Photo of the Day: Check Out This Close-up Shot of a Solar Flare

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OMG. Is it the end of the world? Is everyone we love and care about soon to be incinerated by a massive radioactive blast from the sun? Will my iPhone still work?

This image, take by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, is actually a mid-level M-class flare, and one of several that have occurred in the same spot over the past few days. They are harmless and can't pass through the atmosphere, according to NASA, but stronger flares have been known to affect GPS and communications on Earth.

There was a streak of more intense X-class flares during the last week of October, which the Space Weather Prediction Center is calling "one for the history books."

The Psychological Effects of Space Travel

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You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that, you son of a b*tch."

Baboons Have a "Cumulative Culture"

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Humankind is capable of great accomplishments, such as sending probes into space and eradicating diseases; these achievements have been made possible because humans learn from their elders and enrich this knowledge over generations. It was previously thought that this cumulative aspect of culture — whereby small changes build up, are transmitted, used and enriched by others — was limited to humans, but it has now been observed in another primate, the baboon.

While it is clear that monkeys like chimpanzees learn many things from their peers, each individual seems to start learning from scratch. In contrast, humans use techniques that evolve and improve from one generation to the next, and also differ from one population to another. The origin of cumulative culture in humans has therefore remained a mystery to scientists, who are trying to identify the necessary conditions for this cultural accumulation.