Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

April 27, 2018 by  
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Start-up EarthNow is aiming to bring us real-time video taken from space  of any point on our planet. Backed by such high-profile supporters as Bill Gates and Airbus, EarthNow promises to boldly go where no one has gone before through a proposed “constellation” of satellites that will offer clients their pick of locations and angles from which to capture real-time video of Earth. EarthNow promises the delivery of video with only a one-second delay, without the need to wait for any satellite to be in range due to a comprehensive network that covers the entire planet at any given time. According to EarthNow, the system will one day let us “instantly create “living” 3D models of a town or city, even in remote locations,” observe conflict zones and react in real time, and catch forest fires the minute they start. In its very early stage at the moment, EarthNow intends to initially focus on “high-value enterprise and government customers,” offering services such as weather monitoring, tracking illegal fishing or poaching, or surveillance of conflict zones. Although there is no defined timeline for creating a prototype and testing the system, EarthNow is nonetheless making moves to bring its vision into reality. Thanks to its collaboration with  OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, EarthNow will be able to build its system using a significantly improved version of OneWeb’s satellite network. “Each satellite is equipped with an unprecedented amount of onboard processing power, including more CPU cores than all other commercial satellites combined,” said EarthNow in a press release . Related: Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth Though EarthNow is targeting larger clients to start, its objective is ultimately to share the Earth with all of its inhabitants.  “EarthNow is ambitious and unprecedented, but our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time,” said EarthNow CEO and founder Russell Hannigan in a statement . “We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home.” Via Tech Crunch Images via Earth Now

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Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

Australia experiences record-setting, summer-like heat even though winter is coming

April 13, 2018 by  
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It’s autumn in Australia , but you might not be able to tell from the weather . Record-breaking heat has gripped large swaths of the country — the government’s Bureau of Meteorology said Sydney, Adelaide, and other locations have hit the “hottest or equal-hottest April days on record.” We have published a Special Climate Statement exploring the highly unseasonal hot spell experienced by much of Australia at the start of April. More at https://t.co/jHCzg7hb3c pic.twitter.com/Yg2uQHeOqj — Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) April 13, 2018 Persistent heat in Australia prompted the Bureau of Meteorology to release a Special Climate Statement : a 22-page document delving into detail about record-setting temperatures across the country. In a media release about the climate statement, the Bureau of Meteorology said during the first week of April, the heat affected primarily northwest Australia. Then the hot spell moved southeast, impacting New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. All those states set April temperature records. Related: Rise of just 0.5 degrees C in India has already resulted in deadly heat Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Blair Trewin said the heat’s extent was exceptional, saying in the statement, “The heat had been building up in northwestern Australia since monsoon rains ended in mid-March. Northwesterly winds then brought the hot air mass southeast at the start of this week, which is when we saw the impacts on South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.” The climate statement described conditions as as abnormally warm, and said the heat was more in line with what a person might expect in mid-summer, not mid-autumn. The statement said the heat “was unprecedented in many areas in April for its intensity, its persistence, or both.” Is climate change responsible for the heat? The Bureau of Meteorology didn’t say, in the statement or the media release. The climate statement pointed back to past notable April heat events in southeastern Australia, which occurred in 1922, 1938, 1986, and 2005. But the heat could be a preview of coming attractions, according to Mashable , which said extreme events such as this one could be more regular in a world impacted by climate change. + Special Climate Statement 65 — persistent summer-like heat sets many April records + Bureau of Meteorology Media Release Via Mashable Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Australia experiences record-setting, summer-like heat even though winter is coming

Scientists discover first salty lakes in the Arctic and they could be a key to finding alien life

April 13, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered extremely salty subglacial lakes buried beneath 1800 feet (550 meters) and 2460 feet (750 meters) of ice in the Canadian Arctic . This extremely unusual find offers scientists a glimpse into how similar environments on other planets and moons function – and could help guide their search for extraterrestrial life .  Ph.D.student in radio glaciology Anja Rutishauser made the incredible discovery while studying the bedrock conditions found underneath the Devon Ice Cap, one of the Canadian Arctic’s largest ice caps. “We weren’t looking for subglacial lakes ,” Rutishauser told ScienceDaily . The ice is frozen to the ground underneath that part of the Devon Ice Cap, so we didn’t expect to find liquid water.” Rutishauser initially noticed something unusual while studying airborne radar data acquired by NASA and the University of Texas Austin. “We saw these radar signatures telling us there’s water, but we thought it was impossible that there could be liquid water underneath this ice , where it is below -10C.” Related: The world’s biggest Arctic lake isn’t as resistant to climate change as scientists thought The Devon lakes are the first subglacial lakes to be discovered in the Canadian Arctic as well as the first hypersaline lakes found on Earth. “We think they can serve as a good analog for Europa , one of Jupiter’s icy moons, which has similar conditions of salty liquid water underneath — and maybe within — an ice shell,” said Rutishauser. This similarity to lakes found on other planets may shed light on how life on other planets may exist and function. “If there is microbial life in these lakes, it has likely been under the ice for at least 120,000 years, so it likely evolved in isolation. If we can collect a sample of the water, we may determine whether microbial life exists, how it evolved, and how it continues to live in this cold environment with no connection to the atmosphere.” Via CBC  and ScienceDaily Images via Martin Sharp and Depositphotos

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Scientists discover first salty lakes in the Arctic and they could be a key to finding alien life

China’s new rain-making system could increase rainfall by billions of cubic feet

April 2, 2018 by  
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China needs water — and their answer to the issue is a massive weather modification system being developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported the country is testing technology that could increase rainfall in the Tibetan Plateau by as much as 10 billion cubic meters, or around 353 billion cubic feet, every year. Will a huge rain-making system help China with water issues ? SCMP said they plan to build tens of thousands of chambers across the Tibetan mountains to generate rain over an area of around 620,000 square miles, or “three times the size of Spain.” The chambers will burn solid fuel to create silver iodide, which SCMP described as a “ cloud-seeding agent with a crystalline structure much like ice.” They said the chambers will be located on steep ridges facing the south Asia monsoon . Wind striking the mountain will produce an upward draft, carrying particles into clouds to bring about rain. Related: World’s largest fog harvester produces water from thin air in the Moroccan desert Real-time data from 30 weather satellites , each one watching monsoon weather above the Indian Ocean, will guide daily operation of the chambers. The ground-based network will also draw on cloud-seeding methods with drones , planes, and artillery to maximize the impact of the system, according to SCMP. A researcher on the project told SCMP, “[So far,] more than 500 burners have been deployed on alpine slopes in Tibet, Xinjiang, and other areas for experimental use. The data we have collected show very promising results.” The publication said although the idea isn’t a new one, China is the first country to try “such a large-scale application,” and  space scientists designed and built the chambers with “cutting edge military rocket engine technology.” Via South China Morning Post Images via Depositphotos and Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

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China’s new rain-making system could increase rainfall by billions of cubic feet

Meridian Line launches ethically sourced, organic cotton jeans for the outdoors

April 2, 2018 by  
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Adventure calling? Gear up with Meridian Line, a range of eco-friendly denim designed for conquering the great outdoors. Available for pre-ordering through Kickstarter , the men’s and women’s jeans infuse ethically sourced organic cotton with two percent spandex to allow “freedom of movement without looking like you just stepped out of yoga class,” according to the Kansas City, Missouri–based firm. Meridian Line is the brainchild of artist Jeremy Collins, who launched the company with a series of graphic T-shirts and accessories in 2014. Two years later, Collins enlisted Benji Thrasher, formerly the lead designer at Prana , to kick Meridian Line’s offerings up a notch; the jeans emerged from the drawing board shortly after. But active performance isn’t the denim’s only twist. Each pair of pants also boasts artwork by Collins on the inner pockets, yoke, and turn-ups. The print is based on one of Collins’s signature pieces: a greenery-ringed compass inset with a salmon and an eagle at play (or perhaps prey?) in a yin-yang configuration. Meridian Line’s denim is “built for outdoor activities, travel, and a casual, dareful, or professional lifestyle,” Collins and Thrasher said. “Our jeans are made to go wherever you do: urban, mountain, or board meeting.” Prices for both men’s and women’s styles start at an accessible $79, or 20 percent less than what the jeans will cost when they hit retail outlets later this year. If you’re looking for the whole top-to-toe look, a pledge of $105 will snag you a pair of jeans, an exclusive tee, and a trucker hat. + Meridian Line at Kickstarter + Meridian Line

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Meridian Line launches ethically sourced, organic cotton jeans for the outdoors

Natural wetland in India filters 198 million gallons of wastewater a day with zero chemicals

March 6, 2018 by  
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The East Kolkata Wetlands in India processes almost 198 million gallons of wastewater and sewage produced by the region’s population everyday, relying on nothing but nature. What was once a mix of lowland salt marshes and silted rivers is now a sprawling complex of man-made wetlands framed by green space. With the help of local farmers and fishers, the wetlands are maintained in good health to organically clean sewage using sunlight, oxygen, and beneficial microbes. This process, known as bio-remediation, cleans wastewater within three weeks, a remarkably quick turnaround that highlights the great power of natural solutions. Wastewater from the city is directed into small inlets, each one controlled by a local fishery cooperative. The cooperative then separates the dense polluted water from clearer surface water, which flows into the large wetland while the wastewater decomposes and becomes fish food through organic processes. This water is then used to raise fish in ponds known as bheries or grow crops on the banks of the wetlands. In addition to its wastewater and agriculture services, the East Kolkata Wetlands also act as a flood control system, absorbing excess water from the nearby city. Related: Dakshineswar Skywalk could greatly improve pedestrian safety in Kolkata Former city sanitation engineer Dhrubajyoti Ghosh has served as the Wetland’s guardian for several decades. After realizing the enormous value of the wetland’s environmental services, he defined the formal limits of the area and successfully protected it from real estate developers. Today, Ghosh recognizes the challenges and opportunities facing the wetlands and others like it. “I am still learning how this delicate ecosystem works, how to further refine it, and why some places are better suited than others,” he told The Better India . “I am happy to give any advice or help absolutely free, this is the best system of its kind in the world and could be helping millions of people. If I have failed in one thing it is this; not enough people know about it or are benefiting from it.” Via The Better India Images via East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority and  The Better India

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Natural wetland in India filters 198 million gallons of wastewater a day with zero chemicals

Extreme Arctic warmth deeply concerning, scientists say

February 26, 2018 by  
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A recent bout of extreme warm weather in the far north Arctic Circle is setting new temperature records and unnerving climate scientists. “To have zero degrees [Celsius] at the North Pole in February – it’s just wrong,” researcher Amelie Meyer told the Sydney Morning Herald . “It’s quite worrying.” Cape Morris Jessup in Greenland , the most northern land-based weather station, has already experienced 61 hours above freezing this year, an all-time record. The previous record was set in 2011 at only 16 hours above freezing by the end of April that year. The world’s weather seems to literally be upside down. Climate scientist Andrew King told the Sydney Morning Herald “Parts of Greenland are quite a bit warmer than most of Europe”. In addition to, and likely connected to, climate change, the so-called polar vortex that has kept frigid polar air contained in the Arctic has weakened in recent decades. As a result, warm air more frequently settles in the far North even during winter while extremely cold air has dipped deep into North America and Eurasia, bringing temperatures in normally warm regions to record lows. As north Greenland experiences its relatively balmy weather, continental Europe endures a deep freeze, with temperatures in Berlin dropping as low as minus 12 degrees Celsius. The abnormal weather is even changing the orientation of weather systems. “For Britain and Ireland, most weather systems would typically blow in from the west, but [on Tuesday] we will see a cold front cross Britain from the east,” said Dr. King. Related: Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years In light of the extreme weather, the ice coverage in the Bering Sea is now at levels usually seen in May or June. The long-term effect of shrinking ice coverage acts as a positive feedback loop. Sunlight is reflected off of ice back into space, protecting the frozen seas . When the ice is gone, this heat is absorbed by the water, which then warms ice that remains. The situation is grim; while scientists had originally predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2050, these recent warm spells calls this prediction into question. Via Sydney Morning Herald Images via Climate Reanalyzer and NASA  

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Extreme Arctic warmth deeply concerning, scientists say

Playful guerrilla group unleashes 50 swings across San Francisco

February 26, 2018 by  
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A guerrilla group in San Francisco has unleashed a bunch of swings across the city. Swing Bomb SF installed more than 50 sneaky swings in many undisclosed locations, delighting residents and instilling a much-needed sense of playfulness. Sadly, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department wants to take them down. They just installed 50 swings all over the city to inspire folks to go out and play! We even made the news! #swingbombsf #sanfrancisco Repost: @dianaleebee A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 21, 2018 at 5:14pm PST Swing Bomb SF swept in with the goal of transforming the city into a pop-up playground . They’ve spoken anonymously to news outlets, and told SF Weekly , “We decided to create a present for the city, where it would wake up one morning and have a moment of surprise.” They installed over 50 swings around the city; the tops are hand-painted and underneath the words #SwingBombSF and a number tell people just which swing they’re playing on. Related: Hundreds of colorful swings transform a busy street in Luxembourg The anonymous crew told SF Weekly they wanted to install the swings in diverse locations; the Tenderloin and Lombard Street are a couple examples. SF Weekly reported Swing Bomb SF had engineers on the team to ensure the structural integrity of the trees for the swings. “I have spent the last day and a half feeling like I could burst into happy tears at any given moment. I am learning how awesome independent feels and I am so lucky that the people in my life encourage that in me. ?????? #Repost @platinum_runner #sanfrancisco #lombardstreet #tourist #vacation #independentwoman #freedomtour #love #happiness #adventure #californiadreaming #swingbombsf @swingbombsf A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 22, 2018 at 9:11pm PST The SF Rec & Parks isn’t so sure. Operations manager Dennis Kern told ABC 7 , “They did not come to us for us to take a look at what they wanted to do, so that we can ascertain that this is safe.” He said without a permit, the department will have to take swings down. But Swing Bomb SF purposefully didn’t disclose the location of all the swings; they told ABC 7 it was “to create that element of surprise and joy” but it also means the Recreation and Parks Department has to find the swings before they can remove them. "We don't stop playing because we grow old…we grow old because we stop playing." #swingbombsf @swingbombsf Photo via #sambrock #sanfrancisco A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 22, 2018 at 10:51am PST People stumbling across the swings in the city have posted gleeful pictures to Instagram. Swing Bomb SF told SF Weekly of the city, “It really nurtures this inner child, it’s a very playful community. We wanted to play into that, and make the concept of S.F. being an adult playground into a reality.” You can check out more pictures on Swing Bomb SF’s Instagram here . + Swing Bomb SF Via SF Weekly and ABC 7 Image via Depositphotos

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Playful guerrilla group unleashes 50 swings across San Francisco

New ‘category 6’ may be necessary to describe strengthening storms

February 23, 2018 by  
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Do we need a category six in defining storms ? Some climate scientists think so, as tropical cyclones increase in duration, intensity, and strength, The Guardian reported . Climatologist Michael Mann said, “Scientifically, [six] would be a better description of the strength of 200 miles per hour storms, and it would also better communicate the well-established finding now that climate change is making the strongest storms even stronger.” The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale currently runs from one to five, based on sustained wind speed, according to the National Hurricane Center . Should we change the scale to include a six rating? Climate scientists at the Pacific Climate Change Conference in Wellington, New Zealand floated the idea, according to The Guardian. Related: “We are not prepared” for climate change — scientists issue bleak warning New Zealand climate change minister James Shaw said 2016’s Cyclone Winston could have been a category six storm if that rating existed. Winston, according to The Guardian, is the strongest cyclone we’ve recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Shaw said at the conference, “The only reason it wasn’t a category six cyclone is because we don’t have a category six, but we might need one in the future.” Mann said adding category six or reevaluating the scale could hold implications for how communities prepare for cyclones, and for how scientists understand changing cyclone behavior in the climate change era. But not everyone is convinced we need a category six. Principal scientist Chris Brandolino at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said meteorologists and the public are already familiar with the established scale, saying, “Categories are engaging to the public and it’s easy for us to understand and communicate the severity of a storm. I always encourage us reevaluating the science , we should always be asking, ‘Is what we are doing appropriate for the time?’ But I think if we are seriously to consider this it requires a holistic approach, looking at the whole scale, not just adding a category. Maybe the whole scale gets rejigged to reflect the times.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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New ‘category 6’ may be necessary to describe strengthening storms

Gorgeous site-sensitive home ushers in the outdoors

February 23, 2018 by  
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In Northern California, a spectacular modern home embraces nature in more ways than one. Palo Alto-based Field Architecture designed the spacious residence, named Forty-One Oaks after the property’s oak trees that became the inspirational spark behind the design. The home was envisioned as an extension of the oak-studded landscape, an effect achieved through full-height glazing , a natural materials palette, and preservation of an on-site wildlife corridor through which deer, bobcats, and mountain lions traverse. Located in Portola Valley south of San Francisco, Forty-One Oaks comprises a series of rectilinear volumes built with great expanses of glass to blur the indoor-outdoor boundary, concrete walls that echo the verticality of tree trunks, and deep steel roof overhangs for solar shading . “41 Oaks produces an architecture that is in conversation with nature,” wrote the architects. “The house is centered around the idea of creating porosity, connecting with the forty-one oaks that dot the site. Instead of creating a massive block of living space, [we] created a series of pavilions that jut into the landscape.” Related: Solar-powered family retreat beautifully blends into California’s rolling hills The contemporary interior is awash in natural light and the mostly neutral palette keeps attention on the outdoors. Forty-One Oaks’ best example of indoor-outdoor connection can be seen in the dining room, housed in a cantilevered window box with floor-to-ceiling views of the canopy for a treehouse -like feel. Outdoor terraces are reached through sliding glass doors from the main living space, while the master bedroom opens up to a Japanese rock garden. + Field Architecture Via Dezeen Exterior photography by Steve Goldband, interior photography by John Merkl

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Gorgeous site-sensitive home ushers in the outdoors

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