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Going Underground: Inside Melbourne’s storm drains
07.29.2014
08:19 am

Topics:
Environment

Tags:
urban exploration
storm drains

amapdrain.jpg
 
The “Maze” storm drain in Melbourne, Australia, may not be the city’s longest drain, but it is “perhaps the hardest and most confusing to navigate. The clue here is in the name.”

The drain twists and turns for approximately four miles, traveling across the city and out into the River Yarra. This drainage system ranges from large tunnels to passages the width and size of crawl spaces. A perfect setting for a horror movie, the waterway is also home to a number of venomous spiders (Red Backs, Funnel Web) and snakes. The fine for trespassing into this subterranean netherworld is $20,000 AUSD.

One urban explorer who has traveled through the perilous “Maze” drain is writer, musician and photographer, Darmon Richter, who documented his journey here.
 
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Via The Bohemian Blog
 
More claustrophobic pictures of the ‘Maze’ drain, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Photo series of Americans lying in seven days worth of their own garbage
07.11.2014
06:06 am

Topics:
Art
Environment

Tags:
Gregg Segal


 
7 Days of Garbage could have come off way preachier if the subjects weren’t photographed portrait-style—some of these folks are absolutely working the camera! Households and individuals were shot among a week’s worth of their own garbage, and while the results aren’t really a shock, the fakey-nature sets really drive home the reality that human beings don’t live “outside” of the environment—the trash has to actually go somewhere. As photographer Gregg Segal puts it, “We’ve made our bed and in it we lie.”

It’s worth pointing out that not all garbage is created equal. Biodegradable orange peels aren’t really comparable to a plastic milk jug or used diapers, the latter of which I notice to be conspicuously absent from the pictures featuring a sweet-faced infant or toddler. It’s quite possible those families do cloth diapering (or didn’t feel like bringing clean diapers to the shoot to represent the used ones), but it might be even more interesting to show the sheer bulk of disposable nappies required to keep a baby happy, healthy and clean.

The tragedy in all of this is the fact that our refuse output can’t be solved by conscientious consumerism. Reducing waste will require political intervention and modifying our manufacturing practices. Until that happens, we’re just going to be… kind of filthy. New Yorkers can check out 7 Days of Garbage at The Fence, in Brooklyn.
 

 

 

 
More people and their garbage after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Massive wasp nest fused to a La-Z-Boy recliner looks like an art installation
07.09.2014
09:19 am

Topics:
Animals
Environment

Tags:
wasps
yellow jackets
hives
nests


 
This actually happened back in 2012, but it’s started to make the rounds again on the Internet in the past few days. I’ve never seen this one before so I thought I’d post it anyway, maybe you’ve missed it, too.

Wayne’s Bee’s—which is a honey bee removal service located in Lantana, Florida—filmed an incredible sight: a massive yellow jacket nest fused to both a La-Z-Boy-style chair and the floor carpeting. In a weird way, it’s almost like a work of art. I could totally see this being displayed in a museum like some sort of fantasy collaboration between Damien Hirst and Mike Kelley.

This all went down in Hobe Sound, Florida.

 
via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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An abandoned shopping mall full of fish
06.30.2014
08:56 am

Topics:
Animals
Environment

Tags:
Malls
carp


 
I’m a sucker for these nature takes over man-made monstrosities themed photo essays. Thousands of fish have taken over the now derelict New World Mall in Bangkok. The onetime Thai shopping emporium was shut down in 1997 due to building code violations and a massive fire that destroyed its roof. Apparently rainwater slowly filled the abandoned building and caused a major mosquito outbreak in the area. It was a bad enough problem that in an effort to stop the mosquitos, locals introduced freshwater fish to the abandoned mall to eat the insects.

I guess it worked like a charm, because now mall is alive and kicking with thousands of thriving fish. I like that idea. Shops around the mall even sell fish food to tourists or the curious.


 

 

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Via Nerdcore, Daily Mail, reddit, Imgur

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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What does a snail eating sound like?
06.23.2014
01:08 pm

Topics:
Art
Environment
Music

Tags:
Nick Abrahams


 
Filmmaker and visual artist Nick Abrahams will be presenting “Lions and Tigers and Bears,” an exhibition of photographs, installations and artworks inspired by the lush magic of the British countryside. The show which opens at The Horse Hospital in London on Friday examines our changing relationship with nature by inviting the spectator “to use their own imagination to bear on sounds and images which are both extraordinary and overlooked.”
 

 
Last year Nick made “Ekki Mukk,” a short film collaboration with Sigur Rós that won the British Council Best UK short film award for 2013. That short (see below) forms part of the “Lions and Tigers and Bears” project and also inspired Abrahams’ 7-inch single of the same name:

The single and exhibition include 3 key audio recordings – that of a snail eating, a fox sleeping, and sounds recorded around a tree. The sounds evoke mysterious worlds – the tree is the Martyrs tree in Tolpuddle, under whose branches the first trade union in England met in 1834, to fight for better pay and working conditions… the snail is heard eating, amplified to a level which we can hear and sounding something like a chainsaw – what else would we hear if we could listen closely enough ? And a sleeping fox…. what does a fox dream about ?

A fourth recording features the voice of Shirley Collins, a living national treasure and seminal folk singer, who reads a prose poem by Nick Abrahams, leaving us in the world of fairytales.

A feature film of the “Lions and Tigers and Bears’ project is currently in development. Nick says there will be a live snail race at the opening (6pm to 9pm) and to “please come, bring friends (although not more snails, they can be rather ‘me me me’).”
 

 
The Horse Hospital, The Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD
 

 
Below, Abrahams’ stunning music video for “Ekki Mukk” by Sigur Rós:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The RAPID deterioration of Detroit according to Google Street View is both shocking and sad
05.29.2014
11:50 am

Topics:
Current Events
Economy
Environment

Tags:
Detroit


 
The Tumblr GooBing Detroit shows the utterly jaw-dropping deterioration of neighborhoods in Detroit using Google Street View and Bing Street View. What’s shocking is how rapidly the decline happened! A lot of these examples only span five years!


Eastside Detroit: Arndt between Elmwood and Ellery: 2009, 2011, 2013
 

Northeast Detroit: Boulder between Liberal and Novara: 2009, 2011, 2013
 

Northeast Detroit: Hoyt between Liberal and Pinewood: 2008, 2011, 2013
 

Northeast Detroit: Hazelridge between Celestine and Macray: 2009, 2011, 2013
 
Below, Google Street View video of apartments on Houston Whittier in northeast Detroit:

 
More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Incredible footage of tornado touching down in North Dakota
05.27.2014
11:08 am

Topics:
Environment

Tags:
Tornado


 
Pretty spectacular footage of a tornado hitting a “man camp” in Waterford, North Dakota yesterday. What I don’t understand is why the guys filming this are so giddy? Maybe an adrenaline rush? A nervous reaction? I wouldn’t be able to catch my breath if a monster funnel was heading directly towards me. That thing’s huge!

Stay with the video as the funnel only gets more intense looking. NSFW-ish as there’s a lot of cussin’.

On a side note, what exactly is a “man camp,” anyway? Is it like a trailer park for dudes only?

 
Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Scientist falls into a 70-foot crevasse in the Himalayas; captures the whole thing on camera
05.23.2014
08:57 am

Topics:
Environment

Tags:
Escapes


 
Incredible! This is straight out of 127 Hours! Western Kentucky University professor John All was conducting climate change studies in the Himalayas on Monday, when he suddenly fell into a 70-foot hole. He broke his arm, dislocated his shoulder and broke five ribs. John All then turned on his camera and captured the horrifying ordeal and escape on video.

According to reports, the entire process took John over five hours. John described it as “one of life’s hardest moments.”

You may want to wear headphones if you’re at work. A lot of F-bombs (understandably so!) being dropped.

Part One:

 
Part Two:

 
Part Three:

 
Part Four:

 
Via reddit and Huffington Post

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Viagra induces fractal growth in mushrooms
05.14.2014
08:09 am

Topics:
Drugs
Environment
Science/Tech

Tags:
mushrooms
Viagra

boletus.jpg
Photo of Boletus edulis by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
 
The Boletaceae family of mushrooms “display a phallus-like morphology formed by a stalk a cap,” or a shaft and a bell-end to you and me. When these mushrooms were given the pharmacological compound “Sildenafil,” used for the treatment of male erectile dysfunction as Viagra, scientific researcher Gabriele Losa discovered that the synthetic drug increased fractal growth.

Boletus edulis, a Basidiomycete of the Boletaceae family, can be found gathered around beechwood trees (Fagus) in Ticino, an Italian district in the southern part of Switzerland. In his studies, Losa noted some similarities in the “phallus-like morphology” of the mushrooms may be influenced by “various environmental agents, including growth factors and complex molecules such as polyphenols and other antioxidants.”

Some analogies had also been noted between “Sildenafil” (Viagra) and the “chemical structure of natural polyphenols, flavonoids and many other cyclic compounds as rosamarinic acid abundant in macro-fungi, which exhibited an antioxidant free-radical scavenging activity.” Such changes prompted an investigation into the possible growth effects on Boletus type mushrooms by Sildenafil. In other words, researchers gave a selection of mushrooms Viagra, and some others a placebo, to see if the drug would affect their growth.

The results showed the mushrooms given Sildenafil had “a significant growth increase as expressed by numerical desnity [#B/m2], which ranged from 0.15 at time zero to 0.5 at day 14 of treatment, whilst it remained stable around 0.2 without significant changes in the control domain.”

Knowing the role of sildenafil on certain parts of the male human body, one can easily hypothesize an analogous effect on other, rather different biological targets such as Boletus mushrooms. According to such a hypothesis, in these mushrooms, a strengthened lymph drawing and water afflux suitable to permeate the roughage tissue, thus favoring both firmness of stalk and smoothness of cap. If so, then the effect induced in mushrooms might mimic the polymorphous effect observed in human males.

But how to explain the observed diverging behavior? On the one hand, the numerical density [#B/m2] increased by 35%, proving a significant growth of Boletus after fourteen days of treatment. On the other hand, the height dimensions of specimens treated with Sildenafil were found smaller than those of control area, with data interval ranging between 6.5-8.1 cm and 7.4-9.6 cm respectively.

Hence in this experimental system the growth rate was inversely related to Boletus height. The fractal dimension values recorded on the cap and stalk border outlines of Boletus mushrooms deserved a critical comparison with data recovered in the living realm; in the former fractal dimension values ranged between 1.10 and 1.23 rather close to fractal dimension values recorded on contour profiles of most biological structures and cell tissues, notably liver cells, healthy lymphoid and white blood cells, leukemic circulating cells, oocytes, immature astrocytes and neuronal cells, all characterized by a similar degree of irregularity (Losa & Nonnenmacher 1996). Unfortunately, fractal dimension data on mushrooms have never been calculated (or at least have not been reported in the scientific literature).

To sum up: The numerical density (#B/m2) of the mushroom was increasing with time, i.e. from 0.15/m2 up to 0.5/ m2 at day 14 of treatment, while the fractal density reduced from 1.23 to 1.11. Thus, there was a significant reduction of border profile complexity and irregularity in Boletus mushrooms that were treated with Sildenifil, a drug that provokes penile erections in human males.

And the conclusion?

Our investigation highlighted the main fractal principle which rests on the unlimited iteration of a unit fragment as a chief generator, either determined or unknown, until completion of the whole structure. The same principle serves to explain the fractality of growth mechanisms, the irregularity of morphological structures and the complex dynamics of living processes which occur at different spatial and temporal scales in connection with the principle of the recursive genome function (Pellionisz 2008), all the phenomena implicated in growth and maintenance of the fascinating and mysterious kingdom of mushrooms.

Fascinating indeed, and you can read the complete paper here, and below, this is what mushrooms on Viagra look like. None too appetizing…
 
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H/T Nerdcore, via Improbable Research
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Grand Canyon added to Google Street View so users can explore America’s most endangered river
05.12.2014
01:29 pm

Topics:
Environment

Tags:
Google Street View
Grand Canyon


 
Recently Google launched an absolutely amazing Street View tour of all 286 miles of the Grand Canyon, captured from the very waters of the Colorado River. My knee-jerk assumption was that this was simply another victory in Google’s ultimate goal of mapping every inch of the world (in order to more easily conquer it, obviously), but the Grand Canyon was actually chosen for its ecological significance. Working in conjunction with environmental non-profit American Rivers, Google released this statement:

For over 6 million years, the Colorado River has carved out its place on Earth. It spans over 1,450 miles, beginning in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and ending the Gulf of California in Mexico. The Colorado River serves as a lifeline in the arid Western United States. It graces 7 states, 2 countries, and 9 national parks, nourishing the lives of 36 million people and endangered wildlife. Millions depend on the river for irrigation, water supply, and hydroelectric power. However, excessive water consumption and outdated management have endangered the Colorado River.

Over at Harper’s, writer and former Grand Canyon cartographer Jeremy Miller notes the extraordinary technology and scope of the project, and though he admits it can’t compare with a visit to the actual Grand Canyon, it’s baffling that such an impressive and advanced resource could be completed in just eight days. Silicon Valley has a notable habit of eschewing paying their taxes (or even more basic philanthropy) in favor of very conspicuous, tech-oriented social experiments—I’m unsure of how much Grand Canyon Street View will support conservation efforts, and I’m not convinced that a fat check wouldn’t do more to save the Colorado (it’s unclear if Google has donated). Regardless, the map is cool as hell, a worthy project in its own right, and I highly suggest you check it out.
 

 
Via Harper’s

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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