Solar flares, Chinese hobos, and undersea noises on deck for this Monday.
Live in STEREO
One of the largest solar flares in recent history was captured last week by STEREO, a pair of satellites staggered along Earth’s orbit to obtain a constant clear view. The flare was about half the width of the sun, or 800,000 km at its largest. Here’s another view from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A homeless man with piercing looks and an oddly consistent sense of fashion was dubbed “The Ultimate Gorgeous #1 Passerby Handsome Guy” by Chinese bloggers, or “Brother Sharp” when photos taken of him by a passerby appeared online. This led to a “人肉搜索 (Rénròu Sōusuǒ)”, or “human flesh search” as hundreds of people combed the streets to find him and his story. Unfortunately, it seems that Brother Sharp has some big issues and won’t be designing couture anytime soon. A local blogger spoke:
“Long ago in 2008 I encountered him. Most people who see him will avoid him, treating him as a beggar and the link, but actually this is not accurate. 乞丐 [qǐgài "beggar"] in our country’s ancient words first appeared as a monosyllabic word. The meaning of 乞 [qǐ] in the golden texts was “to beg”. But he does not beg, nor does he know how to beg, because he has psychological problems (in Ningbo they call it “great fog sickness”). They do not have an identity, they do not have family, they’ve even forgotten who they are. They are a group of people abandoned by society, and their final outcome is to die without anyone inquiring about them. They wander in the space between humans and animals. Help them a bit and they become humans, ignore them and they are animals.
He once said this to me: “Find a girl to love me.”
Bloops and Bleeps
The VENTS group has a collection of six unknown noises captured by undersea microphone arrays, including the infamous “Bloop” signal.
The “Bloop” signal was detected repeatedly by the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array, which uses U.S. Navy equipment originally designed to detect Soviet submarines. The signal was traced to somewhere around 50° S 100° W, a remote point in the south Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America.
The noise rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km. The system ruled out any known man-made origin such as a submarine or bomb, or familiar geological sounds such as volcanoes or earthquakes. While the audio profile of the bloop does resemble that of a living creature, the system identified it as unknown because it was far too loud for that to have been the case: it was several times louder than the loudest known biological sound. If it was biological, it would have to be produced by an animal far larger than any currently known to science.