Speaking of marine conservation…

Tom James @ 27-08-2009

garbage_in_ocean…as we were, here is news of the first incursion into the collossal garbage patch that has collected in the Pacific Ocean:

Scientists surveyed plastic distribution and abundance, taking samples for analysis in the lab and assessing the impacts of debris on marine life.

Before this research, little was known about the size of the “garbage patch” and the threats it poses to marine life and the gyre’s biological environment.

On August 11th, the researchers encountered a large net entwined with plastic and various marine organisms; they also recovered several plastic bottles covered with ocean animals, including large barnacles.

“Finding so much plastic there was shocking,” said Goldstein. “How could there be this much plastic floating in a random patch of ocean–a thousand miles from land?”

This reminds me of the great junk armada depicted in Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

[via Physorg][image from Physorg]


Hairy goo invading from the Arctic

Tom James @ 16-07-2009

mysteryAhem. A mysterious browny-black goo with hair in it is drifting southward from the Arctic:

Something big and strange is floating through the Chukchi Sea between Wainwright and Barrow.

Hunters from Wainwright first started noticing the stuff sometime probably early last week. It’s thick and dark and “gooey” and is drifting for miles in the cold Arctic waters, according to Gordon Brower with the North Slope Borough’s Planning and Community Services Department.

Brower and other borough officials, joined by the U.S. Coast Guard, flew out to Wainwright to investigate. The agencies found “globs” of the stuff floating miles offshore Friday and collected samples for testing.

“It’s definitely, by the smell and the makeup of it, it’s some sort of naturally occurring organic or otherwise marine organism.”

Very weird. Cthulhu spawning? Cosy catastrophe? The blob? The larval stage of the World Tree?

[from abn news, via Blood & Treasure][image from Margaret Anne Clarke on flickr]


Quantum superposition breakthrough

Tom James @ 29-05-2009

theory_actualA rich seam of technological and science-fictional ideas seem ready to be mined with the development of the first light trap that can simultaneously store different numbers of photons:

“These superposition states are a fundamental concept in quantum mechanics, but this is the first time they have been controllably created with light,” Cleland said. Martinis added, “This experiment can be thought of as a quantum digital-to-analog converter.” As digital-to-analog converters are key components in classical communication devices (for example, producing the sound waveforms in cell phones), this experiment might enable more advanced communication protocols for the transmission of quantum information.

The research is funded by IARPA. Intelligence services are understandably keen to learn more about the potential for quantum computers to break conventionally encrypted communications.

[image and story from Physorg]


Science-fictional property for sale – US$1.5m o.n.o.

Paul Raven @ 26-09-2007

ICBMbase Via Chris Nakashima-Brown comes news of a real bargain in the offing – you could be the proud owner of a very Ballardian ICBM base located somewhere in Washington State, provided you have the necessary cash up front. [Image borrowed from linked BBC item.]

CastleBranDracula For those with a more horror/dark fantasy bent, maybe you’d prefer to buy Castle Bran, allegedly (and controversially) claimed as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Castle Dracula. It’s a mite more pricey than the missile base, however – you’re looking at a cool 40 million in UK Pound Sterling, or thereabouts. [Image from National Geographic]

[tags]homes, property, weird[/tags]

Reserve your place in the Great Pyramid of death!

Paul Raven @ 04-09-2007

The Great Pyramid of DessauWell, this is just plain weird, but it appears to be genuine. The German town of Dessau, birthplace of the Bauhaus art movement, is home to a group of entrepreneurs who intend on using concrete blocks containing the ashes of dead people to build an immense pyramid. Reserve your block now! Whether or not the business model is even vaguely plausible, you’ve got to give them kudos for sheer ambition. What kind of bizarre legacy for future civilizations would that be? [BLDGBLOG]


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