These are seriously, seriously amazing. Watch the video, and then check out Jason’s website. In regard to the environmental issues surrounding these sculptures:
"Oceans teem with microscopic organisms that are constantly drifting down towards the sea bed, attaching to and colonising on the way any hard secure surface, such as rock outcrops, and thereby creating the basis of a natural reef. Coral reefs attract an array of marine life (such as colourful fish, turtles, sea urchins, sponges, and sharks) and also provide enclosed spaces for sea creatures to breed or take refuge.
Only about 10 – 15% of the sea bed has a solid enough substratum to allow reefs to form naturally. In order to increase the number of reefs in these areas artificial reefs have recently been created from materials that are durable, secure and environmentally sensitive. These reefs appear to have been successful in that they have attracted coral growth which, in turn, can support an entire marine ecosystem.
One of the greatest benefits of artificial reefs is that they have lifted the pressure off natural reefs which, over the past few decades, have been over-fished and over-visited. By diverting attention to artificial reefs, natural reefs have now been given a greater chance to repair and to regenerate.”
There’s wrong ways. And then there’s really wrong ways, like last week’s “Science, It’s A Girl Thing” fiasco. You don’t encourage girls in science by creating unrealistic role models and more stereotypes. That’s why I love the soon-to-be-released Science Fair album, especially this track from Mates of State.
To me, it captures all the right stuff. The happy curiosity, the proud young girl working on what makes her happy, and getting to prove the naysayers wrong in the end. The full album features tracks that serve to inspire young girls in education, all performed by female singers, and all of the proceeds will go to girls’ STEM programs through Girls, Inc..
Is there anything cities can do to encourage cycling? Portland, for instance, has twice as many bike commuters per 1,000 people as Washington. But maybe that’s just because Portland has nicer weather or more young people. It’s not clear that there’s an actual policy issue here.
Yet in a new new study (PDF) in the journal Transport Policy, Ralph Buehler and John Pucher suggest that cities might actually be able to influence how many cyclists are on the road. Perhaps all they have to do is — and this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise — build more bike lanes and bike paths.
Buehler and Pucher found that the presence of off-road bike paths and on-street bike lanes were, by far, the biggest determinant of cycling rates in cities. And that’s true even after you control for a variety of other factors like how hot or cold a city is, how much rain falls, how dense the city is, how high gas prices are, the type of people that live there, or how safe it is to cycle. None of those things seem to matter quite as much. The results, the authors write, “are consistent with the hypothesis that bike lanes and bike paths encourage cycling.”
Check out the rest of the article here. You can read more coverage of the study here, here and here.
Al Jazeera has a frightening, damning, and infuriating report on the ongoing damage to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystems since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s been nearly two years since the Macondo well was ruptured, spilling almost 5 million barrels of oil and requiring almost 2 million barrels of dispersants to clean it up.
Fishermen are reporting shrimp catches full of eyeless shrimp, as well as fish and shellfish with oozing sores and black gills. The damage doesn’t seem limited to oil, either. Manganese-heavy drilling mud and dispersant lefotvers are showing up at even higher rates than petroleum.
Head over to Al Jazeera to read the full article. The Gulf has not recovered, and it will likely take most of a lifetime to do so. It’s important that scientists continue to get financial support to monitor the area and that the government keep pressure on BP to do their part. Not just this year, but until the mistake is fixed.
This is one of the most diverse and fruitful ecosystems in America, and we must repair it.