photo science

Disappearing Lake

Shrinking Aral Sea, 2000-2016

Shrinking Aral Sea, 2000-2016In the 1960s, the Soviet Union undertook a major water diversion project on the arid plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The region’s two major rivers, fed by snowmelt and precipitation in faraway mountains, were used to transform the desert into farms for cotton and other crops. Before the project, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers flowed down from the mountains, cut northwest through the Kyzylkum Desert, and finally pooled together in the lowest part of the basin. The lake they made, the Aral Sea, was once the fourth largest in the world.Although irrigation made the desert bloom, it devastated the Aral Sea. This series of images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite documents the changes. At the start of the series in 2000, the lake was already a fraction of its 1960 extent (yellow line). The Northern Aral Sea (sometimes called the Small Aral Sea) had separated from the Southern (Large) Aral Sea. The Southern Aral Sea had split into eastern and western lobes that remained tenuously connected at both ends.By 2001, the southern connection had been severed, and the shallower eastern part retreated rapidly over the next several years. Especially large retreats in the eastern lobe of the Southern Sea appear to have occurred between 2005 and 2009, when drought limited and then cut off the flow of the Amu Darya. Water levels then fluctuated annually between 2009 and 2016 in alternately dry and wet years. In 2014, the Southern Sea’s eastern lobe completely disappeared.As the Aral Sea has dried up, fisheries and the communities that depended on them collapsed. The increasingly salty water became polluted with fertilizer and pesticides. The blowing dust from the exposed lakebed, contaminated with agricultural chemicals, became a public health hazard. The salty dust blew off the lakebed and settled onto fields, degrading the soil. Croplands had to be flushed with larger and larger volumes of river water. The loss of the moderating influence of such a large body of water made winters colder and summers hotter and drier.In a last-ditch effort to save some of the lake, Kazakhstan built a dam between the northern and southern parts of the Aral Sea. Completed in 2005, the dam was basically a death sentence for the southern Aral Sea, which was judged to be beyond saving. All of the water flowing into the desert basin from the Syr Darya now stays in the Northern Aral Sea. Between 2005 and 2006, the water levels in that part of the lake rebounded significantly and very small increases are visible throughout the rest of the time period. The differences in water color are due to changes in sediment.

Posted by NASA Earth on Thursday, September 1, 2016

Unfortunately this isn’t just a magic act.  The above video shows the disappearance of the the once great Aral Sea in Kazakhstan.  This is a completely man-made “phenomenon” when the Soviets diverted water that fed into the lake for irrigation of crops.  Over time naturally, humans got greedy and wanted more water until eventually one of the largest lakes in the world was split up into four individual lakes 10% of it’s former glory.

It’s a sad overview of the effects of man, and with satellite technology, it’s even easier to see the effects.  Typical me would say that this is the result of the terrible Soviets, and communism, and I would be partially right, but at it’s core, it’s a trait of humanity in general, not limited to a single source of politics.

{Peta Pixel|NASA Earth}

a stumble science

Chernobyl: A Truer Story

Yesterday I did a post about Chernobyl Disaster, and how I thought it was caused.  Today, I’ll stick with the official story of what happened.

Elephant's Foot

The above photo depicts what had been named “The Elephant’s foot” a massive blob of melted concrete, glass, sand, and raw nuclear core material.  This is what’s left from Reactor Number 4.  When it was discovered, it was giving off 10,000 roentgens per hour, for comparison, it would take about 1/10 of that to give a human a lethal dose of radiation.  This isn’t a particularly long exposure photograph, instead, the massive amounts of radiation coming off of this blob of metal is what’s causing the human there to look transparent.  That is indeed, crazy dangerous.

Here’s a video that goes over some of the events of the clean up in September of 1986.  It’s long, but it’s cool, I liked it, you should watch it too.  It’s crazy that people wouldn’t take the radiation monitors with them when they went to work.  Did they just not care?

I didn’t know that the robotics didn’t work well, or at all.  Instead they had go in and clean up by hand.  They knew that what they were doing was dangerous, and that each person who came after them was in less danger, but they still had to do it, and had to clean up.  Each shift was only up to a minute long cleaning the roof of the building.  Hundreds of soldiers there moving things one shovel at a time.  Seriously, watch the above video.

{Physics Forums}

awesome movie strange video

2017’s Best Superhero Movie

It’s not often that you see superhero movies based out of other nations.  Maybe it’s just the US-centric view that most of us live.  But next year, there’s this beauty above.  It’s name is Guardians, about a group of people presumably taken at a young age and had DNA modifications performed on them to make them guardians of Mother Russia.  Honestly, I doubt this will get much airplay in America, and even if it did, I probably wouldn’t go see it, unless they dubbed it.  Then it would be awesome.

{The Verge|reddit}


Nuclear Powered Civil Projects

The 1960s were a boom for Nuclear items.  New bombs were being made at an unheard of rate, and the US and the USSR spent countless billions of dollars on trying to one-up each other.  Well, since there were enough nukes to destroy the world a few dozen times over, peaceful uses of these bombs was looked for.  Project Orion was one of those things in America.  The USSR had a civil project: Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy.  Their most famous one is the Chagan nuclear test.  This 140kt nuclear explosion created Lake Chagan in Kazakhstan, an 8,100acre ft lake.

The lake itself is naturally, still radioactive, and not safe for humans, or fish, or anything really.  But, it was an interesting use of extra nuclear bombs.  In general, the project was deemed a failure.  Too much effort was involved, and the resulting landscapes were too radioactive to be of any use.  Still, it’s nice to see that nuclear bombs aren’t all death and destruction.

Here’s some historic Soviet footage.  I’m not 100% sure what it is of, but let’s just watch it anyway, it’s fun:

{When on Earth}

haha! strange video

An Outcome of WWIII?

The fabled World War III has been talked about since the immediate aftermath of World War II.  Well, commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ending of the War with Japan, as they called WW2, the following video has come out of China:

I can’t read, or understand Chinese, but according to mmo-champion, the message at the end of the video says:

China is strong, victorious wars require deaths; for all to be strong and safe, [we] face the risks and dangers of war. We wholeheartedly love peace, but must be prepared for the likelihood of war. We respectfully and solemnly commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war against Japan.

It’s pretty clear that the video depicts Chinese forces engaging, and winning against American forces in some sort of all out war.  It’s not clear what the motivations of these attacks are, or how accurate the outcome would actually be.  It’s also not clear if this is an official Chinese Government sanctioned video, or something someone made for fun, or a trailer for an upcoming video game.  Either way, it’s hilarious, really.

strange the greatest

Alternate History Thursday – Invasions


The above photos is how it happened in our version of history.  Below, we will see how it went down in our alternate history

Really, it wasn’t Poland that was invaded, it was just England, being it’s colonizing self that the European powers wanted to stop.  First they started in Africa, then they moved into Australia, and India, slowly moving upwards and inwards towards the small island of England itself.  You wouldn’t think that a tiny island in the North Atlantic could have an empire that spanned the entire world, but they did.  But then again, on the other side of the  the Atlantic was an equally as powerful nation that had gone on their own colonization spree, except this was against primitive natives, not equal western civilizations, to it was OK.

But it wasn’t communism is never OK.

I have nothing else to say about that.


awesome strange the greatest

Personal Arsenal


Or mechanized armored transport if you prefer.  On July 11th, and 12th 2014 Auctions America will be auctioning off over 200 different items from the largest private military vehicle collection in the nation.

Since it’s an auction, there are no hard prices, but many of the items I saw were listed without a reserve, and the cheapest estimate I saw was this $1,000 Swiss Army Hand Cart.  But if you have some serious coin, you can get some serious hardware, like this authentic Panzer, for a cool $2.6 million.


I gotta say though, the coup de grace (which I know that phrase doesn’t really fit, but I’m using it) is this commie SCUD:


With no reserve and an estimate of $300,000 this is the ultimate display of power for the budding individual.  Don’t worry about the Communist aspect of it, the mere fact that you’re buying this on the free Capitalist market is irony enough to change the allegiance of this weapon (kinda like wands in Harry Potter).



Alternate History Thursdays

But it’s not Thursday you say.  It is, in an alternate version of history, where Thursday is the 3rd day of the week, preceded by Valkday, and Monday (still gotta start on Monday, otherwise everything else is all messed up).

Anyway, welcome to the first installment (in this version of History), of Alternate History Thursdays.

I present you The Star Spangled Banner played in minor key, it’s simply Red:

So, what happened in this version of History that our Nation’s National Anthem is played differently?

Well, let me tell you:

Many things are similar, and in fact, you’d be able to use many of the same history books and lessons you learned today.  Except for one a few key differences, America is a slightly communistic nation.  I know what you’re saying, Karl Marx wasn’t even born yet, but that’s not an issue.  This is an alternate version of history, there are literally infinite ways I can  explain that away.  Perhaps he was, or perhaps Jefferson, Franklin and the rest of the gang were commies at heart.

Anyway, America, the Communist Empire that stretches from sea to sea, and pole to pole is truly the greatest nation on earth, and everywhere we go, we have to proclaim the greatness of the land.

Let it be known that were I ever to be transported to this version of History, I would immediately die.

awesome strange video

Happy Hotdog Man

Are you some sort of fun hating Communist?  Why haven’t you bought this yet?

science strange

Commie Spies!!1!

It’s like we’re all of a sudden back in the 1950s.  Earlier this week an alleged Russian Spy ring was exposed right in my back yard!

I’m not gonna go into details about this whole thing, that’s not my job, but I will say that I am excited because not only have all the Robert Ludlum books I’ve read begin to have a grain of truth to them, my 2nd favorite time in history is coming back.

I just felt that I should bring this to your attention, that’s it for now, you can go on with your boring life,