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An island with a hole in it
In March of 1954 this island exploded. This is Bikini Atoll, site of many American nuclear weapons tests in the middle of the 20th century.
The crater you see on this image from the Operational Land Imager on NASA’s Landsat 8 spacecraft was produced during a test of a new American thermonuclear weapon design.
The bomb was expected to explode with a force of 4-6 megatons, but instead, it wound up releasing energy equivalent to 15 megatons of TNT, making it one of the most powerful nuclear tests ever conducted.
The explosion was so large that it destroyed much of the equipment set up to monitor it and also scattered radioactive material over a huge area. Although the population of Bikini Atoll had been evacuated years beforehand, so much material was thrown up that inhabitants of other nearby islands were given large doses of radiation; those residents weren’t evacuated until several days afterwards when they began showing symptoms of radiation poisoning. A Japanese fishing boat was also in the area and the crew did not realize that the light they saw in the distance was a nuclear explosion; one crewman reportedly died due to exposure.
The test prompted protests worldwide due to the exposure of so many to radiation; eventually those protests helped lead to the ending of atmospheric nuclear testing. To this day it is unclear why the Americans miscalculated so badly on the test’s expected energy; whatever the cause was, it remains classified.
Portions of the population of Bikini Atoll attempted to return several decades after the tests but it was found that soils on the island remained contaminated and it was not safe to eat foods grown from those soils. To this day, this series of islands remains largely uninhabited.
In front of more than 6,000 people at the RSA Conference’s closing keynote at the Moscone Center here, Colbert had the audience roaring within minutes over his jokes about computer security and encryption.
…At the end, Colbert said that the “greatest threat to our security” was not knowing where political money came from, and not voting… It’s not often that Colbert stops being satirical, but when he does, he does it to express a closely held value.
Many cities are trying to reduce automobile dependence, encourage walking and cycling, and ramp up public transit. By de-emphasizing cars, they hope to create healthier, more sustainable places and cut commute times in the bargain. These four cities were chosen by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, a New York City-based think tank that makes annual awards for sustainable transport.
Google’s Project Tango
[The] awareness of space and motion is fundamental to the way we interact with our environment and each other. We are physical beings that live in a 3D world. Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen.
The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.
What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address? What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building? What if the visually-impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store?
The number of people a 3.5 meter wide lane can convey in an hour, by transport mode.
We’ve inherited a lot of inefficient, car-centric places from previous decades, but we don’t have to keep building that way. In Atlanta, with the Beltline and MARTA’s TOD projects and more, there’s new interest in building places that are centered around other transportation modes.