Thioacetone may be the foulest-smelling chemical in the world—so foul, in fact, that when it was first synthesized in 1889, it induced vomiting and fainting from half a mile away. Read on to find out more about a stink that puts skunks and rotten eggs to shame.
Nestled at the coordinate (0,0) rests Null Island, an intriguing digital illusion masquerading as an island. It serves as a sanctuary for wayward geodata, gathering fragments from across the globe and providing them with a virtual abode.
In 1980, oil drillers in Louisiana caused Lake Peigneur to drain underground, transforming the landscape and swallowing up millions of dollars worth of equipment. The disaster was caused by two companies undertaking parallel extraction operations in the vicinity of the lake.
The Byford Dolphin accident was a notorious 1983 disaster in the North Sea that instantly killed four oil rig divers and an attending technician. All five crew members died due to explosive decompression, but the factors that caused the accident are poorly understood, unlike its gruesome aftermath.
The Dark Forest Theory is a thought experiment about the behavior of extraterrestrial intelligence. It suggests that alien life exists in the galaxy and if they discover us, they may attempt to kill us to protect themselves.
For 72 seconds on August 15, 1977, a radio telescope in Ohio detected what may have been a signal from extraterrestrial intelligence. It was a narrow-band burst of radio waves, matching no known natural phenomenon, and it stood out like a sore thumb from the ordinary background noise of the cosmos.
The Fermi Paradox questions why, despite the vastness of the universe, we have not found evidence of extraterrestrial life. There are a few possible reasons why there may be very few habitable planets like Earth, such as the Rare Earth hypothesis. Another theory, the Dark Forest theory, suggests that intelligent beings may intentionally hide to avoid confrontation with aggressive neighboring civilizations.
The Voyager Golden Record, sent on Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in 1977 by NASA, is a time capsule that showcases human civilization and aims to communicate the essence of Earth to beings beyond our planet. The Golden Record, which includes 115 pictures, greetings in 55 languages, natural sounds, and 90 minutes of diverse music, marks humanity’s initial attempt to explore beyond our solar system.
It’s obvious to any stargazer on a clear night that we live in a universe vast beyond imagining, glittering with worlds besides our own—and yet, as far as we know, Earth is the only planet to have developed living creatures of any kind. Intelligent life is an unrepeated experiment, with a sample size of one. Could we really be alone?