Why California's Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

Having found a gold lining to the West's otherwise devastating drought, prospectors are flocking to the record-low rivers of the Sierra Nevada foothills. A mini gold rush has kicked off in previously inaccessible riverbeds, not far from the site of California's original gold rush. » 3/30/14 1:21pm 3/30/14 1:21pm

The Insane History of Rockets at Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Everyone loves a gorgeous rocket launch, but the story of getting from the first sputtering attempts to the modern day marvels is completely unreal. The Jet Propulsion Laboratories took it up a notch, giving mad scientists their epic reputation. » 3/29/14 3:21pm 3/29/14 3:21pm

Over 200 Miles of Yosemite Backpacking in One Incredible Time-lapse

It took over two years for filmmakers Colin Delehanty and Sheldon Neill to create Yosemite HD II, the the breathtaking followup to their 2011 tribute to Yosemite National Park. It was worth the wait. Full screen, HD, headphones if you've got 'em. You know the drill. » 3/01/14 8:00am 3/01/14 8:00am

The Landscapes Of Suburbia Are The Real Science Fiction

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Science fiction is often charged with naïve technological optimism and historical amnesia. But for present-day Californians struggling with a wide range of environmental and social problems, science fiction might just provide the perspective we need to successfully pivot from the boom times of the twentieth century to… » 1/30/14 5:03pm 1/30/14 5:03pm

A Visit to the Weirdest Archaeological Site in North America

In the desert two hours northeast of Los Angeles, just outside the town of Barstow, there is a peculiar little place called the Calico Early Man Site. If you've driven either direction, from L.A. to Las Vegas or back, you've probably seen the sign for it, mysteriously and without any real information implying that the… » 1/22/14 5:28pm 1/22/14 5:28pm

What would NYC look like in the Grand Canyon, or Death Valley?

We've seen how New York City might appear were it suddenly transported to another planet, but what would, say, Manhattan look like if it were transplanted somewhere else right here on Earth – Death Valley, for instance, or the Grand Canyon? Well... it would look something like this. » 7/17/13 12:00pm 7/17/13 12:00pm

This timelapse of Yosemite National Park is going to be epic

Project Yosemite, the team behind one of our favorite timelapses in recent memory, has just released a trailer for the second installment in their jaw-dropping video project. It's only a minute long, but we already have high hopes for this one. » 3/20/13 12:01pm 3/20/13 12:01pm

And now for a sense of scale: a map of the U.S. overlaid on the Moon

The greatest distance between two points within the contiguous U.S. is 2,892 miles, stretching from Point Arena, CA to West Quoddy Head, ME*. The circumference of the Moon is 6,784. To help put the scale of each into perspective, redditor boredboarder8 decided to overlay one on top of the other, giving rise to the… » 2/14/13 8:40am 2/14/13 8:40am

The Absolute Best Pictures of Last Night's Blazing Meteor Over…

An absolutely spectacular meteor was witnessed tearing across the California sky last night, reportedly generating a rare sonic boom in the process. » 10/18/12 10:40am 10/18/12 10:40am

Various outlets are reporting this meteor is a prelude to and part of this year's Orionid meteor shower, which is expected to peak this weekend. But as Plait …

California's High-Speed Rail System: What It Is And Why You Should Care

Last Friday, California lawmakers approved funding for the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line, with construction slated to begin as early as late 2012. If the system is established according to plan, it will become the first dedicated high-speed rail line in U.S. history — drastically reducing emissions,… » 7/12/12 9:40am 7/12/12 9:40am

Watch a staggeringly beautiful time-lapse video of Yosemite National…

If you've ever visited California's Yosemite National Park, then you have an appreciation for how absurdly majestic its scenery is. You also know how difficult it can be to encapsulate that majesty when describing it to others; somehow, adjectives like "breathtaking" don't even begin to describe it. » 1/21/12 10:30am 1/21/12 10:30am

Silent scenes from the airplane graveyards of the American Southwest

The dry climate of the southwest United States is a popular spot for airplane boneyards. When airlines need to stow away planes or lay them to rest, they will ship planes out to aviation boneyards in states like California and Arizona. And sometimes, photographers brave security patrols and barbed-wire fences to… » 10/23/11 2:00pm 10/23/11 2:00pm