Snowflakes are easily one of the coolest natural phenomena produced by our planet’s natural climates. As a person who lives in a place where it snows regularly, and who loves to ski, Winter is one of my favorite seasons. Not only does snow make almost every landscape incredibly beautiful, but the cold weather is often a welcome change after a hot summer.

If you’ve ever looked closely at a snowflake, you might have noticed that it has six sides and is more or less symmetrical. It’s no coincidence that all the snowflakes you’ve ever looked at have six sides--it’s by design. Well, nature’s design.

Not only is every snowflake unique, but they grow and crystallize in a manner that dictates they have six equal sides every single time. Which can be hard to imagine considering most naturally occurring things are so spontaneously designed and rarely symmetrical.

The magic lies in the shape of the water molecules themselves and how they utilize hydrogen bonds to come together.

Many people describe water molecules as looking like Mickey Mouse ears because they have an oxygen atom in the center with two hydrogen atoms connected above like ears. In fact, these hydrogen atom “ears” bond with the oxygen atom specifically at an angle of 104.4 degrees. So, as more and more water molecules slowly bind together as they freeze, they arrange themselves according to that 104.4 degree angle.

The oxygen side of the molecule has a slightly negative charge because the electrons in the molecule spend their time around the largest atom. This leaves the hydrogen side of the molecule with a positive charge. While these charges are somewhat weak, they still have an influence over how molecules bind together, due to the attraction of opposite charges.

So, each snowflake ever created has grown and crystallized in the sky, slowly attaching molecule by molecule in a specific pattern dictated by its charge and the 104.4 degree angle of each water molecule.

Pretty crazy, right?

Check out these "designer" snowflakes produced by Caltech researchers here!

h/t DoubleXScience

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'Blind' Stray Cat Found to Have Beautiful Eyes After Being Rescued

It’s not easy being a stray animal. Your meals come as often as they go, your trips to the vet are few and far in between (if any), and you have to deal with diseases like mange.

This is Cotton, a stray cat who was thought to be blind because the skin disease he was suffering from had literally swollen his eyes shut. Cotton was discovered in the streets of Royal Palm Beach, Florida, after the hungry cat “came out of nowhere” in hopes of snagging some of the food a man had put out for his own cat.

The man said Cotton appeared to be “very hungry, like if he had not eaten in days.” The man took to social media to see if anyone would be willing to help Cotton out and give him some much needed TLC. Luckily, Carmen Weinberg, founder of Animal Friends Project, saw the post and decided to take him in, at least until he was healthy enough to find a permanent home.

“Early the next morning, I drove to pick him up. I took him immediately to my vet… and they confirmed that he was suffering from mange.”

It was only after Cotton was eating normally again and his mange started to clear up that Cotton’s stunning eyes were revealed. One blue one and one yellow one, staring lovingly out at the world around him.

“Little by little he started to gain weight. It was a nice surprise to see that he had one blue eye and one yellow eye. His hair started to grow again…”

Now, all that’s left on Carmen’s mind is finding Cotton a home deserving of such a loving cat who ‘likes to be wherever you are.’

Who else wants to take Cotton home?

Please share with friends and loved ones who would love to hear Cotton’s tale!

http://www.boredpanda.com/blind-rescue-cat-mange-different-color-eyes-cotton/

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This Giant Canada Lynx Makes An Adorable Noise When Given Head Rubs

It’s often said that a cat is a cat regardless of how big it is, and that seems to certainly be true when it comes to Max the Canada Lynx!

Cats are known for making a subtle rumbling noise when they’re happy and content, known as purring, and it turns out that the big ones do so as well. Give them a nice head rub, scratch their ears and cheeks, and you’ll have a purring machine in no time.

Except Max’s purr sounds a little different than the purring you’re used to. Because he’s a much larger cat, his purr sounds more like an small engine running than any type of cat. Watch as Max receives some TLC and starts purring like you’ve never heard before.

Bernadette Hoffman is Max’s caretaker, and while he isn’t fully tame, he also isn’t exactly wild. Max was born in captivity at a zoo, but was eventually rescued by Bernadette and taken to her home in upstate New York where she houses him in both indoor and outdoor enclosures.

In fact, Max helps Bernadette run her wildlife education program as an education animal ambassador. Her program visits school children and public events to help educate people on the protection of the Earth and all of the endangered species that also call our planet home.

Source: Max Canada Lynx - I'm a Big Baby by socialsupplies on Rumble

In March of 2002, the Canada Lynx made the endangered species list after a combination of hunters and loss of habitat caused their population numbers to dwindle.

Check out this big cuddly cat and then share with friends and loved ones who would also love to see what a big cat purrs like!

h/t SunGazing

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THIS Is What Happens When a Rabbi, a Priest and an Atheist Smoke Cannabis Together

Marijuana is, and probably has been, one of the most controversial drugs to ever be consumed by man, especially in the modern era. The substance has been illegal for decades, even though people have always used it recreationally, regardless of any type of authoritative entity telling them not to.

If you’ve smoked weed before, you know that it’s not a dangerous, life-altering substance that will have you out on the streets overnight without a job. If you’ve never smoked weed before, you might think that it’s fairly dangerous.

Either way, this footage of a priest, a rabbi and an atheist smoking weed together says more about the substance than anyone ever could.

Watch as these three men, who all come from different backgrounds, light up a joint and take a few bong rips before discussing major topics such as life, God and religion--managing to do so in a peaceful, tolerant, open and accepting way.

Even if you take nothing away from the conversations being had, you can at least tell people that you’ve seen a priest, a rabbi and an atheist smoke weed together!

Please share with friends and family who would also love to watch this spectacular event!

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Mysterious Whale 'Super-Groups' Discovered Off Coast of South Africa

Humpback whales aren’t known for being social butterflies of the ocean. In fact, they tend to be introverted and somewhat isolated, traveling in small packs that rarely ever go over seven individuals. Which is why researchers aren’t exactly sure what to make of the mysteriously large number of whales that have been discovered off the southwest coast of South Africa in the past few years.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Ken Findlay, lead researcher out of Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa.

In the years of 2011, 2014 and 2015, at least 22 sightings of humpback whale ‘super-groups’ were reported by research vessels. That’s not including the numerous other sightings by public entities traveling the region.

"[W]e propose that the 'super-group' feeding phenomenon (as tightly spaced large groups of whales) is a relatively recent behaviour exhibited by these whales," says Findlay and his team.

"[N]o such dense feeding aggregations have been reported elsewhere in low or mid latitudes during Southern Hemisphere humpback whale migrations. Indeed, aggregations of whales of this size have seldom been reported in the literature, with 'large' groups often numbering in the range of 10 to 20 or less."

Oddly enough, it’s not just the large packs of whales that is mysterious--it’s also the fact that they’re near South Africa at a time when they’re typically feeding in the polar regions of Antarctica.

Researchers aren’t 100 percent sure what the true reason behind this strange behavior is, but they have a few theories floating around. The first one being that it could be due to changes in ocean conditions that are subsequently altering the amount of food that is available. The other one being that the population of humpback whales is rising.

Humpback whales were seen to gather around the coasts of South Africa back in 1914 when their population numbers were incredibly high, leading researchers to ponder whether or not they are simply reverting back to an old feeding pattern that was seen before the whaling industry killed off a majority of the creatures.

Whatever the reason may be, scientists say these new patterns are likely here to stay--because what’re you going to do about the gatherings of a creature that weighs 66,000 pounds? If the coasts of South Africa are to be the next big humpback whale feeding ground, it’s important for us to make sure that they are safe.

"Despite the unknown cause of this recent behaviour, we postulate that the area has developed or is developing into an important seasonal humpback whale feeding ground that attracts significant immigration into the region in the late austral spring/early summer," concludes Findlay’s team.

You can read more about the study here!

h/t Science Alert

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