The Size of Countries in Real Life Versus the Size of Countries on a Map

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The Size of Countries in Real Life Versus the Size of Countries on a Map

Maps lie. We all learned this at some point in school, when we realized Greenland wasn’t quite the hulking beast of land mass we thought it was. I mean, Greenland isn’t even a third of the size of Australia. And the UK is teeny! Smaller than Japan, the Philippines, and Madagascar. Come to think of it, all of Europe is way smaller than what we imagine it to be on the map.

This discrepancy between the map size of a country and the real size of a country happens because we try to project our world which is shaped like a sphere (which is 3D, you know) onto a 2D map. Basically, countries closer to the North and South poles will look much larger and distorted on a map than countries closer to the Equator (which will look smaller and scrunched up). This effect is seen on the Mercator Projection, a cylindrical map projection of our world.

RealLifeLore fills in the background of what we forgot in school about map size and then drops in fun and random comparisons that really drive in the difference. Just know that Europe is super small and Africa is a ginormous continent that could fit in a lot of damn countries with room to spare.

NASA’s Solar Observatory Freaked Out But It’s Not Because of the Apocalypse

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NASA’s Solar Observatory Freaked Out But It’s Not Because of the Apocalypse


After more than a week offline, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory—the sun-watching spacecraft responsible for these close-up images of solar flares, fire, and loops—is back. But just what caused it to glitch in the first place?

The SDO’s instruments went out on August 2nd in a planned outage during a lunar transit, when the moon crosses between the observatory and the sun. These transits are fairly common and predictable, and the SDO usually switches over into a holding-mode until the transit is over. This time, though, it got stuck there.

August 2nd transit, right before SDO holding mode (Image: NASA/SDO)

The team had to revive the SDO’s science instruments one-by-one to get it back online. The first two observation instruments—the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager and the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment—kicked back on fairly easily, within two days. But the final one—the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, which takes pictures of plasma surrounding the sun—had to have all its software reloaded before the researchers could finally get it back in action, more than a full week after it had gone out.

Now that the AIA is back, the SDO is back to its full capacity. But, NASAcautions that they’ll need to continue to check the data and calibrate it to make sure everything is really working on the SDO just like it was before. For now, though, we can all keep enjoying the SDO images that it continues to beam back.

Looks like the search for the rumored Nazi ghost train is back on

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Looks like the search for the rumored Nazi ghost train is back on


amanda fixed train


A tunnel with tracks for mining cars, part of the Nazi Germany “Riese” construction project, pictured near an area where a Nazi train is believed to be, in Walim near Walbrzych southwestern Poland, August 31, 2015.

The search for a lost Nazi gold train is back on.

Last August two amateur treasure hunters said they had “irrefutable proof” of the existence of a World War II-era Nazi ghost train, rumored to be filled with stolen gold.

Andreas Richter and Piotr Koper claimed they used ground-penetrating radar to locate the train, which is somewhere alongside a railway that stretches between the towns Wroclaw and Walbrzych in southwestern Poland.

“The train isn’t a needle in a haystack,” said Andrzej Gaik, a retired teacher and spokesman for the renewed effort to search for the train told AFP.

“If it’s there, we’ll find it,” Gaik added.

‘There may be a tunnel. There is no train’


nazi train


Journalists visit underground tunnels, which are part of the Nazi Germany “Riese” construction project, under the Ksiaz castle in an area where a Nazi train is believed to be, in Walbrzych, southwestern Poland September 3, 2015.

Back in December, after analyzing mining data, Polish experts said there was no evidence of the buried train.

Professor Janusz Madej from Krakow’s Academy of Mining said the geological survey of the site showed that there was no evidence of a train after using magnetic and gravitation methods.

“There may be a tunnel. There is no train,”Madej said at a news conference in Walbrzych, according to the BBC.

One of the treasure hunters, Piotr Koper, insists that “there is a tunnel and there is a train” and that the results are skewed because of different technology used, the Telegraph reports.

Local folklore


nazi train


Tadeusz Slowikowski, retired miner and explorer shows documents near an area where a Nazi train is believed to be, in Walbrzych, southwestern Poland September 4, 2015.

According to a local myth, the train is believed to have vanished in 1945 with stolen gold, gems, and weapons when the Nazi’s retreated from the Russians.

During the war, the Germans were building headquarters for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in Walbrzych’s medieval Ksiaz Castle (then-called the Fuerstenstein castle).

Below the castle the Germans built a system of secret tunnels and bunkers called “Project Riese.”

The train is in one of these hidden passages, says Tadeusz Slowikowski, the only living source of the train legend. Slowikowski, a retired miner who searched for the train in 2001, believes the Nazi’s blew up the entrance to the train’s tunnel.

“I have lived with this mystery for 40 years, but each time I went to the authorities they always silenced it,” Slowikowski told The Associated Press. “For so many years! Unbelievable!”

Slowikowski, who searched for the train in 2001, believes it is near the 65th kilometer of railway tracks from Wroclaw to Walbrzych.


NASA Peers into the Eye of a ‘Super Typhoon’ (Photo)

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NASA Peers into the Eye of a ‘Super Typhoon’ (Photo)
NASA Peers into the Eye of a 'Super Typhoon' (Photo)
A trio of images from NASA MISR equipment

Credit: Joshua Stevens and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory, data from NASA/GSFC/JPL, MISR Team

The swirling mass of white clouds, the placid eye of the storm: Satellite imagery has become common enough that it’s easy to envision the whorl of a typhoon as seen from space. But that mental picture likely doesn’t include such details as the relative air temperatures, or just how strong the wind is blowing.

NASA’s Earth Observatory recently released satellite images, taken with three different instruments, of Super Typhoon Nepartak as it raged over the Philippine Sea before making landfall in Taiwan on July 8. The images include visualizations of the height, direction, wind speed and temperature of the vortex, which sustained winds at 113 knots (130 mph or 210 km/h).

The first of the images shows the range of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR), an instrument launched in 1999 aboard Terra, a school-bus-size satellite that is considered the flagship of NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS). Multiple cameras at different angles provide depth cues, allowing scientists to calculate information such as the height of clouds. [Hurricanes from Above: Images of Nature’s Biggest Storms]

MISR has been used for a variety of purposes, such as collecting information on wildfires, volcanic plumes and dust storms across the globe.

A RapidScat image of the typhoon.
A RapidScat image of the typhoon.

Credit: Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory, RapidScat data from JPL

A second image shows the direction and speed of wind near the ocean surface, based on the roughness of the water. That data comes from the RapidScat instrument aboard the International Space Station.

A MODIS thermal image of the storm.
A MODIS thermal image of the storm.

Credit: Jeff Schmaltz and Joshua Stevens, NASA, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response

The thermal image came from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite. The MODIS instrument can detect a wide range of electromagnetic radiation, from microwaves to infrared, visible and ultraviolet light. And that flexibility allows it to directly or indirectly measure temperature, how much radiation is reflected by the planet’s surface (albedo), photosynthesis activity and levels of airborne particles (aerosols).

Nepartak began as a tropical depression on July 2, eventually building to the wind speeds that qualified it for “super typhoon” status. It killed two people and injured 72 in Taiwan before moving to Fujian Province, China, where it killed six and left eight missing.

Original article on Live Science.

More US Teens May Be Facing Depression: Here’s Why

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More US Teens May Be Facing Depression: Here’s Why
  • More US Teens May Be Facing Depression: Here's Why

Credit: Purch Creative Ops

Across the U.S., there’s been an uptick in the percentage of teens who are having episodes of depression, a new report finds.

From 2013 to 2014, about one in nine teens in the United States had amajor depressive episode, up from about one in 10 teens from 2012 to 2013, the researchers found. Psychologists define a major depressive episode as having symptoms of major depressive disorder — such as depressed mood or feelings of emptiness, hopelessness or irritability — that last for two weeks or more.

In the report, the researchers looked at data from the government’s National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, in which adolescents ages 12 to 17 were asked about their drug use and mental health. The researchers focused on questions about symptoms the teens may have experienced in the past year that would signal an individual had experienced a major depressive episode. [8 Tips for Parents of Teens with Depression]

Overall, the national percentage of teens who had major depressive episodes in the 2013-2014 report was 11 percent, up from 9.9 percent in the 2012-2013 report, the researchers found.

It’s unclear if these findings mean that rates will continue to go up, said Myrna Weissman, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York. To figure that out, you’d have to look at trends over a longer time, she said.

However, the findings are in line with what experts would expect:Depression is very common among adolescents, Weissman told Live Science.

The teens included in the study were right in the age range at which you’d expect symptoms of depression to first emerge, Weissman said.

Ardesheer Talati, an assistant professor of clinical neurobiology in psychiatry at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, agreed that one year isn’t long enough to determine if rates are truly rising or if the reported increase is more of a blip.

However, three factors may explain the slight increase, Talati told Live Science.

First, increased awareness of mental illness could lead to more teens going to the doctor to be evaluated for depression. Or, in cases of younger adolescents, parents may pick up on changes in their kids’ behavior, and bring them to the doctor, he said.

Second, there’s a lot more pressure on teens than there was in the past, Talati said. These stressors — social, family and academic — may increase depression in teens, he said.

Finally, the way that depression is diagnosed has changed over time and has become more broad, Talati said. This means that more people will be diagnosed, he said.

The report also broke down the rates of major depressive episodes in teens in each state. While the national average was 11 percent, rates ranged from a low of 8.7 percent in Washington, D.C., to a high of 14.6 percent in Oregon, the researchers found.

In addition, out of the 10 states with the highest rates, four were found in the West (Oregon, Arizona, Utah and Washington), according to the report. Of the 10 states with the lowest rates, four were found in the South (Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky and Washington, D.C.).

Thirteen states had statistically significant increases in their rates; in the remaining states, the percentage of teens with a major depressive episode stayed the same between the two time points. [Infographic: Teens in 13 States Showed Increases in Major Depressive Episodes]

A number of factors may contribute to the differences in the rates of major depressive episodes across states.

For example, depression is more common in females than males, said Weissman, who is also the chief of the division of epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute. So if you have more females in one state, that’ll do it, she said.  [7 Ways Depression Differs in Men and Women]

Health care also plays a role, Weissman said. In states with fewer health care services, such as states with more rural areas, it can be much harder for people to get health care, she said. This means that a higher percentage of people who had a major depressive episode may experience another episode, later on.

Religion and economic status should also be considered, Weissman said. Some religious groups may not look favorably upon mental health care, she said. And in states where the economy is struggling, rates of depression can be higher if people are unable to find jobs, she said. Though the report looked at teens, this issue can affect older teens who do not plan to go to college and who want to find work, Weissman added.

In the report, the researchers focused on instances called major depressive episodes.

These episodes are a core feature of what doctors call major depressive disorder, Talati said. But a single episode does not indicate how the disorder will progress for a particular person. For example, for some adolescents a depressive episode might represent a lone event, triggered perhaps by a specific life stress; for others, it may reflect the beginning of a longer course of illness with more frequent or impairing episodes, he said. [10 Facts Every Parent Should Know About Their Teen’s Brain]

Indeed, it’s not clear from the new report if these major depressive episodes in teens are first-time occurrences, or re-occurrences, Weissman added.

Still, the rates that reach over 10 percent are problematic, said Talati, who is also an investigator at the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology. Depression as a teenager can have an impact on the rest of a person’s life, as well as that of their families, if it’s not addressed, he said.

Having a major depressive episode as a teen can increase a person’s risk of having additional episodes later in life, Weissman said.

Moreover, part of being a teen is learning independence and autonomy, said Dr. Leslie Miller, an assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. If a teen is feeling bad due to depression, he or she may miss out on important milestones, she said.

Depression can also affect how teens perform in school and in social settings, Miller said. Failing a semester due to depression can change a person’s trajectory in life, she added.

Weissman agreed. “Depression in adolescence can really affect one’s life,” she said. A teen may drop out of school, get involved with people that he or she shouldn’t, or find it difficult to get a job, she said. “It’s not a fruitful illness for flourishing,” she added.

It can be difficult for parents to distinguish between depression and run-of-the-mill teenage moodiness.

But there are signs that parents can look out for in their teens, including changes in sleep or appetite, loss of interest in activities the teens normally enjoy, social isolation, and increasing irritability, Miller told Live Science. [10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

But concerned parents don’t have to find a specialist right away, Miller said. A pediatrician is a good person to ask first about possibly seeking more specialized mental health care; he or she can advise parents as to whether it would be helpful to see a mental health specialist, she said. Parents who are more familiar with depression, or have personal experience with it, may go straight to the specialist, she added.

Miller added that increasing awareness of mental illness, including depression, can help teens recognize symptoms as well. If a teen knows the symptoms of depression, he or she may be able to recognize feeling off, or not enjoying activities anymore, she said.

Overall, recognizing symptoms is a good thing.

There are a lot of ways to treat depression, Talati said. Aside from medications, there are a range of different psychotherapy options that have been shown to work, he said.

Originally published on Live Science.

Amazing Images: The Best Science Photos of the Week

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Amazing Images: The Best Science Photos of the Week

Each week we find the most interesting and informative articles we can and along the way we uncover amazing and cool images. Here you’ll discover 10 incredible photos and the stories behind them.

Do the robot:

There is a world record for simultaneous robot dancing.

[Full Story: Do the Robot: 1,000-Plus Dancing Droids Break Record ]

Ethereal beauty from ISS:

The northern lights and an impact crater were captured in a single image taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

[Full Story: Wow! Northern Lights Glow in Breathtaking Image from Space Station]

Newly uncovered carvings:

Never-before-recorded petroglyphs have emerged on the coastline of Oahu.

[Full Story: Shifting Sands Reveal 400-Year-Old Petroglyphs in Hawaii]

Exploring Arthur’s birthplace?

Archaeologists are conducting excavations at Tintagel in Cornwall, in the southwest of England. In English folklore, the site is thought to be the birthplace of King Arthur.

[Full Story: Photos: Archaeological Excavations at Reputed Birthplace of King Arthur]

Amazing recovery:

Several patients who were paralyzed in their lower limbs for years have now regained some feeling and movement in their limbs, after they learned to control a robotic exoskeleton with their brain.

[Full Story: In Surprise Recovery, Paralyzed Patients Move After Using Brain Devices]

Gracing the greens:

Olympic spectators expecting to see chiseled athletes vying for gold in Rio might also see a few unexpected Brazilian natives, including capybaras, three-toed sloths and little alligator relatives known as caimans.

[Full Story: Par for the Course: 6 Animals That Roam Rio’s Olympic Golf Links]

Useful tech:

Drones can be used for the good of humankind, a new report shows.

[Full Story: In a First, Drone Used to Collect Medical Samples from Rural Village]

Dangers of being big-hearted:

A 57-year old man who went to the emergency room for swelling of his extremities learned that his symptoms had an unusual cause: a massively enlarged chamber of his heart, according to a brief report his case.

[Full Story: Giant Heart: Unusual Condition Means Heart is 80% of Man’s Chest]

But a breath:

A brilliantly hued Galapagos songbird is not one species, but two — or at least it was.

[Full Story: Newfound Galapagos Bird Species Already Went Extinct]

Living meteors:

The annual Perseid meteor shower peaked this week, but four daredevils were not to be outdone by the spectacular sky show. As meteors streaked across the night sky, the men jumped out of an airplane wearing LED wingsuits, transforming themselves, in essen

[Full Story: Skydivers Transform Into ‘Shooting Stars’ During Perseid Meteor Shower]

Ancient Bones Found On Greek Mountaintop May Confirm Chilling Legend

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Ancient Bones Found On Greek Mountaintop May Confirm Chilling Legend

The find gives credence to the idea that human sacrifice was part of ancient Greek culture.

This undated photo released Wednesday Aug. 10, 2016, provided by the Greek Culture Ministry, shows the 11th century B.C. skeleton of a teenager excavated recently at Mount Lykaion in the southern Peloponnese region of Greece, the mountaintop sanctuary of