The world’s first space nation officially in orbit with new satellite

November 16, 2017 by  
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Space is now officially home to the known universe’s first “space nation”. Asgardia launched its very first satellite, Asgardia-1, into orbit on November 12, 2017. Only about the size of a soccer ball, the satellite traveled aboard a NASA commercial cargo vehicle to make its two-day journey from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to the International Space Station. The “nanosat” contains .5 terabytes of data from 18,000 of Asgardia’s 114,000 citizens to demonstrate the nation’s ability to store data independently of any earthbound state or corporation; it also contains items of national heritage, including Asgardia’s flag, coat of arms, and developing constitution. Named after Norse mythology’s city of the skies, Asgardia was founded by Russian scientist Dr. Igor Ashubeyli in October 2016. Since the country’s founding, people of many nationalities have signed up to become Asgardians. “I really want to be able to see if human beings are able to have more opportunity to express their opinions,” said Rayven Sin, an Asgardian artist based in Hong Kong , according to CNN . “The society we live in now — everything seems to be either capitalism or communism — there’s a lot of conflict. As a human being, I would hope (to see) if we could have other ways (of living). For a better life, and for more options.” Related: The isolated Pacific graveyard where spaceships go to die Once properly prepped and equipped at the International Space Station , Asgardia-1 will take flight and enter orbit on its own, where it is expected to remain for five to eighteen months before it burns up. However, this is only the beginning of Asgardia’s story. The space nation plans to seek official recognition from the United Nations as an independent nation, a challenging feat to say the least, as well as constructing orbiting habitats on which Asgardians can live. Even Ashubeyli acknowledges the challenges ahead. “We have to be like a normal country. All countries have problems, and soon we will have the same problems,” he said to CNN . “But we will have more than normal countries because we are not on Earth.” Via CNN Images via James Vaughn/Asgardia

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The world’s first space nation officially in orbit with new satellite

Elephants should be recognized as legal persons, argues Connecticut lawsuit

November 16, 2017 by  
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Should elephants be viewed as legal persons in the eyes of the court? A new lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) argues yes. The group says three elephants, owned by a traveling Connecticut zoo, should have “the fundamental right to bodily liberty” and be placed in an animal sanctuary instead. Beulah, Karen, and Minnie are three elephants owned by the Commerford Zoo in Goshen, Connecticut. The animals give rides and appear in circuses, fairs, weddings, and movies. They’re between 33 and 50 years old, and the zoo has owned them for at least 30 years. But according to the NhRP, the United States Department of Agriculture has cited the zoo more than 50 times for not adhering to the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act. People have described the elephants as sick or sad, with one Yelp review describing facilities as a “stockyard of despair.” Related: New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal status as a person NhRP filed the lawsuit with the Connecticut Superior Court, requesting the elephants be released to the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s ARK 2000 sanctuary, where NhRP says “their right to bodily liberty will be respected.” NhRP founder and attorney Steven Wise said the case isn’t about animal welfare, but animal rights , saying in a statement, “What they are doing is depriving Beulah, Karen, and Minnie of their freedom, which we see as an inherently cruel violation of their most fundamental right as elephants. If Connecticut common law courts truly value autonomy, as previous rulings suggest they do, they too will see their situation in this light and order the elephants’ release from captivity.” Commerford Zoo owner Tim Commerford told The Washington Post, “It’s not right to rip them from my family, from their home.” According to The Washington Post, legal personhood has been applied to corporations in the United States, a New Zealand river , and chimpanzees and a bear in Argentina and Colombia. But Pepperdine law school professor Richard Cupp told The Washington Post it’s better to help captive animals with expanded animal welfare laws. Giving legal personhood to animals could loosen the definition, he argued, which could harm vulnerable humans. He said, “It would not surprise me if these animals could be put in a better situation. But we should focus on human responsibility…Our expansion of animal protection laws has been dramatic over the last 20 or 30 years. I’m arguing that should continue.” Via the Nonhuman Rights Project ( 1 , 2 ) and The Washington Post Images via Joel Mbugua on Unsplash and Anne Zwagers on Unsplash

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Elephants should be recognized as legal persons, argues Connecticut lawsuit

Vienna cocktail bar is hidden underground in an 18th-century cellar

November 16, 2017 by  
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The places hidden beneath our feet are sometimes home to a city’s coolest spaces. That’s the case for the krypt.bar , a subterranean cocktail bar in Vienna , tucked away in a forgotten 18th century cellar that was only recently uncovered after renovations on Berggasse—a famed street associated with Sigmund Freud. Designed by Büro KLK , this secret bar breathes new life into a historic setting and is decorated with minimalist furniture designs of the International Style. The 18th century cellar on Vienna’s traditional Berggasse was found after workers struck upon a bricked up staircase. It let to a twelve-meters-deep cellar with handsome brick vaults . Further digging into cellar’s history showed that it once operated as a semi-legal establishment in the jazz area of the mid-20th century. Related: Historic 7th-century cellar in Spain renovated to celebrate the history of wine-making Büro KLK preserved the brick vaults and underground feel of the place, and added luxury materials and high-quality furnishings such as Knoll’s famous Platner Arm Chairs and Ubald Lug’s Sofa DS-1025. Write the designers: “The whole static structure as well as the ventilating pipes and further installations, were cladded in composition gold. The floor plate is covered with a layer of Italian nero marquina marble manually laid in a herringbone bond. The cladding of the bar counter was cut out of a massive block of Sahara noir laurent gold marble applied in a mirrored pattern, and the counter plate was crafted out of a massive European walnut.” + Büro KLK Photography: David Schreyer

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Vienna cocktail bar is hidden underground in an 18th-century cellar

Nature’s Medicine: The Health Benefits of Being Outdoors

July 19, 2017 by  
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In our society, we tend to focus on things that can be quantified, such as how much money we have, how big our house is and where we are on the corporate ladder. Things that cannot easily be measured, such as the importance of nature, are placed at…

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Nature’s Medicine: The Health Benefits of Being Outdoors

Who needs ‘baseload’ power? (Or, let the markets do their job)

June 26, 2017 by  
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We should seize the opportunity presented by the Department of Energy’s grid study to ensure tomorrow’s electricity markets work in service of, not contrary to, our society’s goals.

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Who needs ‘baseload’ power? (Or, let the markets do their job)

Scientists capture first ever image of dark matter web that connects galaxies

April 12, 2017 by  
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For the first time ever, scientists have captured an image of a dark matter bridge, confirming the theory that galaxies are held together by a cosmic web. Until now, the massive dark matter web was hidden to us, but using a series of individual images to create a composite, researchers have identified the elusive cosmic connector. Dark matter makes up about a quarter of the universe, but it is difficult for us to detect it because it doesn’t reflect or shine light. But using a technique called weak gravitational lensing, researchers were able to identify distortions of distant galaxies as they are influenced by a large, unseen mass, such as dark matter. Related: Newly discovered ‘ghost galaxy’ full of dark matter is as big as the Milky Way The scientists looked at more than 23,000 galaxy pairs to create a composite image that shows the dark matter web for the first time. Researchers published their findings in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society . “By using this technique, we’re not only able to see that these dark matter filaments in the universe exist, we’re able to see the extent to which these filaments connect galaxies together,” said Seth D. Epps, one of the scientists, along with Michael J. Hudson, who completed the research. via Phys.org images via Epps and Hudson, The weak-lensing masses of filaments between luminous red galaxies

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Scientists capture first ever image of dark matter web that connects galaxies

The Venus Project envisions a sustainable redesign of our cities and civilization

February 27, 2017 by  
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While countries worldwide advanced significantly, we still grapple with issues like poverty, crime, or homelessness. 100-year-old futurist Jacque Fresco and architectural illustrator Roxanne Meadows founded The Venus Project to not only address these problems, but also to redesign cities to make them more sustainable. These circular cities draw on technology and science to produce a better society with a less harmful environmental impact. The Venus Project thinks our monetary system is dehumanizing and leads to dysfunctional behavior. According to Meadows, who spoke in an interview with Futurism, the founders advocate what they call a Resource Based Economy, which calls for resources to be distributed equitably without money or credit. Services and goods would be available for all people for free, much like checking out books at a library. Related: The galaxy-shaped Indian utopia built on principles of no money or government Although The Venus Project offers a vision for redesigned cities , architecture isn’t the project’s sole focus. Meadows told Inhabitat, “The Venus Project is more than just architecture ; it is about a new social design. The architecture is built with that in mind and designed to conserve resources and maintain a high standard of living so the entire global population can have access to adequate housing , nutritious food, clean water, and all the amenities an advanced technical civilization can achieve. The Venus Project’s architecture is not isolated from its social direction; no branch of science should be.” A main idea of The Venus Project is to move past politics . Meadows said politicians are rarely experts on preventing climate change or developing clean energy sources, for example. Instead, they often work to maintain the status quo and serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful. Meadows told Futurism: “It is not ethical people in government that we need but equal access to the necessities of life and those working toward the elimination of scarcity. We would use scientific scales of performance for measurement and allocation of resources so that human biases are left out of the equation. Within The Venus Project’s safe, energy-efficient cities, there would be interdisciplinary teams of knowledgeable people in different fields accompanied by cybernated systems that use sensors to monitor all aspects of society in order to provide real-time information supporting decision-making for the well-being of all people and the protection of the environment .” The team completed a 21-acre research center in Florida as the first phase of the project, and are working to get the ideas out to the public through documentaries and a film in the second phase. They also aim to construct an experimental research city. + The Venus Project Via Futurism Images courtesy of The Venus Project

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The Venus Project envisions a sustainable redesign of our cities and civilization

Finland is giving 2,000 citizens a free basic income of 560 Euros a month

January 3, 2017 by  
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As of January 1, 2017 Finland is providing 2,000 unemployed citizens with a basic income of 560 Euros every month for two years. The nation hopes that the experiment will improve quality of life for its citizens while opening up new jobs. Helsinki University social policy professor Heikki Hiilamo told The New York Times : “Basic income is kind of a symbol that we believe in your capacity and we think that you are actually able to do things which are beneficial to you, and also for your community. It’s built on a kind of a positive view of human beings. People want to be autonomous. They want to improve their well-being.” If you currently collect unemployment in Finland, you risk losing your benefits if you start to bring in side income. The country has discovered that the regulations behind this safety net effectively deter people from seeking part-time jobs. Starting a new company or joining a startup is also risky, and many people need the reliability of an unemployment check. In contrast, those receiving basic income under the new experiment won’t risk losing a steady income if they start making money on the side. Related: Ontario is rolling out a basic income test for citizens living under the poverty line Over two years, the Finnish government will watch how people utilize basic income. Will they take a risk in business , or will they pursue higher education to secure better jobs? Will they sit on a couch at home playing video games? The government will randomly choose unemployed citizens to receive 560 Euros, or around $580, each month. The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) will implement the experiment. Kela’s research department head Olli Kangas told The New York Times, “Some people think basic income will solve every problem under the sun, and some people think it’s from the hand of Satan and will destroy our work ethic. I’m hoping we can create some knowledge on this issue.” Via The New York Times Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Finland is giving 2,000 citizens a free basic income of 560 Euros a month

Go on a date with the world’s ugliest animal at this London café

June 29, 2015 by  
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Not everyone like to snuggle up to a cuddly kitty while they’re sipping a double-foam soy latte, as you can in the popular cat cafés of the world. No. In fact, many of us want to stare deep into the disappointed eyes of a puffy, fleshy creature from the depths of the sea. The owners of London’s new Blobfish Café are about to fill this gaping hole in the market with a venue that gives diners the opportunity for some quality one-on-one time with a blobfish, 2013’s World’s Ugliest Animal, according to the Ugly Animal Preservation Society . Along with constant internet ridicule and mocking, blobfish are also victims of Australia’s deep sea trawling industry and are now an endangered species . Read the rest of Go on a date with the world’s ugliest animal at this London café Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: blobfish , cat cafes , deep sea animals , endangered species , London , Ugly Animal Preservation Society , ugly animals

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Go on a date with the world’s ugliest animal at this London café

Fiji’s new floating pizzeria is a tasty slice of paradise

June 3, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Fiji’s new floating pizzeria is a tasty slice of paradise Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cloud 9 , environmentally friendly toilets , fiji , floating pizzeria , floating restaurant , Mamanuca Environment Society , Mamanuca Islands , port Denarau , Ro ro reef , South Pacific Ocean

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Fiji’s new floating pizzeria is a tasty slice of paradise

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