Rare Ice Disks
Although extremely rare, ice disks, also known as ice circles, do indeed appear naturally from time to time when conditions are perfect. Above are a few examples of people who have been lucky enough to stumble onto one while holding a camera.
Ice discs form on the outer bends in a river where the accelerating water creates a force called ‘rotational shear’, which breaks off a chunk of ice and twists it around. As the disc rotates, it grinds against surrounding ice — smoothing into a circle. A relatively uncommon phenomenon, one of the earliest recordings is of a slowly revolving disc was spotted on the Mianus River and reported in a 1895 edition of Scientific American.
Second Rare Oarfish Washes Ashore in Southern California
For the second time in a week, the rare, serpentine oarfish has surfaced on a Southern California beach.
Beach goers at Oceanside Harbor crossed paths Friday afternoon with the deep-sea monster when its carcass washed ashore, Oceanside Police Officer Mark Bussey said. The fish measured 13 ½ feet long. The discovery came just days after an 18-foot dead oarfish was found in the waters off Catalina Island.
“The call came out as a possible dead whale stranded on the beach, so we responded and saw the fish on the sand right as it washed up,” Bussey said.
Oceanside police then contacted SeaWorld San Diego, the Scripps Research Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Suzanne Kohin of NOAA Fisheries Serivice responded, measured and took possession of the oarfish for research, Bussey said. He further added that people on the beach were “flabbergasted” to see the fish.
“It’s not the typical fish you see on shore,” he said, adding the oarfish probably weighed over 200 pounds. The fish was far too big for Santana to carry alone; it took 15 people to bring the beast to shore.
But these two massive fish are puny by oarfish standards, according to the NOAA. The oarfish is the largest bony fish in the sea and can grow over 50 feet in length. Very little is known about the species, since it usually is found hundreds, if not thousands of feet below the surface, reaching depths up to 3,000 feet.
The Mysterious Rediscovery of Ocean Jasper
Ocean jasper is such a unique stone, its found in only one place in the world — a small site along the northwest coast of the island of Madagascar. Ocean jasper is a variety of orbicular jasper, a type of jasper named for the spherical shapes that pattern the stone. The term jasper comes from the Greek word, iaspis, meaning “spotted stone.” Various forms of this jasper can be found in many areas around the world, however the ocean jasper of Madagascar is unique due its beautiful colors and markings.
Another aspect that lends mystery to the stone is the story of how it was found, or actually “found again”. Ocean Jasper was first written about in 1922, but the location was lost for the next 75 years. All that was known was that it came from somewhere in Madagascar, and that the location of the quarry had been lost. In the 1950s, a sample specimen was brought to the Museum of Sciences in Paris, France. But with the sample came a mystery — no one knew where the source was located and Madagascar is a very large island (approximately 1,000 km long and 300 km wide).
The stone made its reappearance to the world at the 2000 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, and the story behind its rediscovery was the talk of the crowd. After 45 days of tirelessly searching along the Madagascar coast, an exploration group from the mining company, Madagascar Minerals, located the ocean jasper deposit. The reason the site was lost for so long is that it is only visible at low tide.
Oldest Living Person Ever Documented at 123 Years Old
FRASQUIA, Bolivia — If Bolivia’s public records are correct, Carmelo Flores Laura is the oldest living person ever documented. They say he turned 123 a month ago.
The native Aymara lives in a straw-roofed dirt-floor hut in an isolated hamlet near Lake Titicaca at 13,100 feet (4,000 meters), is illiterate, speaks no Spanish and has no teeth. He walks without a cane and doesn’t wear glasses. And though he speaks Aymara with a firm voice, one must talk into his ear to be heard.
"I see a bit dimly. I had good vision before. But I saw you coming," he tells Associated Press journalists who visit after a local TV report touts him as the world’s oldest person.
Hobbling down a dirt path, Flores greets them with a raised arm, smiles and sits down on a rock. His gums bulge with coca leaf, a mild stimulant that staves off hunger. Like most Bolivian highlands peasants, he has been chewing it all his life.
Guinness World Records says the oldest living person verified by original proof of birth is Misao Okawa, a 115-year-old Japanese woman. The oldest verified age was 122 years and 164 days: Jeanne Calment of France, who died in 1997.
Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas said it wasn’t aware of a claim being filed for the Bolivian.
The director of Bolivia’s civil registrar, Eugenio Condori, showed The Associated Press the registry that lists Flores’ birthdate as July 16, 1890.
Condori said birth certificates did not exist in Bolivia until 1940. Births previously were registered with baptism certificates provided by Roman Catholic priests.
"For the state, the baptism certificate is valid," Condori said. He said he couldn’t show Flores’ baptism certificate to the AP because it is a private document.
Three Month Old Baby Suffers from Spontaneous Human Combustion
Although it sounds more like a script from a supernatural film, Rahul, a three-month-old baby from Villupuram, India, is believed to suffer from a rare condition known as Spontaneous Human Combustion. This causes his body to suddenly burst into flames for no apparent reason.
Rahul’s parents have been informed that there is no known cure for Spontaneous Human Combustion and that doctors can only treat his wounds. They also suggested that Rahul be kept away from inflammable substances and in a climate controlled room to prevent him from sweating.
The child’s father, Karnan, told reporters that their family lost their home in one of the fires started by Rahul’s rare condition. Luckily, the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital heard their story and admitted the baby. He he is being treated for severe burn injuries. Dr. R. Narayana Babu, head of pediatrics at KMC says, “It has been scientifically documented that concentrated combustion air excreted from the body could result in such episodes.”
Only 200 similar cases have been reported around the world in the last 300 years. The last case dates from 1995, when a 73-year-old man from Wales died in his sleep after going up in flames.
Early 17th Century Combination Warhammer and Warpick/Six Shot Gun
Has six barrels concealed on it for six shots. The head contains five barrels, the muzzle is concealed by a hinged cover forming the edge of the hammer. The topmost barrel is ignited by a matchlock fitted on one side of the head, its mechanism concealed by a brass plate cut out and engraved in the form of a lion. The second barrel has a wheel lock ignition system, the mechanism of which occupies most of the outer surface of the opposite side of the axe-head. There is a tubular extension to the pan of the wheel lock intended to hold a length of match which would be ignited by the flash of the priming and then withdrawn to ignite the three remaining barrels. A sixth barrel, also hand-ignited, is concealed within the haft.
Part of the Royal Armouries Collection, on display at the Tower of London.
Rare Stick Insect Hatchling
This chartreuse green insect is unfurling from its little egg to add to a slowly swelling captive population of Lord Howe Island stick insects – one of the rarest, and largest, insects in the world – at Melbourne Zoo. It will grow up to be a flightless, nocturnal insect that stretches up to 12 cm long, its solid, shiny black or rust-colored body weighing up to 25 grams.