The folks in the video above aren't watching a fireworks show but rather the near-constant lightning strikes that occur over Vaenezuela's Catatumbo River almost half of the year. Apparently, sailors have dubbed the lightning "Maracaibo Beacon" because it can be used as a navigational aid. According to the excellent Atlas Obscura, there might be as many as 280 strikes per hour during 10 hour stretches. From Atlas Obscura (photo below from Wikipedia):
(The phenomenon) was first written about in the 1597 poem "The Dragontea" by Lope de Vega. De Vega tells of Sir Francis Drake's 1595 attempt to take the city of Maracaibo by night, only to have his plans foiled when the lightning storm's flashes gave away his position to the city's defenders.
It's still unknown exactly why this area--and this area alone--should produce such regular lighting. One theory holds that ionized methane gas rising from the Catatumbo bogs is meeting with storm clouds coming down from the Andes, helping to create the perfect conditions for a lighting storm.
NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia turns 100 this year. In celebration, the space agency produced this short documentary and enlisted Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, to narrate. Here are just a few highlights from NASA Langley’s incredible history: • In times of peace and war, NASA Langley helped to create a better airplane, […]
AntsCanada (previously) has an overpopulation problem in his yellow crazy ant colony, so he added two kinds of carnivorous pitcher plants. The resulting relationship between ant versus plant turned out to be quite fascinating.
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Although fully autonomous vehicles aren’t yet allowed on public streets, they are poised to dominate the roads in the not-too-distant future. But before that happens, Apple, Google, Uber, and other companies now investing in self-driving tech are going to need talented developers that can account for the dizzying array of factors at play when a […]