Space Crustacean

Can you guess what this nebula is supposed to look like? Hint: It’s not a crab. This image of the Lobster Nebula — 8,000 light years away in the constellation Scorpius — was taken by the European Southern Observatory’s VISTA telescope in Chile. You can get an absurdly large version of the image here.

Transparent Smartphone

Polytron Technologies, a Taiwanese manufacturer, debuted their transparent smartphone prototype to Mobile Geeks earlier this month. It could be in limited production as early as the end of the year. Though an influx of clear phones could cause a lot of Bluetooth-style is-that-stranger-talking-to-me confusion.

High-Rise Nesting

South African photog Dillon Marsh drove around the Kalahari Desert for three days capturing the alien beauty of Social Weaver nests built around telephone poles. The small African birds make “apartment houses” with up to 300 chambers. Wonder if they’re rent-controlled.

Ball Labyrinth

German artist Katharina Grosse’s latest show, Two Younger Women Come In And Pull Out A Table, on display now in the Netherlands, features a suspended maze of brightly painted latex balloons as well as more traditional canvas-based works. You can see more photos from the series on her Facebook.

False-Color Mercury

NASA’s Messenger space probe filters the light from Mercury’s surface, creating an image that allows scientists to see its composition. Beautiful. (Not that we don’t like you just the way you are, Mercury.)

A Volcano Erupting

In the first major eruption of the year, Mount Etna in Italy sent lava flying. It’s more than a little apocalyptic, so here’s hoping this is also the last of the year. While you wait it out, see a video here.


A shockingly high housing rate–about $1,300 per square foot–keeps many residents in Hong Kong living in illegal “microapartments,” tiny rooms sectioned off from industrial buildings. Co.Design has rounded up some photos.

Phone Bacteria

To see what kind of bacteria live on a phone, a professor had his students imprint their phones on petri dishes. The bacteria flourished and we got a series of photos that are alternately gross and beautiful. Maybe call for some disinfectant.

Bottle Garden

For the partner project Home Sweet Home, design firm Rosenbaum and TV producer Luciano Huck re-decorated dozens of Brazilian houses. (Sort of a more hip Extreme Home Makeover.) This hanging garden made from plastic models was one of the stand-out projects.