Archive for the ‘Jody Troupe’ Category

forest

The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking.

Seattle’s new food forest aims to be an edible wilderness. Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.

“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.

The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.

That the plan came together at all is remarkable on its own. What started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right.

“Friends of the Food Forest undertook heroic outreach efforts to secure neighborhood support. The team mailed over 6,000 postcards in five different languages, tabled at events and fairs, and posted fliers,” writes Robert Mellinger for Crosscut.

Neighborhood input was so valued by the organizers, they even used translators to help Chinese residents have a voice in the planning.

So just who gets to harvest all that low-hanging fruit when the time comes?

“Anyone and everyone,” says Harrison. “There was major discussion about it. People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries? That could very well happen, but maybe someone needed those blueberries. We look at it this way—if we have none at the end of blueberry season, then it means we’re successful.”

http://delightmakers.com/news-bleat/seattles-first-food-forest/

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

pear3
pear2
pear1

Gao Xianzhang has managed to create what some would call the holiest fruits ever, pears shaped like Buddha.

Gao has been working on his pear-growing technique for six years and this season he managed to grow 10,000 Buddha-shaped baby pears.

Each fruit is grown in an intricate Buddha mould and ends up looking like a juicy figurine.

The ingenious farmer says the locals in his home village of Hexia, northern China, have been buying his Buddha pears as soon as he picks them from the trees.

Most of them think they are cute and that they bring good luck.

http://delightmakers.com/news-bleat/chinese-farmer-grows-buddha-shaped-pears/

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

The Pacific barreleye fish has a has a see-through head. The dark circles on the front of its face are the fish equivalent of nostrils. The fish’s eyes are inside its transparent head. They look up, through its skin, to look for food above. And then sometimes they look forward, out of the front of its face.

http://grist.org/list/see-through-fish-reminds-us-that-nature-is-way-way-weirder-than-we-can-cope-with/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=update&utm_campaign=socialflow

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing”the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

http://memolition.com/2013/10/16/time-lapse-map-of-every-nuclear-explosion-ever-on-earth/

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

With sustained winds of 190mph (305km/h) and staggering gusts of 230mph (370km/h), its “intensity has actually ticked slightly above the maximum to 8.1 on an 8.0 scale.” Update: It broke 235mph.

Holthaus says that Yolanda—its Filipino name—beats “Wilma (2005) in intensity by 5mph—that was the strongest storm ever in the Atlantic,” which makes it a member of the select club of Worst Storms Ever in the Planet. Only three other storms since 1969 have reached this intensity.

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

mechanical gear 2

mechanical gear 1

With two diminutive legs locked into a leap-ready position, the tiny jumper bends its body taut like an archer drawing a bow. At the top of its legs, a minuscule pair of gears engage—their strange, shark-fin teeth interlocking cleanly like a zipper. And then, faster than you can blink, think, or see with the naked eye, the entire thing is gone. In 2 milliseconds it has bulleted skyward, accelerating at nearly 400 g’s—a rate more than 20 times what a human body can withstand. At top speed the jumper breaks 8 mph—quite a feat considering its body is less than one-tenth of an inch long.

This miniature marvel is an adolescent issus, a kind of planthopper insect and one of the fastest accelerators in the animal kingdom. As a duo of researchers in the U.K. reported recently in the journal Science, the issus also the first living creature ever discovered to sport a functioning gear. “Jumping is one of the most rapid and powerful things an animal can do,” says Malcolm Burrows, a zoologist at the University of Cambridge and the lead author of the paper, “and that leads to all sorts of crazy specializations.”

The researchers believe that the issus—which lives chiefly on European climbing ivy—evolved its acrobatic prowess because it needs to flee dangerous situations. Although they’re not exactly sure if the rapid jump evolved to escape hungry birds, parasitizing wasps, or the careless mouths of large grazing animals, “there’s been enormous evolutionary pressure to become faster and faster, and jump further and further away,” Burrows says. But gaining this high acceleration has put incredible demands on the reaction time of insect’s body parts, and that’s where the gears—which “you can imagine being at the top of the thigh bone in a human,” Burrows says—come in.

“As the legs unfurl to power the jump,” Burrows says, “both have to move at exactly the same time. If they didn’t, the animal would start to spiral out of control.” Larger animals, whether kangaroos or NBA players, rely on their nervous system to keep their legs in sync when pushing off to jump—using a constant loop of adjustment and feedback. But for the issus, their legs outpace their nervous system. By the time the insect has sent a signal from its legs to its brain and back again, roughly 5 or 6 milliseconds, the launch has long since happened. Instead, the gears, which engage before the jump, let the issus lock its legs together—synchronizing their movements to a precision of 1/300,000 of a second.

The gears themselves are an oddity. With gear teeth shaped like cresting waves, they look nothing like what you’d find in your car or in a fancy watch. (The style that you’re most likely familiar with is called an involute gear, and it was designed by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in the 18th century.) There could be two reasons for this. Through a mathematical oddity, there is a limitless number of ways to design intermeshing gears. So, either nature evolved one solution at random, or, as Gregory Sutton, coauthor of the paper and insect researcher at the University of Bristol, suspects, the shape of the issus’s gear is particularly apt for the job it does. It’s built for “high precision and speed in one direction,” he says. “It’s a prototype for a new type of gear.”

Another odd thing about this discovery is that although there are many jumping insects like the issus—including ones that are even faster and better jumpers—the issus is apparently the only one with natural gears. Most other bugs synchronize the quick jolt of their leaping legs through friction, using bumpy or grippy surfaces to press the top of their legs together, says Duke University biomechanics expert Steve Vogel, who was not involved in this study. Like gears, this ensures the legs move at the same rate, but without requiring a complicated interlocking mechanism. “There are a lot of friction pads around, and they accomplish pretty much of the same thing,” he says. “So I wonder what extra capacity these gears confer. They’re rather specialized, and there are lots of other jumpers that don’t have them, so there must be some kind of advantage.”

Even stranger is that the issus doesn’t keep these gears throughout its life cycle. As the adolescent insect grows, it molts half a dozen times, upgrading its exoskeleton (gears included) for larger and larger versions. But after its final molt into adulthood—poof, the gears are gone. The adult syncs its legs by friction like all the other planthoppers. “I’m gobsmacked,” says Sutton. “We have a hypothesis as to why this is the case, but we can’t tell you for sure.”

Their idea: If one of the gear teeth were to slip and break in an adult (the researchers observed this in adolescent bugs), its jumping ability would be hindered forever. With no more molts, it would have no chance to grow more gears. And with every bound, “the whole system might slip, accelerating damage to the rest of the gear teeth,” Sutton says. “Just like if your car has a gear train missing a tooth. Every time you get to that missing tooth, the gear train jerks.”

Read more: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature-15916433?click=pm_latest

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

herm

Germans will soon be legally divided into three genders – those born as hermaphrodites have the right to not identify as male or female. It has been described as a revolution, effectively creating legal recognition of a third sex.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday that a change due to come into effect in November would give legal recognition to the fact that intersexual people were not clearly either male or female.

Although the law change stops short of actually creating a third sex, it will allow birth certificates to be left blank and for those concerned to make a decision later whether to identify as male, female or neither.

“If the child cannot be identified as female or male, the personal gender is to be left blank and to be so entered into the births register,” the new law due to take effect in November states, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said.

This small but crucial difference in the law will have knock-on effects in a whole range of other registration rules such as those for ID cards and passports, the paper said. Currently passports have to carry an F for female or an M for male.

Having nothing could create difficulties for intersexual people travelling to some countries, the Magazine for Family Law (FamRZ) said, suggesting that an X be used, as was decided in Australia earlier this year.

The background to the German law change is a ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court which said the “deeply felt and lived” gender was a function of personal rights and must apply to unclear gender.

The new law will apply to intersexuals, or hermaphrodites – people born with gender-indeterminate bodies, rather than transsexuals, who are born with a specific sex but feel they are members of the other gender.

Brussels-based lawyer Wolf Sieberich told the FamRZ transsexuals should also get the right to determine their own legally recognized gender.

Marriage law may also have to be altered as a result he said. Currently a marriage in Germany is only allowed between a man and a woman and a legally recognized life partnership is allowed for members of the same gender. Sieberich questioned what that would mean for someone whose gender is not specified.

Justice Minister Sabine Leuthheusser-Schnarrenberger told the Süddeutsche Zeitung “comprehensive reform” would be necessary.

http://www.thelocal.de/society/20130816-51439.html

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.