Friday, July 29, 2011

Bizarre sea life lurking in our oceans

They're weird in good ways, and they're weird in bad ways. But most importantly, they're just WEIRD. And frankly, it would be totally selfish not sharing them. So put on your snorkel, goggles, and flippers, and hit the water with us to check out the absolute weirdest (but coolest!) sea creatures.

Blobfish. This fish is the weirdest looking sea creature ever. What's worse is that this animal is just as lazy as it looks and sounds; it barely expends any energy even eating, making sure it gobbles up whatever just happens to be floating by at the moment.

Axoloti. Axolotls are like the cute anime pet you never had but always wanted, because you saw it on a deck of Pokémon cards. Tack onto that the ability to completely regenerate any dangling limb, and you've got yourself a real live Tamigachi!

Frilled shark. The frilled shark is not your typical shark, judging by looks alone. It closely resembles an eel—so much so that it's mistaken for an eel quite often, and the only real distinguishing features are its signature six gill slits.

Anglefish. We'll say it, and we'll say it without fear: anglefishes are ugly. There, we said it. They are disgusting bottom-dwellers, and if that isn't the lowest of the low, they also have a spine that doubles as bait for prey.

Leafy sea dragon. The Leafy Sea Dragon is one of the few sea creatures with its own built-in camouflage. The tiny fins that are used to propel our leafy friend forward are impossible to see, giving the illusion that you are merely watching seaweed lazily float by.

What’s the strangest sea creature you’ve ever encountered?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 fabulous world-famous attractions

The world is full of extraordinary places that many of us will never get to visit. Some of these attractions would undoubtedly create a lifetime of memories. So what are the world’s most famous attractions? While this may be a subjective question, we decided to name a few of our favorites. Fans of Discovery Student Adventures will see some familiar places and iconic landmarks.

1) The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
This place is a collection of three temples portraying the Greek Goddess Athena. Construction took 9 years and was completed in 439BC. It is one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

2) The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower has been France’s greatest symbol ever and will be the most visited structures in the world. It features an incredible observation wing that gives such a beautiful view of Paris.

3) The Peak Tram, Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
The Peak Tram is a wonderful ride which takes passengers through the spectacular view of the whole city. This railway has been running since its opening in 1881.

4) The London Dungeon, London, England
The London Dungeon is one of the most popular attractions in the UK. It features gruesome and scenes that travel through the history of the UK, including the Great Fire of London and the awful acts that were committed by Jack the Ripper.

5) L’Aquarium De Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
L’Aquarium De Barcelona is Europe’s largest aquarium. It contains some of the best Mediterranean sea life. It is both fascinating and entertaining for people of all ages.

What global attraction not listed here would you most like to see in person?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The 5 weirdest things ever flown on the Space Shuttle

When NASA's space shuttles launch into orbit, they don't just carry astronauts and supplies into the final frontier. There's a lot of other weird stuff that makes the out-of-this-world journey, too. NASA's final space shuttle mission launched July 8. The mission was the 135th and last flight for the program, which began in 1981. Read on for 9 space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles.

1. Cans of Coca-Cola & Pepsi In 1985, special modified cans of Coca-Cola and Pepsi soda rode aboard the space shuttle Challenger on its STS-51F mission. The trip added more fuel to the so-called "Cola Wars" between the Coca-Cola Company and Pepsi, Co.

2. The New York Mets' Home Plate In 2009, as the New York Mets organization prepared to move its baseball team into the new Citi Field in Queens, N.Y., a piece of hardware from the team's old home, Shea Stadium, made a special trip into space. On May 11, 2009, the home plate from Shea Stadium launched into orbit on the space shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission— the last trip to the Hubble Space Telescope.

3. Buzz Lightyear – To Infinity and Beyond!
As part of an educational and public outreach mission, NASA teamed up with Disney to launch an action figure of the beloved character Buzz Lightyear, from Disney-Pixar's film "Toy Story," into space. A 12-inch-tall Buzz flew to the International Space Station on Discovery's STS-124 mission in May 2008.

4. Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber
Fans of the iconic "'Star Wars" films celebrated a moment where fiction met reality, when a lightsaber prop from the sci-fi movies flew on the space shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission. The lightsaber's flight was of particular interest to one STS-120 crew member, a self-described big 'Star Wars' fan who also woke during the mission to the theme from the movies.

5. Dirt from Yankee StadiumA vial of dirt from the pitcher's mound at Yankee Stadium, the home of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, flew on the space shuttle Endeavour's STS-123 mission in 2008. Astronaut Garrett Reisman , a fervent Yankee fan, brought the small container of dirt with him, along with other mementos of his favorite team, including a banner and hat autographed by George Steinbrenner, who was the principal owner of the team for 37 years, from 1973 to his death in July 2010.

What do you think the future holds for our space program. Perhaps a journey to Mars?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Still thriving after all these years: The world’s oldest cities

At 498 years old, St Augustine, Florida, is the oldest continuously settled city in the U.S. In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon took possession of the territory. Compared with other cities around the world, however, St. Augustine is just a baby. Paris, for example, celebrates its 2060th birthday in July. Let's take a look at some of the oldest cities worldwide.

Paris, France. Earliest inhabitation: 250 B.C.

While this modern-day city celebrates its birthday this month, it was actually inhabited many years earlier by the Celtic tribe Parisii.

Athens, Greece. Earliest inhabitation: 1400 B.C.

Considered the cradle of Western civilization, this history-rich metropolis is the birthplace of a modern form of government and hosted the inaugural modern-day Olympics in 1896.

Cadiz, Spain. Earliest inhabitation: 1100 B.C.

Located on a land spit in the south of Spain, this ancient city was the principal trading post for its founding tribe, Phoenicia. Currently this seaside city is home to a Spanish military branch.

Jurusalem, Israel. Earliest in habitation: 2800 B.C.

The spiritual center for believers of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, this holy city has been captured 44 times and destroyed twice throughout its tumultuous history.

Libson, Portugal. Earliest in habitation: 1200 B.C.

This densely populated capital city boasts a rich history and is recognized as the wealthiest region in Portugal.

Which of these cities would you most like to visit? Why?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Endangered animals we should worry most about

Throughout history, many species of animals have gradually disappeared from the Earth. Unfortunately, this process of extinction seems to be accelerating, as there are many endangered species today than ever before and experts give warning that their number is on the rise. Several manmade factors are pushing animals towards extinction; climate change, hunting and poaching, loss of habitat, pollution and a changing environment are among the most common.

5 animals closest to extinction

Believe it or not, this fearsome predator, revered by man for its power and beauty, is threatened with extinction. Apparently there are only about 3,200 tigers left in the entire world. Three subspecies are already extinct and the other 6 are all facing the same danger. Why? Poaching is one major factor and destruction of their habitat by deforestation is the other.

Polar Bears
If the climate continues to warm at the current rate, the polar bear, one of the most beloved species in the world, will soon face extinction. Although at present the population of polar bears is relatively stable, it will soon start decreasing if the trend of global warming is not reversed.

The Pacific Walrus
In the same boat (if only they had boats) as the Polar Bear, the melting of ice in the Arctic poses a threat to the habitat of this species
and places it in danger of extinction.

Magellanic Penguin
Climate change is again the reason why this species is threatened to disappear. The migration of fish caused by warming currents makes it harder for them to find food and could result in the extinction of the magellanic penguin.

Leatherback Turtle
Although the species has survived for over 100 million years, these marine turtles, which live in the Pacific, are now on the brink of extinction. This is because, having to face numerous threats, many of their offspring won't be able to reach maturity.

Are you surprised any of these animals made the list?

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