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Archive for August, 2009

Snow Flakes

Snow crystals form when tiny supercooled cloud droplets freeze. These droplets are able to remain liquid at temperatures lower than −18 °C (0r °F), because to freeze, a few molecules in the droplet need to get together by chance to form an arrangement similar to that in an ice lattice; then the droplet freezes around this “nucleus.”

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Ice Flowers

Ice flowers are formed on new layers of sea ice, from saturated water vapors that come up from under the ice through cracks. In contact with the cold air, the vapors start to freeze and the salt on the surface of the ice begins to crystallize and serves as a nucleus for the frozen vaporized water. Thus, molecule by molecule the ice flowers begin to take shape. They have recently been recognized as the dominant source of sea salt aerosol in Antarctica and scientists suspect they may be the main cause of tropospheric ozone depletion during the polar sunrise. One of the most beautiful frozen wonders on Earth, ice flowers are still a mystery to many people.

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Ice Circles

A rare phenomenon usually only seen in extremely cold countries, scientists generally accept that Ice Circles are formed when surface ice gathers in the center of a body of water rather than the edges. A slow moving river current can create a slow turning eddy, which rotates, forming an ice disc. Very slowly the edges are ground down until a gap is formed between the eddy and the surrounding ice. These ice circles have been seen with diameters of over 500 feet and can also at times be found in clusters and groups at different sizes. (Photo by Brook Tyler) (Link)

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Ice Caves

Ice caves are a type of natural cave that contain significant amounts of ice. At least a portion of the cave must have a temperature below 0 °C (32 °F) all year round, and water must have traveled into the cave’s cold zone. There are many ice caves throughout the world, but the Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Austria are some of the largest known to man. (Link)

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Frozen Waterfalls

The growth of a frozen waterfall can proceed only gradually, for progressive freezing of the flowing water. There are thousands of frozen falls around the world. The one located at Beijing’s Myun County attracts tourists from all over the country as well as internationally. A beautiful display of nature’s art at work.

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Allergic to modern living

For most people talking on a mobile phone, cooking dinner in the microwave or driving in a car is simply part of modern living in 21st century. But completing any such tasks is impossible for people like Debbie Bird – who is allergic to modern technology. The 39-year-old is so sensitive to the electromagnetic field (emf) or ‘smog’ created by computers, mobile phones, microwave ovens and even some cars, that she develops a painful skin rash and her eyelids swell to three times their size if she goes near them.

Officially in the UK, electro-sensitivity (ES) does not exist as a medical condition. Doctors say there is little scientific evidence to back up a link between EMF and poor health. They claim the symptoms, often attributed to flu or viruses, are psychosomatic. But campaigners disagree. They reckon around 500 people are already being treated for ES and as many as five per cent of the population could be affected. (Link)

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Allergic to the sun

It’s not that uncomun for people to be allergic to the sun, but there is special type of sun allergy, called solar urticaria, that is very rare. It is said that very few people in the world suffer from it. Solar urticaria (SU) is a rare condition in which exposure to ultraviolet or UV radiation, or sometimes even visible light, induces a case of urticaria or hives that can appear in both covered and uncovered areas of the skin. The most common locations include the “V” of the neck, the back of the hands, the outside surface of the arms and the lower legs. (Link)

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