The best pictures from National Geographic's Photo Contest 2014

Everybody knows what the best thing about the end of the year is. It's easy. No, it's not Christmas presents. Or seeing family over the holidays. The best thing about the end of the year is National Geographic's Photo Contest. It's a tradition where we get to see just how awesome the world around us is. »10/28/14 1:04am10/28/14 1:04am

Wow, the winners of the National Geographic Photo Contest are unreal

National Geographic just announced the winners of the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest for 2014. They're all so fantastic you'd swear they aren't real. Like the one above, which is so fantastic that it looks like a photoshop. But it is real—a stunning picture by Marc Henauer of Green Lake in Tragöss, Austria. »8/04/14 10:40pm8/04/14 10:40pm

Hundreds of flying rays is one beautiful nightmare

This photograph of a large school of mobula rays by Eduardo Lopez Negrete is one of the entries for the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. Keep in mind that these majestic creatures can reach a 17-foot (5.2 meter) wingspan and weigh over a ton. It may look like a nightmare but they are harmless. »7/23/14 9:03pm7/23/14 9:03pm

The Right Way to Flip a Coin (And Other Things Going Deep Taught Us)

One of the most earth-shattering things that David Rees has learned about flipping a coin: It's not random. "It's a physical process," he says. "And if you can reduce the number of variables involved, you can control the outcome." Yes, it is possible to learn how to flip a coin, and Rees can show you how to do it. »7/21/14 4:35pm7/21/14 4:35pm

Scientists Are Mapping the Ocean's Plastic Because 99 Percent Is Missing

Last week, some strange news swept the science internet: Much of the plastic scientists expected to find on the ocean's surface is gone, and no one knows exactly where it is. Now the scientists behind the research have shared a first-of-its-kind map of ocean plastic with National Geographic--and it could be key to… »7/17/14 11:11am7/17/14 11:11am

Melting Arctic Ice Is Drastically Changing National Geographic's Atlas

When the the 10th edition of the National Geographic world atlas is released this fall, it will look markedly different from previous versions. That field of endless white usually covering the very north of the planet will be dramatically reduced to reflect the real-life shrinkage of the Arctic ice sheet. »6/10/14 1:00pm6/10/14 1:00pm

The Ship-Breakers Who Tear Apart Dead Cargo Vessels By Hand

On the Bangladeshi coast of the Bay of Bengal, past-their-prime oil tankers and cargo vessels are beached on the muddy shore like industrial, open-air graveyards. There, these massive ships are taken apart by men—"ship-breakers"—who toil hand-to-metal for minimal wages on the toxic, exceptionally dangerous sites. »5/06/14 10:20am5/06/14 10:20am