Wednesday, 16 September 2015

“WikiGate” raises questions about Wikipedia’s commitment to open access

Scientific publisher Elsevier has donated 45 free ScienceDirect accounts to "top Wikipedia editors" to aid them in their work. Michael Eisen, one of the founders of the open access movement, which seeks to make research publications freely available online, tweeted that he was "shocked to see @wikipedia working hand-in-hand with Elsevier to populate encylopedia w/links people cannot access," and dubbed it "WikiGate." Over the last few days, a row has broken out between Eisen and other academics over whether a free and open service such as Wikipedia should be partnering with a closed, non-free company such as Elsevier.

Eisen's fear is that the free accounts to ScienceDirect will encourage Wikipedia editors to add references to articles that are behind Elsevier's paywall. When members of the public seek to follow such links, they will be unable to see the article in question unless they have a suitable subscription to Elsevier's journals, or they make a one-time payment, usually tens of pounds for limited access.

Eisen went on to tweet: "@Wikipedia is providing free advertising for Elsevier and getting nothing in return," and that, rather than making it easy to access materials behind paywalls, "it SHOULD be difficult for @wikipedia editors to use #paywalled sources as, in long run, it will encourage openness." He called on Wikipedia's co-founder, Jimmy Wales, to "reconsider accommodating Elsevier's cynical use of @Wikipedia to advertise paywalled journals." His own suggestion was that Wikipedia should provide citations, but not active links to paywalled articles.

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Georgine Fall 2015

More 1970's glam for fall 2015. Georgine Ratelband's NY Fashion Week show was full of lush, fluffy fur in rich jewel tone colors. Satin, lame and hand-painted velvet made the runway look like a luxurious extension of Studio 54.

The disco styling was extreme with curly hair, epic smokey eye makeup, and dark lips. The color palette was almost Gothic. The accessories included chunky platform heels, big fur clutch handbags in the same hues as the coats and stoles. Jewelry included cuff bracelets and chunky rings.

While the 1970's was a clear influence, the individual pieces of the collection are not as literal. The straight wrap skirts, short shorts, slim silky pants had a contemporary fit and silhouette, The body conscious tops, blouses or dresses may have been styled to look disco, but realistically are more office friendly than the catwalk would make you believe. 

I think that is what most non-industry observers needs to distinguish when they see press coverage of runway fashion. Styling for media versus how the clothes fit into a customer's lives. A talented designer label knows how to straddle both. Georgine is a New York designer who produces much of her collection locally (the home of Studio 54) and also more luxurious pieces in Italy.

The Georgine Fall 2015 collection had all the colors I personally love. The makeup colors were all in my comfort zone too. I personally would love wearing most of these looks during the day, though I also "love the nightlife". 

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The Wonderland Book: Photographer Kirsty Mitchell Honors Her Mother Through Lavish Conceptual Portraits

24_She'll Wait For You In The Shadows Of Summer

Fine art photographer Kirsty Mitchell's (previously) award-winning series of conceptual portraits titled Wonderland will soon be available as a book by the same name. Wonderland began as a small project in 2009 when Mitchell decided to explore childhood stories shared by her mother, an English teacher, who died from cancer several years earlier. Models dressed in lavish costumes were shot against natural settings like deeply wooded forests to evoke the elements of mystery and fantasy enjoyed by Mitchell's mother. While portraits from the series are extremely detailed and vivid, they remain intentionally ambiguous enough for readers to project their own stories onto them.

The success of her first few photos drove the artwork into uncharted territory as the photoshoots grew into increasingly ornate endeavors where costumes and props for each image were sewn, painted, and assembled by hand, requiring up to five months of prep for a single shot. Mitchell recounts the series' evolution in an essay on her website. The full collection of 74 storybook images will soon be available in an actual publication currently funding (with wild success) on Kickstarter.

3_Wonderland images collage 1

4_Wonderland images collage 2


5_Wonderland London show

21_The Stars Of Spring Will Carry You Home

23_The Fade Of Fallen Memories

1_Kirsty in Studio

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ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties

Three years after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson, the ATLAS

The post ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties has been published on Technology Org.

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Slam dunk for Andreas in space controlling rover on ground

Putting a round peg in a round hole is not hard to do by someone standing next to

The post Slam dunk for Andreas in space controlling rover on ground has been published on Technology Org.

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Medieval city 'detected' with no dig

A detailed plan of a medieval city near Salisbury in Wiltshire is produced by experts without the need for a single archaeological dig. 
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Baked Alaska

EARLIER THIS WINTER, Monica Zappa packed up her crew of Alaskan sled dogs and headed south, in search of snow. "We haven't been able to train where we live for two months," she told me.

Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, which Zappa calls home, was practically tropical this winter. Rick Thoman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Alaska, has been dumbfounded. "Homer, Alaska, keeps setting record after record, and I keep looking at the data like, Has the temperature sensor gone out or something?"

Something does seem to be going on in Alaska. Last fall, a skipjack tuna, which is more likely to be found in the Galápagos than near a glacier, was caught about 150 miles southeast of Anchorage, not far from the Kenai. A few weeks ago, race organizers had to truck in snow to the ceremonial Iditarod start line in Anchorage.

Alaska is heating up at twice the rate of the rest of the country — a canary in our climate coal mine. A new report shows that warming in Alaska, along with the rest of the Arctic, is accelerating as the loss of snow and ice cover begins to set off a feedback loop of further warming. Warming in wintertime has been the most dramatic — more than 6 degrees in the past 50 years. And this is just a fraction of the warming that's expected to come over just the next few decades.

Of course, it's not just Alaska. This February was the most extreme on record in the Lower 48, and it marked the first time that two large sections of territory (each more than 30 percent of the country) experienced both exceptional cold and exceptional warmth in the same month, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All-time records were set for the coldest month in dozens of Eastern cities, with Boston racking up more snow than the peaks of California's Sierra Nevada. A single January storm in Boston produced more snow than Anchorage saw all winter.

ALASKA IS ON the front lines of climate change. This year's Iditarod was rerouted — twice — because of the warm weather. The race traditionally starts in Anchorage, which had near-record-low snowfall this winter. The city was without a single significant snowstorm between October and late January, so race organizers decided to move the start from the Anchorage area 360 miles north to Fairbanks. But when the Chena River, which was supposed to be part of the new route's first few miles, failed to sufficiently freeze, the starting point had to move again, to another location in Fairbanks.

On March 9, Zappa set out with her dogs on the 1,000-mile race across Alaska as one of 78 mushers in this year's Iditarod. For most of the winter, the weather across the interior of the state had been abnormally warm. To train, many teams of dogs and their owners had to travel, often "outside" — away from Alaska. Zappa ended up going to the mountains of Wyoming.

"I mean, what's living in Alaska if it's not cold and snowy?"

A recent study said that Alaska's rivers and melting glaciers are now outputting more water than the Mississippi River. Last year was Alaska's warmest on record, and the warm weather has continued right on into 2015. This winter, Anchorage essentially transformed into a less sunny version of Seattle. As of March 9, the city had received less than one-third of its normal amount of snow. In its place? Rain. Lots of rain. In fact, schools in the Anchorage area are now more likely to cancel school because of rain and street flooding than because of cold and snow.

Of course, it wasn't always this way. Alaska's recent surge of back-to-back warm winters comes after a record-snowy 2012, when the National Guard was employed to help dig out buried towns. Then, about two years ago, something in the climate system switched. The state's recent brush with extreme weather is more than just year-to-year weather variability. Alaska is at the point where the long-term trend of warming has begun to trump seasonal weather fluctuations. A recent shift toward warmer offshore ocean temperatures is essentially adding more fuel to the fire, moving the state toward profound tipping points like the irreversible loss of permafrost and increasingly violent weather. If the current warm ocean phase (which began in 2014) holds for a decade or so, as is typical, Alaska will quickly become a different place.

The Pacific Ocean near Alaska has been record-warm for months now. This year is off to a record-wet start in Juneau. Kodiak experienced its warmest winter on record. A sudden burst of ocean warmth has affected statewide weather before, but this time feels different, residents say. In late February, National Weather Service employees spotted thundersnow in Nome — a city just 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. "As far as I know, that's unprecedented," Thoman told me. Thunderstorms of any kind require a level of atmospheric energy that's rarely present in cold climates. To get that outside of the summer is incredibly rare everywhere, let alone in Alaska.

Climate scientists are starting to link the combination of melting sea ice and warm ocean temperatures to shifts in the jet stream. For the past few winters, those shifts have brought surges of tropical moisture toward southern Alaska via potent atmospheric rivers. This weather pattern has endured so long, it's even earned its own name: the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge. The persistent area of high pressure stretching from Alaska to California has shunted wintertime warmth and moisture northward into the Arctic while the eastern half of the continent is plunged into a deep freeze, polar-vortex style.

The warm water is making its way north into the Arctic Ocean, too, where as of early March, sea ice levels were at their record lowest for the date. The resurgent heating of the Pacific (we're officially in an El Niño year now) is also expected to give a boost to global warming over the next few years by releasing years of pent-up oceanic energy into the atmosphere, pushing even more warm water toward the north, melting Alaska from all sides.

That means Alaska's weather, according to one Alaska meteorologist, is "broken." Dave Snider, who reports statewide weather daily for the National Weather Service's Alaska office in Anchorage, tweeted the sentiment back in mid-January. Snider emphasized that this isn't the official view of the National Weather Service, "of course." Snider told me he made the comment "sort of in jest" but pointed to the nearly snow-free Iditarod start as evidence.

Here's another example he could have used: In early November, Super Typhoon Nuri morphed into a huge post-tropical cyclone, passing through the Aleutians very near Shemya Island on its way to becoming Alaska's strongest storm on record. Despite winds near 100 mph, Shemya emerged relatively unscathed. A few days later, the remnants of that storm actually altered the jet stream over much of the continent, ushering in a highly amplified "omega block" pattern that dramatically boosted temperatures across the state and sent wave after wave of Arctic cold toward the East Coast. Barrow was briefly warmer than Dallas or Atlanta.

THE WARM WEATHER isn't all bad news. The city of Anchorage has saved an estimated \$1 million on snow removal this year and is instead pouring the money into fixing potholes and other backlogged maintenance issues. But getting around the rest of the state hasn't been so easy.

There are few roads in rural Alaska, so winter travel is often done by snowmobiles over frozen rivers. Not this year. Warm temperatures in February led to thin ice and open water in the southwest part of the state near Galena and Bethel. David Hulen, managing editor for the Alaska Dispatch News in Anchorage, has spent nearly 30 years in the state. He says the freeze-thaw cycle is out of whack, "changing the nature of the place." Usually, things freeze in the fall and unfreeze in the spring; this winter, they've seen a nearly constant back and forth between freezing and thawing.

That's made it difficult for skiers and those enjoying other outdoor activities, like riding fat-tire bikes attuned to the snow. Julie Saddoris, of the Bike Me Anchorage Meetup, says attendance in her group was down this winter. Hulen agrees that it's been frustrating. "I mean, what's living in Alaska if it's not cold and snowy?"

Those are city problems. Along the state's west coast, some native coastal villages are facing an existential threat, as sea levels rise in response to the warm water. Earlier this winter, Washington Post climate reporter Chris Mooney visited Kivalina, one of the six villages considering plans to relocate because of climate change. "Here, climate change is less a future threat and more a daily force, felt in drastic changes to weather, loss of traditional means of sustenance like whale hunting, and the literal vanishing of land," Mooney wrote. Another village, Newtok, is a bit further along in the relocation process, with construction on their new village — Mertarvik — already underway.

For now, the most visible change is still in the shifting habitats of the fish, birds, trees, and animals. Permafrost still covers 85 percent of the state, but "almost everywhere, the depth of the active layer is increasing over the last few decades," said Thoman. Since the active layer — the zone of soil above the permafrost that thaws out each summer — now penetrates deeper down, that means landforms are shifting, lakes are draining, and new forests are springing up.

Patricia Owen is a biologist at Denali National Park and Preserve who studies grizzly bears. Last winter, warm weather brought blueberry blossoms earlier than normal. The blossoms then froze, making foraging for food more challenging for bears. Mother bears need to have good health in the fall to support their cubs during the long winter months of hibernation. Owen is seeing evidence of other changes within Denali: More episodes of freezing rain are having a big impact on sheep, which have to scrape through ice to eat. In low-snow years like this one, wolves seem to suffer, since caribou and moose can escape more quickly.

Recent warming also appears to have pushed Denali's poplar forests across a threshold toward rapid expansion. Carl Roland, a Denali plant ecologist who has compiled a trove of repeat photographs around the park spanning decades of environmental change, says that what he's seeing is "dramatic."

Once the permafrost goes, Roland says, we can expect a "regime shift" in the park and across the state. The northward spread of tree-killing insects is also a "really big unknown" in interior Alaska. Last spring, a huge forest fire in a beetle kill area of the Kenai Peninsula sent smoke plumes hundreds of miles northward toward Fairbanks.

For southern Alaska, fire season has been coming earlier in recent years, and 2015 looks to be no exception. A few years ago, the Alaska Division of Forestry statutorily moved the start of the fire season up from May 1 to April 1 "as a result of climate change," Tim Mowry, a division spokesman, told me. The change, Mowry says, was intended to elicit "a sense of urgency."

Excerpted from an article that originally appeared on Reprinted with permission.

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Sustainable development, science, and the UN

In 2000, the UN set eight international development goals, known as the Millennium Development Goals, which were to be achieved by 2015. These goals included the eradication of extreme poverty, universal primary education, gender equality, reduced child mortality, improved maternal health, reduced HIV/Aids and other diseases, environmental sustainability, and global partnership for development.

Clearly, most of those are still works-in-progress. As the time frame for their accomplishment is drawing to a close, the UN member states have created a list of seventeen new Sustainable Development Goals.

The new Sustainable Development Goals, much like their predecessors, are a set of general targets. These goals are intended to address a wide range of issues, including addressing poverty and hunger, combating climate change, protecting delicate ecosystems, and making urban environments more sustainable. In an editorial published in Science, Dr. William Colglazier, science and technology adviser to the US Secretary of State, provides some insights into how science, technology, and innovation could help make these a reality.

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Academy of Art University's Class of 2015

aau fashion nyfw

What does the future of fashion look like? Despite their busy schedules, top editors flock to the runways of talented fashion students for a fresh look. I found that the Academy of Art University fashion show at NYFW has a distinct aesthetic as other design schools do. 

The strengths of the designers of the Academy of Art University is all in their treatment of textiles. Designer Paulina Susana Romero Valdez incorporated beautiful thread embroideries onto more conservative suiting fabrics and leather. 

academy of art university fashion

The collections of Tam Nguyen, Han Teng, Andrea Nyberg and Kevin C. Smith were all about the different effect of hand dyed fabric. Famaz Golnam, Erin Milosevich and Xiaowei Liu manipulated the fabrics themselves into wearable, draped sculptures that looked perfectly suited to well, suits. Xue Yang and Oom Terdpravat created wearable fashion that collaged different textiles and weights into a cohesive look. Stella Xingyu Hu knitted volume into over-sized menswear sweaters that radiated colors on the runway. Contrasting fabric prints upon prints were put together by the team of Emannuele Ciara Jones and Ghazeleh Kalifeh.

Is fashion art? The tough part about designing a collection at art college is balancing marketability vs. creative innovation. All the details of creating a collection from start to finish is a lot for someone to take on, so the designers that can work in teams are that much stronger. I remember picking out an Academy of Art graduate as my top choice to win when I was helping cast NBC's Fashion Star on their first season. It turns out, she did win. This school has been a staple at NYFW for the past few years and clearly belongs there.

Photos by David TW Leung
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Constrained by the Limitations of Soviet-Era Architecture, Brodsky & Utkin Imagined Fantastical Structures on Paper

Hill with a Hole, 1987/90
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

To be an architect with vision in the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 80s, was to witness a near complete loss of Moscow's historical architectural heritage. Restrictions on aesthetics, quality building materials, and access to skilled labor resulted in poorly designed structures void of inspiration that were practically destined to crumble. Architects with any shred of ambition were severely limited by communist bureaucracy and were often outright penalized for their ideas. Desperately seeking a creative outlet, these constrained artists and designers turned instead to paper.

Perhaps the most vivid example of this is the work of renowned Soviet "paper architects" Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin who from 1978 to 1993, retreated into their imaginations to create fantastical etchings as a revolt against communist architecture. Paper architecture (or visionary architecture), is the name given to architecture that exists only on paper that possesses visionary, often impossible ideas interlaced with whimsey, humor, satire, and science fiction.

Building on ideas borrowed from Claude Nicolas Ledoux, the design of Egyptian tombs, and urban master plans envisioned by Le Corbusier, the duo conceived of obsessivly detailed renderings that seeme to fill every inch of the canvas with buildings, bridges, arches, domes, and schematics. Through these artworks, Brodsky & Utkin criticized the aesthetic norms of the day until their partnership ended shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Princeton Architectural Press just released the third edition of Brodsky & Utkin, a large volume containing 30 duotones from the artists, but also includes "an updated preface by the artists' gallery representative, Ron Feldman, a new introductory essay by architect Aleksandr Mergold, visual documentation of the duo's installation work, and rare personal photographs." Several Brodsky & Utkin prints are also currently on view at Tate Modern. (via Hyperallergic)

Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Contemporary Architectural Art Museum, 1988/90
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Diomede, 1989/90
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Doll's House, 1990
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Dwelling House of Winnie-the-Pooh, 1990. 
Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Glass Tower II, 1984/90. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Ship of Fools or a Wooden Skyscraper for the Jolly Company, 1988/90. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Villa Nautilus, 1990. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Breakthrough in the performance of 2D semiconductors

Over the past ten years, the development of the so-called 2D semiconductors has evolved rapidly. 2D semiconductors are

The post Breakthrough in the performance of 2D semiconductors has been published on Technology Org.

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Will the Big Bang Go Backwards?

Will the Big Bang expansion eventually come to a stop over the course of infinite time and ultimately

The post Will the Big Bang Go Backwards? has been published on Technology Org.

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