Since 1948 the World Meteorological Organisation has been naming hurricanes and tropical storms. “ANDREW”, “SANDY”, “IVAN”, “KATRINA”, to name a few. But what did these people do to deserve their names attached to trouble and disaster?
As climate change continues to cause more frequent and devastating storms, the people of climatenamechange.org propose a new naming system; To name the storms after policy makers who deny climate change.
A study, in Language and Cognition has shown that time does not exist as a separate concept for the Brazilian Amondawa – an Amazon tribe first contacted by the outside world in 1986.
The Amondawa language lacks the linguistic structures that relate time and space. There is no word for “time”, or indeed of time periods such as “month” or “year”. Furthermore, the people do not refer to their ages, but rather assume different names in different stages of their lives.
Watch human and urban life evolve in this 3-minute journey through the last 250 years of our history, starting at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Created by Cary Huang, this interactive scale of the universe shows the relative sizes of everything from quarks to the Hoover Dam. Be prepared for some cosmic gee-whiz moments when you get out to the nebulas. The objects are complimented with cheeky facts such as “If you were to stretch your skin over Vatican City, the coating would be 200 nanometers thick.” Just a reminder that there’s still an incomprehensibly huge amount of ‘old nature’ out there left to explore.
Many people will have heard of the infamous swastika made up of larches that revealed itself every autumn in a forest outside Berlin. The trees, which turned yellow at the end of the year, stood out against the otherwise evergreen pine forest. The 60 sq yd Nazi symbol was only discovered after the fall of the Berlin Wall when the new German unified government ordered aerial surveys of state-owned land. While it may certainly be the most notorious, the German swastika plantation certainly isn’t the first time man has manipulated living trees for his own, often crude, purposes.
Visitors to the Castelluccio region of Italy are usually surprised to see a strangely familiar shape looming from one of the mountains that enclose the vibrant valley. Planted by some unknown patriot, a small forest in the shape of Italy has established itself on the otherwise meadowed mountainside.
Although a small dose of nationalism can be expected from most rural folk, the plantations found along the rest of the mountain range – one in the shape of North America, one resembling Africa and another Australia – are perhaps more suited to a Benetton advert than the sedate Umbrian countryside.
Over in Kyrgyzstan, a mountain in Tash-Bashat, near the edge of the Himalayas, is also the unfortunate home to a living swastika. At more than 600 feet wide, the fir tree plantation is at least 60 years old. Rumoured to have been planted by German prisoners of war, the actual truth of the design is shrouded in mystery.
Nationalism also spawned another, less offensive forest design. Situated on the chalky South Downs that separate the UK city of Brighton from its northerly neighbours stands a plantation in the shape of a huge ‘V’ – planted to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1887. When planted, it consisted of 3060 trees costing 12 pounds, 10 shillings and four pence.
This world map is drawn using Facebook connections only. It was created by Paul Butler using connections between 10 million Facebook friends. The result is a remarkably good approximation of most continents and even the borders of some countries appear. China and Russia, however, seem to be missing in the Facebook empire.
Earth has had a geosphere, atmosphere and biosphere for a few billion years. Only within the last several thousand years has earth gained a global noosphere, the intangible ‘sphere’ of human thought and communication on earth. Now, anthropologist Félix Pharand has mapped an even newer addition to the Anthropocene’s profusion of next natural spheres.
The utilisphere consists of the planet’s utilities and transportation networks: highways, railroads, pipelines and fiber optic cables. By making his animation without labels or city names, Pharand invites us to view the spiderweb shape of the utilisphere as something more organic, approaching the freshwater hydrosphere in complexity.
The rock formations in the High Altitude photo series don’t exist physically, yet they are very present in our society of simulations. The photos visualize the development of the leading global stock market indices over the past 20-30 years.
Each stock market index, such as the Dow Jones (shown above), Nikkei, Nasdaq or the more specific Lehman Brothers stock quote downfall, corresponds to a impeccably rendered unique mountain range. Photographer Michael Najjar used the images captured during his trek to Mount Aconcagua (6,962m) as the basis of the high altitude data visualizations.