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Striped Eel Catfish Traverse the Ocean Floor as a Strategically Rotating Mass

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For young striped eel catfish, there really is safety in numbers. A recent Instagram post shares a video by Marie-Laure Vergne of about one hundred juvenile fish moving across the bottom of the ocean. The Abyss Dive Center, a scuba diving school located in Amed, Bali, explains in the post that until the fish are fully grown and gain all of their deadly capabilities, they protect themselves by swimming in dense groups. Similar to other catfish, this species has four pairs of barbels on the upper and lower jaws. In their pectoral and first dorsal fins, though, the fish have a highly venomous, and sometimes fatal, spine.

As suggested by The Kids Should See This, the aquatic animals appear to take turns as they move, diving toward the bottom before appearing back at the top only to repeat the cycle. If you focus on one of the fish’s movements, you’ll spot the undulating pattern. The dive center does have a cautionary tip for anyone who encounters the phenomenon: “The young ones can only produce a mild version of the venom, tingling the fingers of the people putting their hands in the school (which we don’t recommend you do! ).”

 

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silentpark
119 days ago
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Hamburg, Germany
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Bunker in a Box: Multifunctional WWII Furniture Kits Designed for Sheltering in Place [ARTICLE]

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When a retired Chinese inventor unveiled his design of an earthquake-proof bed a few years back, reactions were understandably mixed. The various models look like survival bunkers crossed with torture chambers. In animations, beds that drop into metal boxes and metal flaps flip down or slide up to provide cover, which makes one wonder about limbs. Inside are emergency supplies including water, food, fire extinguishers, gas masks and medical accessories. This idea of turning the spaces in which we spend close to a third of our lives into disaster-proof containers has precedents, though, that date back decades. Arguably, new designs could learn things from these old ones, too.

During World War II, continental European countries like Germany often used cellars as emergency air raid shelters, or purpose-built, above-ground structures like Hochbunkers (high bunkers) made of concrete. In the United Kingdom, cellars were less common, so basements of schools, hospitals, factories and other large buildings often became safe spaces. Getting to these in times was not always easy, though, and there was always a risk of total structural collapse, which could trap shelter seekers under huge piles of rubble.

Designed by John Baker and named after Minister of Home Security, the so-called “Morrison Shelter” was developed as an alternative to basements and other communal shelters. These kit-based boxes featured steel top plates, wire mesh sides and came with tools so they could be easily assembled inside of homes. Moreover, the kits were made available for free to low-income households. By day, the shelters could serve as living room or dining tables. At night, they became a sleeping space for British families. Over half a million were distributed over the course of WWII. A study of homes in which people used these shelters concluded that they did save lives when properly placed inside a house.

Baker worked from real life to evolve his design. He examined actual bomb-damaged homes and concluded that collapsing walls and ceilings were frequently to blame for injuries and deaths that could have been avoided. At the same time, reinforcing entire structures or making entirely bomb-proof shelters was cost-prohibitive.  The designer later explained that “it was impractical to produce a design for mass production that could withstand a direct hit.” Instead, he recalls, it “was a matter of selecting a suitable design target that would save lives in many cases of blast damage to bombed houses.”

As a designed object, these Morrison shelters were quite clever. They served multiple functions so that less space was needed and wasted. Springs in their bases made them more comfortable for sleeping in. Their size accommodated up to two adults with two children. They could also be assembled by a few people in a matter of hours. Above all, they allowed families to sleep in the relative comfort of their own homes rather than clustering in community spaces. They were functional but also a constant reminder of the next potential attack —  potentially reassuring but also perpetually distressing.

Special thanks to 99pi fan John Dyer for the tip.

The post Bunker in a Box: Multifunctional WWII Furniture Kits Designed for Sheltering in Place appeared first on 99% Invisible.

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jepler
210 days ago
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"They were functional but also a constant reminder of the next potential attack — potentially reassuring but also perpetually distressing"
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
silentpark
211 days ago
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Hamburg, Germany
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How Flu Vaccines Are Made

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Ten years ago, in the midst of the 2009 swine flu pandemic, I wrote about the manufacturing process for the H1N1 flu vaccine. It involves billions of chicken eggs.

The most striking feature of the H1N1 flu vaccine manufacturing process is the 1,200,000,000 chicken eggs required to make the 3 billion doses of vaccine that may be required worldwide. There are entire chicken farms in the US and around the world dedicated to producing eggs for the purpose of incubating influenza viruses for use in vaccines. No wonder it takes six months from start to finish.

The post holds up pretty well because, according to the CDC, this is still the way most flu vaccines in America are manufactured. Here’s a look at pharmaceutical company GSK’s egg-based process:

Two other techniques for making flu vaccines were approved for use in the US in 2012 and 2013 respectively, cell-based flu vaccines:

‘Cell-based’ refers to how the flu vaccine is made. Most inactivated influenza vaccines are produced by growing influenza viruses in eggs. The influenza viruses used in the cell-based vaccine are grown in cultured cells of mammalian origin instead of in hens’ eggs.

A cell-based flu vaccine was developed as an alternative to the egg-based manufacturing process. Cell culture technology is potentially more flexible than the traditional technology, which relies upon adequate supply of eggs. In addition, the cell-based flu vaccine that uses cell-based candidate vaccine viruses (CVVs) has the potential to offer better protection than traditional, egg-based flu vaccines as a result of being more similar to flu viruses in circulation.

And recombinant flu vaccines:

NIAID and its industry partners have made progress in moving from both the egg-based and cell-based flu vaccine production methods toward recombinant DNA manufacturing for flu vaccines. This method does not require an egg-grown vaccine virus and does not use chicken eggs at all in the production process. Instead, manufacturers isolate a certain protein from a naturally occurring (“wild type”) recommended flu vaccine virus. These proteins are then combined with portions of another virus that grows well in insect cells. The resulting “recombinant” vaccine virus is then mixed with insect cells and allowed to replicate. The flu surface protein called hemagglutinin is then harvested from these cells and purified.

Both of these new techniques make production quicker, thereby resulting in more effective vaccines because they are more likely to match the strains of whatever’s “going around”.

As a reminder, you should get a flu shot every year in the fall. The CDC recommends that “everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception”, especially those “who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza”. Flu vaccines are covered by your health insurance without copay (thanks, Obama!) and are often available at drug stores without an appointment or a long wait. So go get one!

Tags: how to   influenza   medicine   science   vaccines   video
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silentpark
211 days ago
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Hamburg, Germany
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Perspective Goes Out the Window in Dirk Koy’s Space-Warping Experimental Animations

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Experimental filmmaker and motion graphics artist Dirk Koy (previously) creates dizzying short films that upend viewers’ expectations of focus and perspective. In one, a high diver seems to remain static while the sky-filled frame twists and spins around him; in another, a building appears to be demolished and constructed with the simple drag of a computer cursor. Koy lives and works in Basel, where he graduated from the Academy of Art and Design. In addition to his own projects and commissions, Koy is also a lecturer on time-based media at the Academy. You can explore more of his unusual videos on Instagram and Vimeo.

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silentpark
278 days ago
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Hamburg, Germany
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Abstract Aerial Art

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The Andrews brothers travel the world taking overhead drone photos that they offer as prints on their site Abstract Aerial Art. I was especially struck by this photo of a container ship, whose shadow doubles as a graph of how tall each row’s containers are.

Abstract Aerial Art

Here are a couple of other favorites:

Abstract Aerial Art

Abstract Aerial Art

You can catch more of their work on Instagram. (via colossal)

Tags: art   infoviz   photography
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silentpark
278 days ago
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Hamburg, Germany
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A call for more research and questioning by journalists

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Jeff Jarvis with some good comments (based primarily on a paper by Axel Bruns) arguing that the media in general needs to start with deeper questions, more research, referencing actual research, and demonstrable facts instead of presumptions. Excellent ideas.

He begins with this quote from the Bruns paper:

[T]hat echo chambers and filter bubbles principally constitute an unfounded moral panic that presents a convenient technological scapegoat (search and social platforms and their affordances and algorithms) for a much more critical problem: growing social and political polarisation. But this is a problem that has fundamentally social and societal causes, and therefore cannot be solved by technological means alone. [Emphasis mine.]

Agreed. Jarvis via Bruns then argues that these metaphors are too loosely defined, leaving room for broad usage, unclear meaning, resulting in moral panic more than actual research and fact based analysis.

He follows up with a number of articles and further research from the paper, backing up his point. Then numerous examples of media using the filter bubble shortcut. I encourage you to click through to the article and dive a bit deeper.

But that leads to another journalistic weakness in reporting academic studies: stories that takes the latest word as the last word.

Absolutely. And pretty much everyone does that at some point so it’s a good reminder to us all to consider new research and explanations of the day within broader historical context and preexisting knowledge.

The whole article (and the research paper, although I myself haven’t gotten to that yet) is worth a read, the main point of Jarvis is a good one; more questions, more research, deeper thinking. Looking at people and how they use the technology, not just the tech itself.

I do have to caveat this though by mentioning the Jarvis dismisses Shoshana Zuboff’s work on Surveillance Capitalism by portraying it as “an extreme name for advertising cookies and the use of the word devalues the seriousness of actual surveillance by governments.” One could debate whether Zuboff should have used another word, separating the practice from that of governments, but by saying “advertising cookies” Jarvis makes one of those surface remarks he raves against in his piece, somewhat discrediting it.

Tags: journalism   media   social media
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silentpark
278 days ago
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Hamburg, Germany
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