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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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.

 
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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.

 
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