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Caught on Tape

The Most Popular Science Stories of 2009



This has been Wired Science’s most successful year, by far. We like to think this is the result of a combination of your excellent taste and our efforts to learn what you like to read.

We have often joked that the perfect Wired Science story is about robot sharks with lasers in space. While we haven’t gotten a chance to write that one just yet, looking at this list of our most popular stories of the year, we’ve come pretty close. Golden-silk-spinning spiders, the mathematics of zombies and weird clouds were all among your favorites.

10. Mysterious, Glowing Clouds Appear Across America’s Night Skies
Speaking of weird clouds, number 10 on our 2009 hit list is the mysterious appearance of noctilucent clouds in the night skies over the United States and Europe.

These night-shining clouds typically form closer to the poles, but more frequent sightings in lower latitudes could be the result of human-caused climate change.

Image: The sky over Omaha on July 14, snapped by Mike Hollingshead at Extreme Instability

9. Astronauts Spot Mysterious Ice Circles in World’s Deepest Lake
Apparently our readers love a good mystery, judging from numbers 9 and 10 on our list.

In April, astronauts on the International Space Station took this photograph of circular formations in the ice on the surface of Lake Baikal.

Scientists later determined the strange circles were caused by methane rising from the lake bottom.

Image: NASA

8. 35 Years of the World’s Best Microscope Photography
Every year Nikon gives out its Small World awards to some of the best photomicrography of the year.

Our collection of the top photos from each of the last 35 years was a big hit.

This photo of a mouse colon took top honors in 2006.

Image: Mouse colon (740x), 2-Photon. / Paul L. Appleton, University of Dundee, UK. Courtesy of Nikon Small World.

7. Stunning Views of Glaciers Seen From Space
Every one of our posts of images of the Earth from space has been a hit.

Surprisingly, glaciers turned out to be more popular than impact craters, open-pit mines, islands and even erupting volcanoes.

Some of the other galleries would be on this list as well, but we’re letting the glaciers represent the whole series for the year.

This image of Bear Glacier in Alaska highlights the beautiful color of many glacial lakes caused by light reflecting off the silt that is finely ground away from the valley walls by the glacier and deposited in the lake.

Image: GeoEye/NASA, 2005

6. Mathematical Model for Surviving a Zombie Attack
Oh, yes, somebody actually did a study on mathematics of a hypothetical zombie attack.

So, while we still don’t know what to do if an asteroid takes aim at Earth, we’re ready for marauding zombies.

This study, done by scientists who use epidemiological models to study the spread of disease, was irresistibly funny.

Image: Mark Lobo Photography

5. Biggest Meteor Shower of the Year Peaks Tuesday Night
The only way to explain why this story about a meteor shower that occurs every year was so popular is that our readers love space.

A lot. Any time we post the latest image from Hubble or Spitzer or Cassini, you ask for more.

This story was just a quick reminder to look up at the sky and catch some Perseids.

Image: Flickr/Tommy Huynh

4. Enormous Shark’s Secret Hideout Finally Discovered
The basking shark’s giant, gaping maw makes it look far more dangerous than it is, but it’s still a shark.

And who doesn’t love sharks?

This story also had a mystery solved by scientists who managed to find the sneaky shark’s winter hideout in the Caribbean after 50 years of not knowing where the sharks disappeared to every year.

Image: Chris Gotshalk

3. Mysterious Tubular Clouds Defy Explanation
This photograph of crazy-looking roll clouds in Australia sparked a lot of discussion and led us to a scientist who did actually have an explanation for their formation.

We also learned how interested our readers are in strange clouds, so we followed up with a gallery of some of the weirdest, along with explanations from cloud physicists.

Image: Mick Petroff/APOD

2. To Run Better, Start by Ditching Your Nikes
This story about the benefits of running barefoot, or nearly barefoot, outran all but one story this year.

We think its appeal stemmed largely from the first-person account, from our esteemed Gadget Lab editor Dylan Tweney, who abandoned his trusted running shoes for bare skin or minimal cover.

And also, this creepy photo of his gorilla feet in a pair of Vibram FiveFingers.

Image: Jon Snyder/

1. One Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth

One million spiders! It’s no surprise that this story tops our list for 2009. These guys built a replica of a turn-of-the-century 24-spider milking machine. That’s crazy, man.

It should also be noted that our top story came from our awesome intern Hadley Leggett.

Our readers’ reaction to this story led us to ramp up our coverage of spiders, which culminated in the Wired Science Spider Awards.

Image: Flickr/mushi_king

Source: Wired

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Caught on Tape

Dumbest Drivers Caught on Tape: Canadian woman goes to far parking




A canadian woamn, Tripta Kaushal, 62, is ones of the top contenders for the 2010’s Dumbest Driver of the Year!

The BMW X5 mounting two other parked cars in the car park of a branch of Extreme Fitness and then being driven off features the skills of Mrs. Kaushal.

Mrs. Kaushal has now been charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident, That’s so kind from the local PD!


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Caught on Tape

Caught on Camera: McDonald’s customer climbs in drive-thru window to get sandwich




Police released video of the incident — which shows the customer climbing out of the car to get his Filet-o-Fish sandwich – and Rashon East, 34, turned himself in. The suspect says he and his children saw the footage on TV.

South Brunswick Police say the man in the Route 1 McDonald’s smack-down video has turned himself in as of 11:30 a.m. Monday. Police say after the video was televised they received a number of tips identifying Rashon East, 34, as the culprit.

The suspect said he and his children saw the video footage of the assault televised and he decided it was time to turn himself in. Police have charged the late-night muncher with simple assault and making terroristic threats. If convicted, East could be sentenced up to 5 years in prison.

l he wanted was a Filet-o-Fish sandwich, but he lost his cool and things got out of hand from there. Police say East paid for his order, but became angry because he felt it took the worker too long to bring his sandwich. That’s when police say East, of New Brunswick, climbed through the pickup window, hollered at the employee, then pushed him against the counter before threatening him then slapping the worker in the face.
According to the State Department of Corrections, East served 30 months in prison from 1996 to 1998 for a drug conviction. He was released on a complaint, pending his first court appearance on April 13.


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Caught on Tape

Google’s Street View catches naked Girl! Again!




A young girl was caught naked at the window of her apartment by the cameras from Google Street View.

The Google maps system offers a 360-degree view of some places in the city of Hualien, Taiwan, according to newspaper report China News.

That’s not the first time Google Street View caught people in a “relaxed” moment.

Source: Strange Strange Strange

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