In late 2005, when YouTube was just a few months old, one its co-founders announced that the site’s users were consuming the equivalent of an entire Blockbuster store each month. Today, 300 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. And Blockbuster… Well, kids, Blockbuster was a video rental shop offering films on DVD and VHS. VHS tapes were like giant cassettes. Cassettes were… Oh, never mind. From The Telegraph: How YouTube Changed the World.
Wadi Al-Salaam, which literally means the Valley of Peace, is an Islamic cemetery located in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq. The cemetery covers an area of 1485.5 acres and contains some five millions bodies, making it the world’s biggest cemetery.
With gravestones stretching out as far as the eye can see, the site is located close to the shrine of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWS) cousin and son-in-law and the fourth Caliph of Islam.
An estimated 500,000 additional bodies are buried at Wadi Al-Salaam every year, however in recent times the figure has been even higher due to victims of the country’s bitter civil war.
National Geographic’s cartographic department celebrated its 100th birthday recently. Here’s a look back at their work and some of NG’s most memorable maps.
Muslim civilization stretched from Spain to China. From the 7th century onwards, the region contributed breakthrough scientific and cultural achievements on topics such as medicine, mathematics, astronomy and more, fostering a vibrant scientific temper within the Islamic world, and left an indelible mark on the rest of the world. Some of the most influential texts from the period are now available at the Qatar Digital Library.
The library, a joint project of the British Library and the Qatar Foundation, offers free access to 25,000 pages of medieval Islamic manuscripts. Among some of the most significant texts:
The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (1206 A.D.), which was inspired by an earlier, 9th-century translation of Archimedes’ writings on water clocks. Devices such as the “Elephant Clock” (pictured below) were the most accurate time-keeping pieces before the first pendulum clocks were built in the 17th century by the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens.
by E.D.W. Lynch: During a recent trip to Antarctica, designer and filmmaker Alex Cornell came across a breathtakingly beautiful iceberg that, unlike its icy neighbors, had a gem-like translucence and a striking aquamarine color. The unusual iceberg was an example of a rarely photographed phenomena–an iceberg that has recently inverted, revealing its normally hidden semi-translucent underside. Photos of the inverted iceberg can be viewed in Cornell’s Antarctica photo gallery and on his Instagram account.
photos by Alex Cornell
At the Coeur d’Alene Resort golf course in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA, the 14th hole is located in a most unusual spot–it resides on a floating platform in the nearby lake. Golfers are ferried to the man-made island aboard a wooden motorboat. And because the platform floats, it can be moved around the lake to alter the layout of the course. According to the resort, thousands of golf balls that fail to make the 14th green are fished out of the lake each year.
photos via Coeur d’Alene Resort
The Hubble Space Telescope revisited the iconic “Pillars of Creation” region of the Eagle Nebula to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The so-called “pillars” are actually large clouds of gas in the nebula. The telescope originally photographed the “Pillars of Creation” in 1995, but the new image captures a wider high-definition view. It also uses near-infrared light as well as visible light to give a penetrating look into the formation.
image via NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team
Projections in the Forest, a short time lapse film by Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad, captures the incredible beauty of luminescent plants and animals whose glow make the forest a seemingly magical place.
The projection mapping “bioluminescent forest” is made by artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad. The artists spent six weeks in the forest fascinated by the silence and natural occurrences in nature, especially the phenomenon “bioluminescence”. They personified the forest to accentuate the natural beauty by creating luring luminescent plants and glowing magical mushrooms that speaks volumes to any visitor that enters the minds of the artists through viewing “bioluminescent forest“.
Living Alongside Wildlife has a list of 22 species of animal declared extinct in 2014, extending humanity’s long streak of causing plant and animal extinctions.
The last known Christmas Island Forest Skink (Emoia nativitatis) died alone in a zoo on May 31st, 2014. It is unknown why the species disappeared from its natural habitat of Christmas Island (an Australian territory) but invasive species may have played a key role.
The St. Helena Giant Earwig (Labidura herculeana) is extinct. This species is notable for being fairly large (over three inches) and was found on the island of St. Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean.
Plectostoma sciaphilum was a snail that lived entirely on one Malaysian hill. A cement company wiped them all out.
The website io9 has collected a bunch of the most amazing science images of 2014. According to them:
What you’ll find here are photos that engaged our minds, and videos that set our pulses racing – a carefully curated collection of the weird, the wonderful, and the truly awesome. Here you’ll find imagery that moved us, inspired us, and shook us to our core, and a few that made us laugh in sheer amazement.