Found at the Pareidolia subreddit.
Excerpts from a rant at Earther:
Americans devote 70 hours, annually, to pushing petrol-powered spinning death blades over aggressively pointless green carpets to meet an embarrassingly destructive beauty standard based on specious homogeneity. We marvel at how verdant we manage to make our overwatered, chemical-soaked, ecologically-sterile backyards...Suggestions at the link regarding how to cope with neighborhood associations.
“Continual amputation is a critical part of lawn care. Cutting grass regularly—preventing it from reaching up and flowering — forces it to sprout still more blades, more rhizomes, more roots, to become an ever more impenetrable mat until it is what its owner has worked so hard or paid so much to have: the perfect lawn, the perfect sealant through which nothing else can grow—and the perfect antithesis of an ecological system.”..
Up until the 1940s, we at least left odd flowers like clovers—which actually add nitrogen back to soil—alone. Then we figured out how to turn petrochemicals into fertilizer, Windhager said. “The new goal became to have a full monoculture.”..
According to the EPA, we use 580 million gallons of gas each year, in lawnmowers that emit as much pollution in one hour as 40 automobiles driving— accounting for roughly 10 to 18 percent of non-road gasoline emissions...
All America’s farmland consumes 88.5 million acre feet of water a year. Lawns, with a fraction of the land, drink an estimated two-thirds as much. Most municipalities use 30-60 percent of drinkable water on lawns.
Earth-Moon Fire Pole
My son (5y) asked me today: If there were a kind of a fireman's pole from the Moon down to the Earth, how long would it take to slide all the way from the Moon to the Earth?
Ramon Schönborn, Germany
First, let's get a few things out of the way:
In real life, we can't put a metal pole between the Earth and the Moon.For one, someone at NASA would probably yell at us. The end of the pole near the Moon would be pulled toward the Moon by the Moon's gravity, and the rest of it would be pulled back down to the Earth by the Earth's gravity. The pole would be torn in half.
Another problem with this plan. The Earth's surface spins faster than the Moon goes around, so the end that dangled down to the Earth would break off if you tried to connect it to the ground:
There's one more problem:Ok, that's a lie—there are, like, hundreds more problems. The Moon doesn't always stay the same distance from Earth. Its orbit takes it closer and farther away. It's not a big difference,You may occasionally see people get excited about the "supermoon," a full Moon that appears slightly larger because it happens at the time of the month when the Moon is closest to Earth. But really, the full Moon always looks surprisingly large and pretty when it's near the horizon, thanks to the Moon illusion. In my opinion, it's worth going outside and looking at the Moon whenever it's full, regardless of whether it's super or not. but it's enough that the bottom 50,000 km of your fire station pole would be squished against the Earth once a month.
But let's ignore those problems! What if we had a magical pole that dangled from the Moon down to just above the Earth's surface, expanding and contracting so it never quite touched the ground? How long would it take to slide down from the Moon?
If you stood next to the end of the pole on the Moon, a problem would become clear right away: You have to slide up the pole, and that's not how sliding works.
Instead of sliding, you'll have to climb.
People can climb poles pretty fast. World-record pole climbersOf course there's a world record for pole climbing. can climb at over a meter per second in championship competition.Of course there are championship competitions. On the Moon, gravity is much weaker, so it will probably be easier to climb. On the other hand, you'll have to wear a spacesuit, so that will probably slow you down a little.
If you climb up the pole far enough, Earth's gravity will take over and start pulling you down. When you're hanging onto the pole, there are three forces pulling on you: The Earth's gravity pulling you toward Earth, the Moon's gravity pulling you away from Earth, and centrifugal forceAs usual, anyone arguing about "centrifugal" versus "centripetal" force will be put in a centrifuge. from the swinging pole pulling you away from Earth.At the distance of the Moon's orbit and the speed it's traveling, centrifugal force pushing away is exactly balanced by the Earth's gravity—which is why the Moon orbits there. At first, the combination of the Moon's gravity and centrifugal force are stronger, pulling you toward the Moon, but as you get closer to the Earth, Earth's gravity takes over. The Earth is pretty big, so you reach this point—which is known as the L1 Lagrange point—while you're still pretty close to the Moon.
Unfortunately for you, space is big, so "pretty close" is still a long way. Even if you climb at better-than-world-record speed, it will still take you several years to get to the L1 crossover point.
As you approach the L1 point, you'll start to be able to switch from climbing to pushing-and-gliding: You can push once and then coast a long distance up the pole. You don't have to wait to stop, either—you can grab the pole again and give yourself a push to move even faster, like a skateboarder kicking several times to speed up.
Eventually, as you reach the vicinity of the L1 point and are no longer fighting gravity, the only limit on your speed will be how quickly you can grab the pole and "throw" it past you. The best baseball pitchers can move their hands at about 100 mph while flinging objects past them, so you probably can't expect to move much faster than that.
Note: While you're flinging yourself along, be careful not to drift out of reach of the pole. Hopefully you brought some kind of safety line so you can recover if that happens.
After another few weeks of gliding along the pole, you'll start to feel gravity take over, speeding you up faster than you can go by pushing yourself. When this happens, be careful—soon, you'll need to start worrying about going too fast.
As you approach the Earth and the pull of its gravity increases, you'll start to speed up quite a bit. If you don't stop yourself, you'll reach the top of the atmosphere at roughly escape velocity—11 km/sThis is why anything that falls into the Earth hits the atmosphere fast enough to burn up. Even if an object is moving slowly when it's drifting through space, when it gets close to the Earth it gets accelerated up to at least escape velocity by that final segment of the trip down into the Earth's gravity well.—and the impact with the air will produce so much heat that you risk burning up. Spacecraft deal with this problem by including heat shields, which are capable of absorbing and dissipating this heat without burning up the spacecraft behind it.People often ask why we don't use rockets to slow down, to avoid the need for a heat shield. You can read this article for an explanation, but the bottom line is that changing your speed by 11 km/s takes either a tank of fuel the size of a building or a tiny heat shield, and the tiny heat shield is a lot easier to carry. Thanks to heat shields, slowing down is much easier than speeding up—which requires the aforementioned giant fuel tank. (For more on this, see this What If question).
Heat shields only work for slowing down; if there were a way to use the same heat shield mechanism to speed up, space travel would get a lot easier. Sadly, no one's figured out a practical way to build a "reverse heat shield" rocket. However, while the idea seems silly, in a sense it's sort of the principle behind both Project Orion and laser ablation propulsion. Since you have this handy metal pole, you can control your descent by clamping onto it and controlling your rate of descent through friction.
Make sure to keep your speed low during the whole approach and descent—and, if necessary, pausing to let your hands or brakepads cool down—rather than waiting until the end to try to slow down. If you get up to escape velocity, then at the last minute remember that you need to slow down, you'll be in for an unpleasant surprise as you try to grab on to the pole. At best, you'll be flung away and plummet to your death. At worst, your hands and the surface of the pole will both be converted into exciting new forms of matter, and then you'll be flung away and plummet to your death.
Assuming you descend slowly and enter the atmosphere in a controlled manner, you'll soon encounter your next problem: Your pole isn't moving at the same speed as the Earth. Not even close. The land and atmosphere below you are moving very fast relative to you. You're about to drop into some extremely strong winds.
The Moon orbits around the Earth at a speed of roughly one kilometer per second, making a wide circleYes, I know, orbits are conic sections which in the case of the Moon is technically not exactly a circle. It's actually a pentagon. every 29 days or so. That's how fast the top end of our hypothetical fire pole will be traveling. The bottom end of the pole makes a much smaller circle in the same amount of time, moving at an average speed of only about 35 mph relative to the center of the Moon's orbit:
35 miles per hour doesn't sound bad. Unfortunately for you, the Earth is also spinning,I mean, unfortunately in this specific context. In general, the fact that the Earth spins is very fortunate for you, and for the planet's overall habitability. and its surface moves a lot faster than 35 mph; at the Equator, it can reach over 1,000 miles per hour.It's common knowledge that Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth, measured from sea level. A somewhat more obscure piece of trivia is that the point on the Earth's surface farthest from its center is the summit of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador, due to the fact that the planet bulges out at the equator. Even more obscure is the question of which point on the Earth's surface moves the fastest as the Earth spins, which is the same as asking which point is farthest from the Earth's axis. The answer isn't Chimborazo or Everest. The fastest point turns out to be the peak of Mt. Cayambe, a volcano north of Chimborazo. And now you know.Mt. Cayambe's southern slope also happens to be the highest point on Earth's surface directly on the Equator. I have a lot of mountain facts.
Even though the end of the pole is moving slowly relative to the Earth as a whole, it's moving very fast relative to the surface.
Asking how fast the pole is moving relative to the surface is effectively the same as asking what the "ground speed" of the Moon is. This is tricky to calculate, because the Moon's ground speed varies over time in a complicated way. Luckily for us, it doesn't vary that much—it's usually somewhere between 390 and 450 m/s, or a little over Mach 1—so figuring out the precise value isn't necessary.
Let's buy a little time by trying to figure it out anyway.
The Moon's ground speed varies pretty regularly, making a kind of sine wave. It peaks twice every month as it passes over the fast-moving equator, then reaches a minimum when it's over the slower-moving tropics. Its orbital speed also changes depending on whether it's at the close or far point in its orbit. This leads to a roughly sine-wave shaped ground speed:
Well, ready to jump?
Ok, fine. There's one other cycle we can take into account to really nail down the Moon's ground speed. The Moon's orbit is tilted by about 5° relative to the Earth-Sun plane, while the Earth's axis is tilted by 23.5°. This means that the Moon's latitude changes the way the Sun's does, moving from the northern tropics to the southern tropics twice a year.
However, the Moon's orbit is also tilted, and this tilt rotates on an 18.9-year cycle. When the Moon's tilt is in the same direction as the Earth's, it stays 5° closer to the Equator than the Sun, and when it's in the opposite direction, it reaches more extreme latitudes. When the Moon is over a point farther from the equator, it has a lower "ground speed," so the lower end of the sine wave goes lower. Here's the plot of the Moon's "ground speed" over the next few decades:
The Moon's top speed stays pretty constant, but the lowest speed rises and falls with an 18.9-year cycle. The lowest speed of the next cycle will be on May 1st, 2025, so if you want to wait until 2025 to slide down, you can hit the atmosphere when the pole is moving at only 390 m/s relative to the Earth's surface.
When you do finally enter the atmosphere, you'll be coming down near the edge of the tropics. Try to avoid the tropical jet stream, an upper-level air current which blows in the same direction the Earth rotates. If your pole happens to go through it, it could add another 50-100 m/s to the wind speed.
Regardless of where you come down, you'll need to contend with supersonic winds, so you should wear lots of protective gear.For aerodynamic reasons, this gear should probably make it look like you're wearing a very fast airplane. Make sure you're tightly attached to the pole, since the wind and various shockwaves will be violently battering and jolting you around. People often say, "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end." Unfortunately, in this case, it's probably going to be both.If it helps, people have survived supersonic ejections before—and even a supersonic aircraft disintegration—so there's hope.
At some point, to reach the ground, you're going to have to let go of the pole. For obvious reasons, you don't want to jump directly onto the ground while moving at Mach 1. Instead, you should probably wait until you're somewhere near airline cruising altitude, where the air is still thin, so it's not pulling at you too hard—and let go of the pole. Then, as the air carries you away and you fall toward the Earth, you can open your parachute.
Then, at last, you can drift safely to the ground, having traveled from the Moon to the Earth completely under your own muscle power.
(When you're done, remember to remove the fire pole. That thing is definitely a safety hazard.)
An Oxford University Press webpage explains:
It only makes sense that this word miniature would derive from the Latin word minimum, meaning “the smallest.” It only makes sense, but it’s wrong.Lots more at Wikipedia.
Miniature is one of those strange words that has an etymology that defies logic. The actual truth is that before things that were tiny were called miniature, a certain kind of small portrait was called a miniature.
Before that, the art of illuminating those beautiful letters and figures in hand reproduced .
ancient books was called miniaire in Italian.
This miniaire art was in turn named for the red color that was especially popular for use in producing this art.
The red color was usually produced by use of a red kind of lead and it was the Latin name of this red lead that gave the color its name because the lead was called minium.
Thus etymologically, miniature and minimum actually don’t even have a small relationship with each other.
The word miniature, derived from the Latin minium, red lead, is a small illustration used to decorate an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript; the simple illustrations of the early codices having been miniated or delineated with that pigment. The generally small scale of the medieval pictures has led secondly to an etymological confusion of the term with minuteness...
Lately, most Americans, regardless of their political leanings, have been asking themselves some version of the same question: How did we get here? How did the world’s greatest democracy and economy become a land of crumbling roads, galloping income inequality, bitter polarization and dysfunctional government?Much more at the Time magazine source.
.. the celebrated American economic-mobility engine is sputtering. For adults in their 30s, the chance of earning more than their parents dropped to 50% from 90% just two generations earlier. The American middle class, once an aspirational model for the world, is no longer the world’s richest... too few basic services seem to work as they should. America’s airports are an embarrassment, and a modern air-traffic control system is more than 25 years behind its original schedule. The power grid, roads and rails are crumbling, pushing the U.S. far down international rankings for infrastructure quality. Despite spending more on health care and K-12 education per capita than most other developed countries, health care outcomes and student achievement also rank in the middle or worse globally. Among the 35 OECD countries, American children rank 30th in math proficiency and 19th in science...
...many of the most talented, driven Americans used what makes America great–the First Amendment, due process, financial and legal ingenuity, free markets and free trade, meritocracy, even democracy itself–to chase the American Dream. And they won it, for themselves. Then, in a way unprecedented in history, they were able to consolidate their winnings, outsmart and co-opt the forces that might have reined them in, and pull up the ladder so more could not share in their success or challenge their primacy...
The result is a new, divided America. On one side are the protected few – the winners – who don’t need government for much and even have a stake in sabotaging the government’s responsibility to all of its citizens. For them, the new, broken America works fine, at least in the short term. An understaffed IRS is a plus for people most likely to be the target of audits. Underfunded customer service at the Social Security Administration is irrelevant to those not living week to week, waiting for their checks... On the other side are the unprotected many. They may be independent and hardworking, but they look to their government to preserve their way of life and maybe even improve it. The unprotected need the government to provide good public schools so that their children have a chance to advance. They need a level competitive playing field for their small businesses, a fair shake in consumer disputes and a realistic shot at justice in the courts...
The protected need few of these common goods. They don’t have to worry about underperforming public schools, dilapidated mass-transit systems or jammed Social Security hotlines. They have accountants and lawyers who can negotiate their employment contracts or deal with consumer disputes, assuming they want to bother. They see labor or consumer-protection laws, and fair tax codes, as threats to their winnings–which they have spent the last 50 years consolidating by eroding these common goods and the government that would provide them.
That, rather than a split between Democrats and Republicans, is the real polarization that has broken America since the 1960s. It’s the protected vs. the unprotected, the common good vs. maximizing and protecting the elite winners’ winnings...
“American meritocracy has thus become precisely what it was invented to combat,” Markovits concluded, “a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Meritocracy now constitutes a modern-day aristocracy.”
Something you don't see every day. Credit embedded as a watermark, via.
What I particularly love about building in microscale is that it makes you value every single piece and every spare stud of space. When a tiny 1×2 slope becomes a very huge section of the building’s roof you become very careful with planning your creation. And Marco De Bon‘s tiny quarter is a brilliant example of careful planning and very nice execution. Despite a very limited variety of pieces and colors, this neighbourhood looks both elegant and surprisingly diverse. My favourite part would be those small balconies of the white apartment building; the use ofplate 2 x 4 wedge‘s shape is just stunning.
Mediteranean aesthetic, both architectural and otherwise, is not very often portrayed in LEGO, but when it is, builders tend to capture it very well. Mouseketeer111 has done one of these renditions as a modular-style building, and I can say from first-hand experience that this scene reproduces the spirit of an old Italian town perfectly.
There are some simple elements that are important to conjure up the Mediterranean feeling, namely a barrel-tiled roof and Italian flags, but other details like bright colours, overgrown walls and the ice cream shop are what make this creation stand out. My favourite part, however, is the balcony. Not only is it well built, but it is photographed so that the shade looks even more inviting!
When it comes to building LEGO maritime creations, one artist stands out as being a foremost authority. Arjan Oude Kotte has graced us with several of his masterpieces over the years. They include a Rotterham Harbor Tugboat, and a massive 1930’s Danish ship, among others. All his creations are packed with magnificent attention to detail and incredible personality. His latest build, Finnian’s shipyard, is another superb addition to his collection, and we love it! The colors and details are truly impressive.
The shipyard features a dry dock, where workers build and repair large boats. An unfinished tugboat sits inside, with workers busy building.
The workers in the materials yard are busy carting wood and steel into the shop to use during construction.
Lots of effort went into making everything line up just right. A story is told with every shift in angle. Scale replica models used in hobby train layouts, which are made using various forms of completely customizable material, really couldn’t have done this better.
The interior is fully decorated and this creation is also completely fitted with indoor and outdoor lights. Even the welder’s torch in the front flickers, thanks to special lighting.
Can you feel the nostalgia oozing out of this gorgeous little trophy-scale homage to LEGO Classic Space? The diorama by Paul Lee is a perfect micro replicant of a Galaxy Explorer, Rocket Launcher and Moonbase as they would appear in a 1980s LEGO catalogue. Special attention has been paid to getting the moon craters as close as possible to the classic baseplates. This build is simple and elegant with a lovely warm after-glow of sentimentality.
The post Classic Space doesn’t get much better (or smaller) than this appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
LEGO photography is an art in and of itself, as demonstrated by brickexplorer’s images shared on Instagram. This particular scene is cute and funny thanks to well-executed visual storytelling. It’s a tale of the guy who thinks he can cook but is so distracted by his pets that he sets his food on fire. Meanwhile, Brickexplorer’s failed little chef is oblivious to the woman shouting at him from behind. If the fish flopping around near the dishwasher is any indication, this guy is about as good at taking care of his pets as he is making dinner.
Everything about this scene is lively and fun to look at, thanks to the builder’s use of color and lighting. The way the sun shines brightly through the window reminds me of a morning sunrise. And editing the image to include smoke makes this scene all the more believable.
These are real, offered by My Pet Chicken in a variety of styles for your indoor chickens, which according to the elves at No Such Thing as a Fish, are very hip household pets in Silicon Valley.
As reported by National Geographic:
Scientists have long known that yellow-billed oxpeckers hang out on massive African mammals like giraffe, water buffalo, and eland during the day—an often beneficial relationship that provides hosts with cleaner, healthier skin. These small brown birds can often be seen perched on top or hanging off the animals, picking through their hair in search of tasty parasites like ticks.Re my tongue-in-cheek title for the post:
But a series of rare photos from a large multi-year camera trap study in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park have revealed that the birds actually roost on some of their hosts overnight...
"You look at them on the giraffe and they're just right up in there," says Meredith Palmer, a Ph.D. candidate in behavioral ecology at the University of Minnesota. "It's a very safe, comfortable place for the birds."..
Yellow-billed oxpeckers nest in trees or other vegetation when it's time to lay their eggs. But the rest of the time they're perfectly happy dangling from a giraffe—sometimes, seven birds are seen clustered in a single armpit.
Definition of "oxter" - chiefly Scotland and Ireland : armpit. (etymology: Middle English (Scots), alteration of Old English ōxta; akin to Old English eax axis, axle).
Photo credit Meredith Palmer.
It’s not the beauty of a building you should look at, it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time
Taking a break from creating stunning LEGO characters, Finnish builder Eero Okkonen has assembled an equally-stunning, 360-degree city block filled with gorgeous early-1900s modular buildings. Each of the four buildings (“Grand Hotel Masaryk”, “Olofslott”, “Louhi” and “House of the Brick Wall”) has its own unique style and charm. But the block as a whole still feels very cohesive.
Eero says he began sketching the design for his creation after a train ride from Helsinki to Tampere. His design incorporates Finnish Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) elements and tries to avoid 90-degree angles wherever possible.
Each of the buildings pulls inspiration from real-world buildings such as the Hotel Europa in Prague and the Tampere Cathedral in Finland. Eero also borrowed from architectural philosophies like Camillo Sitte’s urban planning theories and Finnish national romantic architecture.
There are a ton of interesting details to observe if you get close up. From rowboats and rope bridges to dinosaur tails and butterflies, Eero has used a wide variety of LEGO pieces to construct his colorful city block, and the results speak for themselves.
For more photos and an in-depth article written by the builder himself, visit Eero’s blog.
World War I (1914-1918) marked a turning point in military technology. While the age of aircraft was still quite young, it did not take military strategists long to recognize their advantage on the battlefield. The era produced legendary pilots like the Red Baron and Eddie Rickenbacker. 100 years later, we can add Wesley to the list of flying aces with his brilliant aircraft from the Great War.
By themselves, Wesley’s models look really slick, but his excellent photography really kicks things up a notch. He does an excellent job of setting the scenery, with believable landscaping and cloud laden skies. The muted colors used to present the images are reminiscent of turn-of-the-century hand-tinted color photographs. Wesley has created a number of planes for us to enjoy, including…
The French Nieuport 17
The German Albatross
And the British Sopwith Camel
He has even celebrated the famous Christmas Truce in LEGO form!
The post Take Flight into the Winds of War with these Fantastic Aircraft appeared first on The Brothers Brick.
The Micropolis standard is what allows LEGO builders from around the world to come together at a convention and build a sprawling but tiny city that fits together. Here, LEGO creator Tammo S demonstrates some great microscale building techniques in this city block, featuring a hotel, some apartments, a pizzeria, a few residential buildings and a lovely courtyard. The model has a very European vibe, with a variety of dormer window designs, satellite dishes, and landscaping.
Some of the best details are easy to miss, as they are built into the central courtyard.
Via the Funny subreddit.
And not just any straight line. It is the longest straight line on the surface of the earth that traverses water without touching land (approximately 20,000 miles).
Here's a video demonstration:
Located in Wiesbaden, Germany. Via the Manhole Porn subreddit (I kid you not - and despite the name totally SFW).
In an April 10 financial report titled “The Genome Revolution,” company analysts allegedly posed the question “is curing patients a sustainable business model?” The report broke down the pros and cons of new gene therapy treatments being worked on by biotech companies. Turning the search for medical remedies into a numbers game, analyst Salveen Richter called potential “one shot cures” a bad business decision that will hurt a company’s bottom line...Offered without comment.
Goldman researchers pointed to pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, which developed a treatment for hepatitis C, as an example of the financial impact treating diseases can have on profits. “In the case of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, curing existing patients also decreases the number of carriers able to transmit the virus to new patients,” the memo argued.