Crows aren’t born knowing how to make these tools; they teach the technique to their young. And they can improvise, too. In one lab experiment, a crow bent the end of a wire using the edge of a glass as a cantilever. It used the hooked wire to retreive another stick, which was long enough to reach some food it wanted. So it used one tool to make another tool — and then used that tool to grab still another tool.
According to Keynes, the nineteenth century had unleashed such a torrent of technological innovation—“electricity, petrol, steel, rubber, cotton, the chemical industries, automatic machinery and the methods of mass production”—that further growth was inevitable. The size of the global economy, he forecast, would increase sevenfold in the following century, and this, in concert with ever greater “technical improvements,” would usher in the fifteen-hour week. To Keynes, the coming age of abundance, while welcome, would pose a new and in some ways even bigger challenge. With so little need for labor, people would have to figure out what to do with themselves: “For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won.” The example offered by the idle rich was, he observed, “very depressing”; most of them had “failed disastrously” to find satisfying pastimes.
Almost a decade ago, there was a florescence of ambient awareness. Because the web was small, we used websites to share our activity in a way that would be overwhelming now… but back then, provided social peripheral vision, creating a sense of togetherness, no matter where we were. […] The web is busy now. No bad thing. But much too busy to have a single place to gather my friends around photos, another around status updates, etc. I used to have one community online, and now I’ve got a hundred. And while I can shard them by app (business on LinkedIn, family on Facebook, my global village on Twitter), it’s a lot of effort to maintain that. And it doesn’t make any sense.
But the well-publicized success stories obscure the fact that familial DNA searches can generate more noise than signal. “Anyone who knows the science understands that there’s a high rate of false positives,” says Erin Murphy, a New York University law professor and the author of Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA. The searches, after all, look for DNA profiles that are similar to the perpetrator’s but by no means identical, a scattershot approach that yields many fruitless leads, and for limited benefit. In the United Kingdom, a 2014 study found that just 17 percent of familial DNA searches “resulted in the identification of a relative of the true offender.”
“Ethereum won’t enable computers to become as socially intelligent as primates, but it might make them as emergent as funghi and ants—which in terms of biomass are the dominant species on the planet.”
Delirio by joseba.eskubi (via http://flic.kr/p/KpdkFu )
We’re getting closer and closer to a full capitulation to the then-radical premises of Gold’s Deep Hot Biosphere: .
Enso is a Japanese word meaning “circle” and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Enso is perhaps the the most common subject of Japanese calligraphy, symbolizing no beginning and no end, the visible and the invisible, absolute fullness in emptiness, simplicity, completeness, perfect harmony, enlightenment, the oneness of life, cyclical nature of existence and it is also an “expression of the moment”. It is believed by many that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how he paints Enso, and that only one who is mentally and spiritually whole can paint a true Enso.
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home by akira ASKR (via http://flic.kr/p/mhea1X )
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Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, finished its historic trip around the world, which started back in March 2015. The plane landed in Abu Dhabi early Tuesday. Solar Impulse traveled around the world, breaking the journey down into 17 legs, spending a total of 23 days in the air. The plane, powered by 17,000 solar cells, traveled 42,000 kilometers (about 26,100 miles) in a little more than a year. Its trip across the Atlantic Ocean from New York City to Seville, Spain, alone took approximately 90 hours to complete, traveling at 140 km/h (about 87 mph). The plane’s longest trip was from Japan to Hawaii, which lasted almost five days.
Solar Impulse successfully lands in Abu Dhabi with Bertrand Piccard at the controls. Photo credit: Solar Impulse, Flickr
Xian Cun, a village absorbed by the metropolis in Guangzhou, China
“How To Do Nothing With Nobody All Alone By Yourself”
Deep Magellanic Clouds Image Indicates Collisions via NASA http://ift.tt/29Zk4Ml
Another artist-in-consultance model that, importantly, did not take place in California, managed to fluctuate between all three outcomes. As Claire Bishop wrote, this project seriously put forth the idea “that art can cause both business and art to re-evaluate their priorities,” or precisely what I mean by dismantling.5 This was the UK’s Artist Placement Group, or APG, founded by the artists Barbara Steveni and John Latham in 1966 and active until 1989. Calling itself an “artist consultancy,” a “network consultancy,” or a “research organization,” APG arranged “placements” for artists within both public and private organizations for limited contract periods.6 Including the British Steel Corporation, the Ocean Fleets shipping company, and the Department of the Environment, selected host organizations allowed the artist to essentially roam free within their confines according to agreed-upon terms of service (rendered in remarkably authentic bureaucratic language in a huge volume of correspondence mostly written by Steveni, which is a body of artwork in itself). The projects ranged from art education, on-site installations, public outreach, and creative uses of technology to, in some cases, direct critical reflection on company management and policy. Many of these collaborations dead-ended or became as superfluous or antagonistic as the above-mentioned projects. But a critical mass of them proved challenging, fruitful, and even tangibly beneficial to humans within and without the company. The success can be chalked up to the role, as carefully defined by APG, of the artist working in nonart contexts. Latham coined the term “Incidental Person” (IP) to account for this role.
“Adaptation is change with purpose. Writers wrestle with it. Artists embrace it. Designers craft it. Survival depends on it. In a time of unprecedented technological advancement, how we change (and what we change) has ever broader implications and meaning. Whether translating ideas from one medium to another, morphing old infrastructures into new platforms, or reinventing entire careers, adaptation is the choice between what becomes the future and what remains the past.”
–Christopher Simmons, Chair of the AIGA Design Conference 2016 (viainthenoosphere)
“Presuming there is no etymological connection, it’s curious how similar“Xiāngbālā” (the Chinese word for“Shambhala”) and“Xibalba” (the Mayan word for the underworld) sound. Especially as the kingdom of Shambhala is also supposed to be situated within a hollow Earth. And why would the people of Shambhala– a pre-Vedic, sun worshipping, Alti-Himalayan shamanist population, by multiple ancient accounts– retreat into the hollow Earth anyway?”
Mathieu Tremblin. Tag Clouds “rue de Gaillon”. 2010.
“Think of it like another framing of the Tofflers’ old “future shock” saw, perhaps. Future shock was the notion that the future would come on so fast that some people would not be able to adapt, and would live in a continual state of psychological trauma. I think the Tofflers were wrong, in that we’re a highly adaptive species who can handle any torrent of novelty, event and innovation, but the price to pay is that, shit, it gets tiring.”
The first camp contains those organizations which are primarily concerned with mitigating harmful consequences of modern technologies. The second camp contains organizations that exist to try to solve problems and promote welfare through methods that use digital technologies. I’ll call these two camps the ‘mitigators’ and the ‘promoters.’ There are a lot of good organizations and familiar names in both camps. The most famous in the mitigators would be the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but there’s also the Chaos Computer Club, the Open Rights Group, and the red-hot new research institute Data & Society. In the promoters camp the biggest name would undoubtedly be the Wikimedia Foundation, followed by Mozilla, and then a thousand other organizations
Weirdly enough, science fiction is not the best lens through which to examine science fiction. In the 80s, critic Tom LeClair came up with an alternative category for all the weird literary novels that veered into speculative territory: the systems novel. These books pick apart how the systems that keep society chugging along work: politics, economics, sex and gender dynamics, science, ideologies – all can be explored through fiction, especially experimental fiction. LeClair applied this tag specifically to Don DeLillo, but it can be expanded more widely: think Thomas Pynchon, Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, Jennifer Egan and Umberto Eco, among others. That may seem like an eclectic bunch to unite under one banner, but the systems novel is ultimately a space for ambitious thinkers, the ones who want to weave complex thoughts into a tastier parcel than some impenetrable academic tome.
The human brain is a sophisticated learning machine, forming rules by memorizing everyday events (“sparrows can fly” and “pigeons can fly”) and generalizing those learnings to apply to things we haven’t seen before (“animals with wings can fly”). Perhaps more powerfully, memorization also allows us to further refine our generalized rules with exceptions (“penguins can’t fly”). As we were exploring how to advance machine intelligence, we asked ourselves the question—can we teach computers to learn like humans do, by combining the power of memorization and generalization? It’s not an easy question to answer, but by jointly training a wide linear model (for memorization) alongside a deep neural network (for generalization), one can combine the strengths of both to bring us one step closer. At Google, we call it Wide & Deep Learning. It’s useful for generic large-scale regression and classification problems with sparse inputs (categorical features with a large number of possible feature values), such as recommender systems, search, and ranking problems.
Five years ago, Matthew Kirschenbaum, an English professor at the University of Maryland, realized that no one seemed to know who wrote the first novel with the help of a word processor. He’s just published the fruit of his efforts: Track Changes, the first book-length story of word processing. It is more than a history of high art. Kirschenbaum follows how writers of popular and genre fiction adopted the technology long before vaunted novelists did. He determines how their writing habits and financial powers changed once they moved from typewriter to computing. And he details the unsettled ways that the computer first entered the home. (When he first bought a computer, for example, the science-fiction legend Isaac Asimov wasn’t sure whether it should go in the living room or the study.)
One of the governance problems of blockchains, related to the fundamental error of decentralization theater, is the failure to build deliberative institutions on top of the “parliament of miners.” Voting by proof of work is great, especially if the majority is well above 51%, and can demonstrate its strength without an actual hashing race. It’s a good way to finalize decisions. But not a good way to make them. But blockchain governance would be considerably improved if the miners actually had a formal way to delegate their power to a structured institution that represented them. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have foundations and/or core teams, but authority in these institutions isn’t tied in any way to actual mining power. Informal politics fills this void with personality cults and eloquent blogposts, all hoping to create collective agreement among the actual voting miners. History shows this is not a great way to run a railroad. Misalignment between a fundamental power, like the miners, and a group purporting to represent them, like the foundations, is inherently dangerous.
These are difficult days for democracy. European nations struggle to elect governments on low turnouts. Populists wielding half-truths go from strength to strength. Facts are a devalued currency, personalities never more important. People use ballot boxes to bloody the noses of the political elite. Young people are particularly jaded. Late adopters such as Russia and Turkey are turning their backs. In its original sense, rule by the people, democracy seems to be in retreat. Perhaps because of this, or in spite of it, experiments in new manifestations of democracy are proliferating. And some may offer a more tangible experience for ordinary people than the remote, mundane exercise of voting for a stranger once every four or five years.
As neuroscientists continue to conduct brain stimulation experiments, publish results in journals and hold conferences, the D.I.Y. practitioners have remained quiet downstream listeners, blogging about scientists’ experiments, posting unrestricted versions of journal articles and linking to videos of conference talks. Some practitioners create their own manuals and guides based on published papers. The growth of D.I.Y. brain stimulation stems in part from a larger frustration with the exclusionary institutions of modern medicine, such as the exorbitant price of pharmaceuticals and the glacial pace at which new therapies trickle down to patients. For people without an institutional affiliation, even reading a journal article can be prohibitively expensive. The open letter this month is about safety. But it is also a recognition that these D.I.Y. practitioners are here to stay, at least for the time being. While the letter does not condone, neither does it condemn. It sticks to the facts and eschews paternalistic tones in favor of measured ones. The letter is the first instance I’m aware of in which scientists have directly addressed these D.I.Y. users. Though not quite an olive branch, it is a commendable step forward, one that demonstrates an awareness of a community of scientifically involved citizens.
We now know that if you take the same subject and do tDCS with exactly the same settings on different days, they can have very different responses. We know there’s a huge amount that can actually change what effect tDCS has. What you’re doing at the time tDCS is administered, or before tDCS is administered, has an effect. There are so many different things that can have an effect – your age, your gender, your hormones, whether you drank coffee that morning, whether you’ve had exposure to brain stimulation previously, your baseline neurotransmitter level — all of this stuff can affect what tDCS does to your brain. And some of those things vary on a day-to-day basis.
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”
Soft coral by Peter de Graaff (via http://flic.kr/p/KgXfZN )
“As clinicians and scientists who study noninvasive brain stimulation, we share a common interest with do-it-yourself (DIY) users, namely administering transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to improve brain function. Evidence suggests that DIY users reference the scientific literature to guide their use of tDCS, including published ethical and safety standards. However, as discussed at a recent Institute of Medicine Workshop, there is much about noninvasive brain stimulation in general, and tDCS in particular, that remains unknown. Whereas some risks, such as burns to the skin and complications resulting from electrical equipment failures, are well recognized, other problematic issues may not be immediately apparent. We perceive an ethical obligation to draw the attention of both professionals and DIY users to some of these issues”
- Stimulation affects more of the brain than a user may think
- Stimulation interacts with ongoing brain activity, so what a user does during tDCS changes tDCS effects
- Enhancement of some cognitive abilities may come at the cost of others
- Changes in brain activity (intended or not) may last longer than a user may think
- Small differences in tDCS parameters can have a big effect
- tDCS effects are highly variable across different people
- The risk/benefit ratio is different for treating diseases versus enhancing function
“Monochrome”, Tokyo, Japan, 2008-2012
41.5 x 58.5 cm, pigment print.
Antony Cairns art. (London-based) #2 LDN01 project, silver gelatin print on aluminium
Beware chronocentrism, friends; ‘the egotism that one’s own generation is poised on the very cusp of history.’ ⏳
Are global solutions impossible? Not at all. But global solutions are not composed of standardised identical units; they are ecosystems, organic mosaics of local solutions. For example, nature has a robust global solution to growing forests. It is not a single very large tree that covers 30% of the planet’s surface. It is not a single species of tree cloned in tens of billions of units across the whole globe. It is diversity: local adaptation, commensalism, some competition. A forest on the Mediterranean coast occupies the same ecological niche as one in Siberia, but the two consist of entirely different species, and are very different along almost any other dimension. Nature gets there by evolution: try many things, more or less at random (variation); then weed out those who do not work (natural selection); iterate.
“Nothing that’s ever said is final, assume that there are always other possibilities. Where language ends, music begins.”
In recent months, the Alphabet Inc. unit put a DeepMind AI system in control of parts of its data centers to reduce power consumption by manipulating computer servers and related equipment like cooling systems. It uses a similar technique to DeepMind software that taught itself to play Atari video games, Hassabis said in an interview at a recent AI conference in New York. The system cut power usage in the data centers by several percentage points, “which is a huge saving in terms of cost but, also, great for the environment,” he said. The savings translate into a 15 percent improvement in power usage efficiency, or PUE, Google said in a statement. PUE measures how much electricity Google uses for its computers, versus the supporting infrastructure like cooling systems.
Globalization was the driving force behind the growth miracle in emerging markets, lifting millions of people out of poverty over the past few decades. Now, a backlash against how the global income pie has been divided up is increasingly influencing the political affairs of developed markets. Globalization constituted a massive labor supply shock, allowing corporations to tap cheaper workers. The benefit to consumers in advanced economies took the form of downward price pressures on these goods. Along the way, however, the middle classes in developed nations failed to see this rising tide lift their boats. “The biggest losers (other than the very poorest 5 percent), or at least the ‘non-winners,’ of globalization were those between the 75th and 90th percentiles of the global income distribution whose real income gains were essentially nil,” according to Milanovic. “These people, who may be called a global upper-middle class, include many from former Communist countries and Latin America, as well as those citizens of rich countries whose incomes stagnated.” Toby Nangle, co-head of asset allocation at Columbia Threadneedle Asset Management, called this “globalization as an elephant” visual, “the most powerful chart of the last decade.”
Just look at that long, graceful neck!
Aid to the identification of insects, t1 edited by Charles Owen Waterhouse. (1880-90), The series iis in our Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, though you can see the digital copy in the Biodiversity Heritage Library by clicking on the title.
People playing the popular smartphone game Pokémon Go in Bosnia have been urged to avoid areas littered with unexploded mines left over from the 1990s conflict. “Today we received information that some users of the Pokémon Go app in Bosnia were going to places which are a risk for (unexploded) mines, in search of a pokemon,” the NGO Posavina bez mina said on its Facebook page. “Citizens are urged no to do so, to respect demarcation signs of dangerous mine fields and not to go into unknown areas,” it added. The new mobile app, which is based on a 1990s Nintendo game, has created a global frenzy as players roam the real world looking for cartoon characters.
There was a time when even NASA didn’t know if humans could eat in the microgravity environment of space. Thankfully for the future of long-term crewed missions, John Glenn proved that it was indeed possible when he ate applesauce from an aluminum tube while orbiting the Earth in 1962.
Since then, the research conducted at our Space Food Systems Laboratory at Johnson Space Center has resulted in improved taste, variety and packaging of foods intended for space travel. Current-day astronauts are now given a standard menu of over 200 approved food and drink items months before launch, allowing them to plan their daily meals far in advance.
So, with such a variety of foods to choose from, what does the typical astronaut eat in a day? Here is an example from the International Space Station standard menu:
Sounds tasty, right?
However, these are only suggestions for astronauts, so they still have some choice over what they ultimately eat. Many astronauts, including Tim Kopra, combine different ingredients for meals.
Others plan to eat special foods for the holidays. Astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren did just that on Thanksgiving last year when they ate smoked turkey, candied yams, corn and potatoes au gratin.
Another key factor that influences what astronauts eat is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are delivered via resupply spacecrafts. When these foods arrive to the space station, they must be eaten quickly before they spoil. Astronaut Tim Peake doesn’t seem to mind.
Nutrition is important to help counteract some of the effects spaceflight have on the body, such as bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular degradation, impairment of immune function, neurovestibular changes and vision changes.
“Nutrition is vital to the mission,” Scott M. Smith, Ph.D., manager for NASA’s Nutritional Biochemistry Lab said. “Without proper nutrition for the astronauts, the mission will fail. It’s that simple.”
We work hard to help astronauts feel less homesick by providing them with food that not only reminds them of life back on Earth, but is also nutritious and healthy.
Here are some unusual space food inventions that are no longer in use:
- Gelatin-coated sandwich and cookie cubes
- Compressed bacon squares
- Freeze dried ice cream
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:http://nasa.tumblr.com
“What’s now captured the interest of intellectuals is the elephant chart, the idea that over the past 30 years the winners were emerging market middle classes and the 1 percent in developed markets, but the developed markets’ middle classes were stagnant,” he wrote. “And I think we’ve finally found the correct framework for thinking about intersection of politics and macroeconomic trends.”
“Software is written by haunted meat to run through boxes of poisoned sand and enchanted crystals.”
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☾ by EmilyJHansell (via http://flic.kr/p/JT4AHz )
☾ by EmilyJHansell (via http://flic.kr/p/HP2W1s )
Check out this incredible shot of tankers tied up at the Port of Rotterdam in Holland. From 1962 until 2002, Rotterdam was the world’s busiest port, but was overtaken first by Singapore and later by Shanghai. This photo was captured via drone and shared with us by our friend @digitalanthill (at Port Of Rotterdam)
The concept of recognizing the legal rights of non-human beings, land, bodies of water and entire ecosystems is relatively novel. To people accustomed to the perspective of “Western civilization” relative to the relationship between humans and the ecosystem, or the perspective of biblical notions of human dominion over other beings and the land itself, this idea is probably silly or heretical. Some may even conclude “bullshit” or “hippies on drugs” or another left-wing conspiracy to destroy the USA.
This article tells us that a law in New Zealand granted rights to a certain parcel of land, and will do so to a river, that is Maori tribal land. Excerpt:
From 1954 to 2014, Te Urewera was an 821-square-mile national park on the North Island, but when the Te Urewera Act took effect, the government gave up formal ownership, and the land became a legal entity with “all the rights, powers, duties and liabilities of a legal person,” as the statute puts it.
“The settlement is a profound alternative to the human presumption of sovereignty over the natural world,” said Pita Sharples, who was the minister of Maori affairs when the law was passed.
It was also “undoubtedly legally revolutionary” in New Zealand “and on a world scale,” Jacinta Ruru of the University of Otago wrote in the Maori Law Review.
Personhood means, among other things, that lawsuits to protect the land can be brought on behalf of the land itself, with no need to show harm to a particular human.
A similar but much broader concept is embedded in the constitution of Ecuador. Ecuador was the first country in the world to codify the “rights of nature” by providing constitutional protection. Specifically, the Ecuadorian Constitution recognizes the inalienable rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish, gives people the authority to petition on the behalf of ecosystems, and requires the government to remedy violations of these rights.
Interestingly, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, in his dissenting opinion in the case of Sierra Club vs. Morton, proposed that the components of an ecosystem may have standing to independently protect themselves without the necessity of human intervention in the legal proceeding. He said:
Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes. The corporation sole—a creature of ecclesiastical law—is an acceptable adversary and large fortunes ride on its cases…. So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes—fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.
Someday in the future, probably well beyond my tenure on this planet, I suspect that the indigenous peoples of the US, Canada and Mexico may take this approach to the lands they consider “theirs” or, if not theirs, then sacred.
“The most general way of stating the central assertion of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution is that a population of replicators subject to variation (for instance by imperfect copying) will be taken over by those variants that are better than their rivals at causing themselves to be replicated. This is a surprisingly deep truth which is commonly criticized either for being too obvious to be worth stating or for being false. The reason, I think, is that, although it is self-evidently true, it is not self-evidently the explanation of specific adaptations. Our intuition prefers explanations in terms of function or purpose: what does a gene do for its holder, or for its species? But we have just seen that the genes generally do not optimize such functionality.”
– Deutsch, David. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World. London: Allen Lane, 2011. (viacarvalhais)
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Remember Souvenir — Denis Meyers by P. Marioné (via http://flic.kr/p/EqUbzN )
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certain kinds of typography do offer potential benefits for dyslexic readers, especially on electronic reading devices like tablets and e-books, but that typeface design in particular has not yet been shown to provide statistically significant benefits in reading speed for dyslexics and has shown only mixed results in reading error reduction.
A few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, about 70 people gathered at Ichon Hangang Park in Seoul, South Korea, to do absolutely nothing. There was not a smartphone in sight, no texting or taking selfies, and no one rushing to get anywhere. The crowd was taking part in South Korea’s annual Space Out Competition, a contest to see who can stare off into space the longest without losing focus. WoopsYang, the visual artist who created the event in 2014, said it’s designed to highlight how much people have been overworking their brains and how much they stand to gain by taking a break.
More on the Smithsonian web site in the story, “Impatient Islanders Create ‘Sheep View’.” On the Faroe Islands. (And in my little insular world, the Faroe Islands need some good PR to offset their horrible whale slaughter ritual.)
And here’s one of the Sheep View videos (I’m still laughing):
Jet propulsion in squids is used primarily as an escape response and most often occurs entirely under water. In many species of squid, however, the propulsive force is sufficient to launch the squid completely out of the water, after which it may fly or glide for some distance. Some researchers do not use the term ‘fly’, but prefer the term ‘gliding’.
10 Images to Celebrate the Historic Exploration of the Pluto System
One year ago, our New Horizons mission made history by exploring Pluto and its moons – giving humankind our first close-up look at this fascinating world on the frontier of our solar system.
Since those amazing days in July 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft has transmitted numerous images and many other kinds of data home for scientists and the public alike to study, analyze, and just plain love. From Pluto’s iconic “heart” and sweeping ice-mountain vistas to its flowing glaciers and dramatic blue skies, it’s hard to pick just one favorite picture. So the mission team has picked 10 – and in no special order, placed them here.
Click the titles for more information about each image. You’ve seen nine of them before, and the team added a 10th favorite, also sure to become one of New Horizons’ “greatest hits.”
In the northern region of Pluto’s Sputnik Planum, swirl-shaped patterns of light and dark suggest that a surface layer of exotic ices has flowed around obstacles and into depressions, much like glaciers on Earth.
This dramatic image from our New Horizons spacecraft shows the dark, rugged highlands known as Krun Macula (lower right), which border a section of Pluto’s icy plains.
Pluto’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn’s moon Titan.
At half the diameter of Pluto, Charon is the largest satellite relative to its planet in the solar system. Many New Horizons scientists expected Charon to be a monotonous, crater-battered world; instead, they’re finding a landscape covered with mountains, canyons, landslides, surface-color variations and more.
Our New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon. The backlighting highlights over a dozen layers of haze in Pluto’s tenuous but distended atmosphere.
The color and brightness of both Pluto and Charon have been processed identically to allow direct comparison of their surface properties, and to highlight the similarity between Charon’s polar red terrain and Pluto’s equatorial red terrain. Pluto and Charon are shown with approximately correct relative sizes, but their true separation is not to scale.
A moment’s study reveals surface features that appear to be texturally ‘snakeskin’-like, owing to their north-south oriented scaly raised relief. A digital elevation model created by the New Horizons’ geology shows that these bladed structures have typical relief of about 550 yards (500 meters). Their relative spacing of about 3-5 kilometers makes them some of the steepest features seen on Pluto.
This view is dominated by the large, bright feature informally named the “heart,” which measures approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) across. The heart borders darker equatorial terrains, and the mottled terrain to its east (right) are complex. However, even at this resolution, much of the heart’s interior appears remarkably featureless—possibly a sign of ongoing geologic processes.
One of Pluto’s most identifiable features, Cthulhu (pronounced kuh-THU-lu) stretches nearly halfway around Pluto’s equator, starting from the west of the great nitrogen ice plains known as Sputnik Planum. Measuring approximately 1,850 miles (3,000 kilometers) long and 450 miles (750 kilometers) wide, Cthulhu is a bit larger than the state of Alaska.
Colorful Composition Maps of Pluto
The powerful instruments on New Horizons not only gave scientists insight on what Pluto looked like, their data also confirmed (or, in many cases, dispelled) their ideas of what Pluto was made of. These compositional maps – assembled using data from the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) component of the Ralph instrument – indicate the regions rich in ices of methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2) and carbon monoxide (CO), and, of course, water ice (H2O).
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L1026759 (via http://flic.kr/p/Jbse6q )
IMG_2543 (via http://flic.kr/p/JbuAk4 )
Harold Edgerton took the pictures of every single American atomic bomb detonation, they were taken 1/100,000,000th of a second after detonation and then spliced them together
Art by Matt Vial
☾ by EmilyJHansell (via http://flic.kr/p/JJ9UeS )
See the sea by Peter de Graaff (via http://flic.kr/p/K17kFd )
Central Africa Appears to Be Completely On Fire by NASA Goddard Photo and Video (via http://flic.kr/p/JDEwi1 )
what has theresa may ever done for me #265 by chrisfriel (via http://flic.kr/p/Jao7MB )
“If a robot is made of living cells, can respond to external stimuli and has the ability to compute and coordinate movement, is it alive?
This question can be posed of a new, tiny stingray-inspired robot that is able to follow pulses of light to swim through an obstacle course.
“It’s not an organism per se, but it’s certainly alive,” said Kevin Kit Parker, a professor of bioengineering at Harvard University and one of the authors of a paper detailing the robot, published in Science on Thursday.
To create the robot, which measures 16 millimeters in length, Dr. Parker’s team layered heart cells from rats onto a gold and silicone scaffold that they designed to resemble a stingray. They then injected a gene into the cells that caused them to contract when exposed to blue light.
By shining pulses of blue light, the researchers were able to control the robot’s movements. Flashing the light more rapidly caused the robot to swim faster. Blinking the light on the robot’s right side caused it to turn left, and vice versa.”
Another (extraordinary) image from that same ISS Soyuz launch (Shamil Zhumatov):