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Today's Featured Article - Solar flares

800px-Magnificent CME Erupts on the Sun - August 31

Solar flares are inexplicable fiery eruptions that occur on the surface of the Sun and make for some pretty cool desktop wallpapers. A single solar flare can release up to 6 × 1025 joules of heat into the vast vacuum of space, enough energy to power the city of Baltimore for far too long. The phenomenon is one of the leading wasters of energy in the universe, second only to people who forget to turn off the lights when they leave a room. Currently, nobody knows for certain how or why solar flares occur, although several theories have been developed by the American Astronomical Society and the very vocal scientific experts that comment on Yahoo! News articles.

One of the most widely accepted explanations for the phenomenon is that solar flares are actually maritime distress signals launched by astronauts floating in the Sun's vast oceans, which would explain their name. After the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated while reentering the Earth's atmosphere, neither the crew nor their flare guns were recovered, leading some to believe that the ship's crew escaped on a life boat to the Sun and now sets off flares periodically in hopes of signaling NASA scientists. Some have gone as far as to say that other forms of extraterrestrial life have also become stranded on the Sun's surface after crashing their flying saucers, but those people are just crazy.(more...)

Recently featured: Solar flares - Stairs

Yesterday's Featured Article - Stairs

Heaven stairs

Stairs is the term given to more than one stair arranged diagonally to allow ease of movement between a lower floor and an upper floor, which comes in especially handy during commercial breaks when the toilet is on a different floor to the television viewing room. During the Dark Ages many viewers missed the recap of what happened before the last break due to the inefficiency of rope-ladders and fireman poles, particularly for those afflicted with aching joints and leprosy. Stairs were invented to address this problem as well as providing an effective defense against Dalek invasions. The invention of stairs also had other unforeseen benefits such as providing a safe and local government body-approved way to exit a building if the elevator fails during a fire.

Stairs are useful as a navigation aid for traversing a multi-level building or dungeon, even where no such stairs exist. The term upstairs can mean any floor above another floor, even if that floor is downstairs from another floor above it. This upstairs-downstairs duality has often resulted in confusion for many building dwellers who can’t decide which floor they need to be on when exiting an elevator. Many reports of missing people have been resolved when they were found wandering aimlessly caught in the limbo between upstairs and downstairs.

Stairs should not be confused with steps, which are completely different except in cases where they can conveniently mean the same thing when it suits this article. (more...)

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