There’s a deceptively still body of water in Tanzania with a deadly secret—it turns any animal it touches to stone. The rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, but the petrified creatures it leaves behind are straight out of a horror film.
Photographed by Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, petrified creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its constant pH of 9 to 10.5—an extremely basic alkalinity that preserves these creatures for eternity. According to Brandt:
I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.
The rest of the haunting images follow and they feature in Brandt’s book, available here. Or, you could go and visit for yourself—but keep a safe distance from the water, please. [New Scientist]
All images via © Nick Brandt 2013 Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY
30 Unique And Must-See Photos From Our Past
Alex Wain May 30, 2013 49
Photographs have long been used to record special and unique moments – birthdays, weddings and the occasional selfie are all commonplace. But these next 30 photographs go beyond the norm – they encapsulate the mood, tone and values of yesteryear, a compelling account of the evolution of our values if you will.
From landmarks in history, strange feats of physical endurance through to peculiar devices & oddball characters we hope this series of images will astound, confound and enthrall you.
1. Unpacking the Head of the Statue of Liberty delivered June 17, 1885
2. The hippo belonged to a circus and apparently enjoyed pulling the cart as a trick 1924
3. Charlie Chaplin in 1916 at the age of 27
4. Annie Edison Taylor (1838-1921), the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel in 1901.
5. Sharing bananas with a goat during the Battle of Saipan, ca. 1944
6. Advertisement for Atabrine, an anti-malaria drug. Papua, New Guinea during WWII
7. Artificial legs, United Kingdom, ca. 1890
8. 1920′s lifeguard
9. Bookstore ruined by an air raid, London 1940
10. Testing new bulletproof vests, 1923
11. Suntan vending machine, 1949
12. A space chimp poses for the camera after a successful mission to space in 1961
13. Unknown soldier in Vietnam, 1965
14. Little girl comforting her doll in the ruins of her bomb damaged home, London, 1940
15. Illegal alcohol being poured out during Prohibition, Detroit 1929
16. Austrian boy receives new shoes during WWII
17. Construction of the Berlin wall, 1961
18. Animals being used as a part of medical therapy in 1956
19. Hitler’s officers and cadets celebrating Christmas, 1941
20. Children eating their Christmas dinner during the Great Depression: turnips and cabbage
21. The real Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, ca. 1927
22. Abraham Lincoln’s hearse, 1865
23. A most beautiful suicide – 23 year old Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from an observation deck (83rd floor) of the Empire State Building, May 1, 1947. She landed on a United Nations limousine…
24. A mom and her son watch the mushroom cloud after an atomic test 75 miles away, Las Vegas, 1953
25. A penniless mother hides her face in shame after putting her children up for sale, Chicago, 1948
26. Annette Kellerman promoted women’s right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit, 1907… She was arrested for indecency.
27. Martin Luther King Jr. with his son by his side removing a burnt cross from his front yard, 1960
28. Walter Yeo, one of the first people to undergo advanced plastic surgery & a skin transplant.
29. Princeton students after a freshman vs. sophomores snowball fight in 1893
30. Melted and damaged mannequins after a fire at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, 1930
Scientists Create New Form Of Matter Composed Of Pure Light
Light sabers are now a reality, ScienceDaily reports:
A group at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms have managed to coax light photons into binding together to form molecules — a state of matter that, until recently, had been purely theoretical.
The discovery runs contrary to accepted wisdom about the nature of light. Photons have long been described as massless particles which don’t interact with each other. “Photonic molecules,” however, behave more like something in science fiction — the light saber.
“What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they begin to act as though they have mass, and they bind together to form molecules,” Lukin said.
The system could be useful in classical computing, considering the power-dissipation challenges chip-makers now face. It might one day even be used to create complex three-dimensional structures wholly out of light.