Chlamydomonas nivalis is a very peculiar type of algae. Unlike most of its relatives, it does not require to be in water to survive and is actually common in alpine and polar areas around the world. It has evolved a special mechanism, which allows it to thrive in these extreme, subzero conditions. Like all other plant life on Earth, it contains chlorophyll, causing its green color and enabling photosynthesis. However, during the autumn and winter months C. navalis “blooms”, developing a secondary red pigment, turning its color to different shades of pink, red, or scarlet. This extra layer offers additional protection against the high doses of UV radiation, to which it is exposed in those areas. For a long time scientists actually believed, that these are two distinct species.
Most of the time the red algae remain hidden, buried under layers of undisturbed snow. Still, if a person were to walk through such a region, he would leave bright red footprints behind him. In fact, this phenomenon has been known to travelers for hundreds of years and is called watermelon snow. However, its nickname doesn’t come only from the reddish color, but because the algae also emit a ripe sweetly watermelon odor, when they are disturbed. For many it seemed as if the very ground was bleeding, hence its other name – blood snow.
The plastic molds are actually so accurate, that pieces vary at most by 0.004 mm and in spite of this strict quality control, only around 18 pieces from a million are rejected. This means that if we take a piece built today and one from way back in 1958, they will still fit perfectly together. 400 billion bricks are produced every year and incredibly around 320 million of them are the car tires used in their sets. This makes them the biggest tire manufacturer in the world, beating Goodyear, Bridgestone or Michelin by a wide margin.