Very nice interactive showing the trajectory of Comet ISON. Move through space in 3d, start and stop the timeline and even switch to Earth perspective to see where the comet will be in the sky. I especially like that they show the planets rotating as they orbit the sun–because the timeline is moving many days per second, it’s like the planets are spinning tops.
Sun Moon Scope.
If you just can’t stand simulations and want to see the real thing–that is, Earth, viewed from space–check this out:
Watch Earth Spin From Your Browser
With the aid of Russian space authorities, Vancouver-based UrtheCast (pronounced “earthcast”) will launch two cameras into orbit today (Nov. 25) with the immediate goal of streaming images of the Earth back home in near-real time.
They’re Taking Over! by Tim Flannery | The New York Review of Books.
Here’s a disturbing and fascinating book about the rise of the jellyfish. They’re destroying everything, which means, so are we. Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean by Lisa-ann Gershwin. (Actually, the link above goes to The New York Review of Books.)
Gershwin leaves us with a disturbing final rumination:
When I began writing this book,… I had a naive gut feeling that all was still salvageable…. But I think I underestimated how severely we have damaged our oceans and their inhabitants. I now think that we have pushed them too far, past some mysterious tipping point that came and went without fanfare, with no red circle on the calendar and without us knowing the precise moment it all became irreversible. I now sincerely believe that it is only a matter of time before the oceans as we know them and need them to be become very different places indeed. No coral reefs teeming with life. No more mighty whales or wobbling penguins. No lobsters or oysters. Sushi without fish.
Her final word to her readers: “Adapt.”
I read this a few weeks ago and lost a few hairs off my head, others turned white, then I saw this what-could-possibly-go-wrong idea:
These Robots Hunt Jellyfish–And Then Liquify Them With Rotating Blades Of Death | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.
Includes videos. Maybe they didn’t read the book–what happens to the jellyfish “pulp”? And releasing floating swarm robots with blades? Swallowed the spider the catch the fly…
Last Launch. Discovery, Endeavour, Atlantis – we make money not art.
Regine reviews the above-mentioned book by photographer Dan Winters–one of the few photogs allowed to photograph the last shuttle lift-offs, and a fantastically gifted one at that.
His photo of the Vertical Assembly Building, one of my favorite buildings (it has its own weather inside), is too cool for words.
That reminds me, take a look at this Cloudscapes installation by Tetsuo Kondo and Transsolar. They put a cloud in a glass box, and you can walk through it. Sounds about as interesting than the Rain Room.
I was trying to figure out how to quantify glare the other day and found this:
Unified Glare Rating UGR basic explanation.
Pretty clear, right? If not, just buy the poster.
A more useful page for the laity, perhaps, is this explanation of light diffusers:
Light Diffusion and Light Diffuser Types
There are more easy-to-follow explanations on the Fusion Optix blog, but sadly it appears they’ve stopped updating it.
American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States.
It’s not a beautifully designed site, but it’s inordinately deep in content. If you miss the way people used to talk good, then read the best stuff here.
Once you’ve learned some high quality rhetoric, use this new bot at MIT called MACH to practice being a better public speaker.
At the heart of MACH is a complex system of facial and speech recognition algorithms that can detect subtle nuances in intonation while tracking smiles, head nods and eye movement…
The software then provides feedback about your performance… What’s particularly exciting is that the program requires no special hardware; it’s designed to be used with a standard webcam and microphone on a laptop.
Fogonazos: Catatumbo, the everlasting storm.
There is a place at Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela where a lighting storm goes on for half the year, 10 hours a night. Google it, it’s amazing.
“aboriginal landscapes of fabulous hybrid creatures” | MetaFilter.
All the links you need to be blown away by Marguerite Humeau and her working reconstructions of extinct creatures’ vocal tracts.
If you only have time for one click, go to this interview.
Lembeh strait diving|Underwater Photography Guide.
There are some crazy looking things down there.
Itty Bitty Farm.
A family turns a concrete swimming pool in Arizona into an aquaponics success. Now with goat.