Science & nature

Incredible or unusual natural phenomena from around the globe

Welwitschia mirabilis: The world's toughest plant

Welwitschia mirabilis: The world’s toughest plant

Last year, I decided my bathroom needed brightening up with a plant of some kind. But the windowless, sunlight-abandoned room didn’t really seem like the best place for a living creature (apart from me during my toileting and showering). After a bit of research, I settled on an orchid. Needless to say, my bathroom now features two dead sticks in a pot.

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the northern lights

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the northern lights

It’s an amazing sight that many of us have on our bucket lists (alongside such experiences as sky diving with dolphins or something) but what exactly are the northern and southern lights? And do the northern lights constantly tease the southern ones about wearing a coat? Allow me to answer one of those questions.

Samoa: The country that travelled to the future

For centuries, people have written stories about time travel. What if you could skip forward and see what the future’s like? What if you could meet your great-great-great-grandchildren and tell them what an awesome guy their great-great-great-grandfather was? Well what if I told you time travel is real, and that the people of Samoa are the ones who finally managed it?

Everything you wanted to know about aubergines

Everything you wanted to know about aubergines

It’s a little ironic for me to be writing about aubergines considering I probably haven’t ever eaten one myself. I’m an incredibly fussy eater and I’m sure I would’ve dismissed the idea of eating a purple vegetable off-hand. But nevertheless, the aubergine is a fascinating thing for many different reasons. Let me tell you why.

Gem stones: What are they, where do they come from and how are they made?

Gem stones: What are they, where do they come from and how are they made?

I could be considered part magpie. I love shiny things and… Actually, that’s the only thing I have in common with a magpie. I probably won’t enter your nest and steal your eggs while you’re not looking.

Penitentes: Incredible blades of ice that point towards the sun

Penitentes: Incredible blades of ice that point towards the sun

Penitentes or nieves penitente (which is Spanish for “penitent-shaped snows”) are pointy blades of hardened snow or ice.

Ice shoves: Incredible frozen waves that get blown ashore by the wind

Ice shoves: Incredible frozen waves that get blown ashore by the wind

I don’t like unexpected visitors, even less so when the visitor is an aggressive wall of ice. Luckily, ice shoves, as they’re called, don’t happen very often. They need very specific conditions to develop.