The Compass: True North vs Magnetic North

By: ScienceOnline
Via YouTube | February 14, 2013

This video discusses the origin of Cardinal Directions (North, South, East and West), the compass and True North vs Magnetic North.

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The war photographer who reinvented himself off-the-grid

By: Andrea Kurland
Via huck | February 18th, 2017

Processing trauma

Rafal Gerszak had to witness war in order to document history, but it almost cost him his life. Out in the wild of Canada’s north, he found his way back from the brink.

Spera District, Khost Province, Afghanistan. Hot thick air, window grease, an endless brown horizon. Four Humvees filled with armoured men trail through the ridgelines, kicking up a cloak of dust that bounces in sync with the convoy. Minutes become hours in an un-air-conditioned fuzz. Sweat drips. Eyes close. Men begin to doze.

Rafal Gerszak was never more fresh faced than the day he first arrived in Afghanistan. It was 2008, Obama’s debut year, and the Canadian photographer decided to face an urge: a desire he had to better understand the contours of his Polish roots.

In 1989, Rafal was a 10-year-old child living in a refugee camp in West Germany awaiting a visa to Canada with his family. He recalls his father’s friends rushing off to witness “a historical event”, but it would be years before he connected that day with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Afghanistan, he figured, was somewhere to confront the past: the pink mist trail left in Communism’s wake, and the butterfly effect felt by his family. The war in Afghanistan – triggered in 1979 by Soviet Forces, fuelled by US-backed Islamic insurgents, and escalated by 9/11 – was a story worth documenting, thought Rafal, precisely because no one else seemed to think it was.

“I went to Afghanistan because it is so underreported,” says the 36-year-old, who hoped to embed with Polish forces for 30 days but ended up spending 12 months with a US platoon. “They approved my embed because I was basically the only journalist on the ground.”

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Rafal is sat in the apartment he shares with his girlfriend and son on the corner of East Hastings and Clark Drive in Vancouver – or as he calls it, “ground zero of the opioid overdose epidemic”. It’s a gritty part of town, where history feels real.

On good days, it’s a base from which to travel to assignments. On bad ones, it’s filled with ghosts. “It could be a helicopter flying overhead,” he says. “Or when I hear the wind blow and the windows rattle. Little things like that take you back to that space where everything is black and white.”

That monochrome world, of life and death, became Rafal’s reality for the year that he spent with the 104th Air Force Division – “sleeping, eating, shitting” alongside a group of young men, equally fresh faced, and veterans who’d been in Iraq. Weeks would go by where barely anything happened. But when it did, it left more than a mark.

July 02. 2008: Three hours from the combat operating post. The radio crackles to life. A red-hot engine has brought one vehicle to a halt. Sluggish bodies and heavy heads are summoned into action. Chains connect one 4×4, now comatose, with a towing-partner. The snake of Humvees makes a U-turn and accepts its Sisyphean fate. Hot thick air, window grease, an endless brown horizon. The same muted peaks fill the same frame – then a figure breaks the rhythm. A silhouette on the ridgeline that wasn’t there before.

In March 2009, on the plane home, Rafal promised himself he’d never go back. “But two months later, I bought a one-way ticket to Kabul.” Home wasn’t as he left it; friends and family felt different. The smallest thing could trigger him into a frustrated rage. The woman in the coffee shop complaining that two-per-cent milk won’t cut it. Friends talking about the same old things they talked about before. No one seemed to get it.

“For a while I was blaming the people around me like, ‘What the fuck is wrong with everybody?’ But slowly I started realising that I needed to change things – it wasn’t everybody around me that was screwed up.”

Back in Kabul, Rafal found distraction photographing life inside and beyond the military base. Soldiers and fixers blended into one seamless band of brothers. In Afghanistan, the lines were simple. “Life at home is full of grey areas, but in a conflict zone it’s black and white,” says Rafal.

“If I’m going into a village, or covering a political event, it didn’t matter if I had showered or what kind of person I was. If I was trustworthy, they welcomed me into that situation. Back home, if I didn’t shave for a couple of days, all of a sudden I’m looked upon as that. Over there it wasn’t like that. Things seemed a lot clearer for me in a situation like that – I didn’t have to think about these little things in life that didn’t matter. That don’t matter.”

July 02. 2008: One hour from the combat operating post. Ting ting ting ting ting. Tiny rocks razor sharp cascade against the glass. The convoy has been ambushed. Those rocks turn out to be pellets of lead and rocket-propelled grenades. He grasps his camera with a hand that feels as numb as a foreign object. Time slows. Dust clears. A bullet strikes between his eyes.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event, feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. Rafal didn’t know any of that until he started doing a bit of reading.

“I didn’t know if I was experiencing it, because I didn’t know what it was. There were no flashbacks, I didn’t wake up in cold sweats. It wasn’t those kinds of symptoms – just little details of my life that were affected.”

Helicopters and wind were just some of Rafal’s triggers when he returned to Canada for good. But it’s the day of the ambush – the ting of metal against glass – that’s scorched into his memory. “It was one of those days where you didn’t expect anything to happen,” he says. “You’re sort of dozing off and your whole world is flipped upside down.

A bulletproof window saved Rafal’s life, but it couldn’t block the aftershock. Back home in Vancouver, he would drive through the Rocky Mountains to visit family in Edmonton, taking in a vista that typically inspires calm or awe.

“When I first got back I used to look at the ridgelines and say, ‘Oh, that’s a good spot for them to ambush us from.’ That’s what I’d be saying to myself in my mind – and I needed that to be gone.”

Still battling with the grey areas that govern city life, feeling irritable and siloed in a crowd, in summer 2013 Rafal packed a bag, jumped in a van with his girlfriend and son and without thinking headed north.

They drove across the Arctic Circle, taking in 7,000km in two weeks, and ended up in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Since that trip, the city has become a pitstop, a base from which to organise work and the next trek into the wilderness. Rafal has been to some of the most remote corners of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, from Sixty Mile River and Ogilvie Mountains to the shores of the Arctic Ocean in Tuktoyakyuk. He’s lived with an off- the-grid community for six months, and returns to Inuvik at least once a year; it’s where he adopted his first retired sled-dog and – though he’ll only admit it with a warm laugh – where ultimately he believes he was saved.

“The self-therapy was basically going out into the woods and camping in the middle of nowhere,”says Rafal.“I read that there’s more moose than people in the Yukon – there’s just over 20,000 residents in the Yukon Territory, which to me was perfect. The less people, the more nature, the better.”

Rafal only started making pictures a few trips in after noticing the rapid changes happening in Canada’s North. In the summer of 2016, the Slims River in the Yukon Territory stopped running without warning, due to the receding Kaskawulsh Glacier. Members of the Yukon Geological Survey will study the area for years to come to determine the impact on land and wildlife. In the meantime, all that Rafal can do is preserve what keeps drawing him here.

“This project is ultimately my thanks to that environment, giving me what it gave me,” he says. “In my mind it may not be here for future generations, so being able to photograph it and contribute in some way to keeping that memory alive – that was my thanks to being saved by nature. It sounds corny but it’s the truth.”

March 02. 2015: Inuvik, Northwest Territories. ‘Bird’ lands on cabin door, eyes up scraps of meat. ‘Fox’ enters ‘Den A’ for eight minutes, then emerges and heads for ‘Den B’. ‘Bird’ its towards the floor, hovering to steal a morsel. ‘Dog’ ambushes from behind.

Dawson City is a drive-through town with one good local store. Rafal headed there when he first arrived, carrying a book called The Colourful Five Per Cent. “It’s basically about all the characters that inhabit the Yukon, and I wanted to meet more,” he says. “I asked a lady if there were any old-school Yukoners living a bush life, off-the-grid. That’s how I met Corwin.”

Corwin Guimond, 66, arrived in the Yukon in 1973 to become a trapper and learn to live off the land. He lives in a hand-built cabin in the back of beyond, waking up most mornings at the crack of dawn to go salmon fishing.

The Back of Beyond, Chapter 1

“I’ve never had a relationship like that with anybody – except in Afghanistan,” says Rafal, who visits Corwin at least once a year and was on the phone to his wife just yesterday.

“He doesn’t give a shit if I shave, or if I’m muddy from a hike. If I say I’m going to help him unload his boat in the morning, I’m there. There’s no judgement between us – no strings attached. He brings me back to, I guess, a simpler time.”

For someone who once identified as a ‘city guy’, Rafal’s life has taken a surprise diversion. Despite growing up in rural Alberta, he had to go to Afghanistan to experience his first hike, and used to think “the bigger the city, the more people, the better”.

Afghanistan taught him how to survive in the wild. The memories he shares with soldiers-turned-friends of long arduous hikes through the Hindu Kush mountains are cherished, but not always warm.

“Going out hiking again and experiencing nice things instead helped me reclaim nature as a positive experience.”

Rafal splits his time between his place in Vancouver and off-the-grid cabins, where he can go for weeks without seeing another person. He usually heads up after summer ends (“It’s like a bad Armageddon movie, with all these RVs heading south and I’m the only one heading north”) and starts to unwind as soon as he’s out of range (“I’d be happy if they turned o all social media; sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era”). Assignments still bring him back to the city – and sometimes they bring up old ghosts.

Recently, Rafal covered the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat disaster near Bella Bella, British Columbia. The boat, owned by Texas- based Kirby Corporation, ran aground on 13 October near the Great Bear Rainforest carrying 223,831 litres of diesel fuel. “To give focus to a story like that means the world to me now,” says Rafal. “But still, I was scared shitless on the plane back.”

A newfound fear of flying is another hangover from Afghanistan, but even local stories can summon up demons. A couple of weeks ago, Rafal joined local firefighters on a ridealong. “And it took me back right to those same situations,” he says.

“You’re in the truck and the radio is going. For three or four days after that, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. But knowing I can get back to being better, it’s easier. I don’t need months or years to get back to a peaceful moment. It just takes a few days of working through it – usually out in nature.”

In the Yukon, with friends like Corwin as his guide, Rafal has found release. But the North hasn’t become a place to escape. If anything, it’s more like a trusted old friend forcing him to face things head on. There is comfort in this new familiar world.

“You know, rules in regular society are very flexible,” says Rafal. “Things change so often, even laws. But in nature, if you put yourself in a certain situation you can die – and these rules have been in place for thousands of years. That started bringing me peace. It wasn’t just in war that things are black and white – in a peaceful life that can also be true.”

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Plástico biodegradable hecho con cáscaras de naranja: un invento orgullosamente mexicano

Autor: Omar Téllez
Vía Cultura Colectiva | Septiembre 4, 2017

El plástico es un invento que facilitó la vida de los seres humanos, pero al mismo tiempo se convirtió en uno de los peores enemigos del medio ambiente, debido a que tarda cientos de años en degradarse.

No sólo es dañino cuando se convierte en basura; también afecta al ambiente el proceso de elaboración, ya que una de las materias primas del plástico es el petróleo. ¿Qué hacer para que el impacto ambiental del plástico no resulte tan dañino y, además, seguir conservando las ventajas de ese material?

Esa pregunta hizo rondó por la cabeza de un equipo multidisciplinario de científicos mexicanos, los cuáles resolvieron la incógnita al desarrollar un bioplástico hecho con cáscaras de naranja que tarda entre 60 y 90 días en degradarse y dejar de ser un peligro para el medio ambiente.

Para lograr esta hazaña, los científicos mexicanos usaron una bacteria llamada Gluconacetobacter xylinus, la cual se reproduce cuando una naranja comienza su proceso de descomposición.

arttextum-naranja-biodegradable

«Hemos encontrado literatura que señala que la producción de celulosa bacteriana se remonta a los años 70. Actualmente se describen diversos usos potenciales de esta celulosa bacteriana; por ejemplo, es utilizada con el fin de restaurar archivos históricos, como un sustituto de las hojas de papel», explicó en entrevista para Conacyt Fernando Vázquez Alaniz, doctor en ciencias adscrito a la Universidad juárez del Estado de Durango y miembro del equipo desarrollador de este plástico. «Sin embargo, a pesar de tener infinidad de usos potenciales en la industria, estos se han visto detenidos por lo costoso que es producirla, debido a que 68 por ciento de su costo neto de producción se atribuye al medio utilizado para cultivar la bacteria».

Esta realidad podría ser muy distinta gracias a que la cáscara de naranja es muy barata; empresas jugueras donaron sus desechos para que los científicos hicieran sus pruebas y, en caso de necesitar comprar esta materia prima, podrína comprar una tonelada por 70 pesos y cada una de ellas sirve para producir 400 kilos de bioplástico.

Vázquez Alaniz explicó que lo que utiliza su equipo de científicos es la capacidad propia de la bacteria Gluconacetobacter xylinus para producir celulosa, llevándola a un medio de cultivo que utiliza la cáscara de naranja como fuente de carbono. De esta manera, reducen el costo de producción, por lo que su objetivo siguiente es aumentar el rendimiento de producción de celulosa mediante una modificación genética de la bacteria.

Foto de portada: San Lucar

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El científico más innovador del que jamás oíste hablar

Autor: TED-Ed
Vía YouTube | Octubre 1, 2013

El geólogo danés del siglo XVII, Nicolás Sténon, se ganó la vida a temprana edad, estudiando cadáveres y estableciendo conexiones anatómicas entre las especies.

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Sténon hizo aportes descomunales en el campo de la geología, influyendo en Charles Lyell, James Hutton y Charles Darwin. Addison Anderson relata el legado poco conocido de Sténon y alaba su insistencia en el empirismo sobre la teoría ciega.

Lección de Addison Anderson, animación de Anton Bogaty.

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Antonio Vega “Lucha de gigantes”

Vídeo: Sol Música
Vía YouTube | Noviembre 30, 2012

Video recomendado por Andrea López Tyrer, colaboradora de Chile/España, para Replicación de Arttextum

Lucha de gigantes
Convierte,
El aire en gas natural
Un duelo salvaje
Advierte,
Lo cerca que ando de entrar
En un mundo descomunal
Siento mi fragilidad.Vaya pesadilla
Corriendo,
Con una bestia detras
Dime que es mentira todo,
Un sueño tonto y no más
Me da miedo la inmesidad
Donde nadie oye mi voz.Deja de engañar
No quieras ocultar
Que has pasado sin tropezar
Monstruo de papel
No sé contra quien voy
O es que acaso hay alguien mas aquí?Creo en los fantasmas terribles
De algun extraño lugar
Y en mis tonterías
Para hacer tu risa estallar
Deja de engañar
No quieras ocultar
Que has pasado sin tropezar
Monstruo de papel
No se contra quien voy
O es que acaso hay alguien más aquí?
Deja que pasemos sin miedo.

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Círculo de Poesía -sección de Artes

Círculo de Poesía

Director: Alí Calderón
Vía Círculo de Poesía 

Website recomendado por Mariana Chávez Berrón, colaboradora de México para Replicación de Arttextum

ISSN 2007-5367 

El Círculo de Poesía es un colectivo abierto de poetas, académicos, críticos y gestores culturales que tiene como principal objetivo la difusión de la poesía en particular y de la cultura literaria en general.

Mediante acciones concretas como la creación, la crítica, la edición de libros, revistas y suplementos culturales, la impartición de talleres literarios, cursos y conferencias, así como recitales de poetas maduros y jóvenes, el Círculo de Poesía se propone contribuir a la formación de lectores y de nuevos críticos y escritores, acorde a las exigencias de nuestro tiempo. De ese modo se construirán nuevos modos de interlocución sobre la cultura, la realidad y las artes.

El estado actual de nuestra literatura nos obliga a repensarla con seriedad, con honestidad. Por ello, el Círculo de Poesía, sin mala fe, sin segundas intenciones, se pronuncia por un debate verdadero, ríspido a momentos pero siempre en el marco del respeto y la convivencia sana.

Círculo de Poesía. Revista electrónica de literatura está vinculada al Cuerpo Académico “Literatura y Cultura Mexicana: Tradición y Ruptura” de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, integrado por Mario Calderón Hernández, Víctor Contreras Toledo, Francisco Ramírez Santacruz y Alí Calderón.

Círculo de Poesía. Revista electrónica de literatura, año 5, es una Publicación semanal editada por Territorio Poético A.C., Azabache 136-A, Puebla, Puebla, México, CP 72574, Tel. (01222) 2161423 // C/ San Jerónimo 19,2 18001, Granada, España. Director: Alí Calderón. Editor: Mario Bojórquez. Editores asociados: Roberto Amézquita, Mijail  Lamas, Adalberto García López, Andrea Muriel, Fernando Valverde. Reserva de Derechos, Uso Exclusivo 04-2012-100316454200-203 otorgado por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor. ISSN 2007-5367. Responsable de la última actualización de este Número Andrea Muriel. Camino al Batán 17 Puebla, Puebla, México, C.P. 72574. Fecha de última modificación 10 de febrero de 2014. Las opiniones expresadas por los autores no necesariamente reflejan la postura del editor de la publicación, ni la del editor refleja necesariamente la opinión de los colaboradores de la revista.

Imagen de portada: Mark Rothko 

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Is the Universe Conscious?

Author: Corey S. Powell
Via NBC News| June 16, 2017

Some of the world’s most renowned scientists are questioning whether the cosmos has an inner life similar to our own.

For centuries, modern science has been shrinking the gap between humans and the rest of the universe, from Isaac Newton showing that one set of laws applies equally to falling apples and orbiting moons to Carl Sagan intoning that “we are made of star stuff” — that the atoms of our bodies were literally forged in the nuclear furnaces of other stars.

Even in that context, Gregory Matloff’s ideas are shocking. The veteran physicist at New York City College of Technology recently published a paper arguing that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit. A “proto-consciousness field” could extend through all of space, he argues. Stars may be thinking entities that deliberately control their paths. Put more bluntly, the entire cosmos may be self-aware.

The notion of a conscious universe sounds more like the stuff of late night TV than academic journals. Called by its formal academic name, though, “panpsychism” turns out to have prominent supporters in a variety of fields. New York University philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers is a proponent. So too, in different ways, are neuroscientist Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, renowned for his work on gravity and black holes. The bottom line, Matloff argues, is that panpsychism is too important to ignore.

“It’s all very speculative, but it’s something we can check and either validate or falsify,” he says.

Three decades ago, Penrose introduced a key element of panpsychism with his theory that consciousness is rooted in the statistical rules of quantum physics as they apply in the microscopic spaces between neurons in the brain.

In 2006, German physicist Bernard Haisch, known both for his studies of active stars and his openness to unorthodox science, took Penrose’s idea a big step further. Haisch proposed that the quantum fields that permeate all of empty space (the so-called “quantum vacuum”) produce and transmit consciousness, which then emerges in any sufficiently complex system with energy flowing through it. And not just a brain, but potentially any physical structure. Intrigued, Matloff wondered if there was a way to take these squishy arguments and put them to an observational test.

One of the hallmarks of life is its ability to adjust its behavior in response to stimulus. Matloff began searching for astronomical objects that unexpectedly exhibit this behavior. Recently, he zeroed in on a little-studied anomaly in stellar motion known as Paranego’s Discontinuity. On average, cooler stars orbit our galaxy more quickly than do hotter ones. Most astronomers attribute the effect to interactions between stars and gas clouds throughout the galaxy. Matloff considered a different explanation. He noted that the anomaly appears in stars that are cool enough to have molecules in their atmospheres, which greatly increases their chemical complexity.

Matloff noted further that some stars appear to emit jets that point in only one direction, an unbalanced process that could cause a star to alter its motion. He wondered: Could this actually be a willful process? Is there any way to tell?

If Paranego’s Discontinuity is caused by specific conditions within the galaxy, it should vary from location to location. But if it is something intrinsic to the stars — as consciousness would be — it should be the same everywhere. Data from existing stellar catalogs seems to support the latter view, Matloff claims. Detailed results from the Gaia star-mapping space telescope, due in 2018, will provide a more stringent test.

Matloff is under no illusion that his colleagues will be convinced, but he remains upbeat: “Shouldn’t we at least be checking? Maybe we can move panpsychism from philosophy to observational astrophysics.”

MIND OUT OF MATTER

While Matloff looks out to the stars to verify panpsychism, Christof Koch looks at humans. In his view, the existence of widespread, ubiquitous consciousness is strongly tied to scientists’ current understanding of the neurological origins of the mind.

“The only dominant theory we have of consciousness says that it is associated with complexity — with a system’s ability to act upon its own state and determine its own fate,” Koch says. “Theory states that it could go down to very simple systems. In principle, some purely physical systems that are not biological or organic may also be conscious.”

Koch is inspired by integrated information theory, a hot topic among modern neuroscientists, which holds that consciousness is defined by the ability of a system to be influenced by its previous state and to influence its next state.

The human brain is just an extreme example of that process, Koch explains: “We are more complex, we have more self-awareness — well, some of us do — but other systems have awareness, too. We may share this property of experience, and that is what consciousness is: the ability to experience anything, from the most mundane to the most refined religious experience.”

Like Matloff, Koch and his colleagues are actively engaged in experimental tests of these ideas. One approach is to study brain-impaired patients to see if their information responses align with biological measures of their consciousness. Another approach, further off, is to wire the brains of two mice together and see how the integrated consciousness of the animals changes as the amount of information flowing between them is increased. At some point, according to integrated information theory, the two should merge into a single, larger information system. Eventually, it should be possible to run such experiments with humans, wiring their brains together to see if a new type of consciousness emerges.

Despite their seeming similarities, Koch is dubious of Matloff’s volitional stars. What is distinctive about living things, according to his theory, is not that they are alive but that they are complex. Although the sun is vastly bigger than a bacterium, from a mathematical perspective it is also vastly simpler. Koch allows that a star may have an internal life that allows it to “feel,” but whatever that feeling is, it is much less than the feeling of being an E. coli.

On the other hand, “even systems that we don’t consider animate could have a little bit of consciousness,” Koch says. “It is part and parcel of the physical.” From this perspective, the universe may not exactly be thinking, but it still has an internal experience intimately tied to our own.

A PARTICIPATORY COSMOS

Which brings us to Roger Penrose and his theories linking consciousness and quantum mechanics. He does not overtly identify himself as a panpsychist, but his argument that self-awareness and free will begin with quantum events in the brain inevitably links our minds with the cosmos. Penrose sums up this connection beautifully in his opus “The Road to Reality”:

“The laws of physics produce complex systems, and these complex systems lead to consciousness, which then produces mathematics, which can then encode in a succinct and inspiring way the very underlying laws of physics that gave rise to it.”

Despite his towering stature as a physicist, Penrose has encountered resistance to his theory of consciousness. Oddly, his colleagues have been more accepting of the exotic, cosmic-consciousness implications of quantum mechanics. Ever since the 1920s, physicists have puzzled over the strangely privileged role of the observer in quantum theory. A particle exists in a fuzzy state of uncertainty…but only until it is observed. As soon as someone looks at it and takes its measurements, the particle seems to collapse into a definite location.

The late physicist John Wheeler concluded that the apparent oddity of quantum mechanics was built on an even grander and odder truth: that the universe as a whole festers in a state of uncertainty and snaps into clear, actual being when observed by a conscious being — that is, us.

“We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago,” Wheeler said in 2006. He calls his interpretation the “participatory anthropic principle.” If he is correct, the universe is conscious, but in almost the opposite of the way that Matloff pictures it: Only through the acts of conscious minds does it truly exist at all.

It is hard to imagine how a scientist could put the participatory anthropic principle to an empirical test. There are no stars to monitor, and no brains to measure, to understand whether reality depends on the presence of consciousness. Even if it cannot be proven, the participatory anthropic principle extends the unifying agenda of modern science, powerfully evoking the sense of connectedness that Albert Einstein called the cosmic religious feeling.

“In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it,” Einstein wrote in a 1930 New York Times editorial. Explorers like Matloff are routinely dismissed as fringe thinkers, but it is hard to think of any greater expression of that feeling than continuing the quest to find out if our human minds are just tiny components of a much greater cosmic brain.

Images: NASA via Reuters

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In Victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Court Finds that Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated the Law

Author: Earth Justice
Via Earth Justice | June 14, 2017

Victory: Ruling: Trump administration shortcut environmental review; Court seeks additional briefing on whether to shut down pipeline!

Washington, D.C. — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline.

A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.

In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.” The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a recent statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.”

The Tribe’s inspiring and courageous fight has attracted international attention and drawn the support of hundreds of tribes around the nation.

The Tribe is represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, which filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for the pipeline construction in violation of several environmental laws.

“This decision marks an important turning point. Until now, the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been disregarded by the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump administration—prompting a well-deserved global outcry,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The federal courts have stepped in where our political systems have failed to protect the rights of Native communities.”

The Court ruled against the Tribe on several other issues, finding that the reversal allowing the pipeline complied with the law in some respects.

The $3.8 billion pipeline project, also known as Bakken Oil Pipeline, extends 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, crossing through communities, farms, tribal land, sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat. The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois where it links with another pipeline that will transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.

Image: Flags fly at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in 2016, near Cannonball, North Dakota. LUCAS ZHAO / CC BY-NC 2.0

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Start with why — how great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek | TEDxPugetSound

Autor: Simon Sinek
Vía YouTube | Publicado en Septiembre 28, 2009

 

TEDx Puget Sound speaker – Simon Sinek – Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

About TEDx, x=independently organize event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-
organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep
discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized
events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event.
The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but
individual TEDx events are self-organized.*
(*Subject to certain rules and regulations).

.

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Investigador mexicano crea nuevo cemento con capacidad para generar luz

Autor: Nistela Villaseñor
Vía Conacyt Prensa | Octubre 20, 2015

 

La necesidad de contar con nuevas alternativas de energía, sin costo por mantenimiento y con bajo impacto ambiental, en las que el cemento sirva como adhesivo o cementante capaz de ofrecer otras funciones como la generación de luminiscencia, dio pie a la creación de un cemento emisor de luz diseñado por José Carlos Rubio Ávalos, investigador de la Sección de Innovación Tecnológica en Materiales de la Facultad de Ingeniería Civil de la Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (UMSNH).

Rubio Ávalos comentó en entrevista a la Agencia Informativa Conacyt que a partir de esta innovación, empresas europeas están tomando la base y referencia científica y tecnológica para nuevos desarrollos en la misma dirección de energía, que además han empezado a patentar y comercializar principalmente en Europa.

El cemento convencional, dijo el investigador, generalmente pasa desapercibido aunque forma parte del entorno. Sus ventas son indicadores de la economía de un país, está en todas partes del mundo y es considerado el material más utilizado por el ser humano después del agua. México es uno de los principales productores mundiales por su contribución de cemento para la construcción de casas, edificios, puentes, carreteras, hospitales, hoteles, presas para agua, etcétera.

Rubio Ávalos es doctor en Ciencias con especialidad en Materiales por el Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (Cinvestav) del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) unidad Querétaro y es miembro nivel I del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI).

Microestructura de un cemento Portland (comercial) que produce cuerpos opacos y la luz no puede ser transmitida a su interior.
Microestructura de un cemento Portland (comercial) que produce cuerpos opacos y la luz no puede ser transmitida a su interior.

Agencia Informativa Conacyt (AIC): ¿Cómo surge la creación del cemento emisor de luz?

José Carlos Rubio Ávalos (JCRA): El cemento comercial técnicamente se conoce como cemento Portland, está constituido básicamente por un gel de silicato de calcio hidratado, cristales de cal y agujas de sulfoaluminatos cálcicos dispersas como redes. Lo anterior genera que los cuerpos o solidos elaborados con este tipo de cemento sean opacos o que la luz no pueda ser transmitida al interior de la pasta de cemento.

Por otro lado, existen en el comercio plásticos fosforescentes, los encontramos en relojes, señalamientos viales y de seguridad, juguetes, artículos de decoración, etcétera. La fosforescencia o fotoluminiscencia es un fenómeno físico que algunos materiales tienen y que básicamente sigue las etapas siguientes: El material absorbe la energía o luz (solar o artificial); de dicho espectro de luz solo nos interesa la luz ultravioleta, esta provoca en los pequeños cristales que se embeben en los plásticos que sus electrones tengan un cambio en su nivel energético; posteriormente, una vez retirada la fuente de energía (luz), los electrones vuelven a su estado de menor energía, en ese salto se libera la energía acumulada o absorbida en forma de fotones o luz que, dependiendo de la composición química de esos cristales, puede ser azul, amarilla, verde, naranja, etcétera.

Lamentablemente, la misma fuente de energía (rayos ultravioleta) que produce la fosforescencia o fotoluminiscencia, también destruye y daña los plásticos rompiendo o promoviendo la ruptura de las cadenas de polímeros que constituyen esos plásticos. Obviamente se han usado por años los polímeros orgánicos o plásticos sintéticos debido a que para que exista este fenómeno de fosforescencia se requiere que la luz sea transmitida al interior del sólido y llegue a los cristales y, posteriormente, la luz producida por los cristales sea emitida al exterior, y por ello las resinas transparentes o semitransparentes son las utilizadas comercialmente y su durabilidad está limitada a la exposición o radiación solar y la composición de las mismas.

Por lo tanto, si uno piensa en inventar un cemento fosforescente o cemento emisor de luz, tiene que enfrentar los retos de hacer un cambio en la microestructura del cemento mismo, para que permita el paso de la luz a su interior y, posteriormente, la luz generada en el interior del cemento salga al exterior. El reto mayor es que no se deben utilizar polímeros sintéticos o resinas orgánicas porque debemos crear nuevos materiales y nuevos productos sin afectar el medio ambiente y, por otro lado, debe resistir la radiación ultravioleta sin deteriorarse. La solución fue encontrada en la química inorgánica: producir un cemento con propiedades ópticas diferentes permitiendo la transmisión y reflexión de la luz.

AIC: ¿Específicamente cómo se obtiene el cemento emisor de luz?

JCRA: Se obtiene por un proceso de policondensación, es como fundir azúcar y obtener un caramelo, pero de materias primas como sílice (arena de río), desechos industriales (industria acerera, por ejemplo), álcalis (hidróxidos de sodio o potasio) y agua. El proceso se realiza a temperatura ambiente y no requiere hornos o altos consumos de energía y, por lo tanto, la contaminación por su elaboración es baja comparada con el cemento Portland tradicional y los plásticos sintéticos.

El mayor logro como científicos mexicanos fue nuestra aportación al mundo de que los cementos geopoliméricos, en los que se basa la tecnología, pueden ser utilizados como materiales funcionales y no solo como adhesivos. Actualmente contamos con otros productos patentados que amplían la información, pero no se han realizado publicaciones correspondientes por nuestro interés de proteger los resultados de investigación como lo hemos venido realizando hasta el día de hoy.

La originalidad de la investigación e innovación a nivel internacional dio lugar a que el Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI) otorgara la patente de invención a la Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, la cual está disponible para su transferencia y comercialización para las empresas del sector interesadas.

AIC: ¿Para qué sirve un cemento con estas características?

JCRA: Las aplicaciones son muy amplias, dentro de las que más destacan están el mercado arquitectónico: fachadas, piscinas, baños, cocinas, estacionamientos, etcétera; en la seguridad vial y señalamientos; en el sector de generación de energía, como plataformas petroleras; y en cualquier lugar que se desee iluminar o marcar espacios que no tengan acceso a instalaciones eléctricas, dado que no requiere un sistema de distribución eléctrica y se recarga solo con la luz. La durabilidad del cemento emisor de luz se estima mayor a los 100 años por su naturaleza inorgánica, y es fácilmente reciclable por sus componentes materiales.

AIC: ¿Cuál es el proceso por el que el cemento emite la luz?

JCRA: Primero cargándose con luz natural o artificial y posteriormente, en la oscuridad, emitiendo esa luz. La emisión de luz puede llegar a las 12 horas (toda la noche) cargado el cemento previamente por un periodo similar (durante el día).

AIC: ¿Quiénes serán los principales beneficiarios de esta nueva tecnología en materiales?

JCRA: El cemento emisor de luz puede ser útil para cualquier sector que desee utilizarlo para generar espacios iluminados con energía totalmente sustentable y sin costos de mantenimiento o generación una vez que sea instalado.

AIC: ¿Qué institución financió el proyecto y quiénes participaron en él?

JCRA: La investigación fue realizada con financiamiento de la UMSNH a través de la Coordinación de la Investigación Científica, con una inversión aproximada de 50 mil pesos. El equipo de trabajo fue coordinado por su servidor, en colaboración con la doctora Elia Mercedes Alonso Guzmán, el maestro Wilfrido Martínez Molina y el doctor Fernando Velasco Ávalos.

Imágenes: ArchDaily y Conacyt Prensa

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Conocimiento ancestral indígena declarado patrimonio inmaterial

Autor: Redacción VIVIR
Vía El Espectador | Abril 21, 2017

 

El Sistema de Conocimiento Ancestral de los pueblos kogui, wiwa, arhuaco y kankuamo de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta entró a hacer parte del patrimonio inmaterial de la nación.

La tradición oral y los conocimientos sobre el universo son algunos de los puntos que hacen parte del conocimiento ancestral. Ahora, estas manifestaciones culturales de cuatro pueblos indígenas de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, serán incluidas en la Lista Representativa del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial. 

En una reunión presidida por el Consejo Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural y el Ministerio de Cultura, los pueblos kogui, wiwa, arhuaco y kankuamo presentaron un documento que más tarde sería aprobado por ambas instituciones. Se trataba del Plan Especial de Salvaguardia (PES), un informe que expone por qué los conocimientos ancestrales deben hacer parte del patrimonio inmaterial de la nación.

El PES es “un acuerdo social y administrativo mediante el cual se establecen directrices, recomendaciones y acciones encaminadas a garantizar la salvaguardia del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de las comunidades y de la Nación”, indica el informe.

El documento, además, invita a la preservación de las manifestaciones culturales de los pueblos indígenas. La lengua y tradición oral, la organización social, los conocimientos sobre la naturaleza y el universo, y los espacios culturales, hacen parte de la lista.

“Hemos logrado que se reconozcan todos los conocimientos ancestrales. En ese sentido, estamos hablando del conocimiento espiritual asociado a la visión de ordenamiento ancestral, a los espacios sagrados, a los códigos establecidos en los territorios, a los conocimientos relacionados con la educación y la salud, y al sistema de arquitectura y alimentación propia”, dijo Jaime Arias Arias, cabildo gobernador Kankuamo.

Por su parte la ministra de cultura, Mariana Garcés, aseguró que este reconocimiento “reafirma la importancia de valorar y preservar la diversidad cultural inmaterial del país”. Sin embargo, ahora, el reto es mucho mayor. Pues, de acuerdo con Arias, “hay que asegurarse de mantener, transmitir y conservar este conocimiento ancestral con las nuevas generaciones”.

Para ello, dice el gobernador, es necesario que se construyan políticas públicas y proyectos para salvaguardar esta herencia: una tarea que requiere el apoyo de las autoridades regionales y el Ministerio de Cultura.

Igualmente, para la comunidad indígena, este reconocimiento marca un precedente en su cultura. “Con este reconocimiento se garantizará el posicionamiento y la continuidad del pensamiento indígena ante la sociedad mayoritaria”, afirmó Cayetano Torres, coordinador del PES.

Ahora, los indígenas de la Sierra Nevada miran hacia el futuro. Pues, según Arias, “la otra proyección que tenemos es lograr que estas manifestaciones sean reconocidas por la UNESCO como patrimonio de la humanidad.”

 

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LANTERNA, Faro di Genova dal 1128

LANTERNA, Faro di Genova dal 1128

Autore: Associazione AMICI DELLA LANTERNA
Via lanternadigenova.it

Articolo raccomandato da Javier Armas Cortez, collaboratore di Messico per Replicación di Arttextum

 

La Lanterna di Genova
Simbolo della città di Genova, sita sul promontorio di Capo di Faro la Lanterna, con i suoi 77 metri di altezza, è il faro più alto del Mediterraneo, secondo in Europa. L’attuale costruzione risale al 1543, ma fin dal XII secolo esisteva una torre di struttura simile, nata come torre di guardia per annunciare l’arrivo di imbarcazioni sospette e divenuta nel tempo anche faro, sulla cui sommità si bruciavano fascine per segnalare ai naviganti l’accesso al porto. Nel 1326 vi si installò la prima lanterna ad olio di oliva, la cui luce era concentrata in un fascio grazie a cristalli trasparenti prodotti da maestri vetrai liguri e veneziani. La rappresentazione probabilmente più antica di questa prima Lanterna risale al 1371 e compare sulla copertina di un registro dell’autorità marittima del tempo. Nel Quattrocento la torre fu adibita a prigione e custodì, tra gli altri, il re di Cipro. Agli inizi del Cinquecento fu edificata la fortezza della Briglia, voluta da Luigi XII per le truppe che presidiavano la città: i genovesi, insorti contro i francesi, la bombardarono, danneggiando anche la Lanterna, ridotta a “mezza torre”. Nel 1543 essa venne ricostruita e le antiche merlature furono sostituite. Da allora la Lanterna superò senza gravi conseguenze il bombardamento navale del Re Sole alla fine del Seicento, i combattimenti del 1746 dopo la rivolta di Portoria, i bombardamenti della seconda guerra mondiale, nonché innumerevoli momenti di intemperie naturali (fino a quando, nel 1778, non fu dotata di impianto parafulmine). In tempi più recenti la potenza del faro aumentò notevolmente, sia per l’introduzione di più moderni sistemi ottici (data 1840 il sistema rotante con lenti di Fresnel), sia per l’introduzione di nuovi combustibili: il gas di acetilene (1898), poi il petrolio pressurizzato (1905), fino all’elettrificazione del 1936.

La Storia della torre dal 1128 ad oggi
Secondo alcune fonti non ufficiali, nel 1128 venne edificata la prima torre, alta poco meno dell’esistente, con una struttura architettonica simile all’attuale, ma con tre tronchi merlati sovrapposti. Alla sua sommità venivano accesi, allo scopo di segnalare le navi in avvicinamento, fasci di steli secchi di erica (“brugo”) o di ginestra (“brusca”). I documenti del secolo XI, le prime cronache e gli atti ufficiali del nascente comune genovese forniscono dati sicuri sulla torre di segnalazione, ma non la sua data esatta di costruzione. Nel 1318, durante la guerra tra Guelfi e Ghibellini la torre subì rilevanti danni alle fondamenta ad opera della fazione ghibellina; nel 1321 vennero effettuati lavori di consolidamento e venne scavato un fossato allo scopo di renderla meglio difendibile. La prima lanterna venne installata nel 1326; la lucerna era alimentata ad olio di oliva ed in merito l’annalista Giorgio Stella scriveva: “In quest’anno fu fatta una grande lanterna sulla torre di Capo Faro affinché con le lampade in essa accese, nelle notti oscure, i naviganti conoscessero l’adito alla nostra città”. Al meglio identificare la lanterna con la città, nel 1340 venne dipinto alla sommità della torre inferiore lo stemma del comune di Genova opera del pittore Evangelista di Milano.La più antica rappresentazione iconografica della prima torre della lanterna è del 1371 ed appare in un disegno a penna sopra una copertina pergamenacea di un manuale dei “Salvatori del Porto”, dove venivano fra l’altro registrate tutte le spese per la illuminazione, per i cristalli della lanterna, per le lampade, per l’olio, e le nomine dei guardiani.Nell’assedio alla Briglia – forte fatto costruire dal re Luigi XII durante la dominazione francese su Genova, ubicato sullo stesso colle dove sorgeva la torre del faro – la torre venne centrata dai colpi di bombarda sparati dagli insorti genovesi e parzialmente demolita. Per trenta anni la bella torre rimase monca e la sua brillante luce non fu più di aiuto ai naviganti.Solo nel 1543 venne ricostruita e fu posta in opera alla sua sommità una nuova lanterna costruita con doghe di legno di rovere e ricoperta con fogli di rame e di piombo fermati con ben seicento chiodi di rame. Fu quella occasione che la torre assunse il suo aspetto definitivo che ancora oggi vediamo. Nel 1565 si ritornò a lavorare sulla cupola per renderla stagna e nel 1681 si ricostruì la cupola con legno di castagno selvatico calafatando il tutto con pesce e stoppa e ricoprendola con fogli di piombo stagnati ai bordi sovrapposti. Nel 1684 durante i bombardamento di Genova ordinato dall’Ammiraglio francese Seignelai per ordine di re Luigi XIV, un colpo centrò la cupola distruggendone l’intera vetrata, che venne provvisoriamente ricostruita; nel 1692, la vetrata venne modifica aggiungendovi un nuovo ordine di vetri. Nel Portolano manoscritto del XVI secolo di autore anonimo si legge “a miglia 14 da Peggi (Genova Pegli) città con buonissimo porto e alla parte di ponente, vi è una lanterna altissima e dà segni alli vascelli che vengono a piè di detta lanterna”. A seguito dei ripetuti danni causati dai fulmini e dagli avvenimenti bellici nel 1771 la torre venne incatenata a mezzo di chiavarde e di tiranti che ancora oggi sono visibili all’interno. Nel 1778 venne dotata di impianto parafulmine che fu realizzato dal fisico P.G.Sanxais e nel 1791 vennero effettuati alla base della prima torre, lavori di consolidamento per renderla più stabile.

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