Weird Universe


New York Biotopes

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Feb 11, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Art, Surrealism, Nature, Technology

Singing Sand

Apparently there are some beaches that sing. More specifically, the sand on these beaches makes a "singing, squeaking, whistling, or barking" sound when you walk across it or run your hand over it. From Wikipedia:

On some beaches around the world, dry sand will make a singing, squeaking, whistling, or barking sound if a person scuffs or shuffles their feet with sufficient force. The phenomenon is not completely understood scientifically, but it has been found that quartz sand will do this if the grains are very well-rounded and highly spherical. It is believed by some that the sand grains must be of similar size, so the sand must be well sorted by the actions of wind and waves, and that the grains should be close to spherical and have dust-, pollution-, and organic-matter-free surfaces. The "singing" sound is then believed to be produced by shear as each layer of sand grains slides over the layer beneath it. The similarity in size, the uniformity, and the cleanness mean that grains move up and down in unison over the layer of grains below them. Even small amounts of pollution on the sand grains reduces the friction enough to silence the sand.

The sand here in San Diego definitely doesn't sing, and all the pollution we get from Tijuana guarantees it'll never make a squeak! Lake Michigan has some of the most famous singing sand. Some videos below.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Jan 06, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Nature, Natural Wonders

Ranger Rick

Is Ranger Rick more ghastly and scary than Woodsy Owl? Your call!

You just know, of course, when he's seated at that computer he's surfing for furry porn.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Dec 17, 2012 | Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Anthropomorphism, Nature, Children, 1960's

Woodsy Owl

Woodsy in the 70s, the 80s and the 90s. The newest look is horrifying, in my opinion, like some creature from THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Dec 02, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: Animals, Authorities and Experts, Government, Nature, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, Fictional Monsters

Penguins On Thin Ice


In his latest NOTW column, Chuck mentions a "climate change musical" created with government funding.

Here is the home page.

With all the songs as soundfiles you can "enjoy."

You can even download a PDF of the script.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Nov 26, 2012 | Comments (8)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Music, Nature

Singing Sands

The mystery of singing sand dunes has been explained. None the less it is a fascinating phenomenon to hear.
Posted By: patty | Date: Thu Nov 01, 2012 | Comments (17)
Category: Nature

An Icicle That Looks Like A Bird

It must have been a slow news day when this photo ran in papers back in 1959. The icicle that looks like a bird was found outside a Detroit home. [via eBay]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Oct 19, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Nature, Weather, 1950's

Regretably Prophetic Oil Company Ad

image image
[In two halves: click each to enlarge]

Original ad here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 01, 2012 | Comments (11)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Nature, Natural Resources, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1960's

The Sound of the Northern Lights Clapping

People have long reported that they've heard strange clapping sounds coming from the Northern Lights. But scientists tended to ignore these reports. The people hearing the sounds were told they were imagining them, or that the sounds were coming from sources such as trees or falling ice. But now Finnish researchers at Aalto University have recorded the Aurora Borealis actually making these snapping/clapping sounds, and have confirmed (to their satisfaction) that the sounds couldn't have been coming from anywhere else. More info at and at the researcher's website.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jul 28, 2012 | Comments (8)
Category: Nature, Natural Wonders, Noises and Other Public Disturbances of the Peace, Science


Cascade from Timothy LaPointe on Vimeo.

And what exactly did you ingest before venturing into the woods?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Jul 17, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Nature, Pop Art, Surrealism
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.