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10-Year Time Lapse of US Weather Radar

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Sometimes I load up the US map on Weather Underground just to watch storm systems tumbling and swirling across the country, so this 2-hour time lapse of the last 10 years of US weather radar is riiiiight up my alley. You don’t have to watch the whole thing — even dipping in here and there for a couple of minutes is really gratifying. Can you get ASMR from a weather map? (thx, benjamin)

Tags: maps   mesmerizing   time lapse   video   weather
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cjheinz
6 days ago
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#weather
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These Researchers Want You to Live In a Fungus Megastructure

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A team of scientists is exploring a bizarre idea: finding a way to build structures, circuitry, and other materials out of living fungal architecture.

Imagine that you roll out of bed onto a living fungus floor. The walls and ceiling — heck, the whole apartment building, down to the plumbing and electrical systems — are made of fungus too. Wood and concrete are remnants of the distant past; this entire city, from the schools to the stores to the hospitals, is made of living fungus — constantly growing, dying off and regenerating itself.

That’s the vision laid out in a provocative new paper, which a team of European academics say is the first-ever exploration of living fungus’ potential as a raw material for futuristic, eco-friendly “monolithic structures” that would, in their telling, revolutionize the entire built environment and economy.

“We propose to develop a structural substrate by using live fungal mycelium,” reads the paper. “Fungal buildings will self-grow, build, and repair themselves.”

The idea is a response to the prospect of catastrophic climate change. Growing our building materials from biological materials, the theory goes, would make construction less dependent on fossil fuels and environmentally-destructive mining operations.

“Fungal materials can have a wide variety of mechanical properties ranging from foam-like to wood-like to polymer-like to elastomer-like,” Han Wösten, a microbiologist at The Netherlands’ Utrecht University who co-authored the not-yet-peer-reviewed paper, told Futurism. “The fact that we can make wood-like materials implies that we can use it for the building industry.”

Along with other forms of living materials, fungal architecture is not a new idea — other research groups have explored the idea of growing building materials out of mycelium. NASA, for instance, is currently testing whether fungus could grow in Martian soil, potentially giving the space agency a low-cost way to grow space habitats onsite.

But those projects all involve killing the fungus after it grows, a process that makes it sturdier as a building material that the team says has already been used for load-bearing structures or boundary walls.

So far, they say, no one else has explored the possibility of building monolithic structures out of living fungus.

“The selling point of our materials is that it is biodegradable, thereby helping to create a circular economy,” Wösten said. “At the same time, it should not degrade when actually used as a building material. We can work around this apparent paradox by coating the material. In fact, we also coat wood with paint of oils to protect it against degradation.”

“It may be that we will find a fungus that creates wood-like materials without the need of pressing,” he said.

Even with a coating, Wösten went on to explain, the goal is to keep the fungal architecture alive — so that an architect could rejuvenate it with water and trigger further growth if repairs or alternations were necessary. Those same coatings, the team says, could be used to capitalize on the fungus’ internal structure of networks to replace things like a building’s plumbing, electrical wiring, or other logistical needs.

Important to note: those ideas, like much of the team’s research, remain fairly speculative.

Andrew Adamatzky, a computer scientist at the University of the West of England who also co-authored the paper, told Futurism that the team is working to build fungal versions of neuromorphic circuits and other electronics. He conceded that conventional wires are cheaper and easier to work with, but added that “the living circuits will be self-growing, self-assembling and self-repairing, which no traditional circuitry can do.”

“This is really challenging, but a real opportunity to explore how buildings could grow, self-repair, adapt and disrupt conventional ways of building production by working with highly local resources and growing in-situ to minimize logistics and energy use in material production,” said Phil Ayres, a co-author of the paper from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, “aiming towards a circular economy for construction.”

More on living materials: Scientists Create “Living Concrete” That Can Heal Itself

The post These Researchers Want You to Live In a Fungus Megastructure appeared first on Futurism.

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cjheinz
11 days ago
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#mushrooms FTW!
#Fungi
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Official Posters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

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Wow, check out the official posters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

2020 Olympic Posters

2020 Olympic Posters

2020 Olympic Posters

What an amazing array of styles and disciplines — there’s manga, shodo (calligraphy), Cubism, photography, surrealism, and ukiyo-e. That stunning poster at the top is from Tomoko Konoike — fantastic. As you can see, posters from past Olympics have tended towards the literal, with more straightforward depictions of sports, the rings, stadiums, etc. Kudos to the organizers of the Tokyo Games for casting their net a little wider. Love it. (via sidebar)

Tags: 2020 Summer Games   art   design   Japan   Olympic Games   Tomoko Konoike
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cjheinz
11 days ago
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Bad Map Projection: South America

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The projection does a good job preserving both distance and azimuth, at the cost of really exaggerating how many South Americas there are.
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cjheinz
11 days ago
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2 public comments
fxer
10 days ago
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Never start a land war in South America
Bend, Oregon
alt_text_bot
11 days ago
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The projection does a good job preserving both distance and azimuth, at the cost of really exaggerating how many South Americas there are.

After the climate denial, the inequality denial

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In the wake of the denial of global warming, now on the wane, at least superficially, are we at present witnessing the denial of the rise in inequality?

This is obvious in the case of the French government where all the efforts undertaken since 2017 appear to be guided by the idea that the country is suffering from a surfeit of equality. Hence the tax rewards for the wealthiest when the government came into office; hence similarly its inability to understand the demand for justice expressed in the social movement at the moment. In real terms, a universal retirement pension scheme is possible, but only on condition that everything is done to improve the small and medium pensions, even if this involves increased efforts on the part of the highest salaries and the wealthiest. Those who are at the top of the scale must understand that aging and the end of life mean new challenges in terms of dignity and equality.

More generally speaking, while the demand for justice is expressed in numerous protest mobilisations all over the world, in the media associated with business circles we witness an attempt to relativise the rise in inequality over recent decades. True, nobody expects the weekly publication, The Economist, to be in the lead in a campaign for equality. But this is no reason to manipulate the facts, once they have been established.

It is all the more regrettable because the governments of the rich countries have not made any genuine attempt to promote transparency concerning the distribution of wealth since the crisis in 2008. Given all the declarations on tax havens, the automatic transmission of banking data etc., one would have expected that financial opacity would have decreased. In theory, all countries should now be equipped to collect and publish banking and fiscal data enabling them to follow the development of the distribution of wealth according to the level of income and of wealth, in particular for the top incomes. With the suppression in several countries of progressive-type taxes on wealth and on the income from capital, in several instances (in particular in France, but also equally in Germany, in Sweden or in the United States) we even see a decline in the public data available.

Too frequently, researchers, as do public administrations, find themselves using the rankings published in magazines, data which do indeed indicate the growing prosperity of the wealthiest but which do not fulfil the conditions of transparency and rigour one has the right to expect to inform a reasoned democratic debate on these essential issues. We are supposedly living in the age of “big data”.  This is undoubtedly true for the major private monopolies which have the right to unashamedly gain access to our personal data. But as far as public statistics on the distribution of wealth and its necessary redistribution are concerned, in reality we live in an age of considerable opacity which is perpetuated by all those who oppose the reduction of inequalities.

Furthermore we too often forget that we will not be able to resolve environmental challenges unless we make the reduction of inequality central to political action. We must undoubtedly fundamentally rethink the indicators enabling us to measure economic and social progress. To begin with, it is urgent for governments and the media to stop using the concept of ‘gross domestic product’ (GDP) and concentrate on that of ‘national income’. Let me remind you of the two main differences: national income is equal to gross domestic product, minus the incomes which go to foreign countries (or increased by the income entering from foreign countries, depending on the situation of the country), and minus the consumption of capital (which should, in principle, include the consumption of natural capital in all its forms).

To illustrate, let’s take a simple example. If 100 billion Euros of hydro-carbons are extracted from the ground (or fish from the seas), then we have an additional 100 billion Euros of GDP (gross domestic product). But as the stock of hydro-carbons (or of fish) has decreased by an equal amount, then national income has not increased by one iota. If, furthermore, the fact of burning the hydro-carbons contributes to making the air unbreathable and the planet uninhabitable then the national income produced in this manner is in reality negative, provided that the social cost of the carbon emissions have been taken into account correctly.

The fact of using national income and national wealth rather than GDP and focussing on distribution and not on averages is not enough to solve all the problems, far from it. It is equally urgent to multiply the indicators specific to climate and the environment (for example, the volume of emissions, the quality of the air or the diversity of the species). But it would be a mistake to imagine that one could conduct the forthcoming debates with these indicators alone, dispensing with any reference to income or wealth. To develop new standards of justice acceptable by the greatest number, it is essential to be able to measure the efforts demanded of various social groups. This requires the ability to be able to compare levels of wealth within a given country as well as between countries and over the course of time. We will not save the environment by consigning all concepts of income or growth to the dustbin.

On the contrary, if ecological parties neglect social issues, they may well, on the contrary, find themselves confined to a privileged electorate and thus enable the maintenance in power of conservatives and nationalists. The challenges of climate change and the rise in inequalities can only be resolved simultaneously. All the more reason, I believe, to combat this dual denial by tackling them with a single voice.

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cjheinz
14 days ago
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Good graphs.
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What fuels air pollution? : A look at CO2 emissions by fuel type

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration collects data on CO2 emissions, and FRED has recently added these data to its catalog. The graph above stacks the amount of CO2 emitted from the three main energy sources: coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Given the recent shift in energy sources, it shouldn’t be surprising the coal-related share of emissions has declined as the natural gas-related share of emissions has grown. Now let’s look at the picture across different economic sectors.

Our second graph shows the sources of CO2 emissions from coal. Clearly, electric power generation creates the bulk of emissions. Industrial uses—the creation of steel, for example—contribute some emissions as well. The other sectors are negligible, with transportation registering a zero for all periods. (Coal-powered steam locomotives had been decommissioned by the start of the sample period.) Our next graph shows the same distribution for natural gas, with all sectors contributing to emissions. The shares seem pretty steady, except for the recent increases in the electric power sector.

The last graph shows emissions from petroleum use. Here, transportation creates the lion’s share and any changes in overall emissions can be traced back to that sector. So, if you give a hoot about reducing emissions from coal or natural gas, the power-generating sector seems key; for petroleum, transportation is key.

How these graphs were created: First graph: Search for “total carbon dioxide emissions,” restrict results in the side bar to “nation,” select the three series, and click “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, open the “Format” tab and select graph type “Area” and stacking “Normal.” The three other graphs are built similarly by searching for “carbon dioxide emissions” and the respective fuel type. Adjust line colors in the “Format” tab so that each sector has the same color across graphs.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

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cjheinz
14 days ago
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Thanks FRED!
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