All Of The Asteroids That Could Potentially End The World

Here’s the path of the nearly 1,400 asteroids that would cause “major devastation” if they hit our planet.

It’s no surprise that NASA is keeping track of all potentially hazardous objects, or PHOs, that surround our planet. If it’s closer than 4.6 million miles away and larger than about 350 feet in diameter, NASA’s watching it. And if a comet or asteroid’s orbit comes close enough to ours that there’s some potential for it to collide with our planet, NASA classifies it as a PHO. If something that size smacked Earth, it’d cause a major tsunami (if it hit water) or major regional destruction (if it hit land).

There are 1,397 known potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) at the moment, which you can see in this list. (The other PHOs are comets.) But why look at a list when you can look at a massive gorgeous picture? The image above, taken from NASA/JPL’s Photojournal, shows all 1,397 of those PHAs as represented by their orbits. Kind of amazing that we haven’t been hit by one, isn’t it?

[via Photojournal]


Bryozoan Statoblast (diminutive aquatic animal of the phylum Bryozoa) (10x)

“Survival pod” of a bryozoan colony:

“Phylactolaemates also reproduce asexually by a method that enables a colony’s lineage to survive the variable and uncertain conditions of freshwater environments.[16] Throughout summer and autumn they produce disc-shaped statoblasts, masses of cells that function as “survival pods” rather like the gemmules of sponges.[6] Statoblasts form on the funiculus connected to the parent’s gut, which nourishes them.[16] As they grow, statoblasts develop protective bivalve-like shells made of chitin. When they mature, some statoblasts stick to the parent colony, some fall to the bottom (“sessoblasts”), some contain air spaces that enable them to float (“floatoblasts”),[6] and some remain in the parent’s cystid to re-build the colony if it dies.[16] Statoblasts can remain dormant for considerable periods, and while dormant can survive harsh conditions such as freezing and desiccation. They can be transported across long distances by animals, floating vegetation, currents[6] and winds,[16] and even in the guts of larger animals.[64] When conditions improve, the valves of the shell separate and the cells inside develop into a zooid that tries to form a new colony. Plumatella emarginata produces both “sessoblasts”, which enable the lineage to control a good territory even if hard times decimate the parent colonies, and “floatoblasts”, which spread to new sites. New colonies of Plumatella repens produce mainly “sessoblasts” while mature ones switch to “floatoblasts”.[61] A study estimated that one group of colonies in a patch measuring 1 square metre (11 sq ft) produced 800,000 statoblasts.[6]

Madreporites on sea stars

The madreporite is a lightcolored calcerous opening used to filter water into the water vascular system of echinoderms. It acts like a pressure-equalizing valve. […] Close up, it is visibly structured, resembling a “madrepore” (stone coral, Scleractinia) colony.” — Wikipedia

Image 1: Madreporites, from Pierce and Maugel’s 1987 Illustrated Invertebrate Anatomy (via “How Starfish Move”)

Image 2: Madreporite of Henricia pumila:The madreporite is creamy colored as in the type specimen.  Notice the papulae extended among the pseudopaxillae.” (Source)

Adrift in Space Time, by Jason Padgett

Jason D. Padgett is a number theorist with Acquired Savant Syndrome from Anchorage Alaska, currently living in Tacoma Washinton. The beauty of numbers and their connection to the pure geometry of space time and the universe is shown in his fractal diagrams. 

All are HAND DRAWN using only a pencil, ruler and compass.”

After being kicked in the head repeatedly during a mugging:

A scan of Padgett’s brain showed damage that was forcing his brain to overcompensate in certain areas that most people don’t have access to, Brogaard explained. The result was Padgett was now an acquired savant, meaning brilliant in a specific area.”


Exotic Fractals


These images look like exotic phyto-plankton, but in fact they are boundary of different Julia sets.  Julia sets are mathematical fractals. The same pattern repeats infinitely in smaller and smaller detail. Following the same simple rules repeatedly, these amazing patterns are formed.

Fathom the Universe

Source and image credit:


Dude! That top one totally looks like a dendrimer! Will post more about dendrimers soon…

Ethan Turpin, Video Feedback: Pixel Behaviors, 2010,

Sight-specific installation, Kala Studio, Berkeley, CA 2010

“Pointing a live video camera at its own projection gives what is known as a “video feedback loop”. The camera reads the screen and then projects the image, in a repeating vortex. By carefully adjusting the angles and standard controls on a mid-1990′s-era video camera, Ethan Turpin isolates the self-sustaining patterns. The real-time animation can move from patterns resembling pantheistic design to microorganisms expanded to a human scale, evoking the uncanny feeling that life has emerged from within the system. Participants can move in the space between the camera and projection screen surface, integrating into the abstracted image.” 

An example of Optical feedback

Image source:

Examples of dynamic optical feedback image on television monitor

Image source:

More information:

More animations from this Wikimedia gallery of animations from Conway’s Game of Life!

Pulsar (period 3)

Another 3-period oscillator

8-period oscillator

This one’s also really cool, but it’s not uploading for some reason

“The world’s largest viscous fingering simulation”

’nuff said

Source: Moore’s Law and the Saffman-Taylor Instability
Petri Fast and Michael J. Shelley
in Journal of Computational Physics 212, 1-5 (2005)

Images 1-3 from Marshall et al. 2007. “Stomatopod eye structure and function: A review.” Arthropod Structure & Development. Volume 36, Issue 4, Pages 420–448.

Image 4 from Marshall et al. 1999. “Behavioural evidence for polarisation vision in stomatopods reveals a potential channel for communication.” Current Biology. Volume 9, Issue 14, Pages 755–758.

Astropyga radiata (Diadematidae) – fire urchin, blue-spotted urchin

I wonder if the spots are actually luminescent, or just highly reflective?

Photo 1: Geoffrey Bertrand (2011) link

Photo 2: Teresa Zubi (2005?)

Photo 3: Source: