Ocean Inside an Opal Butte Opal

Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. Its water content may range from 3% to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6% to 10%. Because of its amorphous character it is classed as a mineraloid, unlike the other crystalline forms of silica which are classed as minerals. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock, being most commonly found with limonite, sandstone, rhyolite, marl and basalt.

Opal is the national gemstone of Australia, which produces 97% of the world’s supply. The internal structure of precious opal makes it diffract light; depending on the conditions in which it formed it can take on many colors. Precious opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the reds against black are the most rare, whereas white and greens are the most common. It varies in optical density from opaque to semi-transparent.

Seen here is a stunning opal from Opal Butte, a mine in Oregon, USA (45.0438888889, -119.612222222). According to Nature of the Northwest:
“It has been more than 100 years since opal was found in Oregon. When the discovery was made public in the 1890′s miners flocked to Opal Butte… When it was discovered that the supply of material at Opal Butte was limited, commercial mining operations shut down and the site became the province of rockhounds… The land has changed hands a number of times in the past six years. The new land owners are no longer able to provide a site for digging.”
Officially known as Opal Butte opal, the beautiful gem below is owned by Inna Gem. It weighs 740 ct and measures 60 x 45 x 41 mm. When the light hits this opal it looks like an underwater scene from the ocean.












13 Animated Gifs of Animal Facts

QI (Quite Interesting) is a British comedy panel game television quiz show created and co-produced by John Lloyd, hosted by Stephen Fry, and featuring permanent panelist Alan Davies. Most of the questions are extremely obscure, making it unlikely that the correct answer will be given. To compensate, points are awarded not only for right answers, but also for interesting ones, regardless of whether they are right or even relate to the original question.

The QI Elves is Stephen’s nickname for the 14 people (5 permanent) who research, write and produce QI in all its guises – television, radio, books, games, apps and internet thingies. You can find them on twitter @qikipedia, where they have a staggering 472,000+ followers. Last week the QI Elves did a wildly popular AMA on Reddit, which they followed up by sharing a series of 13 fascinating facts about animals as animated gifs.





Artwork by Michael Whaite | @MrWhaite
Courtesy of QI.com


15 Super Skinny Buildings in the World

When land is expensive or in short supply, smart real estate developers don’t get down, they look up. But, long, thin buildings are more expensive to construct because their shape requires more exterior wall area to enclose the same volume of space compared to a structure with a square plan. Either way, these super-skinny buildings are giving new meaning to the phrase 'now you see them, now you do not', and represent interesting places for taking photos.

1. Flatiron Building, USA

The Flatiron Building, originally the Fuller Building, is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City and is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper.

Upon completion in 1902, it was one of the tallest buildings in the city and one of only two skyscrapers north of 14th Street – the other being the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, one block east.

The building sits on a triangular island-block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street, with 23rd Street grazing the triangle's northern (uptown) peak. As with numerous other wedge-shaped buildings, the name "Flatiron" derives from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron.

The building anchors the south (downtown) end of Madison Square and the north (uptown) end of the Ladies' Mile Historic District. The neighborhood around it is called the Flatiron District after its signature building, which has become an icon of New York City. The building was designated a New York City landmark in 1966, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

2. Pancake House, Japan

"Pancake House" or "Kamenori (razor) House" is located in the Osaka area. Striking house from photo above has a restaurant called "Try Angle".

3. Super Thin Building in Nara, Japan

Although the dimensions of the object are not known to us, judging by the picture this is one of the thinnest buildings in the world.

It is located in Nara - the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan.

4. Icon Building, USA

Icon (Manhattan, NY) is like no other rental residence ever built. Rising 43 stories, it’s striking architecture redefines the skyline. But look closer and you will find a distinctive brand of living. Each floor offers an uncommon level of privacy shared by only three residences. And every room is positioned at the corners of the building taking full advantage of stunning views through walls of glass.

Outdoor space is commonplace at icon and large glass cascading terraces define the façade. Careful attention is paid to lifestyle with an attentive full service staff, world class fitness center, concierge service and a landscaped sky deck.

5. The Gateway, Singapore

The Gateway is a 37-storey, 150 m (490 ft), skyscraper complex completed in April 1990 on Beach Road in the Downtown Core of Singapore. The two buildings are named The Gateway East and The Gateway West.

The architecture of The Gateway has been described as "world class" by the National Library Board. The buildings were designed by the U.S. based architect, I. M. Pei. The local Singaporean architectural firm that worked on this project was Chua Ka Seng and Partners Chartered Architects (CKSP). T.Y. Lin Structural Engineers from San Francisco also collaborated on the project.

The shape of the buildings is trapezoidal, which is similar to the form used by I. M. Pei in the critically acclaimed National Gallery of Art East Building in Washington, D.C. Locals refer to the buildings as "two towering cardboard boxes".

6. Building in Kisarazu City, Japan

Skinny building from picture is equipped with semicircular balconies that offer a 180-degree view for tenants. It is located in the Ushigome district of Kisarazu City in Japan’s Chiba prefecture, where they use that small space to build apartments on.

7. Skinny Haussmann Building, France

Paris abounds in architectural curiosities and among the ones that you can see in almost all parts of the city due to the rather anarchic angles of the streets and a little help from Baron Haussmann are the "thin slice" buildings. This is the most famous thin building in Paris, known as Skinny Haussmann Building.

8. Skinny Building in London, UK

Thin building from photo is located in South Kensington - the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. This building is equipped with an external lift.

9. Thin Nagasaki Building, Japan

Step around to the side, however, and… whoa! In this thin building, located in Nagasaki City in Japan, there’s a Chinese restaurant, on the ground floor!

10. Red Building, Japan

Downtown districts of Japan’s larger cities are where you’ll find a host of slim towers, all appearing to compete for the same small section of real estate. Red building from picture is located in Okayama - the capital city of Okayama Prefecture in the Chūgoku region of Japan.

11. Thin Block Tarragona, Spain

Amazing building from picture has 16 floors and is located in Tarragona, south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean.

12. Sliver Building in Tokyo, Japan

In overpopulated Tokyo, where each square meter has a very high price, buildings such as this one are not at all something unusual. Building from picture has 12 floors.

13. John Hancock Tower, USA

The John Hancock Tower, officially named Hancock Place and colloquially known as The Hancock, is a 60-story, 790 ft (240 m) skyscraper in Boston. The tower was designed by Henry N. Cobb of the firm I. M. Pei & Partners and was completed in 1976. In 1977, the American Institute of Architects presented the firm with a National Honor Award for the building, and in 2011 conferred on it the Twenty-five Year Award. It has been the tallest building in Boston for more than 30 years, and is the tallest building in New England.

Tall, skinny glass structures were a goal of modernist architecture since Mies Van Der Rohe proposed a glass skyscraper for Berlin. Such buildings as Gordon Bunshaft's Lever House, Mies's Seagram Building in New York City, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Headquarters attempted this goal, but many of these designs retained structural artifacts that prevented a consistent, monolithic look.

An observation deck (on the top) with spectacular views of Boston was a popular attraction. However, it was closed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Because of the closure of the John Hancock Tower's observation deck, the highest observation deck open to the public in Boston is in the Prudential Tower.

14. Thin Apartment Building, Italy

Old three-storey building from the picture still has tenants, judging by arranged balconies. This thin structure is probably located in some old neighborhood in the Italian province of Caltanissetta on the island of Sicily.

15. Thin Building in Latin America

This thin building has 15 floors and it is located somewhere in Latin America. The width of the building is only 2.5 meters (8.2ft), and it does not even lift. Can you imagine what it is, daily ascend to the 15th floor without using the elevator.