I Didn’t Know That – Can You Survive Quicksand?
National Geographic
Mar 19, 2013
Is it possible to survive being stuck in quicksand? Jonny Phillips risks life and limb to experience firsthand what it is like to slowly sink into quicksand—just a few feet away from an incoming tide.


Volcano video

Drones Sacrificed for Spectacular Volcano Video
National Geographic
Feb 24, 2015
An active volcano in Vanuatu … images of the spectacular yet dangerous Marum Crater … the 7.5-mile-wide (12-kilometer) caldera while confronting toxic gases and boiling lava.

From Ashes To Ashes To Diamonds

From Ashes To Ashes To Diamonds: A Way To Treasure The Dead
January 19, 2014

Diamonds are supposed to be a girl’s best friend. Now, they might also be her mother, father or grandmoth er.

Swiss company Algordanza takes cremated human remains and — under high heat and pressure that mimic conditions deep within the Earth — compresses them into diamonds.

Rinaldo Willy, the company’s founder and CEO, says he came up with the idea a decade ago.

Each year, the remains of between 800 and 900 people enter the facility. About three months later, they exit as diamonds.

Most of the stones come out blue, Willy says, because the human body contains trace amounts of boron, an element that may be involved in bone formation. Occasionally, though, a diamond pops out white, yellow or close to black – Willy’s not sure why. Regardless, he says, “every diamond from each person is slightly different. It’s always a unique diamond.”

West Coast’s Early Warning System For Quakes Still Spotty

West Coast’s Early Warning System For Quakes Still Spotty
December 26, 2013

Seismic waves take time to travel from the epicenter, which means such a warning system could issue alerts ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes. A prototype has been developed for the region, seismologists say, but the complete network still lacks funding, and has big gaps outside cities.

Meanwhile, Japan already has something like that up and running.
Japan’s high-speed trains put on their brakes. Delicate industrial processes shut down. Eye surgeons step away from their patients. And people take cover.

This test system already has a few users trying it out, including Bay Area Rapid Transit. Kevin Copley, manager of computer systems engineering at BART, says when they test the system — or simply get a false alarm — the subway’s trains all slow down to 26 mph to reduce the risk of a derailment.