Miami Is Drowning, and the Corals Couldn’t Be Happier
In Miami Beach people shop for produce at two feet above sea level. The setting for this activity is a Whole Foods in South Beach. This particular Whole Foods was built on what is now the lowest inhabitable plot of land in Florida. In the surrounding area, only a few feet higher and resting on dredged-up land that was once deep-blue saltwater, is a sprawling assortment of condos, hotels, schools, parks, and small businesses that withstand flooding that grows worse every year.
The common denominator is that every square inch will, at some point, succumb to the ocean.
One mile south of the Whole Foods is a small strip of the bay known as Government Cut. The waterway was dredged and formed in the early 1900s to allow easier access to the Port of Miami. A century later, the port stands as the 11th-largest shipping-container destination in the United States. Despite the port’s continued success, the dredging ships have returned to dig up more—their gigantic steel claws scooping up chunks of seabed like a sludgy arcade-game prize.
Across the water, on the mainland, stands the deserted but still imposing building that formerly housed the Miami Herald. The half-demolished and dilapidated structure is perched on the edge of Biscayne Bay, at a relatively impressive elevation of five feet.
In 2011, the Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, the parent company of Resorts World Casinos, expressed its intention to build a new casino on the property, even though it is still illegal to operate one in the state of Florida. Fueling the controversy was a rumor that the casino would be accessible only by boat or helicopter, which some people took to confirm suspicions that Genting’s proposal would merely serve as a playground for the rich.
What it would look like if the Orion Nebula was a distance of 4 light years away.
"What most people don’t know, that they should, is that practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food. There are no wild seedless watermelons, there’s no wild cows, there’s no long-stem roses growing in the wild …
We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals, that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called artificial selection. That’s how we genetically modify them. So now that we can do it in a lab, all of a sudden, you’re going to complain?
So we are creating and modifying the biology of the world to serve our needs. I don’t have a problem with that because we’ve been doing that for tens of thousands of years. So, chill out."
Neil deGrasse Tyson to anti-GMO advocates (via micdotcom)
markscherz you do know the huge difference between selective breeding (artificial selection) and genetic engineering, right?
I like Tyson as much as the next science enthusiast, but he is being deliberately obtuse and clouding the issue here.
Have you ever watched Orphan Black? Or any other sci fi / speculative fiction about the moral quandaries of patenting biological life? Have you seen the way intellectual property works in the pharmaceutical industry when life-saving drugs can’t be rolled out to people in time?
It’s the fact that if you buy a GMO plant, you can’t legally take cuttings from it or propagate it by seed, even when it is fertile or able to be cultivated asexually. You purchase the means of production, but a legal restriction that patents the genes of that plant prevents you from ever re-using it or re-sowing it, even if you have the competency or need to do so.
Also you risk gene flow into other populations when you grow it. GMOs have also contributed to pesticide resistance, and an increase in secondary pests among common crops like cotton and corn. These phenomena are well-documented, and not at all the ravings of a mad suburbanite going on about tumours in rats. There is also very little evidence of the promised improved harvests.
I think most people could get behind responsible genetic engineering, but right now it’s in the hands of some lawsuit happy multinationals, and it’s intimately tied with outmoded monoculture farming practices, that have proven again and again to be harmful to biodiversity and habitats.
I’m no luddite: I’d actively call myself a futurist and a transhumanist. I usually welcome change, but I usually fall in the anti-GMO camp because I support open-source technology and I oppose patents on biological organisms that can reproduce. It’s hardly the unscientific stance it’s been made out to be, and I don’t think it should be dismissed out of hand, especially by someone like Tyson who is being deliberately dishonest about the chasm between selective breeding and genetic engineering.
Hell, I saw you are against hybridising snakes because of ethical issues. Some people have ethical reasons to oppose handing over the future of the world’s food supply to a few multinationals.
Radio and television broadcasting may be only a brief passing phase in our technological development. When we imagine alien civilizations broadcasting signals with radio telescopes, are we any different from earlier generations who imagined riding cannon shells to the moon? Civilizations even slightly more advanced than ours may have already moved on to some other mode of communication, one that we have yet to discover or even imagine. Their messages could be swirling all around us at this very moment, but we lack the means to perceive them just as all of our ancestors, up to a little more than a century ago, would have been oblivious to the most urgent radio signal from another world.
But there’s another more troubling possibility: Civilizations, like other living things, may only live so long before perishing due to natural causes, or violence, or self-inflicted wounds. Whether or not we ever make contact with intelligent alien life may depend on a critical question: What is the life expectancy of a civilization?
- Episode 11: The Immortals, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Absurd Creature of the Week: The 100-Foot Sea Critter That Deploys a Net of Death
As far as conjoined twins go, they don’t come more famous than Chang and Eng Bunker, who in the 1800s traveled the world lecturing and generally being gawked at by rubes. They even gave us the term Siamese twins (they were from Siam, which is now Thailand). Eventually they settled down on a farm in North Carolina, married two sisters (uh…), and between them sired 21 children.
The logistics of that seem, well, a bit complicated, if not entirely awkward. There are conjoined twins in our oceans, though, that pull off something far more remarkable. These are the siphonophores, some 180 known species of gelatinous strings that can grow to 100 feet long, making them some of the longest critters on the planet. But instead of growing as a single body like virtually every other animal, siphonophores clone themselves thousands of times over into half a dozen different types of specialized cloned bodies, all strung together to work as a team—a very deadly team at that.
“In a way these specialized bodies function as organs,” said marine biologist Stefan Siebert of Brown University, who studies these glorious creatures with the help of remotely operated vehicles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. “Some move the colony, some feed for the colony, some take care of reproduction.” Whereas creatures like you and me have over millennia evolved different parts of our bodies to work as organs, siphonophores have evolved individual bodiesthemselves into organs. It’s a bit like your liver up and declaring independence from the rest of you, even though it can’t go anywhere.
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Some of you are reblogging because you think its funny that programmers would talk to ducks. I’m reblogging because I think its funny picturing a programmer explaining their code, realizing what they did when they explain the bad code, then grabbing the strangling the duck while yelling “WHY WAS THE FIX THAT SIMPLE!? AM I GOING BLIND!”
AS A PROGRAMMER I CAN TELL YOU THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU FUCKING DO WE HAD TO BAN THE DUCKS FROM MY CLASSES BECAUSE EVERYONE WOULD FLIP THE DUCK OR THROW IT AT A WALL OR SOMETHING WHEN THEY FIGURED OUT THE PROBLEM IN THEIR CODE
so that’s the function of a rubber duck
Leaf bug (Phyllium giganteum)
The constant wobbling as they move is a part of their disguise, making it seem as though the “leaf” is only moving because of a light breeze.
If you blow on one it will also shake around in the hopes of matching any actual surrounding leaves
This legitimately upsets me.
… Y’see, now, y’see, I’m looking at this, thinking, squares fit together better than circles, so, say, if you wanted a box of donuts, a full box, you could probably fit more square donuts in than circle donuts if the circumference of the circle touched the each of the corners of the square donut.
So you might end up with more donuts.
But then I also think… Does the square or round donut have a greater donut volume? Is the number of donuts better than the entire donut mass as a whole?
A round donut with radius R1 occupies the same space as a square donut with side 2R1. If the center circle of a round donut has a radius R2 and the hole of a square donut has a side 2R2, then the area of a round donut is πR12 - πr22. The area of a square donut would be then 4R12 - 4R22. This doesn’t say much, but in general and throwing numbers, a full box of square donuts has more donut per donut than a full box of round donuts.
The interesting thing is knowing exactly how much more donut per donut we have. Assuming first a small center hole (R2 = R1/4) and replacing in the proper expressions, we have a 27,6% more donut in the square one (Round: 15πR12/16 ≃ 2,94R12, square: 15R12/4 = 3,75R12). Now, assuming a large center hole (R2 = 3R1/4) we have a 27,7% more donut in the square one (Round: 7πR12/16 ≃ 1,37R12, square: 7R12/4 = 1,75R12). This tells us that, approximately, we’ll have a 27% bigger donut if it’s square than if it’s round.
tl;dr: Square donuts have a 27% more donut per donut in the same space as a round one.
god i love this site
can’t argue with science. Heretofore, I want my donuts square.
more donut per donut
(Source: nimstrz, via schrodingerspanda)
Ebola has a nasty reputation for damaging the body, especially its blood vessels. But when you look at the nitty-gritty details of what happens after a person is infected, a surprising fact surfaces.
How Ebola Kills You: It’s Not The Virus
Illustration credit: Lisa Brown for NPR
San Rafael - Condor Agate | ©Uwe Reier
Discovered in 1992 by the former Argentinean actor, Luis de los Santos, the Condor Agate comes from a difficult-to-reach 7,000-foot elevated plateau near San Rafael, in Mendoza Province, Argentina. The site can only be reached by horse back.
The agate’s bright reds and yellows are made even more vivid by their contrasting bands of cooler, more-subtle hues. This agate was named after the large Condor birds that were flying over Luis de los Santos during the trip that he discovered the agate.
Locality: San Rafael, Argentina.
Twenty-five years ago today, Voyager 2 flew within 5,000 km of the cloud tops of Neptune, capping the most glorious and ambitious exploration humankind has ever engineered. We could not claim to know the contents of our cosmic neighborhood without Voyager’s tour through the planetary portion of our solar system. For many of us, including myself, it was a defining, life-shaping experience.
Here are some pictures from that oh-so-memorable time … a time of discovery and peaceful conquest that set the stage for the return expeditions to Jupiter and Saturn, which came to be called Galileo and Cassini. The pictures include artwork, a close-up of the high methane clouds on Neptune, preparations for TV interviews by MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour and CNN, the final press conference in which I gave the summary of our findings on Neptune’s rings, and a pic of Chuck Berry and Carl Sagan, speaking to the Voyager team members already giddy in their celebration of the successful conclusion of Voyager’s historic, 12-year odyssey.
Enjoy the memories!