Utopian architect Paolo Soleri, creator of vast hypercities and floating worlds, passed away this week at the age of 93. He leaves behind two daughters, two grandchildren, a vast archive of incredible dreams and, 70 miles north of Phoenix, Arcosanti – an experimental city in the desert.
like many of the world’s lush tropical forest areas, the Congo Basin is increasingly coming under threat from palm oil plantations, according to a new report by the Rainforest Foundation. the worst part is that we’re all helping fuel demand for this lucrative product by eating crappy cakes, biscuits and chocolate Easter eggs. you can help by avoiding the low-scoring products on the foundation’s list of chocolate brands – and supporting work like WWF’s long running Congo Basin campaign
photo taken in the Central African Republic, November 1995 by David Holt London
the first of those two comets I mentioned awhile back has arrived in the evening skies – watch for it hanging ominously above the Western horizon at sunset in the coming week. in ancient times, these cosmic apparitions were mysterious harbingers of doom, thought to portend plague, famine, war and death. scary stuff!
image: Chris Schur / UniverseToday
science update! next year, two comets will streak in from deep space, loop their way around the sun and begin to burn up. if they survive, they could become two of the biggest deals since the Great Comet of 1680, which was visible in the daytime.
the first comet, due in March, was discovered by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope – which has a 1.8-meter-diameter mirror and the largest digital camera in the world. with a resolution of 1.4 billion pixels, each image is almost 3GB in size, and the camera takes an image approximately every 45 seconds. this animated gif shows how the telescope builds a picture of the sky, each night imaging more than 1,000 square degrees of the night sky. we’ll keep you posted as they get closer and closer in the coming months…
this week at last brought the news that physicists around the world have been waiting five decades to hear: researchers working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN have finally tracked down the elusive Higgs boson – an elementary particle nicknamed the ‘God’ particle because it fills the universe with an invisible energy field, giving every other particle its mass and so allowing us to exist
movie: an fly-through the CMS detector as it searches for the Higgs boson in 2011 and 2012 data, showing candidate ZZ event (7 TeV data, 2011) with four muons. as you do.
This week we’re freaking out about:
Tom Sachs’ new installation on Park Avenue and his accompanying collection for NIKECraft
Launching this week on a four week mission to Mars, the latest phase of Tom Sachs’ DIY space program sees a massive hanger on New York’s Upper East Side transformed into an analogue Martian environment, complete with spacecraft, rovers, mission control, astronauts and a fridge (shaped like Darth Vader) full of beer…
And the gift shop? Better than your average science museum. Sachs has collaborated with Nike on a new range of NIKECraft apparel for the modern NASA employee, who he believes has moved on from the stereotype and requires a more refined wardrobe. “Long gone are the days of wingtipped brogues, pocket protectors, and skinny ties,” he writes. “The rocket scientist uniform of today is faded jeans, a golf shirt, and sneakers.”
To equip his new breed of nerd, Sachs employed materials used on actual space missions, ranging from aluminium to Vectra – the stuff they used to make cushy landing pads for robots sent to Mars. Nike informs us that this material is ‘spun from LCP (liquid crystal polymer) and is 5x’s stronger than steel, although lightweight and breathable’ to which Sachs adds that “these shoes are built to support the bodies of the strongest minds in the aerospace industry.”
Mars Fly Jacket
- Post embellished leather hood, sleeve/hood tensioners, and leather sleeve cuffs
- 360 reflective markers customized by Sachs
- Made from 100% recycled, water resistant polyester woven to block elements such as rain and wind
- Extremely light weight and packable (can fold down to a small square)
The AirBag Bag
- Made of airbag materials found in commercial vehicles
- Double and triple rows of stitching for durability
- xtra large construction for ultimate storage
- Main body fashioned from Cuban Fiber sail fabric
- Cuban fiber is typically used as a down wind sail on boats made from filament tape, Dyneema, aramid, and carbon yarns, polyester and fluoride films
- Lightweight, water resistant, and strong
- Bag bottom is coated with vectran for durability and water resistance
- Converts from a tote into a backpack
- Drawstring pull reinforced with vectran
- Also includes back stiffener, 3 zipper pulls, grappling hook, mini pry bar, battery box, and 30ft Para cord
The Mars Yard
- LDV Upper
- SFB boot “free” technology sole
- Xtra large pull-tabs
- Para cord laces that can function as a tourniquet
- Vectran woven upper, Vectran is spun from LCP (liquid crystal polymer) and is 5x’s stronger than steel, although lightweight and breathable
- Interior, engineered print, customized by Sachs
- Removable hood
- Fully seam taped providing waterproof barrier
- Extremely lightweight
Incrementally flowing down into valleys, lakes and oceans, the slow motion march of glaciers has etched the earth’s surface for eons – but today these remote white worlds are under threat. With the puzzling exception of the Karakoram range, the world’s glaciers are retreating at an alarming rate, with geologists predicting that some of Africa’s little known ice fields could disappear completely before the decade is out.
Created by the accumulation of snow over centuries, glaciers are found on every continent bar Australia. Surprisingly, many remain unmapped and unphotographed, which is where Project Pressure comes in. Founded in 2008 by photographer Klaus Thymann – whose work normally graces the page of mags like i-D – the not-for-profit initiative is slowly creating an archive of glacier photography which will form the basis of a touring exhibition and global glacier atlas. Working in collaboration with the World Glacier Monitoring Service and NASA, the project carefully records GPS co-ordinates to compare glacial retreat, and has been recognised as an official contributor to the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers.
With a focus on endangered and ignored glaciers, the project has already documented areas of Alaska, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Greenland, Iceland, Montana, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the Rwenzori mountains that straddle the border between the DRC and Uganda. Up next? Thymann has just returned from a trip to the upper Lantang Valley in Nepal with 15 rolls of fresh film – so stay tuned.