April 23, 2014

This dog may one day be able to enjoy the comforts of the outdoors at his local airport terminal.     Photo: Narith5/Flickr

Detroit Airport Unveils Dog Bathrooms

Designed for service animals

Detroit's Metropolitan Airport has taken a bold step forward in the quest to build a canine civilization by introducing customized dog bathrooms, a $75,000 addition complete with real grass, fire hydrants, and artificial rain showers to wash away liquid waste.

The McNamara Terminal facilities, a collaboration between the airport and Delta Airlines, were designed to help the owners of service dogs, who had previously been forced to take their canine assistants outside to do their business, a process which, according to one passenger, used to add take 30 minutes or more. "When you can't get outside, when you don't have enough time to go through TSA coming back through, it's a wonderful convenience for our dogs," said Deb Davis of Paws with a Cause.

Of course, this paradise still has its downsides. Owners must deal with any solid waste their dogs leave behind.

Still, the convenience…

0 Comments

Some of the prints available. Clockwise from bottom left: Aaron Huey, Cory Richards, Andy Bardon, Aaron Huey, Pete Mcbride, Grayson Schaffer    

Photo Sale Will Benefit Sherpas

Iconic images go for $100

The deadly avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas on April 18 has left the climbing community devastated. Now, in an effort to help, a group of the world’s best photographers have come together for a weeklong print sale to raise money for the Sherpa community. 

Led by Outside’s Grayson Schaffer and National Geographic’s Aaron Huey, the sale features powerful images from Jimmy Chin, James Balog, Cory Richards, Renan Ozturk, Teru Kuwayama, Pete McBride, Gordon Wiltsie, Andy Bardon, Robb Kendrick, and Max Lowe.

Each image is on sale for $100 through the project’s website. All of the profits will be distributed by the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, which has worked with Sherpa climbers in the Khumbu region since 2003. 

Purchase the images: www.sherpasfund.org

0 Comments

Professor Bryan Pijanowski recording sounds from a tower in the jungle canopy.     Photo: Courtesy of Global Soundscapes/YouTube

New App Is Soundtrack to the Earth

Citizen scientists record away

Conceived by Purdue University professor and landscape ecologist Bryan Pijanowski, the Soundscape Recorder app lets you listen to the sounds of the earth. App users can record snippets of sound on their phones from anywhere in the world and share it with the Global Soundscape audience.

"I've been on a campaign to record as many ecosystems as possible," Pijanowski told Wired. "But there's only so many places in the world I can be. I thought about how I could get more recordings into a database, and it occurred to me: We have a couple billion people on this planet with smartphones!"

Once you record a sound using the recorder app, it is then uploaded to the Global Soundscapes database and website, where you can explore and listen to sounds using an interactive map. After recording, the user must answer a few questions about the sounds they heard and how they feel about them.

Unfortunately, you cannot explore sounds from around the world through the app, but the website makes for a cool listen. Pijanowski urged everyone to record during yesterday's Earth Day celebration and to continue doing so for years to come.

The sounds can ultimately be used to study sound levels around the world, which Pijanowski hopes will highlight just how noisy we are making our planet.

0 Comments

    Photo: Getty Images

Asteroids Caused Nuclear-Scale Explosions

Some more powerful than an atom bomb

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an asteroid? Believe it or not, there have been 26 nuclear-scale explosions in Earth's atmosphere between 2000 and 2013, the Guardian reports. 

One of the blasts was stronger than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Not to worry though. Most of the explosions occurred over the ocean or too high above the planet to really do any damage—but an energy yield equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT is nothing to sneeze at.

What would happen if an asteroid that size hit a populated area? Scientists say we earthlings might be more vulnerable to asteroids than we think. Just last year, a 500-kiloton meteor explosion hit over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk, causing extensive damage. 

This time-lapse video released by the B612 Foundation, an asteroid-hunting nonprofit founded by former NASA astronauts dedicated to protecting the Earth from threatening asteroids, shows just how frequently the fiery rocks pound our little planet.

The foundation is currently trying to build a privately funded infrared space telescope that will spot dangerous asteroids before they come too close. Of course, if that doesn't work, we can always call up these guys.

0 Comments

As of today, you can see Earth digitally in four dimensions.     Photo: Google

Google Maps Feature Time Lapses

Now your Street View photobombs will never disappear

Starting today, Google Maps users can revisit cached street views and watch time lapses of mankind's greatest urbanizations and decays.

Google has added an unobtrusive clock image to the bottom right corner of its Maps portal. Upon clicking it, users can pan through past street views, and in an incredible homage to time travelers everywhere, the yellow Street View figure takes on the likeness of Doc Brown.  

To create street views, specially outfitted Google cars snap 360-degree images at regular intervals, all of which require significant storage space on Google's servers. Booming locales such as New York and Singapore demand regular visitations by these vans to keep up with rapid construction and to offer visitors accurate information, but off-the-beaten-path locations will probably have to depend on local historical societies to memorialize themselves.

This feature comes in the wake of the Timelapse collaboration with Time and NASA, introduced last summer. Through Timelapse, users can appreciate some of the most drastic shifts in landscape since 1984, including the draining of Lake Powell and the zealous climb of Dubai's skyscrapers.

No word on when Google will introduce the ability to watch time lapses of future construction. 

Google's most recent Street View capture of Outside's offices forever memorializes this guy's engine troubles.

0 Comments

An osprey, like the birds shown here, has been evicted three times from its nest near the Bay Bridge.     Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Osprey Nest Torn Down in Maryland

Blocking a traffic camera

A determined osprey has found the perfect perch for its nest. The only problem? It's directly in front of a traffic camera near the Bay Bridge.

The Maryland Transportation Authority has removed the nest three times during the past week, only to have the bird rebuild. Late Tuesday afternoon, a branch (possibly fresh evidence of yet another nest) could be seen in front of the camera.  

Eagles, ospreys, and a falcon have been allowed to nest on the Bay Bridge before, authority spokesman John Sales told the Baltimore Sun, but none of the birds built homes that blocked the view of a camera providing a live feed of the traffic below. 

"We're concerned because she's blocking one of our traffic cameras that we use for monitoring traffic conditions at the bridge," Sales told the newspaper. He also expressed concerns about the bird's safety because the camera moves back and forth, agitating the animal.

There might be a solution that works for both the osprey and transportation officials. Federal Wildlife biologist Craig Koppie suggested luring the bird with another elevated platform, complete with some of the material removed from previous nests.

0 Comments

Chopper inbound with stranded snorkelers (at left).     Photo: RACQ CQ

Rescue Chopper Spots SOS

Picks up stranded snorkelers

Three dits, three dahs, and three dits. Five snorkelers marooned off the coast of Queensland, Australia, were rescued yesterday after they spelled out this Global Maritime Distress signal—SOS—on a tidal sandbar.

Snorkelers were stranded on a rock for about nine hours before friends on the mainland expecting their return notified the Queensland Water Police. A RACQ-CQ Rescue helicopter spotted their crude lettering, according to Al Arabiya.

They claim their "anchor broke," but anchors don't (okay, very rarely) break. Either their boat was not anchored properly or the anchor line broke. And they knew the sandbar would go under at high tide, one of the boat's co-owners told the Courier-Mail.

 The snorkelers suffered sunburn.

0 Comments

Comments