Have you ever stood on a beach looking out on the ocean and wondered what country is directly over there? If so, this map is for you.
I'm going to send this map to my mother as I have a vivid memory of me and my brothers standing on a beach in Florida during one Spring Break and her telling us that we were staring at Australia. Not sure why that memory stands out...
Pro top: Click on the map above for a larger version.
I will be honest with you, up until today I had never really put much thought about how they determined that Mount Everest was 8,848 meters above sea level.
Wait; let me back up first lest you think I'm a simpleton. I always understood the concept of elevation but I had never thought about exactly how they figure it out considering that most times the sea is hundreds of miles of away. Also, with all that ocean sloshing around and going up and down, how do they know where to start measuring from?
Leave it up to gang at MinutePhysics to figure it out and explain it to us like the simpletons that we are.
Spoiler alert: Gravity has a big role to play in the whole thing.
I remember when we were kids on a family vacation in Nova Scotia once we found ourselves wandering the harbour docks at night (to this day I don't know why since it seems like a really sketchy activity). Well, we were walking by a large freighter that were loading provisions on board and I have no idea how, but we were invited by one of the crew members onboard for a tour of the ship. I wouldn't be surprised if my father started yelling from the deck asking for one as he was that kind of guy.
So next thing you know we are getting the full tour. We visited the galley, bridge and even got to meet the captain who was really excited to meet us and show us around. For us it was easily the best part of our vacation meanwhile my mother was terrified the whole time and was convinced that we were going to get kidnapped.
Anyways, ever since that day I have loved big ships. I love everything about them and fascinated by their mysterious inner workings. I mean, who really knows where all the pipes that you see actually go? Nobody knows, that's who.
So you can imagine my excitement when Google announced that they have rolled out a Google Streetview tour of the Schmidt Ocean Institute's new 272-foot research vessel, Falkor.
The tour is awesome. You can wander through all nine levels starting with the engine room and all the way up to the crow's nest (do they call it that on a research vessel?).
You might be wondering why this boat in particular has received the full Google tour treatment. Well, the Schmidt Ocean Institute was founded by Dr. Erik Schmidt who is both the Chief Executive at Google and quite the philanthropist. gcaptain.com has the full backstory.
SOI bought the vessel from the German government in 2009 and recently completed an extensive three year, $94 million conversion of the ship from a fishery protection vessel to the high-tech research vessel it is today.
"Falkor's biggest goal is to help change the public conversation about ocean health," said Ms. Schmidt at the Exploratorium, "We're living on a planet where we really don't even know most of what's here. So, we would like to say it's time that we did understand."
Following her San Francisco debut, Falkor left the City by the Bay for British Columbia on two expeditions in Canadian and U.S. waters, before making her way southwest for several months conducting oceanographic research in the Central and Western Pacific.
We all know that the ocean is large. By large I mean huge. The reality is that the ocean is so big that it’s almost impossible to wrap your head around it.
To blow your mind this afternoon here is a short animation to help put everything into perspective.
Here is my favourite ocean fun-fact: The oceans of the world hold 99% of the world’s biosphere. That means that every single tree, bug, human and gopher you see on land is only 1% of what’s really out there.
NASA recently released a colourised photo representing the ocean salinity differences around the world.
I thought it was pretty cool to see how much of an influence the Amazon River, St. Lawrence River and the ice caps at the north pole. Makes sense when you think about it but I clearly hadn’t thought about it before.
This information comes from data captured by NASA’s Aquarius instrument.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory website explains what’s going on and why we should care about this:
Launched June 10, 2011, aboard the Argentine spacecraft Aquarius/Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas (SAC)-D, Aquarius is NASA's first satellite instrument specifically built to study the salt content of ocean surface waters. Salinity variations, one of the main drivers of ocean circulation, are closely connected with the cycling of freshwater around the planet and provide scientists with valuable information on how the changing global climate is altering global rainfall patterns.
The salinity sensor detects the microwave emissivity of the top approximately 1 inch (1 to 2 centimeters) of ocean water - a physical property that varies depending on temperature and saltiness. The instrument collects data in 240-mile-wide (386 kilometers) swaths in an orbit designed to obtain a complete survey of global salinity of ice-free oceans every seven days.
They also released a very cool visualization showing the ocean surface salinity changes from December 2011 to December, 2012.
Photo credit: NASA
If you have been looking for a good reason to be more afraid of the water then you currently are I think I finally found it: Monsters live below the water surface and they are getting ready to take us down.
Don’t believe me? Witnesses in Victoria, BC saw an almost one metre-long Great Pacific octopus attack and eat a sea gull. When I heard the news this is what I was picturing:
But of course it was more like this…today but what about tomorrow?
I’m pretty sure that the sea gull didn’t even see it coming so keep that in mind next time you are out paddling and decide to practice your rescues as there is a very, very high chance that you will end up just like this guy.
Also, if you don’t think that a bird eating octopus is bad enough, evil scientists (only an evil scientist could have come up with this) finally figured out a way to put lasers (yes, lasers) on sharks. Nature’s most efficient killing machine just got a whole lot scarier.
Is it time to re-enact that awesome Iron Maiden song and run to the hills? All signs point to yes.
After being away for a week I’m still trying to get caught up with all the good stuff that the internet spit out since I was gone.
Last week the nerdy/sarcastic web comic, XKCD published this awesome infographic on the relative depths of the worlds lakes and oceans. Click through to view the full sized images in all its nerdy glory.
Image credit: xkcd.com
I don’t care what my wife says; we are remortgaging the house tomorrow and buying this semi-submarine on Friday. Once I’m done exploring the Toronto Harbour I’m totally going to cruise out and show up that jerk, James Cameron and with my own Mariana Trench dive.