Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

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

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A California designer has turned a $2,000 dumpster into a fully functional home, complete with a bathroom, bed, kitchen and sun deck.

Gregory Kloehn converted the dumpster in Brooklyn off of a hunch, and now he uses it whenever he stays in New York.

‘It just hit me,’ he said on HGTV’s show, ‘You Live in What?’ ‘I thought hey, this is the perfect shape for a home.’

Kloehn added wheels to the bottom of the dumpster so it could be more easily transported and carved a custom door on the side for easy entry and exit.

For drinking water, he installed a six-gallon water tank on the roof.

The same water is funneled into the tiny toilet when he needs to use the bathroom. The water is also hooked up to an outdoor shower.

The red-and-black-colored interior is insulated with padding and features a small seating area. But sleeping appears uncomfortable. He appears to only barely fit inside when he lies down.

The small kitchen takes up one corner of the dumpster and features a microwave and mini stove. Both run on electricity.

A small grill is also attached to the outside of the dumpster. On the roof, an umbrella provides some shade for outdoor lounging.

If he wants to get some extra sunlight inside, as well, he can lift the retractable roof to expose two windows and let in the light.

‘I think [passersby] are just surprised that someone would take something like this and spend enough time to make it a home,’ he told HGTV.

Thanks to Mr. Cuomo for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2387619/Gregory-Kloehn-California-designer-turns-DUMPSTER-into-Brooklyn-getaway-complete-toilet-stove-sun-deck.html#ixzz2bcXoXQFm

sea level nyc

The U.S.’s largest metropolis and the entire east coast could face frequent destruction unless the region takes previously unthinkable actions

By Mark Fischetti

By 2100 devastating flooding of the sort that Superstorm Sandy unleashed on New York City could happen every two years all along the valuable and densely populated U.S. east coast—anywhere from Boston to Miami.

And unless extreme protection measures are implemented, people could again die.

Hyperbole? Hardly. Even though Sandy’s storm surge was exceptionally high, if sea level rises as much as scientists agree is likely, even routine storms could cause similar destruction. Old, conservative estimates put the increase at two feet (0.6 meter) higher than the 2000 level by 2100. That number did not include any increase in ice melting from Greenland or Antarctica—yet in December new data showed that temperatures in Antarctica are rising three times faster than the rate used in the conservative models. Accelerated melting has also been reported in Greenland. Under what scientists call the rapid ice-melt scenario, global sea level would rise four feet (1.2 meters by the 2080s, according to Klaus Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory. In New York City by 2100 “it will be five feet, plus or minus one foot,” Jacob says.

Skeptics doubt that number, but the science is solid. The projection comes in part from the realization that the ocean does not rise equally around the planet. The coast from Cape Cod near Boston to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina is a hot spot—figuratively and literally. In 2012 Asbury Sallenger, a coastal hazards expert at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), reported that for the prior 60 years sea level along that section of the Atlantic coast had increased three to four times faster than the global average. Looking ahead to 2100, Sallenger indicated that the region would experience 12 to 24 centimeters—4.7 to 9.4 inches—of sea level rise above and beyond the average global increase.

Sallenger (who died in February) was careful to point out that the surplus was related only to ocean changes—such as expansion of water due to higher temperature as well as adjustments to the Gulf Stream running up along the coast brought about by melting Arctic ice—not changes to the land.

Unfortunately, that land is also subsiding. Since North American glaciers began retreating 20,000 years ago, the crust from New York City to North Carolina has been sinking, as the larger continent continues to adjust to the unloading. The land will continue to subside by one to 1.5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.06 inch) a year, according to S. Jeffress Williams, a coastal marine geologist with the USGS and the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. The boundary zone where rising crust to the north changes to falling crust to the south runs roughly west to east from central New York State through Massachusetts.

Certain municipalities such as Atlantic City, N.J., are sinking even faster because they are rapidly extracting groundwater. Cities around Chesapeake Bay, such as Norfolk, Va., and Virginia Beach, are subsiding faster still because sediment underneath them continues to slump into the impact crater that formed the bay 35 million years ago.

When all these factors are taken into account, experts say, sea level rise of five feet (1.5 meters) by 2100 is reasonable along the entire east coast. That’s not really a surprise: the ocean was 20 to 26 feet (six to eight meters) higher during the most recent interglacial period.

Now for the flooding: Sandy’s storm surge topped out at about 11 feet (3.4 meters) above the most recent average sea level at the lower tip of Manhattan. But flood maps just updated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in January indicate that even an eight-foot (2.5-meter) surge would cause widespread, destructive flooding. So if sea level rises by five feet (1.5 meters_, a surge of only three feet is needed to inflict considerable damage.

How frequently could that occur? Municipalities rarely plan for anything greater than the so-called one-in-100-year storm—which means that the chances of such a storm hitting during any given year is one in 100. Sandy was a one-in-500-year storm. If sea level rises by five feet, the chance in any year of a storm bringing a three-foot surge to New York City will increase to as high as one in three or even one in two, according to various projections. The 100-year-height for a storm in the year 2000 would be reached by a two-year storm in 2100.

With hundreds of people still homeless in Sandy’s wake, coastal cities worldwide are watching to see how New York City will fend off rising seas. Scientists and engineers have proposed solutions to pieces of the complex puzzle, and a notable subset of them on the New York City Panel on Climate Change are rushing to present options to Mayor Michael Bloomberg by the end of May. But extensive interviews with those experts leads to several controversial and expensive conclusions: Long-term, the only way to protect east coast cities against storm surges is to build massive flood barriers (pdf). The choices for protecting the long stretches of sandy coastlines between them—New Jersey, Maryland, the Carolinas, Florida—are even more limited.

As for sea level rise, retreat from low-lying shores may be the best option. Despite the gut reaction of “No, we won’t go,” climate forces already in motion may leave few options.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fischetti-sea-level-could-rise-five-feet-new-york-city-nyc-2100

drone-proof-burqa
As debate over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the U.S. rages on, a fashion designer introduces clothing that blocks drone-mounted infrared cameras.

As the U.S. government draws up plans to use surveillance drones in domestic airspace, opposition to what many consider an unwarranted and significant invasion of privacy is mounting across the country, from rural Virginia to techopolis Seattle. Although officials debate anti-drone legislation at federal, state and local levels, one man is fighting back with high-tech apparel.

A New York City privacy advocate-turned-urban-guerilla fashion designer is selling garments designed to make their wearers invisible to infrared surveillance cameras, particularly those on drones. And although Adam Harvey admits that his three-item Stealth Wear line of scarves and capes is more of a political statement than a money-making venture, the science behind the fashion is quite sound.

“Fighting drones is not my full-time job, but it could be,” says Harvey, an instructor of physical computing at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and the creator of the CV Dazzle project, which seeks to develop makeup and hairstyles that camouflage people from face-recognition cameras and software.

Harvey’s newest medium, metalized fabric, has been around for more than 20 years. It holds in body heat that would burn bright for infrared cameras—a characteristic that could prove attractive to those who do not want unmanned aerial vehicles spying on them.

Metalized fabric
Metal is very good at absorbing and scattering infrared light, says Cheng Sun, a Northwestern University assistant professor of mechanical engineering. In that sense there is nothing exotic in how metalized fabric works—it “would strongly attenuate the [infrared] light,” he says. The metal would dissipate heat to surroundings as well, making the wearer harder to pinpoint.

To date, the fabric has primarily been used in tape and gaskets to protect electronics and communications equipment from static electricity and electromagnetic interference, according to Larry Creasy, director of technology for metalized fabric-maker Laird Technologies, based in Saint Louis.

Here’s how metalizing works, at least at Laird: Woven fabric, commonly nylon or polyester, is coated with a special catalyst—a precious metal Creasy declined to specify—that helps copper bind to the fiber. Once dry, the fabric is submerged in a copper sulfate–plating bath and dried. A nickel sulfamate bath follows to help the finished fabric withstand the elements and abrasions. The result is a flexible, breathable fabric that can be cut with ordinary tools but that protects against electromagnetic interference and masks infrared radiation, Creasy says. The process adds weight to the original fabric. An untreated square yard of nylon weighs about 42.5 grams. Treated, the same patch weighs more than 70 grams.

The fashion
Harvey’s fabric is coated with copper, nickel and silver, a combination that gives his scarves, head-and-shoulders cloak and thigh-length “burqa” a silvery and “luxurious” feel. The material blocks cell signals, as well, adding an element of risk to tweeting, texting and other mobile activities, as the wearer must break cover to communicate.

Stealth Wear is sold only via a U.K. Web site. The burqa goes for about $2,300, the “hoodie” is $481 and the scarf is $565—luxury items, but so, too, is privacy today, Harvey says.

The impetus
The high cost and limited availability are significant drawbacks—Harvey says he’s only sold one Stealth Wear item online, a scarf. But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts 10,000 commercial drones will ply domestic airspace by 2017—almost twice the that of the U.S. Air Force’s current fleet of unmanned aircraft. The number of drones flying in the U.S. today is hard to pin down because not every company and agency that gets FAA approval to fly a drone actually puts one in the air. In fact, 1,428 private-sector and government requests have been approved since 2007, according to the FAA. A Los Angeles Times report states that 327 of those permits are still active. Meanwhile, President Obama signed a law in February 2012 that gives the FAA until September 2015 to draw up rules that dictate how law enforcement, the military and other entities may use drones in U.S. airspace.

As of October 2012, 81 law agencies, universities, an Indian tribal agency and other entities had applied to the FAA to fly drones, according to documents released by the FAA to the Electronic Freedom Frontier following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Government entities as diverse as the U.S. Department of State and Otter Tail County, Minn., are among them.

Discomfort rising
Although Harvey’s anti-drone fashions are not currently flying off the shelves, he could soon find himself leading a seller’s market if recent events are any metric:

•The Charlottesville, Va., city council has passed a watered-down ordinance that asks the federal and commonwealth governments not to use drone-derived information in court. Proponents had sought to make the city drone-free (pdf).

•Virginia, Minnesota, Oregon, Montana, Arizona (pdf) and Idaho legislators are trying to at least regulate or even prohibit, drones in their skies.

•Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn returned the city’s two surveillance drones after a hostile public reception.

•A bipartisan pair of U.S. Representatives has introduced legislation to limit information-gathering by government-operated drones as well as prohibit weapons on law-enforcement and privately owned unmanned aerial vehicles.

Drone advocates defend the use of the technology as a surveillance tool. “We clearly need to do a better job of educating people about the domestic use of drones,” says Ben Gielow, government relations manager for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Gielow says U.S. voters must decide the acceptability of data collection from all sources, adding, “Ultimately, an unmanned aircraft is no different than gathering data from the GPS on your phone or from satellites.”

GPS does not use infrared cameras, however, and satellites are not at the center the current privacy debate brewing in Washington—factors that could make Harvey’s designs all the more fashionable.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=drone-proof-anti-infrared-apparel&page=2

drone

NYU student Josh Begley is tweeting every reported U.S. drone strike since 2002, and the feed highlights a disturbing tactic employed by the U.S. that is widely considered a war crime.

Known as the “double tap,” the tactic involves bombing a target multiple times in relatively quick succession, meaning that the second strike often hits first responders.

A 2007 report by the Homeland Security Institute called double taps a “favorite tactic of Hamas” and the FBI considers it a tactic employed by terrorists.

UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Christof Heyns said that if there are “secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime.”

The U.S. refuses to discuss the merits of its overtly covert drone program, but the reports featured on @dronestream clearly document that U.S. hellfire missiles have intentionally targeted funerals and civilian rescuers.

And that’s only a 10-month window in Pakistan. It has happened in Afghanistan as well, and the first instance of “explicit intelligence posthumously proving” that an innocent civilian had been killed happened in Yemen.

In September the NYU and Stanford law schools released a report detailing how double taps by U.S. drones affect the Pakistani population, and noted that “high-level” militants killed only accounted for 2 percent of U.S. drone strike casualties.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/us-drone-tweets-reveal-double-tap-plan-2012-12#ixzz2EyCYyb3N

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

For the first time, researchers have used a specialized camera to measure pupillary changes in people watching erotic videos, the changes in pupil dilation revealing where the participant is located on the heterosexual-homosexual spectrum. The researchers at Cornell University who developed the technique say it provides an accurate method of gauging the precise sexual orientation of a subject. The work is detailed in the journal PLoS ONE.

Previously, researchers trying to assess sexual orientation simply asked people about their sexuality or used intrusive physiological measures, such as assessing their genital arousal.

“We wanted to find an alternative measure that would be an automatic indication of sexual orientation, but without being as invasive as previous measures. Pupillary responses are exactly that,” says lead researcher Gerulf Rieger. “With this new technology we are able to explore sexual orientation of people who would never participate in a study on genital arousal, such as people from traditional cultures. This will give us a much better understanding how sexuality is expressed across the planet.”

Experimenting with the technique, the researchers found heterosexual men showed strong pupillary responses to sexual videos of women, and little to men. Heterosexual women, however, showed pupillary responses to both sexes. This result confirms previous research suggesting that women have a very different type of sexuality than men.

Interestingly, the new study sheds new light on the long-standing debate on male bisexuality. Previous notions were that most bisexual men do not base their sexual identity on their physiological sexual arousal but on romantic and identity issues. Contrary to this claim, bisexual men in the new study showed substantial pupil dilations to sexual videos of both men and women.

“We can now finally argue that a flexible sexual desire is not simply restricted to women – some men have it, too, and it is reflected in their pupils,” said co-researcher Ritch C. Savin-Williams. “In fact, not even a division into ‘straight,’ ‘bi,’ and ‘gay’ tells the full story. Men who identity as ‘mostly straight’ really exist both in their identity and their pupil response; they are more aroused to males than straight men, but much less so than both bisexual and gay men.”

Thanks to Dr. A.R. for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

City officials pulled the plug on a vibrator giveaway by the Trojan condom company last week in NYC.

“I’m 57 years old. I should be able to get a vibrator!” declared Linda  Postell, who was among hundreds of women and men waiting in the heat on Pearl  Street. “I have a problem with the smoking ban, and  the soda ban — and now this!”

Trojan sent tingles of excitement across the city when it announced the  giveaway of some 10,000 vibrating sex toys from hot-dog-style pushcarts.

Trojan began by handing out about 400 free vibrators without incident on  Sixth Avenue in Rockefeller Center between 11 a.m. and noon last week.

The giveaways were scheduled to start at 4 p.m. in the Flatiron District and  near the South Street Seaport.

The promotion was  prematurely interrupted by City Hall, which sent a dark-suited representative to  put the squeeze on Trojan’s “Pleasure Carts.”

The spoilsport, who declined to identify himself, told Trojan’s reps at the  Flatiron location that they had to shut down because of the size of the crowd  that had gathered.

The event barely got started. The downtown event shut down about 40 minutes  later, and Trojan managed to dole out just a couple of hundred battery-operated  tinglers.

The decision to nix the giveaway clearly caused the mayor’s voter  satisfaction ratings to plummet among the empty-handed thrill seekers.

“There’s a lot more important things the city should be worried about than a  free-vibrator giveaway,” complained Park Slope bar owner Melody Henry, 42. “Bloomberg doesn’t want anyone to have fun. You can’t have a giant soda. You can’t have a vibrator.”

The Mayor’s Office insisted the vibrator switch-off was a permit issue, and  not due to any prudishness.

“This activity promoting Trojan products, which impeded pedestrian and street  traffic, did not have a permit,” City Hall said in a written statement. “The  production company affiliated with the event is currently in discussions with  the Mayor’s Office to hold a promotional event with proper permits at a later  date.”

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/city_kos_good_vibrations_Rtc8Up7hrIGqlC63E3J1fK#ixzz23m0KVcj1