What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.
What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.
What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.
What the northern lights look like from a U-2 spy plane at 70,000ft.