“Never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives…”


I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Oh, it’s another assessment of Donald Tump and what he does to hold onto his power.”

It is totally reasonable that you would think that, but you would be wrong. This quote is from the USOSS (predecessor to the CIA and NSA) assessment of Adolph Hitler during his rise to power.

Words of the day: “empty forest” - a forest or jungle ecosystem that has lost its large mammals due to defaunation, while its…

IFTTT, Twitter, RobGMacfarlane

(via http://twitter.com/RobGMacfarlane/status/1058977199599030272)

Word of the day: “dree” - to endure, bear with fortitude that which is wearisome, to last out (Scots). A “dree” is both a hard…

IFTTT, Twitter, RobGMacfarlane

(via http://twitter.com/RobGMacfarlane/status/1058252462811824128)

You know “P-futures” (Possible, Plausible, Probable, Preferable etc). Today in undeveloped ideas, what if “C-futures”? -…

IFTTT, Twitter, thesjef

(via http://twitter.com/thesjef/status/1057935247520739328)

“What kind of political, social and economic system would I want — and what would I fight for — if I knew I was coming back…

IFTTT, Twitter, futuryst

(via http://twitter.com/futuryst/status/1057290157781598212)

The world’s first exhibition of interplanetary spacecraft and mechanisms in Moscow, USSR, 1927. The exhibition featured models…

IFTTT, Twitter, sovietvisuals

(via http://twitter.com/sovietvisuals/status/1056810132011651072)

Athena Chavarria, who worked as an executive assistant at Facebook and is now at Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic arm, the Chan…



Athena Chavarria, who worked as an executive assistant at Facebook and is now at Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, said: “I am convinced the devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children.”





It depends for plants. I think the plants themselves are animate but the parts of them are inanimate. Like a branch or flower is…

IFTTT, Twitter, mariahgladstone

(via http://twitter.com/mariahgladstone/status/1055672356302028800)

There’s something similar with Japanese. Usually non-gendered (people are referred to by name), but the “being/is” verb is…

IFTTT, Twitter, indigo5alpha

(via http://twitter.com/indigo5alpha/status/1055997889372073985)

Words of the day: “terrain vague” - apparently empty or abandoned interstitial spaces in towns & cities; e.g. vacant lots,…

IFTTT, Twitter, RobGMacfarlane

(via http://twitter.com/RobGMacfarlane/status/1055338289077596161)

From yesterday’s #IceBridge flight: A tabular iceberg can be seen on the right, floating among sea ice just off of the Larsen C…


(via http://twitter.com/NASA_ICE/status/1052601381712887809)

Honored to be part of the Random Forests publication by @augmentedeco The outstanding lecture-performance by @_foam and Teun’s…

IFTTT, Twitter, FIBERFestival

(via http://twitter.com/FIBERFestival/status/1054283279124365312)

Fig. 1.0 76 Tsunami Stones, Elise Hunchuck, 2017 Hundreds of years before, in the wake of the 869 Jogan tsunami along the…


Fig. 1.0 76 Tsunami Stones, Elise Hunchuck, 2017

Hundreds of years before, in the wake of the 869 Jogan tsunami along the Sanriku coast of Japan, communities began to erect stone tablets called tsunami stones. These stones performed a dual function; they were warnings–markers of the edges of inundation, they indicate where to build and where to flee when oceans rise; and, they are memorials, erected as part of a ritual that memorializes geologic events and those lost. Some stones have no message, like a stone from the 9th century in Matsushima, as time has worn away the inscription; some record the past and project possible futures (in this atlas, these are labeled as ‘lesson’ stones); some bear instructions for evacuation and rebuilding, such as Stone no. 31 (fig 4.0), who tells its reader that an “[e]arthquake is an omen of [a] subsequent tsunami. Watch out for at least one hour. When it comes, rush away to higher places. Never reside on submerged land again.”

There exist hundreds of these stones along the Sanriku coast, ranging in height from a few inches to a few metres. Rising from the earth, many were placed in the landscape to mark either the height of the inundation line or to mark territory above the inundation line. The messages inscribed on the stones vary from stone to stone, with each community utilising stones as a memorial, as recorded, predictive knowledge, and often times, both. In some villages, the messages not to build below the inundation line were heeded. In others, not. In some villages, the messages to evacuate after an earthquake to an elevation above the stones were heeded. In others, not. This is how some villages and towns and school children were able to survive. And, how some did not.

(Additional references gathered here.)

Re-up for weekend reading ☕️ I explored the future beyond cyberpunk: 1. Chaohuan, the “Ultra-Unreal” 2. Afrofuturism 3. …

IFTTT, Twitter, hautepop

(via http://twitter.com/hautepop/status/1053557063668940801)

"On the other hand, because my basic image of the planet is of a household rather than a spaceship, I have some confidence in a…

IFTTT, Twitter, futuryst

(via http://twitter.com/futuryst/status/1052251529950978049)

ͦͦ͢͢͡ ͢ ͦͦ͢T@ ͡↑ͦͦ͡…ͦͦ ͦT͡ tͦ🐘ͦͦͦͦͦͦ͢͢͡Tͦ͢͡a  ͦ͢͢͡͡ hͦ͡ ͡͡@ @͢Tͦs͢͢ ͦͦͦͦͦͦͦ͢͢͡͡͡ ͦͦ🎤͢͡s͡x͡ ͢͢͡͡͡…

IFTTT, Twitter, exquisitecrash

(via http://twitter.com/exquisitecrash/status/1052909496291512320)

We’re Landing a Rover on Mars in 2020…But How Do We Decide Where?


In 2020, we will launch our next Mars rover. It will journey more than 33 million miles to the Red Planet where it will land, explore and search for signs of ancient microbial life. But how do we pinpoint the perfect location to complete this science…when we’re a million miles away on Earth?


We utilize data sent to us by spacecraft on and orbiting Mars. That includes spacecraft that have recorded data in the past.

This week, hundreds of scientists and Mars enthusiasts are gathering to deliberate the four remaining options for where we’re going to land the Mars 2020 rover on the Red Planet.


The landing site for Mars 2020 is of great interest to the planetary community because, among the rover’s new science gear for surface exploration, it carries a sample system that will collect rock and soil samples and set them aside in a “cache” on the surface of Mars. A future mission could potentially return these samples to Earth. The next Mars landing, after Mars 2020, could very well be a vehicle which would retrieve these Mars 2020 samples.

Here’s an overview of the potential landing sites for our Mars 2020 rover…

Northeast Syrtis


This area was once warmed by volcanic activity. Underground heat sources made hot springs flow and surface ice melt. Microbes could have flourished here in liquid water that was in contact with minerals. The layered terrain there holds a rich record of interactions between water and minerals over successive periods of early Mars history.

Jezero Crater


This area tells a story of the on-again, off-again nature of the wet past of Mars. Water filled and drained away from the crater on at least two occasions. More than 3.5 billion years ago, river channels spilled over the crater wall and created a lake. Scientists see evidence that water carried clay minerals from the surrounding area into the crater after the lake dried up. Conceivably, microbial life could have lived in Jezero during one or more of these wet times. If so, signs of their remains might be found in lakebed sediments.

Columbia Hills


At this site, mineral springs once bubbled up from the rocks. The discovery that hot springs flowed here was a major achievement of the Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit. The rover’s discovery was an especially welcome surprise because Spirit had not found signs of water anywhere else in the 100-mile-wide Gusev Crater. After the rover stopped working in 2010, studies of its older data records showed evidence that past floods may have formed a shallow lake in Gusev.



Candidate landing sites Jezero and Northeast Syrtis are approximately 37 km apart…which is close enough for regional geologic similarities to be present, but probably too far for the Mars 2020 rover to travel. This midway point allows exploration of areas of both landing sites.


How Will We Select a Site?

The team is gathered this week for the fourth time to discuss these locations. It’ll be the final workshop in a series designed to ensure we receive the best and most diverse range of information and opinion from the scientific community before deciding where to send our newest rover.

The Mars 2020 mission is tasked with not only seeking signs of ancient habitable conditions on Mars, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. So how do we choose a landing site that will optimize these goals? Since InSight is stationary and needs a flat surface to deploy its instruments, we’re basically looking for a flat, parking lot area on Mars to land the spacecraft.


The first workshop started with about 30 candidate landing sites and was narrowed down to eight locations to evaluate further. At the end of the third workshop in February 2017, there were only three sites on the radar as potential landing locations…

…but in the ensuing months, a proposal came forward for a landing site that is in between Jezero and Northeast Syrtis – The Midway site. Since our goal is to get to the right site that provides the maximum science, this fourth site was viewed as worthy of being included in the discussions.

Now, with four sites remaining, champions for each option will take their turn at the podium, presenting and defending their favorite spot on the Red Planet.


On the final day, after all presentations have concluded, workshop participants will weigh the pros and cons of each site. The results of these deliberations will be provided to the Mars 2020 Team, which will incorporate them into a recommendation to NASA Headquarters. A final selection will be made and will likely be announced by the end of the year.

To get more information about the workshop, visit: https://marsnext.jpl.nasa.gov/workshops/wkshp_2018_10.cfm

Learn more about our Mars 2020 rover HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

I, for one - have great hope in the future because a complete ecological collapse is the closest we’ll get to an alien invasion;…

IFTTT, Twitter, fadesingh

(via http://twitter.com/fadesingh/status/1052468967699148800)

“At the center of the Anthropocene lies what the PNAS scientists refer to as the “present dominant socioeconomic system.”…


“At the center of the Anthropocene lies what the PNAS scientists refer to as the “present dominant socioeconomic system.” Capitalism as we know it has not simply steered the global human ecological niche off course; it has driven us completely into a ditch. “High-carbon economic growth” and “exploitative resource use” are constitutive of this system, not incidental to it. And this resource exploitation is not limited to fossil fuels and rare-earth metals. Everything from the augmented mental health regimes of white-collar workers in the Global North to increasingly destabilized and dispossessed farmers and fishermen in the Global South are part of its extractive circuit. Its causal tendrils snake back through the history of colonization, of coal and oil, of geopolitics, and, of course, profit.”

It’s Already Here | Online Only | n+1

This Hurricane Season, Puerto Ricans Are Imagining a Sustainable Future


“When Puerto Rico experienced the effects of Maria,” Resilient Power Puerto Rico, a grassroots relief effort that began hours after Maria hit the island, promotes energy democracy in post-Maria Puerto Rico by distributing solar-powered generators to remote parts of the island. The Just Transition Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, and Greenpeace have also sent brigades to install solar panels across the island.

Solar energy reduces the carbon emissions that fueled Maria’s intensity and makes Puerto Rico more resilient against the next climate-charged storm. A decentralized, renewable energy grid—which allows solar users to plug into or remain independent of the larger grid as necessary—combats Puerto Rico’s dependence on mainland fossil fuels. It also democratizes Puerto Rico’s energy supply, placing power (literally and metaphorically) in the hands of Puerto Ricans rather than fossil-fuel corporations.

This Hurricane Season, Puerto Ricans Are Imagining a Sustainable Future

The poet and soldier Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918) was fascinated by the magical beliefs and practices he witnessed in the…

IFTTT, Twitter, odavies9

(via http://twitter.com/odavies9/status/1049403553641627648)

Yehudi Menuhin’s marked-up copy of Bach’s Solo Violin Sonata No. 2 - Royal Academy of Music Foyle Menuhin Archive The advent of…

music, notation, composition, technlogy

Yehudi Menuhin’s marked-up copy of Bach’s Solo Violin Sonata No. 2 - Royal Academy of Music Foyle Menuhin Archive

The advent of the mass-produced graphite pencil in the second half of the 19th century coincided with profound changes in the way a performer engaged with a musical text. The generation of musicians who benefited from the new tool — capable of making durable, but erasable, markings that didn’t harm paper — were, he wrote, “the first where practice was aimed at perfection of execution, and not developing the skills for real-time extemporization on the material in front of them, or improvisation ‘off book.’

What changes does the new digital technology reflect or enable? Conversations with some of classical music’s most passionate advocates of the gadgets and with developers like forScore and Tonara that write applications for them reveal a number of developments. The traditional top-down structure of teaching has been shaken loose. The line between scholarly and practical spheres of influence is becoming blurred. And the very notion of a definitive text is quickly losing traction — and with it, the ideal of that “perfection of execution.”

(via https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/arts/music/when-classical-musicians-go-digital.html )

The Ethics of Adaptation to Global Warming


Thought-provoking essay, which asks each of us five questions.


New York proposes a $20 billion project of floodwalls, levees, and bulkheads to protect the city from storms. Rotterdam announces its “Rotterdam Climate Proof” plan to make the city “fully” resilient to climate-change impacts by 2025, a plan that includes floating bubble-pavilions. More than a hundred US cities now have climate adaptation plans in place, and who can count the special commissions, committees, agency teams, and experts charged with figuring out how their own homes and industries will weather the storms? Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, reassures a world alarmed by warnings of global warming: “As a species…we have spent our entire existence adapting, so we will adapt to this.”

I am not reassured. I want to call attention to the danger that the same moral failings that characterize climate change itself are being replicated and amplified in many of the plans to adapt to it—as if storm and extinction had taught us nothing about justice or reverence for life. In the end, I will suggest that we can armor shorelines, modify the genetics of trout, build giant dams, and in countless ways change the Earth, but effective and honorable adaptation will begin to take place only when we change ourselves.

As global warming forces a fundamental re-imagining of how we live on Earth, we have the chance to choose adaptive strategies that create justice and honor life, and refuse those that protect and perpetuate injustice and destruction. To that end, I offer five essentially moral questions that I believe we should ask of every plan for adaptation to climate change:

1. Does the adaptation effort take urgency or resources away from the immediate, overriding moral necessity of stopping the fossil fuel-based destabilization of the climate? If so, it doesn’t pencil out on any utilitarian calculus. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true when what’s being prevented is irretrievable damage to the natural systems that support life.

2. Does the adaptation plan impose unjustified costs on future generations?Dikes, floodwalls, floating convention centers—the infrastructure of adaptation will have enormous carbon costs. Unless we’re careful, adaptation will foist onto future generations, not only the costs of our profligate use of fossil fuels, but the additional costs of our hapless efforts to adapt to the global warming that results.

3. Does the adaptation effort privilege the wealthy and powerful, at unjustified cost to the poor and dispossessed?  When Rex Tillerson says, “we will adapt,” is he referring to Somali children on failing farms? Northern people on melting ice? Or is he thinking of himself and the society he lives in?

4. Does the adaptation effort protect and honor species other than human? What shall we say when adaptation projects protect humans and human industry, but actively damage or fail to protect the abundance and variety of other lives? Plants and animals are challenged to adapt not only to climate change itself, but now to the bulwarks and dams and diversions humans are erecting to protect themselves.

5. What does Earth ask of us? Many adaptation plans draw up blueprints to change the Earth and the built environment, so that humans do not have to change.

The Ethics of Adaptation to Global Warming

At the heart of many galaxies, including our own, lies a supermassive black hole millions of times the mass of our sun….


At the heart of many galaxies, including our own, lies a supermassive black hole millions of times the mass of our sun. Scientists have yet to observe the merger of two such black holes, but using simulations, they are trying to learn what such collisions might look like. Simulations like the one shown here require combining relativity, electromagnetism, and, yes, fluid dynamics to capture what happens during the in-spiral. 

Supermassive black holes like these are surrounded by gas disks that flow around them. Magnetic and gravitational forces heat the gas, causing it to emit UV light and, at times, high energy X-rays, both of which may be observable.

Gravitational wave detectors, similar to LIGO, may also measure evidence of supermassive black hole mergers, but physicists expect that will require a next-generation observatory, like the space-based LISA to be launched in the 2030s.   (Image and video credit: NASA Goddard; research credit: S. d’Ascoli et al.; submitted by @lh7)  

“Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), the Inuit people are known for carving portable maps out of driftwood to be used while navigating…

mapping, counter mapping, history, culture, place, Greenland, Kalaallit Nunaat, Sermiligaaq, Kangertittivatsiaq, wood

“Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), the Inuit people are known for carving portable maps out of driftwood to be used while navigating coastal waters. These pieces, which are small enough to be carried in a mitten, represent coastlines in a continuous line, up one side of the wood and down the other. The maps are compact, buoyant, and can be read in the dark.

These three wooden maps show the journey from Sermiligaaq to Kangertittivatsiaq, on Greenland’s East Coast. The map to the right shows the islands along the coast, while the map in the middle shows the mainland and is read from one side of the block around to the other. The map to the left shows the peninsula between the Sermiligaaq and Kangertivartikajik fjords.”

(via https://decolonialatlas.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/inuit-cartography/ )

“We spent an entire Saturday choreographing [this] one shot,” said creator and executive producer David Holstein. “We brought…

behind the scenes, kidding, Michel Gondry, filmmaking, production, David Holstein, 2018

video link

“We spent an entire Saturday choreographing [this] one shot,” said creator and executive producer David Holstein. “We brought it down from three minutes to a minute and 42 seconds. It involved 50 crew members, a special built set with walls that flipped, and it’s just this continuous shot of a woman over five years going from drug addict to better person.”


“A plastic washing-up bottle that is at least 47 years old has been found washed up on a beach in the UK with its lettering and…

plastic, ocean plastics, UK, pollution, history, plastic bottle, 2018

“A plastic washing-up bottle that is at least 47 years old has been found washed up on a beach in the UK with its lettering and messaging still clear, prompting warnings about the enduring problem of plastic waste.“


SEEKING: Story (books, movies, tv) recommendations in xeno-anthropology. Anything to do with anthropologists encountering…

IFTTT, Twitter, annegalloway

(via http://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/1049575009247625216)

The @IPCC_CH report on #GlobalWarming of 1.5°C is one of the most important #climatechange reports ever published. Limiting…


(via http://twitter.com/IPCC_CH/status/1049205935388811265)

Things don’t mean anything. Birds don’t mean anything. Trees don’t mean anything. Words mean something, yes. Because they point…

alan watts, signs, signifiers, trees, meaning, climbing signposts, fingers pointing at the moon, words

“Things don’t mean anything. Birds don’t mean anything. Trees don’t mean anything. Words mean something, yes. Because they point to something beyond themselves. They’re signs. But if you take words too seriously, you’re like a person who climbs a signpost instead of going where it points.”

Alan Watts (viainthenoosphere)

You can see it as an opportunity for unprecedented global innovation, or protect the pensions of a few old guys so they can golf…

IFTTT, Twitter, changeist

(via http://twitter.com/changeist/status/1049190668315385856)