Opera House Concert Serenades Thousands of Potted Plants

On Monday, the El Liceu opera house in Barcelona hosted a special concert for 2,292 house plants. The event, organized by Spanish conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia, took place just as Spain lifted its three-month state of emergency. Reaffirming the value of art and music, the theatre kicked off its re-opening with this performance as a kind of roadmap for returning to normalcy.

Ampudia said the inspiration for the idea came from his getting back in touch with nature during the quietude of the pandemic. The plants will be donated to local health care workers as a token of appreciation for their hard work.

An Earth Tree that looks like it comes from an Alien Planet

Dracaena cinnabari, the Socotra dragon tree or dragon blood tree, is a dragon tree native to the Socotra archipelago in the Arabian Sea. It is so called due to the red sap that the trees produce.

 

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The dragon blood tree has a unique and strange appearance, with an “upturned, densely packed crown having the shape of an uprightly held umbrella”. This evergreen species is named after its dark red resin, which is known as “dragon’s blood”. Unlike most monocot plants, Dracaena displays secondary growth, D. cinnabari even has growth zones resembling tree rings found in dicot tree species. Along with other arborescent Dracaena species it has a distinctive growth habit called “dracoid habitus”. Its leaves are found only at the end of its youngest branches; its leaves are all shed every 3 or 4 years before new leaves simultaneously mature. Branching tends to occur when the growth of the terminal bud is stopped, due to either flowering or traumatic events (e.g. herbivory).

 

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Socotra, also spelled Soqotra, is an island and a small archipelago of four islands in the Arabian Sea. Socotra is part of Yemen. It had long been a part of the Aden Governorate. In 2004 it became attached to the Hadhramaut Governorate, which is much closer to the island than Aden (although the nearest governorate was the Al Mahrah Governorate). In 2013, the archipelago became its own governorate.

 

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Completely appears to be the surface of an Alien planet light years away.

 

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Ominous Sandstorm Sweeps Over Niger Capital City

An enormous sandstorm swept over the capital city of Niger earlier this week and briefly turned the sky an unsettling blood red color. The eerie incident reportedly occurred on Monday afternoon in Niamey when an enormous wall of sand, dust and other debris slowly crept across the community. Although such events are not altogether unusual in the region around this time of year, this storm was particularly sizeable to the point that one person described the experience as “utterly terrifying.”

Several residents of the city captured the event on film as it unfolded and subsequently posted the footage to social media, providing some truly breathtaking perspectives on the storm. At one point, when it had fully engulfed the area, the sky turned an unnerving red color for a few minutes before rain eventually arrived and dissipated the cloud.

 

Breathtaking Bioluminescent Algae Filmed in Australia

A photographer in Australia captured incredible footage of bioluminescent algae emitting a wondrous neon blue glow. The breathtaking event was reportedly filmed by Jordan Robin at a site known as Plantation Point in the waters of the country’s Jervis Bay. “This rare occurrence only usually happens once or twice a year,” he marveled, no doubt thankful that he inadvertently stumbled upon the scene and managed to document it.

In the captivating footage, Robin can be seen dipping his hand into the water and running it through the glowing algae, creating an almost ghostly effect. “What can be seen as a red tide during the day,” he said, “the microalgae Noctiluca scintillans produces a bright blue glow at night, like seen in the video.” Robin went on to explain that the bioluminescence is activated in the creatures when they are disturbed.

Apocalyptic Photos from the Frontline of Australia’s Bushfires

Beyond the cataloging of these facts and figures, the situation in Australia defies description. The word “apocalyptic” comes constantly to mind. And it’s expected to worsen, with authorities warning that the infernos, spurred on by heatwaves and dry winds, could continue for months.

Every day more footage from the frontline reveals the extent of the devastation—of the armageddon and the aftermath—as communities around the country are swept up in one of the biggest climate disasters Australia has ever seen.

 

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FIREFIGHTERS TACKLE A BUSHFIRE IN THICK SMOKE IN THE TOWN OF MORUYA, SOUTH OF BATEMANS BAY, IN NEW SOUTH WALES ON JANUARY 4, 2020. UP TO 3,000 MILITARY RESERVISTS WERE CALLED TO TACKLE AUSTRALIA’S RELENTLESS BUSHFIRE CRISIS ON JANUARY 4, AS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS FLED THEIR HOMES AMID CATASTROPHIC CONDITIONS. PETER PARKS/AFP
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A BURNT VEHICLE IS SEEN ON QUINLANS STREET AFTER AN OVERNIGHT BUSHFIRE IN QUAAMA IN AUSTRALIA’S NEW SOUTH WALES STATE ON JANUARY 6, 2020. RESERVE TROOPS WERE DEPLOYED TO FIRE-RAVAGED REGIONS ACROSS THREE AUSTRALIAN STATES ON JANUARY 6, AFTER A TORRID WEEKEND THAT TURNED SWATHES OF LAND INTO SMOLDERING, BLACKENED HELLSCAPES. SAEED KHAN/AFP
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RESIDENTS DEFEND A PROPERTY FROM A BUSHFIRE AT HILLSVILLE NEAR TAREE, 350 KILOMETERS [217 MILES] NORTH OF SYDNEY ON NOVEMBER 12, 2019. A STATE OF EMERGENCY WAS DECLARED ON NOVEMBER 11 AND RESIDENTS IN THE SYDNEY AREA WERE WARNED OF “CATASTROPHIC” FIRE DANGER AS AUSTRALIA PREPARED FOR A FRESH WAVE OF DEADLY BUSHFIRES THAT HAVE RAVAGED THE DROUGHT-STRICKEN EAST OF THE COUNTRY. PETER PARKS/AFP
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AN AERIAL VIEW OF THE BUSHFIRE BURNS OUT OF CONTROL IN THE RICHMOND VALLEY, OF THE NEW SOUTH WALES ON NOVEMBER 26, 2019. BUSHFIRE-PRONE AUSTRALIA HAS EXPERIENCED A HORRIFIC START TO ITS FIRE SEASON, WHICH SCIENTISTS SAY IS BEGINNING EARLIER AND BECOMING MORE EXTREME AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE, WHICH IS RAISING TEMPERATURES AND SAPPING MOISTURE FROM THE ENVIRONMENT. SAEED KHAN/AFP
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THIS PHOTO TAKEN ON DECEMBER 7, 2019 SHOWS FIREFIGHTERS CONDUCTING BACK BURNING MEASURES TO SECURE RESIDENTIAL AREAS FROM ENCROACHING BUSHFIRES AT THE MANGROVE AREA, SOME 90-110 KILOMETERS 55-68 MILES] NORTH OF SYDNEY. BUSHFIRES ARE COMMON IN THE COUNTRY BUT SCIENTISTS SAY THIS YEAR’S SEASON HAS COME EARLIER AND WITH MORE INTENSITY DUE TO A PROLONGED DROUGHT AND CLIMATIC CONDITIONS FUELED BY GLOBAL WARMING. SAEED KHAN/AFP
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THIS HANDOUT PHOTO TAKEN ON JANUARY 3, 2020 AND RELEASED BY THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY SHOWS PEOPLE BEING EVACUATED FROM MALLACOOTA, VICTORIA STATE ON A LANDING CRAFT TO MV SYCAMORE, DURING BUSHFIRE RELIEF EFFORTS. THE AUSTRALIAN MILITARY ON JANUARY 3 HAS BEGUN THE SEABORNE EVACUATION OF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE TRAPPED IN A FIRE-RINGED SOUTHEASTERN TOWN, AS THE COUNTRY BRACED FOR MORE CATASTROPHIC CONDITIONS. SHANE CAMERON/ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY/AFP
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FIREFIGHTERS DOSE A BUSHFIRE IN DARGAN, SOME 130 KILOMETERS [80 MILES] NORTHWEST OF SYDNEY ON DECEMBER 18, 2019. AUSTRALIA THIS WEEK EXPERIENCED ITS HOTTEST DAY ON RECORD AND THE HEATWAVE IS EXPECTED TO WORSEN, EXACERBATING AN ALREADY UNPRECEDENTED BUSHFIRE SEASON, AUTHORITIES SAID ON DECEMBER 18. SAEED KHAN/AFP
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THE SKY TURNS RED FROM SMOKE OF THE SNOWY VALLEY BUSHFIRE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF COOMA ON JANUARY 4, 2020. UP TO 3,000 MILITARY RESERVISTS WERE CALLED UP TO TACKLE AUSTRALIA’S RELENTLESS BUSHFIRE CRISIS ON JANUARY 4, AS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS FLED THEIR HOMES AMID CATASTROPHIC CONDITIONS. SAEED KHAN/AFP
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RESIDENTS WATCH A LARGE BUSHFIRE AS SEEN FROM BARGO, 150 KILOMETERS [93 MILES] SOUTHWEST OF SYDNEY, ON DECEMBER 19, 2019. A STATE OF EMERGENCY WAS DECLARED IN AUSTRALIA’S MOST POPULATED REGION ON DECEMBER 19 AS AN UNPRECEDENTED HEATWAVE FANNED OUT-OF-CONTROL BUSHFIRES, DESTROYING HOMES AND SMOTHERING HUGE AREAS WITH A TOXIC SMOKE. PETER PARKS/AFP
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