Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Australia slashes its renewable energy target by nearly 20%

Today, the Australian government drastically scaled back its renewable energy targets for 2020, dropping them by nearly 20 percent. The new target, 33 TeraWatt-Hours, ends an extended period of uncertainty. The Abbot government had announced its intent to lower the target, but parliamentary negotiations were required to set a new one.

Australia's initial target, 41 TW-hr, had been set in 2009 with the goal of having renewables contribute 20 percent of the nation's electrical generation. But greater efficiency and reduced manufacturing has already pushed the fraction of renewables up over 13 percent. The Abbott government, which is generally hostile to climate science, didn't feel the need to overshoot its goals and so decided to cut the renewable energy target.

Solar and biomass generation, two leading sources of renewable energy in Australia, will not be affected by the deal. But wind power was singled out for added scrutiny. The deal would see a new wind power commissioner appointed to hear public complaints and create a scientific committee that would look into the environmental and health impacts of turbines. As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, however, Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council "has found no convincing evidence of health effects associated with so-called 'wind turbine syndrome,'" although more research may be needed to reassure the public.

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Blogger Love:

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The skill and creativity among my fellow fashion blogging community members is astounding. From videos to sketching to sewing to writing and many combinations of all of the above, the originality and imagination you guys show in your posts is killer. And those are all things fashion blogging needs to stay relevant and interesting. So I just wanted to say thanks for being awesome!

This week's best:
 
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A Library That Plummets into an Abyss by Susanna Hesselberg for Sculpture by the Sea

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Susanna Hesselberg, “When My Father Died It Was Like a Whole Library Had Burned Down” (2015)

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For her entry into the biannual Sculpture by the Sea in Aarhus, Denmark, Swedish artist Susanna Hesselberg installed this ominous library that plumments into the ground like a mining shaft. While visually arresting, the piece has a somewhat somber intention. Titled “When My Father Died It Was Like a Whole Library Had Burned Down,” the piece alludes to the sweeping feeling of loss accompanying the death of the artist’s father. The piece joins an additional 55 sculptures on display right now at the 2015 Sculpture by the Sea through July 5, 2015. (via Hyperallergic)

 
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Rosetta mission extended

The adventure continues: ESA today confirmed that its Rosetta mission will be extended until the end of September

The post Rosetta mission extended has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Toward tiny, solar-powered sensors

The latest buzz in the information technology industry regards “the Internet of things” — the idea that vehicles,

The post Toward tiny, solar-powered sensors has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Individual neurons tell us whether we remember something

It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes us remember things. When you see an image, what makes you decide you’ve seen it before? A new study has tackled this question, identifying a group of neurons that participate in the process of identifying images as familiar.

While this may seem counterintuitive—it probably feels like you either recognize something automatically or you don’t—your brain makes that determination using different aspects of your memory. “Determining whether a stimulus is novel or familiar is a complex decision involving the comparison of sensory information with internal variables,” the authors explain in their paper.

Am I sure I’ve seen this before...?

When your brain makes a decision, it's often accompanied by an assessment of how accurate that decision is. Was I right to buy that car? My brain would consider a number of factors—the driving experience, the gas mileage, and so on—before concluding it’s pretty likely I’m making the right decision. (Just an example; alas, there’s no shiny new car for my brain to assess). These confidence values are an essential part of the decision-making process, at least for humans, as it helps us navigate our complex environment.

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Chocolate & Cocktail Tasting NYC



I admit, this post is not about fashion or beauty. It does include artfully styled cocktails and desserts though. I just had a great time at The Cocktail Guru's Chocolate and Cocktail tasting event and wanted to share.

The event was hosted at URBO in Times Square by my Top Chef crush, Johnny Iuzzini. He looked very sexy in his vest and tattoos, but when you watch him demonstrate a luscious dessert on the Kitchen-Aid, that's when I lose it. Food Network cutie Zac Young was also on hand to entice guests with treats from David Burke Kitchen and Pierre Ferrand Cognac.

Top pastry chefs around the city either paired desserts with liquor or incorporated the libations into them. Of course, actual chocolate flavored cocktails were on hand for tasting as well. Van Gogh Vodka has a huge range of infused vodkas. I was already a fan of their blueberry, but here they had both Dutch Chocolate and Dark Chocolate, as well as Caramel. Their chef, Abby Lavin of Jam Jar bakery paired them with little hot fudge pies.

My other favorites include Hudson Whiskey's infused brownie and mango parfait. Also, have you ever tried chocolate mousse stuffed inside a hibiscus flower? Heavenly. Now I crave something I didn't even know existed. Valrhona chocolate was the key ingredient in many of the event's creations, but you could sample their artisanal chocolates in their pure form.

So now I am inspired to repeat this themed tasting party for myself. My tipsy tea party crew will have to indulge me (my girl Nyree has already nailed this with her amazing liquor drenched cakes).
Check out 7 Ways to Pair Chocolate & Liquor for recipes you can try at home:
by Mariana Leung at Mode
 
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Miniature Hand Thrown Pottery by Jon Almeda

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Master of the miniature Jon Almeda creates tiny hand thrown ceramics at 1″ scale that are every bit as detailed and perfect as their much larger counterparts. The Washington-based artist makes vases, bowls, and even tea kettles tiny enough to sit atop a coin or toothbrush. Despite their fragile beginnings, the pieces are sturdy enough to endure standard glazing and firing to emerge as fully finished ceramics. Almeda uses a custom designed motorized curio wheel that affords the precise control needed to execute minute handbuilding techniques need for each object.

To see more, you can follow him on Instagram or maybe even take a class through the International Guild of Miniature Artisans of which he is a member. (via Artfido)

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#funandrandom 
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Red dwarf burns off planet’s hydrogen giving it massive comet-like tail

A giant cloud escaping from a warm, Neptune-mass exoplanet is reported in this week’s Nature. Depicted in an

The post Red dwarf burns off planet’s hydrogen giving it massive comet-like tail has been published on Technology Org.

 
#astronomy 
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Silent flights: How owls could help make wind turbines and planes quieter

A newly-designed material, which mimics the wing structure of owls, could help make wind turbines, computer fans and

The post Silent flights: How owls could help make wind turbines and planes quieter has been published on Technology Org.

 
#physics 
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Monday, 29 June 2015

Birthdays are always such fun - with the first peep of seriousness kicking in on your 29th....

Birthdays are always such fun - with the first peep of seriousness kicking in on your 29th. Well, I say ignore it - you're not 30 yet!

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Repurposed Wood Doors and Furniture Transformed into Geometric Faces on the Streets of Belgium

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Over the last year, Belgian painter and sculpturor Stefaan De Croock aka Strook (previously) began working with repurposed wood panels, doors, and furniture to construct giant faces on the side of buildings. The recycled wood surfaces are cut into precise geometric shapes and pieced together like a tangram puzzle, leaving the original paint and textures untouched. His most recent piece, Elsewhere, was a collaboration with his 69-year-old dad for Mechelen Muurt. You can see more of Strook’s paintings, sculptures, and other artworks on his website. (via Colossal Submissions)

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

New Time-lapse Videos of Spontaneous Sand Paintings by Joe Mangrum

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Artist Joe Mangrum (previously) was just in Zuidlaren, Netherlands, where he was commissioned by the Doe Museum to create 8 temporary sand paintings over a period of 11 days. All of Mangrum’s paintings are spontaneous and evolve as he works, a grueling physical process that involves dozens of revolutions around the artwork as he adds new details and flourishes by pouring brightly colored sand. All eight artworks were photographed as he worked and turned into time-lapse videos, three of which are included here. The sand paintings will remain on view through October 30, 2015. You can follow more of Mangrum’s work on Facebook.

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#funandrandom 
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OSIRIS-REx Team Prepares for Next Step in NASA’s Asteroid Sample Return Mission

With launch only 15 months away, NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) team is preparing

The post OSIRIS-REx Team Prepares for Next Step in NASA’s Asteroid Sample Return Mission has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Serpentine Lamps Drilled from Coconut Shells Cast Dazzling Patterns of Light

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Vainius Kubilius handcrafts lamps that don’t only light a space, but transform the feel of an entire room, casting elongated patterns on the walls, ceiling, and floor. Each lamp is created from coconut, suede, and cork, unusual materials that give each twisted creation an almost snake-like appearance.

The coconut forms the head of each lamp, drilled with thousands of holes to allow the light to spill out in a variety of intricately formed patterns. Kubilius explains that he must blow the dust from each hole he drills, enabling the viewer to get a sense of how many breaths he took in order to produce each handcrafted lamp.

Kubilius is inspired by Polish artist Przemek Krawczński who carves lamps out of gourds in equally dazzling patterns. You can see more of Kubilius’ lamps on his Etsy shop. (via My Modern Met)

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Magnetic complexity begins to untangle

After a year in orbit, the three Swarm satellites have provided a first glimpse inside Earth and started

The post Magnetic complexity begins to untangle has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Fashion Innovation at the 3D Print Design Show

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3D printing may be the hottest buzzword in design, but it still is not adopted into the fashion industry as a go-to medium. Maybe the technology is a little intimidating. Perhaps brands are still struggling to find a way to make it mass production friendly. Perhaps they still see it as a the machine that just makes plastic toys.

How fashion designers are using 3D Printing now:

The 3D Print Design Show demonstrated a range of products now on the market. Many of them applicable to current fashion needs. The dress above from Melinda Looi had crystal embedded plastic cells printed into a chain-mail like textile that was movable and wearable.

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Jewelry was the first area of the fashion business that adopted 3D printed technology. NinjaFlex is a company that makes a flexible filament for a softer product. Remember jelly bracelets and jelly shoes? You can make much more intricate ones in custom designs like the necklace on the left.

Bridging old-school techniques and the new. Traditional wax casting of jewelry involved carving hand wax into the jewelry piece shape you needed before casting the precious metal. You could spend weeks on the wax model and have it destroyed in an instant. Well now, you could just 3D print the design in wax, adjust the style, design or shape and correct it in minutes.

3d shoes

Shoes have been the other category adopting 3D printing in innovative ways. You could print the entire shoe of course, but many designers are using this technology to partial elements of the shoe for the more fashion forward aspects of the design, while using more traditional materials like wood and leather. This is a great way for independent brands to create some very avant-garde concepts without the expense of high minimums at a regular footwear factory.

So are you ready to take on the next frontier of fashion? 3D Printing is coming up with new materials, new capabilities and becoming more affordable for designers every day. These designs represent what is currently on the market, What's coming down the pipeline is more spectacular still...

 
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The ceramic highway of electrons has just become faster and much better

If you put two ordinary electrical insulators into contact with each other you get – an insulator. Hardly

The post The ceramic highway of electrons has just become faster and much better has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Sponsor // 57% Off Craftsy’s Online Class ‘Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor’

Want to improve your landscape sketches? Learn the secrets to bringing beautiful landscapes to life by breaking them down into manageable shapes, adding texture and detail, building value and more. Join artist Shari Blaukopf, in the online Craftsy class, Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor, for 57% off today — a special offer for Colossal readers — and build confidence sketching outdoor scenes using fundamental pen, ink and watercolor techniques.

In these online-video lessons, you’ll learn how to choose your supplies, select the focus of your sketch and orient your composition. Then, find out how to paint the sky using wet-on-wet paint application, mark-making techniques and tips for creating perspective. Next, simplify your surroundings with manageable shapes, before adding textures and details that will make your scenes jump off the page.

Visit Craftsy.com now to get 57% off the online class, Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink & Watercolor, and enroll risk-free with Craftsy’s full money-back guarantee. Offer expires June 29, 2015 at 11:59pm MT.

 
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Zazzlers - Google Custom Search Engine?

Zazzlers - Google Custom Search Engine?
I've spent the last few hours adding a (free) Google Custom Search Engine to my Karmani Designer Lifestyle website (only the boutiques section so far - other to follow later this weekend).

If you don't know what I'm on about, have a look at the bottom of this page for an example: http://www.kdl.to/boutiques/toy-dogs/toy-dogs-pomeranians.html
When you search, a new page opens with all the matching results from your own site (during setup of your custom search engine, you get to make a list of websites searched).

Has anyone else here tried it for their site(s) and seen any improvements to bounce rate as a result? Any tips for using it to pass on?
Any other suggestions for ways of improving site-stickiness?

Thanks all :)

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Getting the measure of matter

Peter Rohde and his collaborators develop big ideas – and a measure of corny humour – using photons,

The post Getting the measure of matter has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Friday, 26 June 2015

Uranus’s Moon of Oberon

In 1610, Galileo’s observed four satellites orbiting the distant gas giant of Jupiter. This discovery would ignite a

The post Uranus’s Moon of Oberon has been published on Technology Org.

 
#astronomy 
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Never use tartan-coloured network cabling 'cus you know what they say - the best plaid lans of...

Never use tartan-coloured network cabling 'cus you know what they say -  the best plaid lans of mice and men...
hehe!

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Towering New Pigeon Murals by ‘Super A’

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Ah yes, the majestic pigeon. An unlikely source of inspiration for such dominating murals, but at the hands of Dutch street artist Stefan Thelen aka Super A (previously) these ubiquitous urban dwellers are turned into something surprisingly beautiful. His latest piece at top was just completed for Mural Goes in Goes, Netherlands. Check out more of his paintings and other works on his website. (via StreetArtNews)

 
#funandrandom 
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Rosetta’s MIRO Instrument Maps Comet Water

Since last September, scientists using NASA’s Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO) on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta

The post Rosetta’s MIRO Instrument Maps Comet Water has been published on Technology Org.

 
#astronomy 
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Thursday, 25 June 2015

New Reflected Landscapes and Photo Manipulations by Victoria Siemer

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Brooklyn-based graphic designer Victoria Siemer (previously) explores the idea of fractured landscapes through photo manipulations and collages. Siemer makes use of reflected geometric shapes suspended over gloomy natural landscapes shrouded in fog and clouds resulting in portal-like mirrors. She says much of her work is guided by the idea of emotional fragmentation and “fragmentation of the self,” a topic she explored in-depth while studying design at SUNY Buffalo. You can keep up with her work on Instagram and some of her pieces are available as prints.

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