Tuesday, 12 December 2017


10 Wacky Allergies To Things Other Than Foods
By Melissa Mills,
Listverse, 12 December 2017.

When we think about things that trigger allergies, we usually imagine something that people eat or drink. You know, that kid who will be dead in seconds if he eats peanuts or the girl who bolts to the bathroom after she drinks milk.

But not all allergic reactions are to food or drink. This list will take you through some of the stranger allergies our human bodies can fall victim to.

10. Cold Temperatures: Cold Urticaria

Photo credit:

Most people don’t particularly like being cold. But for a sufferer of cold urticaria, low temperatures bring on a whole new world of discomfort. Symptoms can range from redness, welts, and itching on skin that has been exposed to the cold all the way to systemic symptoms like headaches, diarrhea, tachycardia, and even anaphylaxis.

In most cases, cold urticaria can be diagnosed by a cold stimulation test. (An ice cube in a plastic bag is placed on the arm for five minutes, and the results observed.) If welts appear after a period of 5–10 minutes of rewarming, the test is considered positive. If the ice cube test is negative, cold urticaria cannot necessarily be ruled out.

Unfortunately, there are a number of atypical presentations of cold urticaria which are less easily diagnosed. This includes delayed cold urticaria, in which reactions to the cold stimuli may take 3–24 hours to appear, and localized cold urticaria, in which only certain parts of the body will react.

Treatment for cold urticaria typically involves the avoidance of cold temperatures. This includes cold foods and beverages, immersion in cold water, and exposure to cold weather. Antihistamines can also be used to alleviate symptoms.

9. Pregnancy: Pemphigoid Gestationis

Photo credit:

Pregnancy is a wonderful but sometimes challenging experience for most mothers-to-be. However, for those with pemphigoid gestationis, pregnancy rapidly becomes extremely uncomfortable.

Pemphigoid gestationis is an autoimmune condition which occurs predominantly during mid-to-late pregnancy, anywhere from 13 to 42 weeks. It begins with some minor itchy red bumps around the navel. Over the course of days to weeks, these can spread across the body to cover the patient in blisters or welts. The arms, legs, torso, back, and buttocks can be affected, usually leaving the patient’s face, scalp, palms, and soles of the feet unaffected.

Unfortunately, pemphigoid gestationis cannot be prevented. Instead, treatment focuses on managing the symptoms. Antihistamines and topical corticosteroid creams can be used to reduce itching. If the case is severe, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed. Usually, symptoms will disappear within weeks after delivery of the baby.

8. Vibration: Vibratory Urticaria

Vibratory urticaria is a condition in which allergy symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling are caused by the skin being exposed to vibration, friction, or repeated stretching. If the stimulus is particularly strong, additional symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, metallic taste, blurry vision, or faintness.

Simple daily activities like drying off with a towel or taking a bumpy ride in a car can provoke an attack that may last for as long as an hour. Several episodes can occur in one day if the individual is exposed to continued vibratory stimulus.

Vibratory urticaria can be caused by a single mutation in the gene which is responsible for making the protein ADGRE2, found in immune cells throughout the body. This mutation causes one amino acid within the protein to be substituted, altering the structure and making it less stable. Vibration and friction are then able to break this protein’s structure, which signals an immune response.

This mutation is not responsible for all cases of vibratory urticaria, although it is unknown what other causes may exist.

7. Water: Aquagenic Urticaria


People affected by aquagenic urticaria can usually drink water without trouble. However, water coming into contact with their skin causes an allergic reaction. Itching and numerous red welts are the most common symptoms. Shortness of breath occurs less frequently.

Thankfully, aquagenic urticaria is an extremely rare allergy, with only around 50 documented cases on record. From the data available, females are more frequently affected than males and symptoms generally begin during puberty or shortly afterward.

Although it is not a common condition, aquagenic urticaria is arguably one of the most difficult allergies to live with.

6. Sun: Photosensitivity

Photo credit:

Photosensitivity is a catchall phrase for a variety of conditions in which an allergic response is caused by sunlight. Sun allergies are most likely to affect the skin in the V of the neck and the outer surfaces of the arms and legs - places which are likely to get a lot of direct sunlight.

As more than one condition may be responsible for a sun allergy, symptoms can vary. But they include hives, blisters, itching or burning sensations, and occasionally even bleeding under the skin. These symptoms can occur within minutes of exposure to sunlight or be delayed as long as two days after exposure.

What causes sun allergies is not yet known, but scientists have theorized that a hereditary factor could be to blame. The allergy is triggered by a chemical change in skin cells struck by sunlight. The immune system then fails to recognize those cells as belonging to the body and attacks them as if they were foreign invading cells.

Unfortunately, people who suffer from a sun allergy may have no choice but to severely limit their time in the sun. They may also work hard to cover up with clothing and sunscreen when they are going to catch some rays.

5. Metals: Metal Hypersensitivity


Many people experience allergic responses when they come into contact with specific metals. Estimates suggest that up to 15 percent of the population could be affected. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, redness, and itching at the site of contact. More seriously, metal hypersensitivity can also present itself as a range of chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

By far, the metal most responsible for metal sensitivity is nickel - approximately 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men are thought to suffer from this allergy. It is estimated that 1–3 percent of the population is affected by allergic reactions to cobalt and chromium. Likewise, allergic responses have been documented as a result of contact with titanium and copper.

These allergic reactions take place when the body begins to identify metal ions as foreign bodies and activates the immune system to defend against the threat.

A metal allergy can be highly inconvenient in everyday life. Many cosmetic products contain traces of metals which can set off a reaction. Jewelry, watches, and coins are also known culprits. Older intrauterine devices (IUDs) were manufactured from copper and have previously caused hypersensitivities as have many medical implants such as pacemakers, rods, pins, and plates used to repair injuries.

These reactions can be serious because the allergens have been inside the body for a prolonged period of time.

4. Semen: Human Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity


Yes, this is a serious allergy, not an excuse to avoid intimacy! It is estimated that 40,000 women in the United States are affected by this condition. Men are also able to manifest an allergy to their own semen, but it is unknown how often this happens.

Symptoms include redness, soreness, hives, itching, and burning sensations. Women who have a semen allergy may produce antibodies which attack sperm cells and prevent pregnancy. The reaction is caused by an immune response against a specific protein present in the liquid portion of semen. So it does not prevent women from getting pregnant through artificial insemination.

Diagnosis of a semen allergy is actually quite simple. If a condom is used and the symptoms stop, the cause of the reaction has effectively been identified. Treatments include a series of shots with increasing concentrations of seminal fluids to desensitize the person experiencing the reaction. Alternatively, for those who dislike needles, condoms will effectively prevent symptoms.

3. Plastics


Allergic reactions to plastics are not common but certainly not unheard of. They come under the subheading of contact urticaria, or allergic reactions from contact. Several chemicals present or used in the production of plastics can be to blame, including polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), butylhydroxytoluene (BHT), and diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP).

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to plastic are redness, itching, and swelling at the location of contact. Treatments include topical steroids and antihistamines.

2. Wood


Given the hundreds of different species of trees in the world, wood seems like a strange allergy. However, this type of allergy seems to be no secret among woodworkers across the world. Many databases are dedicated to listing species, possible reactions, areas of the body affected, and the potency of the possible reaction.

Reactions to various species include skin irritations, sneezing, nosebleeds, vomiting, and even nasopharyngeal cancer. Most at risk are people who are working with wood or in situations where sawdust may be inhaled (as particles may enter the body through the airways).

Of course, just because one species of wood has been known to cause symptoms in the past does not mean that everyone will suffer the same reaction. Likewise, having an allergic response to one species of wood does not mean that an individual is at risk of a reaction to wood from all tree species.

1. Touch: Dermatographic Urticaria

Photo credit: Mysid

Dermatographic urticaria (aka dermographism) is an allergic response to the touching of the skin. Dermographism means “writing on the skin,” as only a firm stroke is needed to elicit redness and then wheals on the skin of individuals with this allergy. Some people with this condition experience itching in addition to the redness and welts on their skin.

The exact mechanisms which cause dermographism are still unknown, although the immune system is obviously involved. It is most common in young adults and does not affect any gender or race at greater frequencies. However, women who are pregnant or beginning menopause are known to have an increased incidence of this allergy.

Fortunately, most patients with dermographism are otherwise quite healthy. For many patients, symptoms decrease over time and may eventually disappear. Until then, antihistamines can be used to help control symptoms.

Top image: Dermographism (Dermatographic urticaria}. Credit: R1carver/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Listverse. Top image added.]


Wondering what's the best way to get from A to B? There are more options out there than taxis. From modified military vans and camel buses to toboggan rides and auto rickshaws, many modes of transport around the world aren't just functional - they're also fascinating cultural experiences. The following infographic by GoCompare takes a look at some of the unique and unusual ways to get around.

[Post Source: GoCompare.]

Monday, 11 December 2017


Small homes, big ideas: The best tiny houses of 2017
By Adam Williams,
New Atlas, 29 November 2017.

Considering most tiny houses are a similar size and shape, you'd think firms would run out of ideas to make their models stand out from the crowd, but that doesn't seem to be the case. This year has seen many unique takes on downsizing, including an expandable tiny house, a cardboard tiny house, and another towable dwelling that sleeps up to 10 people. Here's our pick for the best tiny houses of 2017.

1. Aurora - Zero Square


Zero Squared drew inspiration from the RV scene with its novel Aurora tiny house, which features large slide-outs - sections of walls that push outwards to increase living space. In the Aurora's case they grow the total width from 8.6 ft (2.6 m) when towing, to 15.10 ft (4.6 m) when parked up.

This means that when being towed, the home remains narrow enough to be road-legal, but in its expanded state, residents can enjoy increased living space that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Indeed, despite measuring a compact 26 ft (8 m)-long, the Aurora offers a relatively generous total floor space of 374 sq ft (34.7 sq m).

Its interior comprises an office that turns into a bedroom with a Murphy-style drop-down bed, a living room with sofa, as well as a dining area and a bathroom with shower.

The Aurora gets power from a standard RV-style hookup or can run off-the-grid with solar panels and a composting toilet. It'll set you back US$88,900.

2. Wikkelhouse - Fiction Factory


Furniture maker Fiction Factory's debut home Wikkelhouse is a prefabricated dwelling made from cardboard. The home is constructed by wrapping 24 layers of cardboard around a rotating house-shaped mold, then finishing it in a waterproof foil and wooden cladding to improve durability.

Each Wikkelhouse is modular and consists of multiple segments measuring 5 sq m (53 sq ft) each, so it can be easily configured to serve as an office or a weekend cabin, for example. It runs from grid-based power as standard, though solar panels and a composting toilet can be added at extra cost for those who want to cut the cord.

The Wikkelhouse starts at €30,000 (roughly US$35,600).

3. Escher - New Frontier Tiny Homes


New Frontier Tiny Homes impressed us before with the Alpha tiny house and its successor, the Escher, sports a similar overall design, but with some additional touches to make it suitable for a family.

The Escher reaches a length of 33 ft (10 m) and has an attractive exterior partly clad in Shou Sugi Ban-treated cedar, the Japanese method of charring wood to preserve it. It has a garage-like door and awning that lift upwards to open the home to the outside. The interior looks very luxurious and measures around 300 sq ft (27.8 sq m). There's a lot going on in here but the most interesting piece of furniture is a custom dining table hidden under the stairs that's pulled out to seat up to 12 adults.

Japanese-style Shoji paper doors separate the high-end kitchen and the Escher's main bedroom. Over on the other side of the home is a small office, child's room up in the loft, and a bathroom with walk-in closet.

The Escher starts at US$139,900.

4. Retreat - Timbercraft Tiny Homes


The Retreat, by Timbercraft Tiny Homes, is an attractive-looking tiny house that sleeps a family of six. It measures 33 ft (10 m)-long and has a total floor space of 416 sq ft (38.6 sq m), which is very spacious for a road-legal tiny house.

Visitors enter into the Retreat's living room, which joins to a U-shaped kitchen with lots of cabinet space and full-size appliances. The bathroom has a full-size bath/shower. There are three bedrooms in the Retreat. The first is the master bedroom and has enough headroom to stand upright, while the second and third bedrooms are standard tiny house-style lofts reached by ladder.

The Retreat gets electricity from a standard RV-style hookup and costs US$79,000.

5. Open Concept Rustic Modern Tiny House - Ana White


The Open Concept Rustic Modern Tiny House stands out from the crowd with an elevating bed that makes the interior seem more spacious. The impetus for the idea came from a client wanting as spacious an interior as possible. Self-taught tiny house builder Ana White designed and built the system by modifying off-the-shelf sliding door parts and a garage storage lift's electric pulley system.

The bed is tucked away up close to the roof when not in use, but with a flick of the switch it descends. The bed is supported in place with movable pegs and a coffee table serves as a step. The small lounge space remaining beneath the elevating bed has a couch that turns into a guest bed.

The home measures 24 x 8.5 ft (7.3 x 2.6 m) and also includes a bathroom with shower, composting toilet, and a sliding closet for hanging clothes, while the raised kitchen reveals a hidden storage space.

6. Traveler XL Limited - Escape


Escape's Traveler XL Limited is an upgrade of the firm's original Traveler XL model that sleeps an amazing 10 people under its small roof. It measures 30 ft (9.1 m)-long and has a total floor space of 344 sq ft (32 sq m).

The ground floor is arranged around a living area and the kitchenette has full-size appliances, including a range cooker and sink, and there's a 5 ft (1.5 m)-long bathtub and shower in the bathroom. The Traveler XL Limited comes with two bedrooms as standard: a master bedroom on the ground floor and a loft bedroom upstairs. If you add an optional second loft bedroom that has room for a couple of beds, plus the sofa bed, there is space for 10 people to sleep.

The Traveler XL Limited runs on or off-the-grid with a solar power and composting toilet package. It starts at US$78,500.

7. Sakura - Minimaliste


Minimaliste added loads of insulation to ensure the Sakura can stand up to a harsh Canadian winter. The cold-weather home measures 32 ft (9.7 m)-long, with a total floor space of 380 sq ft (35 sq m), and the firm reports that it can handle temperatures as low as minus 40° C (- 40° F).

The Sakura is clad in white cedar and topped by a small rooftop terrace. Its living room has a coffee table that can be unfolded to serve as a dining table. The nearby kitchenette offers access to the bathroom via a pocket door, which has a full-size bathtub and a composting toilet.

A small staircase leads to the main bedroom while on the opposite side of the home is a loft accessed by movable ladder. This has another small ladder installed that leads to the rooftop deck. The cold is kept at bay with hydronic radiant underfloor heating, an air-conditioning unit, and a ventilation system with heat exchangers.

The Sakura cost a total of CA$130,000 (roughly US$102,000).

8. Millennial Tiny House - Build Tiny


The Millennial Tiny House, by Build Tiny, has some great space-saving ideas that we haven't seen elsewhere. It measures 7.2 x 2.4 m (23 x 7.8 ft) and its center is taken up by a large living area with underfloor storage. Two French doors are positioned opposite each other to promote airflow.

The Millennial Tiny House's most standout feature is its slide-out staircase. It's pulled out from the wall manually and locks into place to offer access to a sleeping loft above. An adjacent door leads to a bathroom with shower, sink, laundry area, and composting toilet.

The kitchen provides access to a loft office area above. This seems a bit awkward compared to the cool slide-out staircase and must be accessed by climbing some steps onto the kitchen counter and then ascending a ladder attached to the wall.

Build Tiny offers the Millennial Tiny House in three stages: Stage 1 costs NZD59,750 (roughly US$43,000) and is a watertight shell. Stage 2 costs NZD90,995 (US$65,500) and adds wiring, plumbing, insulation, etc. You'll need to shell out NZD120,500 (US$86,700) for a full turnkey version.

9. Tiny Adventure Home - Tiny Heirloom


We're bending the rules with this one as we covered it at the end of 2016, but it's too interesting to let slip through the cracks. The Tiny Adventure Home, by Tiny Heirloom, was built for a couple of climbers who wanted to downsize but keep pursuing their shared hobby and has a real rock climbing wall on its exterior.

On entering, visitors are greeted with a kitchen to one side and a large dining area with two bench seats on the other. Elsewhere in the home is a bathroom with a corner soaking tub/shower.

The Tiny Adventure Home has two lofts, both accessed with a movable ladder. The first, which lies over the dining area, is a snug lounge/office space with a small desk, chair, and cushions, while the second, atop the bathroom, serves as bedroom. The home measures 28 ft (8 m)-long and gets electricity from a standard hookup.

10. RoadHaus - Wheelhaus


The pint-sized RoadHaus is a good option for those wanting a tiny house that's, well, genuinely tiny. The home measures between 160 to 240 sq ft (14.8 to 22.2 sq m) and has an attractive raised roof that lets in lots of natural light.

Visitors gain access from the deck and enter into a small living room with couch and wall-mounted TV. The kitchenette is nearby and the bathroom contains shower, sink, and toilet.

The bedroom is at the far-end of the home and has enough space for a double bed. The home gets its power from a standard RV-style hookup, though that large flat sloping roof looks well-suited to an aftermarket solar power array.

Pricing for the RoadHaus starts at US$63,500.

More images here.

Top image: Escher tiny home. Credit: New Frontier Tiny Homes.

[Source: New Atlas.]

Sunday, 10 December 2017


If you look at just about any cleaning product, you will notice a lack of an ingredient list. Could it be because so many of them have ingredients that are TOXIC? The following infographic by Master Cleaners presents a list of harmful ingredients that are in many household cleaners and are of particular concern because they are carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, or known or suspected reproductive toxins.

[Source: Master Cleaners.]


Live It Up: The 8 Best Home Design Software Programs
By M. W. Byrne,
The Coolist, 30 November 2017.

Making a dream home requires complete control of every facet. If you’re going to invest the exorbitant fees and tackle the countless tribulations, the least you ask is to get exactly what you want. The trouble is, knowing exactly what your special sanctuary requires and being able to explain it to the construction crew is no easy feat. Even architects and master builders can get wires crossed - figuratively and literally - so the layperson has little chance of explaining their vision. That’s the point of home design software.

Quality home design programs use a library of pre-loaded objects and common additions to a home. They help you aim for realistic goals, rather than requiring miracles of plumbing or carpentry to accomplish. You can see a rendered home in full color and dimensions so that there’s no confusion when drawing up a statement of work for your contractor. They also help you steal, so that whenever you see a cornice, framing, or cute little bay window build, you can rip that right off and add it to your mind’s little mansion. Here’s the 8 best home design software programs for planning your fantasy abode.

1. Sweet Home 3D


Most of the programs here are built to make expansive manses with exhaustive grounds. Sweet Home 3D, as the name suggests, doesn’t adopt airs or claim professional grade work. It thinks inside the box, aiming small. 2D and 3D permits exact placement on the grid. This would be more impressive if the exterior work were more exact. Better for designing rooms, tiny houses, and anything focused on indoors work, the quaintness of Sweet Home makes it a small space master. (Purchase: Free/Accepts Donations)

2. DreamPlan Home Design Software

Image via

A bare-bones builder that gives you a single sample house plan to jump off from, you’ll also find object choices are fairly basic. Though the feature list is cut down, DreamPlan Home Design Software operates on the same theory as brands like the In-N-Out burger chain. Don’t dress up and polish bad material, but rather craft an exceptional experience that isn’t laden with the pointless. Going in from scratch is not only doable, but a joy. The sense of really being able to create is strong with this program. You might not get all the fringe you hope for, but everything you design with this feels truly yours. (Download (free))

3. Google SketchUp

Image via

As much fun as a digital Lego set without any high costs to keep you out of it, SketchUp is the recommendation for anyone to start their project, since you can pop in and start tinkering in no time. The tutorials are quick, rendering is fun, modeling feels good. Naturally, you’re going to run into a point where the software runs out, but that’s a long ways off. The ability to do 2D models is helpful, especially for anyone coming in with some napkin sketches in hand. Searchable databases of objects make finding similar items to what you desire accessible, if you can often scroll through miles of the wrong architecture. For free, it’s a steal at 40 times the price.

4. Total 3D Landscape & Deck Premium

Image via

Sprawling is the term that comes to mind using Total 3D, and that’s double-edged. There’s a few that come close to the number of sample plans available, but not many. Having that many options up front can be a buffet, which is great if you’re starving, but excessive if you know what you want. Navigation is unfriendly, and the interface is sometimes convoluted as it tries to do a little too much. Streamlined, it would be great. As it is, it’s overly intricate, but there’s worse things out there to be. (Purchase: US$30+)

5. Chief Architect Home Designer

Image via

Let the words “Chief Architect” stand out to you, as getting this is going to be a little bit of an undertaking. Chief Architect Home Designer is extremely powerful, giving you spectacular 3D renderings, so long as you RTFM. Do not go in cold or you’ll find the feeling to be limited, since all the good stuff requires some fancy book-learnin’ to get right. The support is astonishing, and you can work with the community of other DIY designers to get input and advice that will save you a bundle when going to see the architect. (Purchase: US$59-$495)

6. Home Designer Suite

Image via

The Home Designer Line is your Cadillac software. There are a few versions, and they are all damn good. The Home Designer Suite’s content is deep, giving you more than you could hope to need, unless you do this for a living. Dense and complicated, to reach all the glorious additions that come with Home Designer, you’re going to need to make a serious investment of time. From house to landscape, if you put in the hours to make this hop to your every whim it will reward you grandly. If you hope to put something together in an afternoon, or a week, this is a punishing mistress without mercy. (Purchase: US$80+)

7. Virtual Architect Ultimate

Image via

With wizards for everything, from your kitchen to your roof, there’s a lot of sandboxes in which to play with Virtual Architect Ultimate. It’s complex, requiring a learning curve to master. Once you’ve gotten it, you’ll be able to fly along, crafting professional home layouts that are far above what most software can render. Beginning life as HGTV Ultimate Home Design, this program has gone through several changes. At each phase it’s picked up new tricks, building upon the past. Fat has been trimmed and the long development time in the saddle has truly paid off. If you can stand to learn to work it, Virtual Architect can top anything else on the board. (Purchase: US$100)

8. TurboFloorPlan Home & Landscape Pro

Image via

Focus more on the words “FloorPlan” than “Home & Landscape” in the title. TurboFloorPlan Home & Landscape Pro is able to do layouts like a champion and has an interface that feels natural, the way you can always find things in a well-designed kitchen.

On the matter of landscaping and design, there’s a few holes. Namely, placeable objects and plants are lean, meaning you’ll get the broad strokes, but tweaking the refinements aren’t ideally done here. being able to start fast and get results, or painstaking plot every point is nice for the Sunday user and the purist. (Purchase: US$100)

Top image: Sweet Home 3D. Credit: Video screenshot RedTop Learning/YouTube.

[Source: The Coolist. Top image and some links added.]

Saturday, 9 December 2017


10 naturally pink lakes
By Josh Lew,
Mother Nature Network, 8 December 2017.

It might be easy to dismiss pictures of pink lakes as Photoshopped. Plenty of them are, we're sure, but a handful of bubble gum-colored lakes around the world don't get their hue from a filter. The color is usually the result of microorganisms interacting with salt water. In fact, almost all of the world’s pink lakes are saltier than the ocean.

Where are these bodies of water? Australia has an impressive collection, but the unusual lakes are also located in South America, West Africa, Eastern Europe and Mexico. Some of these places are protected, others are very remote. Pink lakes have proven to be major attractions, though the salty water makes them not the best option for a cooling summertime swim.

Here are several examples of the unique phenomenon of pink lakes.

1. Lake Koyashskoe, Ukraine

Photo: Kurgus/Wikimedia Commons

Lake Koyashskoe, sometimes spelled Lake Koyashskoye, is on the Crimean Peninsula. The water here ranges from pink to red depending on the season. In springtime, the pink color is evident, and summer usually brings a darker, deeper hue. Koyashskoe is popular with locals and not well known to tourists, especially because travel warnings have been issued in recent years for this part of the eastern Ukraine.

Why is Koyashskoe pink? Like many salt lakes, this one is filled with halobacteria, a microorganism that secretes a pink-colored protein when absorbing energy from the sun. Some also attribute the color to brine shrimp, which thrive in the saline environment. By late summer, you might not see much of Lake Koyashskoe at all because the water evaporates, leaving behind heaps of salt along the lake bed.

2. Lake Hillier, Australia

Photo: Kurioziteti123/Wikimedia Commons

Lake Hillier is located on Middle Island off the southern coast of Western Australia. From above, it has a bubble-gum pink hue. This color remains even in water that has been scooped out of the lake. Hillier is surrounded by a eucalyptus forest, so the green foliage makes the water stand out even more.

Most people believe the deep color of Hillier comes from a combination of algae and salt-loving halobacteria. However, there's a bit of mystery to Hillier. Other pink saline lakes change color depending on the season, the angle of the sun or air temperature. Hillier remains the same shade of pink for the whole year. Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed on the island, so they have to admire the lake from the air.

3. Lake Retba, Senegal

Photo: Anthea Spivey/Wikimedia Commons

Lake Retba is on the edge of Senegal’s Cap Vert Peninsula. Sand dunes separate its water from the Atlantic. Retba is best known in the rest of the world as the former finishing point for the famous Paris-to-Dakar Rally. Called Lac Rose by locals, the water has a salt content that's sometimes compared to the Dead Sea. The pink hue is attributed to a microalgae known as Dunaliella salina.

The main industry here is salt collection. About 1,000 workers harvest 24,000 tons of salt from the lake annually. They cover their skin in shea butter to avoid the drying effects of the salt. Retba is easy to visit because it's only 25 miles outside of Dakar, the capital and economic hub of Senegal.

4. Las Coloradas, Mexico

Photo: Walter Rodriguez/Wikimedia Commons

Las Coloradas is a three-hour drive from the tourist haven of Playa del Carmen. In the middle of a large biosphere reserve, the pink ponds here get their color from microorganisms that contain beta carotene, the vitamin-A precursor that gives vegetables like carrots their color.

The bodies of water lie in a remote section of the Yucatan Peninsula. The drive from the nearest tourist hub passes miles and miles of empty beaches. Las Coloradas is outside of a small fishing village that shares its name. There's also a salt factory nearby. Travel magazine Afar advises tourists visiting this region in the winter and early spring to be on the lookout for large migrating birds such as flamingos and pelicans.

5. Las Salinas de Torrevieja, Spain

Photo: Alberto Casanova/Flickr

Located on Spain’s Mediterranean coast in the Valencian Community, Torrevieja is a city of about 100,000 people. It is sandwiched between the sea and two saltwater lakes, which helps to create a microclimate that makes this one of the most pleasant spots in a region that is known for its pleasant spots. The pink waters here are thought to have health benefits and people claim improvement in their skin and lung conditions after a soak in Las Salinas.

The lakes of Las Salinas are not the only pink-colored thing in Torrevieja. During migration season, flamingo flocks descend on the area. They, along with other migrating birds, spend time here because of the high concentration of brine shrimp in the saltwater.

6. Masazir Lake, Azerbaijan

Photo: K.Tapdıqova/Wikimedia Commons

Despite its unique hue, this lake is not on the tourist map even though it is only a few miles outside of Baku, the cultural and economic hub of Azerbaijan. Tourists either have to hire a car or take a city bus to the suburbs and walk the final mile or two to the lake. The pink color is at its brightest in warmer weather.

Like other saline lakes, Masazir is the site of intense salt farming. Workers extract the salt in small plots. This salt industry is centered on a town, which shares its name with the lake.

7. Lake Natron, Tanzania

Photo: NASA/exploitcorporations/Wikimedia Commons

Lake Natron is located in the Arusha region of Northern Tanzania. The same types of salt-loving microorganisms that color other saline lakes also turn Natron shades of pink and red. The lake is best known for something else, however. Nearby mineral springs feed it with high amounts of sodium carbonate, which has a preserving effect on animals that happen to die there. Pictures of mummified birds made the rounds on the internet a few years ago, giving this place an ominous image that it perhaps does not deserve.

Though Natron has high amounts of alkaline, it does support wildlife, such as flamingos. The water is actually ideal for spirulina, a microorganism that the long-legged birds feed on. In fact, the high level of spirulina that these flamingos ingest is the main reason for their pink color. As a bonus for the birds, the alkaline in the water keeps predators away.

8. Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

Photo: Travel & Shit/Wikimedia Commons

Though it may be described as a “pink” lake, Laguna Colorada, or Red Lake, is often characterized as “red” or “red-orange.” Salt-loving algae and bacteria help to create this color, but sediments from the nearby rocks also affect the water’s appearance.

Like some of the other pink salt lakes, this one draws flamingos. Much rarer than other flamingo species, the endangered James’s flamingo comes to the higher altitudes of the Andes Mountains to feed on microorganisms. Andean and Chilean flamingos are also present in Laguna Colorada. Minerals create other colorful lakes on the Bolivian high plains. For example, Laguna Verde, Green Lake, boasts water with a deep emerald color.

9. Hutt Lagoon, Australia

Photo: Samuel Orchard/Wikimedia Commons

Hutt Lagoon is one of several notable pink lakes in Australia. Scientists think that it was once part of the estuary of the Hutt River, but it is now separated from the waterway and fed by saltwater seeping up from the ground. It is also fed by rainwater runoff. Evaporation can become intense during the hot Western Australia summertime. A majority of the lake can turn into a dry salt flat during this time. Even during the wetter periods of the year, the lake reaches only about three or four feet in depth.

The pink color comes from carotene-producing algae. Like other saline lakes, Hutt Lagoon has a large population of brine shrimp. In fact, it is the site of commercial farming operations for both algae and brine shrimp (used in the aquarium and fish farming industries).

10. Great Salt Lake, Utah

Photo: Miguel Hermoso Cuesta/Wikimedia Commons

Utah’s Great Salt Lake is not known as a “pink lake.” However, because its salinity is up to 10 times that of the ocean, it provides ideal conditions for halophilic microorganisms and their bright colors. The lake’s salinity level varies. In the south, it is less salty, and perhaps best known for its large brine shrimp (which are sometimes sold in the aquarium trade as “sea monkeys”).

In the northern section of the lake, however, the higher salt levels mean that only hardy microorganisms can survive. Scientists think that some of these creatures can attach themselves to salt crystals and go into hibernation for years before awakening.

Top image: Lake Hillier, Australia. Credit: Aussie Oc/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Some images added.]