The Walrus: How Selfie Culture Ruins the Great Outdoors for Everyone Else. “Social media has made natural spaces more popular. It could also destroy them.”
“For years, natural reserves have been seen as havens from the modern world, places where quotidian life gives way to quiet reflection and contemplation, often in relative isolation. But social media has disrupted the way we interact with the environment. With the right hashtag, anyone can view thousands of potential destinations—and choose which to visit based on aesthetics alone. A single social-media post can expose lesser-known or isolated places to the world. And that means good places can no longer hide. “They used to be local parks,” says Mairi Welman, head of communications for the District of North Vancouver, which manages two popular parks near the city. “But now we’re starting to see international visitors coming—and those parks were never designed to handle those kinds of numbers.” The influx has resulted in a host of problems, from woefully unprepared hikers getting hurt to people “using the environment as a bathroom.” And then there’s the parking: “There have literally been screaming matches and fist fights over parking spots,” she says. “It can be like a shopping mall at Christmas.””
Link via MetaFilter.
Astronomy Picture of the Day: Tiny Planet Timelapse .
“You can pack a lot of sky watching into 30 seconds on this tiny planet. Of course, the full spherical image timelapse video was recorded on planet Earth, from Grande Pines Observatory outside Pinehurst, North Carolina. It was shot in early September with a single camera and circular fisheye lens, digitally combining one 24-hour period with camera and lens pointed up with one taken with camera and lens pointed down. The resulting image data is processed and projected onto a flat frame centered on the nadir, the point directly below the camera. Watch as clouds pass, shadows creep, and the sky cycles from day to night when stars swirl around the horizon. Keep watching, though. In a second sequence the projected center is the south celestial pole, planet Earth’s axis of rotation below the tiny planet horizon. Holding the stars fixed, the horizon itself rotates as the tiny planet swings around the frame, hiding half the sky through day and night.”
NPR all tech considered: Super Sensitive Sensor Sees What You Can’t.
“A team of engineers at Dartmouth College has invented a semiconductor chip that could someday give the camera in your phone the kind of vision even a superhero would envy. […] Fossum calls his new technology QIS, for Quanta Image Sensor. Instead of pixels, QIS chips have what Fossum and his colleagues call “jots.” Each jot can detect a single particle of light, called a photon.”
Smarter Every Day: Space Station Transiting 2017 ECLIPSE, My Brain Stopped Working. (YouTube, 8:38min)
What it says on the tin, the eclipse as seen from Wyoming, with a bonus appearance of the International Space Station. The ISS transit across the sun is fast, much faster than I thought it would be even though I’ve watched the ISS cross the sky many times.
Bonus link: Veritasium: Eclipse 2017 (YouTube, 5:20min), including time-lapse video from first contact to totality, viewed from Oregon.
On December 28, 2016 President Obama declared the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. There’s no website for it yet on NPS.gov, but some info is available at Wikipedia.
Boston Globe Big Picture: Bear Ears Buttes in Utah.
“Known as Bear Ears for the pair of purple buttes at the region’s center, the newly proclaimed 1.9 million-acre National Mounument will preserve a photographer’s checklist of high-desert drama: spires, bridges, canyons. Yet the region’s true distinction is not its topography, but its cultural significance; perhaps no place in America is as rich with ancient Native American sites as Bear Ears. In October 2015, a coalition of five Indian nations, including the Hopi, Ute, and Navajo, formally proposed the monument, attempting to preserve the parcel’s 100,000 archeological sites from ongoing looting and grave robbing. Last June, in a letter to President Obama, more than 700 archeologists endorsed the proposal, saying that looting of the area’s many ancient kivas and dwellings was continuing “at an alarming pace” and calling Bear Ears “America’s most significant unprotected cultural landscape.””
(No typos added by me; the Boston Globe calls it Bear Ears instead of Bears Ears.)