Traffic in urban areas generates both acoustic and seismic "noise." While seismic noise typically isn't perceptible by humans, it could prove to be an interesting data source for traffic information systems in the near future.
"Earlier this year an industrial partner offered us access to a large vibration dataset acquired over the city of Long Beach, Calif., so we seized the opportunity," explained Riahi.
This particular dataset consists of a 5,300-geophone network—deployed as part of a hydrocarbon industry survey—covering an area of more than 70 km2. Geophone devices are commonly used to record energy waves reflected by the subsurface geology as a way of mapping out geologic structures or track earthquakes.
"By recording vibrations via geophones spaced roughly every 100 meters (300 feet), we were able to look into activity in Long Beach with a resolution below a typical city block," said Riahi.
This begs the question: What urban processes can the space and time structure of vibrational intensity reveal?
Much to their surprise, Riahi and Gerstoft discovered that "by using mostly standard signal processing, we can follow a metro schedule, count aircraft and their acceleration on a runway, and even see larger vehicles on a 10-lane highway." More refined techniques and algorithms may well uncover many other types of manmade signals within the Earth.
These findings indicate that urban vibrations can serve as a new data source to observe cities. "Traffic monitoring tasks are an important and obvious application, but other uses may be involved in urban area characterization in which the type and schedule of activities can be visualized, so that it's possible to vibrationally identify industrial, residential or office zones," Riahi added.
Here’s where hot cocoa comes in. Flavanols have long been promoted as health-promoting supplements. Commonly found in fruits, vegetables and raw, unprocessed cocoa beans, flavanols seem to benefit the cardiovascular system and improve cognitive functions, at least in mice. It’s effect in humans has been tougher to study. Although a handful of association trials found that flavanol-rich diets correlate with a lower risk of cognitive decline, these studies cannot prove causation – in fact, the correlational nature of these studies is a major reason why nutritional science is so confusing.
The current study shines in that it uses randomized-control trials (RCTs) to examine if flavanol supplementation causes enhanced memory. RCTs are often called the “gold standard” of clinical trials, because it keeps everything steady and only changes one variable: drug versus placebo. Since the researchers were particularly interested in DG-processed memory, they first developed a task that can reliably measure age-dependent DG dysfunction.
As with any single study there are a lot of questions, but cocoa is something many enjoy. The trick for those wishing to try it is to have it in moderation (a lot of calories!) and finding one with an extremely high flavanol concentration - the experiment used over a gram twice a day. There are other ways to get flavanoids and there may be other benefits. Other studies on memory show some improvement, but reglar chocolate is insufficient to make a measurable difference - even industry research is cautious.
wow - such amazing cluelessness. Staying with it is painful, but the best part appears around 20 minutes in when she claims dinosaurs are dragons and scientists are covering up evidence that people see them to protect the sham of science.
Upholstery does not in itself create comfort. Traditional coach seats gave the illusion of comfortable padding but were angular, not reflecting body shapes. The critical measure is not the size of the seat but the space allotted to each seat and the space between seat rows, called pitch. It’s a slippery term applied to the distance between one seat back and the next. The bulkier the seat, the more of the space it swallowed within the designated pitch, leaving less for your actual body.
If the pitch remains the same but the seat becomes slimmer, the result should be more body room, right? If only. The newest coach seats drop the upholstery and, instead, are shells molded to the human spine. In theory, they save weight and add legroom. In practice, though, the carriers use the space gained by slimming the seats for jamming in extra rows of seats and decreasing the pitch—Jet Blue’s seat pitch will, for example, fall from 34 to 33 inches.
This kind of density isn’t limited to single-aisle airplanes flown by budget carriers. For example, the Boeing 787 Dreamliners flown between Japan and the U.S. by All Nippon Airways, an airplane that in other respects has the benefits of advances in the quality of cabin air and lighting, have a 30-inch pitch in coach with hard shell seats that do not recline… for flights that can last longer than 12 hours. In the same cabin, the business class has flat beds with a 70-inch pitch.
Then there is the other critical dimension, width. The narrowest seats in coach are generally 17 inches wide, although some airlines have pared that to 16.7 inches—all this at a time when the world’s bums are getting broader, not slimmer.
A good resource for helping decide on flights and seats is Seat Guru.
Colleen has very long legs physically can't put her feet on the floor in most coach seats. Gate agents once made sure she had an aisle or bulkhead seat, but that went away when airlines started charging more for extra coach legroom. Some airlines have a policy of making heavy passengers pay for two seats or pay for a class upgrade. Expect more people to be required to pay for upgrades because they simply won't fit.
An interesting size related issue I didn't consider before meeting Colleen was car interior size. Car interiors have to accommodate a sizable percentage of the population. Models have differing limits, but most try to safely fit the 15% female through the 95% male, although this varies widely. Beyond these limits can be unsafe, so unusually sized people either take their chances or have modifications made once they run out of choice. The cars with or without room can be surprising. Some very small cars like Minis and Smart Cars can have very large amounts of legroom - not having a rear seat helps. On the other hand, many SUVs and pickups have limited room and Colleen can't fit behind the steering wheel. She'd make a poor car park attendant.
Crash testing is done with a very limited size range of crash dummies. This is improving, but there is still the issue of having airbags that can judge the position and size of an occupant to deploy to the right size in a collision. People have been killed by airbags for being the "wrong" size. A designed based health hazard for being far from average.
Anthropometric design is part of ergonomics and is often a very difficult challenge that is swept under the rug.
Most Division I college sports are money losers - including men's basketball and football. A few schools mint money on them and everyone else is willing to absorb the loss as a cost of doing business. Women's sports are generally money losers, but there are a few exceptions. This year women's volleyball eclipsed women's basketball in popularity and some schools were near past financial breakeven. The University of Nebraska appears to be leading the way.
It would be convenient to have inexpensive long duration platforms placed out of most of the Earth's atmosphere for doing research - very high altitude airships. NASA is putting together a competition.
There are few opportunities for space missions in astronomy and Earth science. Airships (powered, maneuverable, lighter-than-air vehicles that can navigate a designated course) could offer significant gains in observational persistence over local and regional areas, sky and ground coverage, data downlink capability, payload flexibility, and over existing suborbital options at competitive prices. We seek to spur a demonstration of the capability for sustained airship flights as astronomy and Earth Science platforms in a way that is complementary with broad industry interests.
This 20-20-20 Airship Challenge is currently contemplated as a two-tiered challenge that could provide opportunities to evaluate a wide range of innovative methods to launch an airship into the stratosphere, maintain altitude, and station-keep for a defined period of time. This challenge would seek to engage the aerospace industry, educational institutions, and amateurs to provide solutions. The Challenge is considering a total prize purse ranging from $1 to $1.5 million dollars, which would be split into multiple prize awards for successful demonstrations of a stratospheric airship that could accomplish the following tasks:
Reach a minimum altitude of 20 km. Maintain the altitude for 20 hours (200 hours for Tier 2 competition). Remain within a 5 km diameter station area (and navigate between two designated points for Tier 2). Successfully return the 20 kg payload (200 kg for Tier 2 competition) and payload data. Show Airship scalability for longer duration flights with larger payloads through a scalability review.
The competition could take place over the next 3 to 4 years.
Extensive social science research documents that white people are afraid of black people, and particularly black men. One study found that simply seeing black men made white research subjects uncomfortable, and that overall black men elicited the most negative reactions from white people. More tellingly, in a 2009 survey examining white people’s attitudes toward black people and violence, more than 30% of respondents said that black people were more violent than white people. Moreover, more than 40% of respondents said that “many” or “almost all” black men were violent, while fewer than 20% said the same of black women and white men, and fewer than 10% said the same of white women. And remember, these are just the respondents who were willing to voice their thoughts out loud.
These attitudes toward black men explain the disproportionate media emphasis on stories involving violence by black men. It also explains that all-too-common phenomenon of white people blaming crime — particularly violent crime — on invented black men. In a culture that too often paints black men as violent criminals, the lies make a perverse kind of sense. If people are more likely to view black men as violent criminals, they’re more likely to believe a made-up story about a black man doing something violent and criminal. I suspect this believability is why white people choose to blame crimes on imaginary black men as frequently as they do.
a commentary on Darren Wilson's grand jury testimony follows