Mycena chlorophos

No, you’re not hallucinating; you really are seeing bright green mushrooms, but if you are partial to the odd magic mushie, these images won’t faze you in the slightest.

These neon green mushrooms, or Mycena chlorophos, to use the technical term, emerge during the rainy season in Japanese and Brazilian forests, scattering the floor with glowing spores. The bases of tree trunks, fallen branches, leaf litter and moist soil provide perfect breeding grounds for the mushrooms.

Found mostly on Mesameyama island in Ugui, Japan and Ribeira Valley Tourist State Park, Brazil, the appearance of these garish looking fungi is due to bioluminescence, one of the weird but wonderful reactions that happen naturally in many plants and animals.

Bioluminescence occurs when the natural chemical energy produced within an organism is converted to light energy. The result is an amazing display of natural fluorescent light, or ‘cold light’ (as opposed to red hot light). The color of bioluminescence is normally at the blue/green end of the visible light spectrum.

This organic light display can be seen in the late summer months, and although there are nightly visits to the forests in Japan, these rare shrooms only thrive where they are because they’ve been relatively undisturbed by humans. So, for now it’s probably best to enjoy them from the comfort of your own home; that way they’ll be around for a while longer. And, no, you can’t get high on them, although no doubt someone has tried!



Hoverbike like Star Wars

It is every Star Wars fan's dream mode of transport. An American firm has finally made a working 'hoverbike'.

Made famous by 'Return of the Jedi,' where it flew through woods piloted by Stormtroopers, the real life version has been tested in the rather safer surrounding of the Mojave desert.

The real-life hoverbike created by California firm Aerofex being tested in the Mojave desert

Created by California firm Aerofex, the vehicle is made from two ducted rotors facing the ground. Changing the angle of the rotors using two control sticks allows it to move.

A video of the machine being piloted has already become a YouTube hit. Initial plans to create a hoverbike were thwarted due to a complex control system. However, Aerofex created a system that responds to a human pilot's leaning movements and natural sense of balance.

The hoverbike shot to fame after featuring in Return of the Jedi, where is was used in a thrilling forest chase

'Imagine personal flight as intuitive as riding a bike,' the firm says on its website. 'Or transporting a small fleet of first-responder craft in the belly of a passenger transport. ' The firm also believes it could be used to patrol borders quickly, and say the craft can travel over any terrain. 'Think of the advantages of patrolling borders without first constructing roads.'

'Think of it as lowering the threshold of flight, down to the domain of ATV's (all-terrain vehicles),' said Mark De Roche, an aerospace engineer and founder of Aerofex.

'It essentially captures the translations between the two in three axis (pitch, roll and yaw), and activates the aerodynamic controls required to counter the movement — which lines the vehicle back up with the pilot,' De Roche told InnovationNewsDaily.

The Aerofex vehicle is controlled using knee bars, allowing the pilot to simply lean to change direction.

'Since [the pilot's] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him.' However, sadly for Star Wars fans the firm says it has no plans to sell hoverbikes, instead planning a range of unmanned drones using the technology.

Video shows the craft being piloted around the Mojave desert

The hovering drones, would use two enclosed rotors. Aerofex has currently limited human flight testing to a height of 15 feet and speeds of about 30 mph.

The company plans to fly a second version of its vehicle in October, and is also preparing an unmanned drone version for flight testing by the end of 2013.

A model of the Star Wars hoverbike, which was piloted by Stromtroopers


Beautiful Melissani Cave in Greece

Melissani cave can be found on the east coast of the island of Kefalonia in Greece. It is located about 2 km from the town of Sami and 10 km from the town of Argostoli. The caves are surrounded by forests, while a mountain slope is located to the west. Below you will find a gallery of this magical place along with additional information on the cave’s history as well as the best time to visit and what you can expect to see.

The cave is 100 meters long and the lake takes about one third of its length. It was first discovered in 1951 and was opened for the public in 1963.

The lake water is brackish, a mixture of sea water and sweet water. The cave is about 500m from the sea and the water level is a meter higher than sea level. The brackish water rises from a 30m deep cave system on one side of the cave and flows to the other end of the cave. This was discovered by dye tracing experiments in 1959.

The cavern, once two big chambers, caved in several thousand years ago. Today the cave has the shape of a ‘B’, with two big water filled halls and an island in the middle. The first hall has a big oval opening to the surface where the sunlight shines in. The second is a huge cavern with an arched roof and numerous stalactites and stalagmites. The best time to visit the cave is in the middle of a bright sunny day. Tours are done by boats that take you on a trip through both halls.



Plitvice Waterfalls

Once upon a time in Croatia, this mysterious world was hidden deep in an enchanted forest and called “The Devil’s Garden.” For the few brave souls that dared to venture beyond the woods, they found a paradise of amazingly-colored lakes, spectacular karst and thunderous waterfalls. Together it creates the natural phenomena which can still be seen at Plitvice Lakes National Park. Every year, at least 1,200,000 visitors come to be awed by the geomorphology and natural beauty of changing lake colors. There are 16 cascading lakes in crystal-clear shades of blue and green. Plitvice waterfalls have been called some of the most beautiful to be found among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Plitvicka Jezera National Park is spread out over 73,350 acres and some of the most amazing features are underground in the form of subterranean caverns.

Plitvice National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where 16 gorgeous lakes from azure to green to gray are said to constantly be changing colors based on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and depending upon the angle of sunlight. It’s an amazing natural phenomena and just one of the many reasons people come to Plitvice

The beauty of Plitvice National Park, Croatia, boosted it into the second round of the New Seven Wonders of Nature competition

It’s said that ‘humans have inhabited the Plitvice Lakes area for thousands of years’ and the natural beauty of the place makes it easy to see why

Walkway throughout has taken people to see one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This was Croatia’s first National Park; it was established in 1949

The large waterfall. Plitvice stream water descends through the rocks, forming a 255 feet high (78 m) amphitheater of the Great falls — the highest waterfall in Croatia.

World of Waterfall said of Plitvice, “It’s not all that unfamiliar to see a sequence that goes like waterfalls-lake-waterfalls-lake, etc. etc. It’s probably one of the more memorable waterfall attractions in the world.”

Plitvička Jezera is also known as Plitvice Lakes National Park. The protected area of this National Park “extends over 296.85 square kilometres (73,350 acres). In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register among the first natural sites worldwide. Each year, more than 1,200,000 visitors are recorded.”

Falling Lakes. Plitvice is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. The national park is situated in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia.

Duck and fishes as seen in but one of the 16 crystal clear, cascading lakes. There is plenty of wildlife around Plitvice, but only a few species of fish. It is still unexplained if the fish have lived in this area since ancient times, or if they were populated in the last 100 years.

Phenomenal beauty. Limestone peaks rise in the area with the highest being Seliski Peak at 4,196 feet (1,279 meters). The water travels underground but encounters karst obstacles, creating numerous creeks that enrich the lakes.

A foggy fall day

The cave and walkways. “The underground configuration of the Plitvice Lakes consists of various geologic features. Generally, the whole area of Plitvice Lakes National Park can be attributed to the South-East European karst area. The typical feature of this karst area is brittle or porous rock, mostly limestone or dolomite. This configuration creates different geomorphological phenomena being referred to as dolina (sinkhole), polje, uvala, ponor, etc.”

The music of cascading waterfalls

Wikipedia explains about Plitvice: “The overall water body area is about 2 square kilometers. The two largest lakes, Prošćansko jezero and Kozjak, cover about 80% of the overall water body area. These lakes are also the deepest, with a depth of 37 and 47 meters respectively (about 121 – 154 feet). On Lake Kozjak, low-noise and ecologically-friendly electric boats are being used. None of the other lakes in the park exceeds 25 meters (82 feet) in depth. The altitude drop from the first lake to the last is 133 meters (436 feet).”

Walkway leading to and from the cave

This is the barrier between Gavanovac and Kaluđerovac

The World of Waterfalls states, “These waterfalls were apparently tourist attractions even since the late 19th century. We learned this from a plaque alongside the Galvanovac that stated that Plitvice was named after a world famous Croatian opera singer at the time. So, this is hardly a new attraction though it seems to only be coming into its own as a world class tourist attraction recently.”

Ducks on smooth water before a storm.

Fog and fall

Enjoy the autumn silence

Fall among the falls. Spring and fall have the most rain, but the average annual precipitation rate at Plitvice Lakes is 1,500 mm (59.06 in).

The average temperature in winter is -3 ºC ( ≈ 26 ºF)

Plitvice organ – frozen waterfall.

Transformed by ice


Grandeur of Plitvicka Jezera National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park may be famous for its falls and clear turquoise water, but more than 80% of it is covered with natural forest that prevent erosion. The forests provide a habitat for a diverse and rich fauna. The Forest National Park is a haven for all three European large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx)

Sublime Plitvice Lakes, Croatia. Adventure possibilities here include: “The Plitvice Lakes are perfect for long walks or taking a boat ride on the lakes to get a better view of how beautiful they are. There is also a tourist train for those of you who don’t like walking. Walking through the park is good for your eyes – green is a soothing color and long walks and fresh air balance body and spirit. For those of you in search of adventure we suggest rafting on the Korana River. It is especially exciting in springtime, when the river overflows from the melted snow. Your desire for adventure can be satisfied on the rapids of the Korana River either by canoe or kayak. This is a mountainous region, which means the possibilities are endless when it comes to hiking and free climbing.”