Random Attrition


jtotheizzoe:

Watch A Writhing Aurora in Real Time

I love me some auroras. They are the visual manifestation of an invisible force field, tongues of light that illuminate Earth’s magnetic shell, which by shielding this blue orb from the onslaught of the charged radiation known as solar wind, makes life itself possible.

As charged particles belched from the sun strike our planet’s magnetic carapace, they are diverted poleward on electromagnetic conduits and eventually thrust into the upper atmosphere at Earth’s higher latitudes. There, collisions with atmospheric molecules illuminate the sky in green and red atomic excitation spectra. Their downward orientation makes them appear like needles pushing in from space itself, or as if one was gazing upward at a flag flapping vertically in the wind.

None of that have I ever witnessed with my own eyes, because I live at far too equatorial a latitude for even the largest solar storm to deliver this show to my front door. In learning about auroras through time lapses and astrophotography, which I have done my fair share of here on It’s Okay To Be Smart, I suppose I’ve always assumed they were a slow, gradual thing to behold, moving alomst imperceptibly, but definitely moving, like the way we can watch a cloud dissipate without ever really seeing it happen.

This video of a recent aurora over Yellowknife, Canada tells a different story. It is moving in real time. Stunning work from photographer Kwon O Chul. Not every aurora moves this fast, but this video completely changes the way I look at auroras.

I’ve often thought of the auroras as Earth’s own performance art, as if the sun is thanking us nightly for the simple act of noticing. But for this private light show, it is we who should be thanking the sun.

For more beautiful aurora science check out one of the first videos I ever made for the It’s Okay To Be Smart YouTube channel

— 9 hours ago with 386 notes

theenergyissue:

Tracking Movement with Human Smartphone App

Using data collected from the Human smartphone app, major urban centers such as London, New York and Amsterdam have been drawn with pixels created by its users’ movements. The resulting imagery shows the unique energetic patterns created over time according to different types of motion: walking, cycling, running, and motorized transportation. The iPhone app was originally designed to encourage users to undertake at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, but the live maps it has created reveal how a ‘simple’ consumer app can lead to insights on a larger scale, from a population’s physical health to tools for urban planning.

(Source: dezeen.com)

— 5 days ago with 145 notes

theenergyissue:

Second Life: The Heineken WOBO Doubles as Beer Bottle and Brick

Fifty years ago, Heineken developed a revolutionary and sustainable design solution to give its beer bottles a second life: as an architectural brick. The concept arose after brewing magnate Alfred Heineken visited Curacao during a world tour of his factories in 1960. He was struck by the amount of beer bottles—many bearing his name—littering the beaches and the lack of affordable building materials for residents. In a stroke of genius (or madness), Heineken realized both problems could be solved if beer bottles could be reused as structural building components. Enlisting the help of Dutch architect N. John Habraken, Heineken created a new bottled design—dubbed the Heineken WOBO (World Bottle)—that doubled as a drinking vessel and a brick. As author and architecture critic Martin Pawley notes, the WOBO was “the first mass production container ever designed from the outset for secondary use as a building component.” The new squared off bottle was both inter-locking and self-aligning, allowing it to nestle seamlessly and snugly into adjoining “bricks.” With Habraken’s design, a 10 by 10 foot hut could be constructed with 1,000 WOBO bottles. Though a test run of 100,000 bottles was produced in 1963, the marketing department’s worries about liabilities doomed the project. The WOBO was subsequently and unceremoniously retired. Though only two official WOBO buildings remain, both on the Heineken estate in Noordwijk near Amsterdam, the concept remains a powerful and inspiring one. Indeed, the experiment is a reminder of how a major corporation might seriously take on sustainability in an innovative way.

(Source: archdaily.com)

— 5 days ago with 1095 notes
http://theenergyissue.com/post/97571583897/everyday-energy-what-people-around-the-world-eat →

theenergyissue:

Everyday Energy: What People Around the World Eat on a Daily Basis

image

37-year-old Ecuadorian mountain farmer, 5’3”, 119 lbs, typical daily caloric intake: 3,800 kcal. Food staples: Empanadas, barley flour soup, roasted potatoes, plantain, hard brown sugar mixed with hot water.

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45-year-old…

(Source: NPR)

— 5 days ago with 167 notes
Internet-Connected Machines Might Find Their Voices With This Chip →

txchnologist:

image

by Michael Keller

A future covered with data-beaming sensors just got a little closer. Stanford engineers say they have produced miniscule chips that cost just pennies to make. These silicon-based components can process and relay commands, making them ant-sized…

— 1 week ago with 216 notes
humanoidhistory:

A section of the Rosette Nebula, courtesy of Don Goldman via NASA.

humanoidhistory:

A section of the Rosette Nebula, courtesy of Don Goldman via NASA.

(via crookedindifference)

— 1 week ago with 451 notes

txchnologist:

NASA Tests 3-D Printed Engine Components

3-D printing isn’t just for toys and plastic models of your head. Witness a hot fire of NASA’s newest design for rocket engine injectors, 3-D printed to up performance in a way that traditional manufacturing of the parts couldn’t attain.

The agency, which tested the experimental injectors last month at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., used a type of 3-D printing called direct laser melting. To make the parts, a machine fires a laser at metal powder under the direction of a computer design program. This deposits layers of the metal one on top of the other until the part is complete.

NASA says the technique is letting engineers build the injector out of just two parts instead of the 163 formerly needed using traditional manufacturing methods.

Read More

(via crookedindifference)

— 2 weeks ago with 708 notes
biocanvas:

Rotifers
Rotifers are tiny multicellular organisms found commonly in freshwater environments around the world. They are largely considered to be the smallest animals on Earth, composed of over 1,000 cells complete with a full digestive system and jaws but only reaching the size of a microscopic amoeba. They can be found in the most extreme environments, including the Mojave Desert where they enter dormancy when their habitats dry up. Scientists in Antarctica have recently discovered single cell organisms existing deep below ice sheets, but they’re looking even harden to see if more complex creatures like rotifers have been able to survive without sunlight in sub-zero temperatures for nearly a million years.
Image by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus.

biocanvas:

Rotifers

Rotifers are tiny multicellular organisms found commonly in freshwater environments around the world. They are largely considered to be the smallest animals on Earth, composed of over 1,000 cells complete with a full digestive system and jaws but only reaching the size of a microscopic amoeba. They can be found in the most extreme environments, including the Mojave Desert where they enter dormancy when their habitats dry up. Scientists in Antarctica have recently discovered single cell organisms existing deep below ice sheets, but they’re looking even harden to see if more complex creatures like rotifers have been able to survive without sunlight in sub-zero temperatures for nearly a million years.

Image by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus.

(Source: olympusbioscapes.com)

— 2 weeks ago with 957 notes
stufftoblowyourmind:

sciencefictiongallery:

Conrad, 1982.

Suit up. Grab a book. It’s Monday.

stufftoblowyourmind:

sciencefictiongallery:

Conrad, 1982.

Suit up. Grab a book. It’s Monday.

— 2 weeks ago with 1382 notes