Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Johnald's Fantastical Daily Link Splurge

Johnald's Fantastical Daily Link Splurge

Penguins, Peaks and Penny-Farthings: Nat Geo Covers 1959-2000

Posted: 27 Jan 2010 02:01 AM PST

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National Geographic magazine is known for its high-quality journalism, preservation of historical moments and access to some of the most remote places on Earth.

But what it is best known for is its images. In particular, the iconic yellow-bordered cover shots that opened our eyes to new corners of the world. It's the amazing stuff you'd never see if National Geographic didn't show it to you.

The National Geographic Society celebrates its 122nd anniversary on Jan. 27. The first issue of the magazine was published 10 months later in 1888. Though the early issues had rather drab academic looking covers, by 1959 they were consistently adorned with eye-cathing art and photos.

Here we've collected some of our favorite covers from 1959 to 2000, including a penguin with a high-tech backpack, a self portrait by Koko the gorilla and a shark attack.

Image: National Geographic

Best Display of Mars From Earth in 6 Years on Wednesday

Posted: 26 Jan 2010 03:14 PM PST


On Jan. 27, Mars will be closer to Earth than any other time between 2008 and 2014. A mere 60 million miles away, the red planet will be a great target for backyard telescopes, and will appear bright to the naked eye as well.

Every 26 months, the two planets' orbits bring them closer together, sometimes closer than others. In 2003, Mars came within 35 million miles of Earth, a 60,000-year record.

Observers with a telescope will be able to seechangesoverthe north pole of Mars as the carbon dioxide ice capis nearing summer and evaporating into gas that affects the polar clouds. (If any of our reader-astronomers catch a nice image, send it our way!)

From the ground, Mars will look like an orange star almost as bright as Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. The view will actually be best on Friday, Jan. 29, when Mars will rise alongside the first fullmoon of the year, directly opposite the sun.

For help locating Mars, view NASA's full sky maps for Jan. 27, 28 and 29.

Image: NASA

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Follow us on Twitter @betsymason and @wiredscience, and on Facebook.

Google Teams With NOAA to Make Better Ocean Visualizations

Posted: 26 Jan 2010 01:09 PM PST


Data from the depths could get a lot less murky soon, thanks to a new partnership announced by Google and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA will provide data from its various ocean-science programs and Google will build tools to visualize that information, the two organizationsannounced Tuesday. The deal extends a collaboration that began when Google built NOAA's underwater topography into Google Earth. The two entities have continued to work together on other projects,such asincorporating satellite measurements on coral-reef bleaching.

The partnership will include porting more ocean depth, climate and other scientific data into Google Earth as well as providing online access to zoning and regulatory information near the coasts. NOAA outreach programs like Science on a Sphere and the Okeanos Explorer ship will also get some kind of Google makeover.

While the first Google oceans-data release generated a lot of excitement, its implementationbrought a mixed response from specialists.

Image: The ocean near Okinawa (upper left)/Google Earth.

See Also:

WiSci 2.0: Alexis Madrigal's Twitter, Google Reader feed, and green tech history research site; Wired Science on Twitter and Facebook.