Categories
Nature Travel

The Rock: Urup Island, Russia

Here’s the last island you’d ever want to be stranded on. 

This uninhabited volcanic rock formation is part of a 552 square mile Russian island called Urup, which means ‘salmon trout’ in Ainu. 

Urup island sits south of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. 

One can imagine this upstanding volcanic plug off the coast of Urup appearing in a future James Bond film. 

Photo: Twitter/travelfoxcom
The Rock: Urup Island, Russia
Photo: Twitter/travelfoxcom
The Rock: Urup Island, Russia
Photo: Twitter/amitripstravel

According to the Neatline antique map collection website, Urup used to be known as “Company’s Land” as discovered by Maarten Vries of Dutch East India Company in 1643. Vries map (see below) is considered the westernmost region of America, a widely held view in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The Rock: Urup Island, Russia
Photo: Twitter/Neatlinemaps
Categories
Nature Science

UFO, lampshade? An amazing lenticular cloud hovers over Japan’s Mount Fuji

They look like flying saucers or marshmallows.

These UFO-looking lens-shaped clouds called lenticular clouds often develop near the peaks of mountains, as in the case of Mount Fuji in Japan.

Lenticular clouds form when strong winds force air up and over a topographic barrier such as a mountain. Once the rising air hits the obstructive peak, an “eddie”, and then mixes with the upper-wind, the air deflects the mountain wind downward to create the lampshade looking clouds.

Here’s a collection of lenticular clouds forming in different settings — over buildings, volcanoes, and grassy fields. You love to see it!

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
Nature Science

Tokyo’s skyline turns pink and purple colors before typhoon Hagibis

As Typhoon Hagibis approached Tokyo on Saturday, residents captured images of an unusually pink skyline that gradually turned a spooky purple. 

While beautiful the vivid skies augured what would become a dangerous storm that unleashed heavy rain and strong wind. A magnitude 5.7 earthquake also shook Tokyo shortly after.

NPR reports 19 dead and 16 missing in Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures thus far. 

The colorful skies are a result of a process called “scattering,” where the sunlight shining down on Earth gets kicked around the moisture in the air giving rise to the pink and purple hues.

The typhoon left Tokyo late Saturday, leaving the city with a crystal clear blue sky on Sunday morning.