Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Deep Impact Update

Back in May, Top Men brought you news of Deep Impact. Now the spacecraft is closing in on its target, and the impact is only days away.

Rather than reading about what is going to happen, just watch the movie. (It's over 7 MB - be patient.) And remember two things as you watch it...

1) The copper-fortified impactor weighs 771-pounds (350 kg).

2) The impactor will strike the comet at 23,000 miles an hour. (That's 14 times the speed of an average rifle bullet.)

(Top Men will keep you updated.)

Somewhere Over The...

After rainbows and lightning , why not rainbows and tornados?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Big Bugs

Mark Plonsky considers himself a curious, self-taught, amateur, macro photographer. He's combined a relatively inexpensive digital camera and some clever Photoshop techniques to take some downright disturbing photos of bugs - up close and personal.

(Thanks Josh)

Rainbows and Lightning

Portland had a final spring thunderstorm yesterday and it was quite a show. What impressed top men here at wohba were the photos of rainbows and lightning together. There's something poetic about those two atmospheric phenomenon juxtaposed.

Here are the photos. Here is the story.

(Thanks Eleri)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Visible Sound Barrier

Top Men had seen this photo before but questioned the authenticity of it. Turns out it's real. It's a large cloud of condensation from the shock wave as the jet passes the sound barrier. Good pilots can actually control the position of the wave. Here are the details from the DoD. And here is the high-res version.

Grand Illusions

Stare at the mark in the middle for a while. Keep staring! Wohba! (Click on the image for a larger version and details of the illusion.)

Here is another one that completely amazed Top Men. It's a bit more complicated, but well worth the effort.

(Thanks Barb.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Crater Valley

How about an exciting vacation in Crater Valley, just outside Mercury, Nevada. Explore hundreds of exotic craters right here on Earth.

Oh, one thing you may want to consider is that they're not natural craters - they're underground explosive testing craters. Perhaps you rather just explore with Google Maps satellite view.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Penguin Peculiarities

With March of the Penguins (amazing trailer) coming out in a couple weeks, Top Men thought it would be an appropriate time to review our Emperor Penguin facts.

- They stand over three feet tall, weigh almost 90 pounds.
- The only bird that never sets foot on dry land.
- They lay only a single egg at the coldest time of year (wind-chill of 150 degrees F below zero)
- They don't build a nest, but instead the male Emperor balances the egg on his feet.
- The male will not eat anything for nine weeks while incubating the egg.
- They can dive underwater to depths below 1500 feet and stay under for over 20 minutes.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Nest Cam

The first of these five Western Bluebird eggs hatched less than two weeks ago. Soon they'll be leaving the nest. And thanks to the wonders of technology, you can watch.

And these five eggs are due to begin hatching at any minute!

James Reserve has wired their nature reserve. They've got webcams all over the place - bird baths, feeder stations, bird boxes, etc. The photos in the boxes are infrared, and all the photos are updated every few seconds. Plus they keep a history of the interesting stuff in case you missed it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sand Expressions

Wohba! Amazing sand sculpture by Larry Nelson. Be sure to take a walk in his Sculpture Garden.

Here's the main link to his site.

(Thanks Foo.)

Mammatus Clouds

Top Men decided that if they looked up and saw clouds like this they would prepare for "War of the Worlds." Those are Mammatus Clouds by the way, named for their sack-like resemblance to udders. Wohba.

(Thanks Josh.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


What are the odds? Build a crazy seven-camera tornado probe; drive it out in a field; place it in the path of an approaching tornado; hold up your finger to check the wind one last time; move it just a hair to the right; drive away fast, and score a direct hit.

Amazing video of the encounter.

(Related trivia question: How many times is the phrase "Come on!" uttered in the film Twister?)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Time Machine

Happy birthday Atomic Clock! The BBC is reporting that the Atomic Clock is 50 years old this year. The first one was built in 1955 by Dr. Louis Essen. Current versions of the clock will lose less than a second in 30 million years. Huh.

For those in the U.S. the official time is provided by the Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency within the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration. (Gotta love the government.) Give 'em a call at (303) 499-7111 and they'll be happy to give you the current time. (Or click here)

It's hard to imagine, but prior to the Atomic Clock time keeping was based on the rotation of the Earth.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Earth From Above

Earth From Above features spectacular arial photography by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The main link takes you to the France section but be sure to check out the other countries with the pop-up menu in the upper left. Many of the photos have higher resolution versions offered as wallpaper.

Don't gloss over the text associated with each photo - it's well worth reading. Top Men at Wohba explored the site for hours and even learned a few things.

Thanks to Tinselman.

Opportunity is Out

Photos down from Mars this morning show Opportunity has climbed out of its sandy mess. Steve Squyres confirms it. Here's a movie of the progress.

Now what? Will they still attempt to make it to Victoria Crater?

UPDATE: June 4th quote from Steve Squyres' blog - "And just so there's no doubt about it, this little incident is not going to deter us from continuing our southward exploration. South is where we think the best science is, and we're not going to turn tail and run because of one unfortunate episode."

Top Men say "Sweet!"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Watch Where You're Going

Let's say you're in Dallas and you need a pair of boots. Sure you could use any number of "Yellow Page" services and even MapQuest for directions. But wouldn't it be handy to actually see the store?

Amazon thought so. They're building Block Views by driving a fleet of trucks around cities and actually snapping photos along the way. So far they've logged over 26 million photos in their effort to cover the entire United States.

Here are a few examples...

Salmon in Seattle
iPod in New York
Sushi in San Francisco
Boots in Dallas

Movie from Mars

Here's an amazing Martian dust devil movie released today by NASA. It covers roughly a mile in nine minutes.

(BTW: Not sure how Opportunity is faring - no photos since May 28th.)

Walk of the War of the Worlds

Since Spielberg's next blockbuster is less than a month away, Top Men at Wohba thought it would be appropriate to help you brush up on how three-legged-bad-guy-aliens would walk, trot, and run. Luckily we found a site where someone had gone to all the trouble of describing how it might work.

Did you ever think how amazed three-legged creatures would be at our two-legged locomotion? Some geeky alien would probably create a web site describing how it might work.