Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts

Sunday, February 10, 2013

26 feet Giant Squid Filmed in Pacific Depths

We always knew that deep-sea monsters are for real but now we have a real live one captured on film. After around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in a cramped submarine working with Japanese public broadcast network NHK and the US Discovery Channel, scientists from Japan's National Science Museum have managed to capture footage of an elusive 8 meters (26 feet) long giant squid that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

According to Discovery Channel the three-man crew tracked the creature, thought to be "the genesis of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the last millennium" around 15 km (9 miles) east of Chichi island in the north Pacific Ocean. Here are some snapshots from the video:

Giant Squid 1

Giant Squid 2

Giant Squid 3

Giant Squid 4

Giant Squid 5 (Close-Up)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Living Sculptures: 3 Bottle Ecosystem Projects

They're very easy to make, hyper-creative and fascinating and like many other cool things they used to be very popular in the 70's: Bottle Ecosystems, also known as 'terrarium's and 'vivariums', are simple bottles which include the basic ingredients for life to survive: light, dirt, moisture and of course a DNA based organism, or a few of them. The following are 3 bottle ecosystem projects we find particularly inspiring. Think Bottle Ecosystems are cool and want to give it a try? Check out Jenna Consolo's project (below) or just watch this 5:20 min video from Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden that demonstrate how to create a simple terrarium out of a 2L pop bottle and some other easy to find items.

[1] Summer Fun: Ecosystem Edition

It was never her idea for a summer with the kids but some other kids did something similar for a science project and then her friend Michelle posted about how to build an Ecosystem that is "perfectly contained and functions without any outside work or maintenance" describing what she did and show she did it with her children in Alaska. So, Jenna Consolo decided it's time for her and the kids to build their own terrarium.

Here is what you'll need to follow-up on such project with your own terrarium. The process and results (shown above) are described in this blog post on the Cranberry Corner blog:
  • 3 clear 2-liter (empty) soda bottles
  • Clear packing tape
  • Aquarium gravel
  • Water
  • Dechlorinator
  • Rubber band
  • 4" piece of netting (or just cut up pantyhose)
  • Soil
  • Fish, snails or other aquatic life
  • Elodea, duck weed, anachris or other aquatic plants
  • Crickets, pill bugs and earthworms
  • A few dead leaves and small sticks

[2] Clea Cregan's Miniscapes

Started 6 years ago as  as a hobby, Clea Cregan's Miniscapes now merges desktop gardening and design to produce beautiful terrariums they call "miniature gardens" and "living sculptures".

Cregan's creations are usually made for for office receptions, board room tables and studios but also for home environments. Interested? Check out Miniscapes's site or read this interview with Cregan on TheDesignFiles.

[3] Wet Environment Terrarium

Nicole Cammorata, a Boston-based journalist, writer, and editor and a talented photographer published this story in the Boston Globe detailing how to make your own plant terrariums. Sadly, the full story which takes you through the process step-by-step, is behind the Globe's paywall but we still loved the this sequence she posted on Cammorata's blog how to create a terrarium that "favors more of a wet environment". Know any more cool bottle ecosystem projects? Be sure to contact us or post them in the comments thread.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Our New Normal: 9 Reasons to Get Up About Global Warming

GetUp, an independent community advocacy organisation aiming to "build a more progressive Australia by giving everyday Australians the opportunity to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues" has published this Infographics titled 'Our New Normal' with some alarming facts about the status of global warming. Here are 9 reasons why it's actually all of us, not just Australians, who need to get up:

  • 1. The hottest average maximum temperature ever recorded across Australia – 40.33 degrees, was set on Monday surpassing the old record of 40.17 °C set in 1976. (Bureau of Meteorology) 
  • 2. The number of consecutive days where the national average maximum daily temperature exceeded 39°C has also been broken this week—seven (7) days (between 2–8 January 2013), almost doubling the previous record of four (4) consecutive days in 1973, (BOM) 
  • 3. According to the National Climate Data Centre, nine of the 10 hottest years on record have been since 2000 (the other is 1998). 
  • 4. While temperatures vary on a local and regional scale, globally it has now been 27 years since the world experienced a month that was colder than average. "If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month" - Philip Bump, Grist, November 16, 2012. 
  • 5. The CSIRO has found Australian annual average daily maximum temperatures have steadily increased in the last hundred years, with most of the warming trend occurring since 1970. 
  • 6. The Bushfire CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) says large areas of southern Australia, from the east coast to the west coast, face “above average fire potential” in the summer of 2012-13. According to the Climate Institute extreme fire danger days are expected to rise more than 15 per cent in south-eastern Australia. 
  • 7. The last four months of 2012 - globally - were the hottest on record. (British Met Office) and 2012 was the hottest year the continental United States of America has ever recorded.("2012 Was the Hottest Year in U.S. History. And Yes - It's Climate Change", Bryan Walsh, TIME 8 January, 2013). 
  • 8. The hot-dry trend is expected to continue, with the Climate Commission predicting large increases in the number of days over 35°C this century. 
  • 9. Around the world, 2013 could be the hottest ever recorded by modern instrumentation, according to a recent study by Britain’s Met Office. If that turns out to be accurate, 2013 would surpass the previous record, held jointly by 2005 and 2010.

Not convinced yet? Check out the GetUp site.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A view of Israel's northern shoreline from Rosh HaNikra

We had the pleasure of taking this photo of Israel's shoreline from the top of the Rosh HaNikra cliff, a few meters from the Israel-Lebanon border. Now it's a nominee for June's best Travel photo in Panoramio. Wish us luck!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

It was exactly 01:23:45 AM (UTC+3) on 26 April 1986 when reactor #4 at the Chernobyl plant, near Pripyat in the former U.S.S.R., exploded and sparked a chain reaction ending up with what we know today as the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. A huge plume of highly radioactive fallout, 400 times more than during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Wikipedia), was exploded into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area. But 23 years later, for Swiss decay photographer Timm Suess the Chernobyl ground-zero is also the stuff dreams are made of. At least his dreams.

Like Stalker in Tarkovsky's sci-fi masterpiece, filmed 7 years before the Chernobyl disaster, Suess takes us to a stunning photo-journey into one of the most horrific, abandoned and destructed areas on the surface of earth. While the "Zone" parts in Tarkovsky's fiction film where shot at a deserted hydro power plant on the Jägala river near Tallinn, Estonia, Suess' Chernobyl Journal is an overwhelming HDR photo documentary project chronicling a two-day trip taken in March 2009 through the real thing – the Chernobyl zone of exclusion. Packaged into an online presentation on Suess' website, the must see collection includes approx. 450 photographs as well as a few short videos. Below are a few samples we find particularly interesting.

The Road to Chernobyl

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Road towards Chernobyl town, still outside the zone (Source). More from this set, including pictures taken in the town of Chernobyl nearby Suess base camp, here.

Red Forest

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Panorama of the Chernobyl power plant, view from the railway bridge (Source). More from this set, taken around the Red Forest area near Pripyat, Chernobyl, here.

Pripyat Center

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The Pripyat city administration building. The radioactivity sign was probably placed there after the accident (Source). More from this set, taken in the city square of the ghost town of Pripyat west of Chernobyl, here.

Apartment Building

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Another corridor in an apartment block in the ghost city of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken around an apartment block in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Amusement Park

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The Ferris wheel in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken around the amusement park in the ghost city of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Swimming pool

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The public swimming pool in the ghost town of Priypat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in a public swimming pool in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

School Greenhouse

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Greenhouse of a school in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in and around the greenhouse of school #1 in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Ship Graveyard

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Liquidator boats at the ship graveyard north of Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in the North of Chernobyl, where the old liquidator ships went to die, here.

Around Reactor Island

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Cooling tower of the unfinished Chernobyl reactors 5 and 6 (Source). More from this horrifying and thrilling set of pictures from and around the Chernobyl Reactor Island, including reactors 1-4 and unfinished reactors 5 and 6, here.

For more see Chernobyl Journal:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Manhole Cover Designs: Urban Industrial Artworks under Our Feet

Manhole design has been around for many years, since the era of ancient Rome to be exact, when people began using sewage and drainage systems. An extraordinary ahead-of-its-time book by Mimi and Robert Melnick is most likely, however, to be the first attempt to define and document manhole covers and their place in (American) culture as an urban industrial art. As described by MITpress in the book intro:
"They lie underfoot, embellished and gleaming. They seal off and provide entry to an underground world of conduits, water mains, power lines, and sewers. They appear by the thousands in our cities, but very few people ever look at them or think about them as art. At once completely ordinary and totally unexpected, manhole covers present an infinite variety of design in the commonplace as well as a record of defunct utility companies, forgotten business firms, and obsolete foundries."

Manhole cover design varies greatly from city to city, with each municipality particular approach for budget versus art. According to, a website dedicated to Fine Sewer Art and Manhole Cover Photography - some cities, such as Seattle, opted for a clever street map design on their covers while others go for city logos or seals. A few cities, such as Vancouver, Seattle, New York and Tokyo, went even further and pursued commissioned designer covers. Furthermore, in competitions to find the best designs, these cities have had their communities actively participating in waste awareness. Above: "In Direct Line With Another & The Next", taken in Downtown, New York by Jenna, via Jason Eppink.

With their own astonishing variety depending on locality, utility type and manufacturer but often including a symbol specific to an area or town as part of the overall design, Japanese are considered amongst the most extraordinary manhole covers. In Kyoto, for example, a turtle symbolizing wisdom and longevity is the main motif. In other cases local landmarks, festivals or flora and fauna are used ( Above: manhole cover in Himeji by tickle_tickle. The following are a few of the most interesting cover designs as photographed and collected by people in Japan, USA, Germany, Canada and Mexico. If you have any photos of other interesting manhole covers from around the world please send them over or post their links here as a comment. Enjoy!

Manholes in Japan

Kobe (1), Japan
By Alexis Lê-Quôc [Source]

Kobe (2), Japan.
By Janne Moren [Source]

Kobe (3), Japan.
By Janne Moren [Source]

Takaoka, Japan.
By Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source]

Fukuoka, Japan.
By Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source]

Toshogu, Japan.
By Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source]

Fire hydrant cover at Hanahaku park with the character from the flower exhibition in 1990.
By Janne Moren [Source]

Manholes in USA

Seattle, USA.
By JR Conlin [Source]

San Francisco, USA.
By mr.nunez.sfo [Source]

East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, USA
By Nick Sherman [Source].

Manholes in Germany

Berlin, Germany
By Ted Stevens [Source]

Freiburg i.Br., Germany
By madcrow [Source]

Manhole in Canada

Vancouver, Canada.
By Fecki [Source]

Manhole in Mexico

Unknown, Mexico
By Avi Dolgin [Source]

Manhole Collections

Host, aka Puppenspieler
Janne Moren aka Jannem
Trane DeVore, aka Troutfactory (Also see Japan’s beautiful manhole covers)

Top montage

Left: "In Direct Line With Another & The Next", taken in Downtown, New York by Jenna, via Jason Eppink, Manhole in Mexico by Avi Dolgin [Source], Manhole in Freiburg i.Br., Germany by madcrow [Source], Right: Manhole in Takaoka, Japan by Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source].

Saturday, May 16, 2009

895 Feet Long Mural Painted by Community

Kfar Netter Wall Mural

While technically a mural can be any piece of artwork on a wall, ceiling, or other large permanent surface (Wikipedia) some of us tend to associate murals with ancient masterpieces made by masters painters and artists rather than with ordinary people and suburb communities. Yet, a small suburbs community in an Israeli village named Kfar Netter, has recently collaborated on a unique project, mixing self-expression, fun and community relationships into a gigantic wall mural next to a walkway crossing the village. Made from 70 separate elements, all designed and painted by the residents, this impressive mural measures 895 feet (approx. 273 meter or about 0.17 miles) long and 6 feet high.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Panoramic view full

Environmental art or casual creative entertainment, call it as you like - the people of Kfar Netter seem to have liked the idea and about half of them - approximately 400 people - have attended the single day gathering. It was hot. Music was loud, cold drinks were all over and within a few hours the mural was done, accept for a few minor segments which were taken care of later on.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural

OK, we know what you are thinking. Since most of us like to paint but not everyone is a painter, here are just a few words about how it was practically done: First a date for the special gathering day was set and announced. Each family was then invited to come up with its own masterpiece and provide it to the event organizers in the form of a standard A3 paper sheet.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element Template

A special company was hired to cover the entire wall with a primary paint and then sketch the outline drawings based on the given residents' input. Above is an example of such an outline prior to the paint job. Below: a Google earth snapshot showing the exact location of the wall and the mural (kmz file here).

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Google Earth View

Here are a few selected photos taken during the painting gathering.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Couple

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Couple

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Group view

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Photos by CultCase