water

‘In practical life we are compelled to follow what is most probable ; in speculative thought we are compelled to follow truth.’ —Spinoza

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When a coin falls in water, its trajectory is one of four types determined by its dimensionless moment of inertia I∗ and Reynolds number Re: (A) steady; (B) fluttering; (C) chaotic; or (D) tumbling. The dynamics induced by the interaction of the water with the surface of the coin, however, makes the exact landing site difficult to predict a priori.

Here, we describe a carefully designed experiment in which a coin is dropped repeatedly in water to determine the probability density functions (pdf) associated with the landing positions for each of the four trajectory types, all of which are radially symmetric about the centre drop-line.

{ arXiv | PDF }

The sadness will last forever

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There are many theories about why humans cry ranging from the biophysical to the evolutionary. One of the most compelling hypotheses is Jeffrey Kottler’s, discussed at length in his 1996 book The Language of Tears. Kottler believes that humans cry because, unlike every other animal, we take years and years to be able to fend for ourselves. Until that time, we need a behavior that can elicit the sympathetic consideration of our needs from those around us who are more capable (read: adults). We can’t just yell for help though—that would alert predators to helpless prey—so instead, we’ve developed a silent scream: we tear up. […]

In a study published in 2000, Vingerhoets and a team of researchers found that adults, unlike children, rarely cry in public. They wait until they’re in the privacy of their homes—when they are alone or, at most, in the company of one other adult. On the face of it, the “crying-as-communication” hypothesis does not fully hold up, and it certainly doesn’t explain why we cry when we’re alone, or in an airplane surrounded by strangers we have no connection to. […]

In the same 2000 study, Vingerhoet’s team also discovered that, in adults, crying is most likely to follow a few specific antecedents. When asked to choose from a wide range of reasons for recent spells of crying, participants in the study chose “separation” or “rejection” far more often than other options, which included things like “pain and injury” and “criticism.” Also of note is that, of those who answered “rejection,” the most common subcategory selected was “loneliness.”

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

photo { Adrienne Grunwald }

The ox is slow, but the earth is patient

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First, about how glaciers turn into ocean water.

Consider this experiment. Take a large open-top drum of water and poke a hole near the bottom. Measure the rate at which water comes out of the hole. As the amount of water in the drum goes down, the rate of flow out of the hole will normally decrease because the amount of water pressure behind the hole decreases. Now, have a look at a traditional hourglass, where sand runs from an upper chamber which slowly empties into a lower chamber which slowly fills. If you measure the rate of sand flow through the connecting hole, does it decrease in flow rate because there is, over time, less sand in the upper chamber? I’ll save you the trouble of carrying out the experiment. No, it does not. This is because the movement of sand from the upper to lower parts of an hourglass is an entirely different kind of phenomenon than the flow of water out of the drum. The former is a matter of granular material dynamics, the latter of fluid dynamics.

Jeremy Bassis and Suzanne Jacobs have recently published a study that looks at glacial ice as a granular material, modeling the ice as clumped together ice boulders that interact with each other either by sticking together or, over time, coming apart at fracture lines. This is important because, according to Bassis, about half of the water that continental glaciers provide to the ocean comes in the form of ice melting (with the water running off) but the other half consists of large chunks (icebergs) that come off in a manner that has been very hard to model.

{ Greg Laden/ScienceBlogs | Continue reading }

What’s to be expected is 3 minus

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The unavoidable truth is that sea levels are rising and Miami is on its way to becoming an American Atlantis. It may be another century before the city is completely underwater (though some more-pessimistic­ scientists predict it could be much sooner), but life in the vibrant metropolis of 5.5 million people will begin to dissolve much quicker, most likely within a few decades. […]

South Florida is not the only place that will be devastated by sea-level rise. London, Boston, New York and Shanghai are all vulnerable, as are low-lying underdeveloped nations like Bangladesh. But South Florida is uniquely screwed, in part because about 75 percent of the 5.5 million people in South Florida live along the coast. And unlike many cities, where the wealth congregates in the hills, southern Florida’s most valuable real estate is right on the water.

{ Rolling Stones | Continue reading }

related { Global warming has slowed. The rate of warming of over the past 15 years has been lower than that of the preceding 20 years. There is no serious doubt that our planet continues to heat, but it has heated less than most climate scientists had predicted. | The Economist }

In the water of a pure stream, a fasting wolf came by, looking for something

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Hurricane Sandy was the largest storm to hit the northeast U.S. in recorded history, killing 159, knocking out power to millions, and causing $70 billion in damage in eight states. Sandy also put the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in stark relief by paralyzing subways, trains, road and air traffic, flooding hospitals, crippling electrical substations, and shutting down power and water to tens of millions of people. But one of the larger infrastructure failures is less appreciated: sewage overflow.

Six months after Sandy, data from the eight hardest hit states shows that 11 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage flowed into rivers, bays, canals, and in some cases, city streets, largely as a result of record storm-surge flooding that swamped the region’s major sewage treatment facilities. To put that in perspective, 11 billion gallons is equal to New York’s Central Park stacked 41 feet high with sewage, or more than 50 times the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The vast majority of that sewage flowed into the waters of New York City and northern New Jersey in the days and weeks during and after the storm.

{ Climate Central | PDF }

‘Those who don’t drink and aren’t crazy, or who don’t attract attention with how they behave in public, aren’t noticed in art.’ –Georg Baselitz

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{ Thanks Tim }

its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea

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Scientists think that they have the answer to why the skin on human fingers and toes shrivels up like an old prune when we soak in the bath. Laboratory tests confirmed a theory that wrinkly fingers improve our grip on wet or submerged objects, working to channel away the water like the rain treads in car tyres. […]

Wrinkled fingers could have helped our ancestors to gather food from wet vegetation or streams, Smulders adds. The analogous effect in the toes could help us to get a better footing in the rain.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

Stick a fork in it

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A thousand years ago, the Doge Pietro Orseolo II took his triumphant naval fleet to the sea entrance at the Lido and ceremoniously threw a diamond ring into the water, thus marrying his city to the Adriatic and securing Venice’s dominion over its waters and trade routes. […]

When Goethe visited Venice for just over two weeks in 1786, he climbed the campanile twice, at high tide and then at low tide. It was from this tower that, at the age of 37 and already famous, he saw the sea for the first time in his life. […]

Now we know for sure that the ocean is rising faster than Venice will subside.

{ Aeon | Continue reading }

photo { Roman Noven and Tania Shcheglova }

The restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units

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The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands.

The trench reaches a maximum-known depth of 10.994 km or 6.831 mi at the Challenger Deep, a small slot-shaped valley in its floor, at its southern end, although some unrepeated measurements place the deepest portion at 11.03 kilometres (6.85 mi).

The trench is not the part of the seafloor closest to the center of the Earth. This is because the Earth is not a perfect sphere: its radius is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) less at the poles than at the equator. As a result, parts of the Arctic Ocean seabed are at least 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) closer to the Earth’s center than the Challenger Deep seafloor.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

related { What if you exploded a nuclear bomb at the bottom of the Marianas Trench? }

Against a sea of troubles, torn by conflicting doubts, as one sees in real life

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Bas Jan Ader (1942-1975) was a conceptual artist, performance artist, photographer and filmmaker. He lived in Los Angeles for the last 10 years of his life. […]

Ader was lost at sea while attempting a single-handed west-east crossing of the Atlantic in a 13 ft pocket cruiser, a modified Guppy 13 named “Ocean Wave.” The passage was part of an art performance titled “In Search of the Miraculous.” Radio contact broke off three weeks into the voyage, and Ader was presumed lost at sea. The boat was found after 10 months, floating partially submerged 150 miles West-Southwest of the coast of Ireland. His body was never found.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading | basjanader.com }

‘We dead yo.’ –Samantha Hinds

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{ Three satellites found that 97 percent of Greenland — the land mass second only to Antarctica for its volume of ice — underwent a thaw never before seen in 33 years of satellite tracking, NASA reported Tuesday. Satellite experts at first didn’t trust their readings, especially since they showed an incredible acceleration. Over four days, Greenland’s ice sheet — which covers 683,000 square miles – went from 40 percent in thaw to nearly entirely in thaw. | NBC | Continue reading | Thanks Samantha }

Correctamundo. And that’s what we’re gonna be. We’re gonna be cool.

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The other influence happened when I was nine or ten. I went back East to visit relatives in New York and one of my uncles took me to a Russian Jewish bathhouse. It was exotic and interesting and although I don’t remember it from a sensual level, it was an unusual experience. I realized that bathing was an activity that people could indulge in. I remember, too, that there was food afterwards — it was great! Later, when I was in architecture school at UCLA, I visited a place that had a nice bath, and I began to take baths in the afternoon. I liked to take a bath after lunch. I know it is an odd time for it, but if you’re self-employed and are kind of a dreamer, it works. Then in Japan I started to take a bath before dinner, at six or seven o’clock. […]

Bathrooms are everywhere. Just about everyone has one. And every bathroom, no matter how crude or sophisticated, comes equipped with all the elements of primal poetry:

Water and/or steam.
Hot, cold, and in between.
Nakedness.
Quietness.
Illumination.

[…]

The WET distribution system started really small — hand delivery to a few select shops — and grew significantly through the life of the magazine.

{ Leonard Koren/LA Review of Books | Continue reading }