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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

10:02:2013 -- ImaGeo Imagery, Imagination, Earth


Dear Friends,


Be Well.
David


 

ImaGeo
Imagery, Imagination, Earth

By Tom Yulsman | February 11, 2013 8:54 am

 

Artist David Thomas Smith created this image by making a mosaic of satellite images of China’s Three Gorges Dam and surroundings, creating a kind of remote-sensing inkblot. Can you find the dam? (Image: Courtesy David Thomas Smith)

Welcome to the inaugural post of ImaGeo, a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth.

ImaGeo will focus on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfoldingAnthropocene Epoch. Its focal point will be on imagery — from remote sensing, to computer simulations, to photography (some of it my own). But ImaGeo will also feature explanation and interpretation. Its mission will be to provide a compelling visual experience, and a deeper understanding of our planet’s natural systems, how Earth has evolved, and how it continues to change, most especially under our influence.

The image at the top of this post is by David Thomas Smith, an artist whose works have been exhibited around the world. It is a mosaic of pictures of China’s Three Gorges Dam, and surroundings, arranged in a kind of digital Rorschach ink-blot.

As Smith describes his work:

Composited from thousands of digital files drawn from aerial views taken from internet satellite images, this work reflects upon the complex structures that make up the centres of global capitalism, transforming the aerial landscapes of sites associated with industries such as oil, precious metals, consumer culture information and excess. Thousands of seemingly insignificant coded pieces of information are sewn together like knots in a rug to reveal a grander spectacle.

Please have a look at more of Smith’s compelling images by going here:http://cargocollective.com/dtsmith/Anthropocene

The water impounded by Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric installation, weights some 86 trillion pounds. NASA scientists have calculated that raising that much mass behind the dam is enough to change the Earth’s inertia in such a way as to increase the length of the day (albeit by only 0.06 microseconds). It’s also sufficient to make the Earth slightly more round in the middle, and to shift the position of the poles by eight tenths of an inch.

Those effects may be small, but they are also symbolic of the Anthropocene. This is the idea that we humans are having such a pervasive and profound effect on our planet’s life support systems that we have become a geologic force equivalent to meteorite impacts, colliding continents, and massive volcanic outpourings.

In recognition of this, scientists are considering whether to officially recognize the dawn of the Anthropocene Epoch, which would mean that this term would “join the Cambrian, Jurassic, Pleistocene, and other such units on the Geological Time Scale,” as Paul Crutzen and his co-authors put it in an articlea few years ago.

The evidence for the scale of our impact is pretty compelling:

Directly and indirectly, we humans influence up to 83 percent of the terrestrial biosphere, and 98% of the area where it is possible to grow rice, wheat or maize.

Natural spectacles like the Grand Canyon may seem beyond any measure of human impact, but research shows quite the opposite: Humans now outdo all planetary natural processes in moving sand, gravel, rock and other sediment —by an entire order of magnitude. So we rival even mighty rivers like the one that carved the Grand Canyon — the Colorado.

To feed and clothe ourselves, we use about a quarter of the net primary productivity of the land, meaning the plant material that grows above and below ground. “This is a remarkable impact on the biosphere caused by just one species,” concluded the researchers who made the calculation as part of research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

We use about a third of the total renewable fresh water supply on the planet; almost 90 percent of that water goes to agriculture.

Today, we fix more nitrogen than all natural processes combined. This is the process by which nitrogen in the atmosphere is transformed chemically to a form available by plants to help fuel their growth. Before humans figured out how to do it, and thereby produce nitrogen fertilizers, the main sources of fixed nitrogen for plants were lightning and bacteria, and mostly the latter. Today we produce up to three times the fixed nitrogen than natural rates on land. “That’s a huge increase in a critical biogeochemical cycle of our planet,” says Alan Townsend, head of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology.

And then, of course, there is carbon dioxide. Thanks to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, by the end of 2012, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere had reached 394 parts per million, up from about 280 ppm before the start of the Industrial Revolution. The result: about 1.33 degrees F of global warming over the past century. “The last time there was this much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere was during the Pliocene Epoch, 3 million years ago,” says James White, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. “At that time it was 30 degrees warmer, and sea level was 20 meters higher.”

Put all of these impacts together, and there is one simple conclusion, White says: “We’re big. We’re really big.” Which is, of course, just another way of expressing the central concept of the Anthropocene.

These and other facts about our impact on the planet suggest that we may live too large — that humanity as a whole already exceeds the biosphere’s ability to meet human demands for food, materials, and waste disposal. That’s obviously a controversial statement, and proving it is no easy matter. Suffice it to say that researchers are trying.

The Global Ecological Footprint Network has tallied up the numbers and concludes that we humans exceed Earth’s “biocapacity” by about 50 percent. Another way of looking at it is that we are using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to meet our resource needs and absorb our waste.

But of course we’ve only got one planet, Earth. So if you believe these numbers, we’re in a situation called “ecological overshoot.” The rapid felling of forests, depletion of fisheries, and dwindling fresh water reserves all serve as evidence for this view, as does the inexorable buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Of course, critics dismiss ideas like this as doomsday thinking that has been proved wrong time and again. I personally think these critics are wrong — we do see evidence that burgeoning human population and per capita consumption is running up against limits.

But the point of bringing up the concept of the Anthropocene in this first post is not to suggest that the end-of-days are nigh and we should lose all hope. We’re an amazingly resourceful and adaptable species. In fact, that’s how we got to be so big, as it were.

So my goal here is to help people recognize a discomfiting but ultimately empowering fact: We don’t stand apart from nature; we are a veritable force of nature.

With this knowledge, perhaps we can make some intelligent decisions about what we want to do with our power (a point my friend and fellow Discoverblogger Keith Kloor made recently). We have a choice about whether we want to use it in a way that is sustainable over the long run. Will we make that choice?

In the coming weeks and months, ImaGeo will deal with these, and many, many other issues — and all with an emphasis on the visual. I hope you will enjoy it.


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MUFON

How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:


Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:




Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.

MUFON.COM

ESOTERIC



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