When human space travel made its transition from pipe dream to reality, one of the unknowns humans contended with concerned not just the physics of space, but the psychology of it. How would the human mind react to the final frontier? Would microgravity, combined with the isolation of a spaceship, cause a kind of claustrophobia? Would propulsion outside of Earth’s bounds, in the end, cause astronauts to experience a psychic break? Was there such thing, as science fiction writers had long feared, as “space madness”?
Space, fortunately, does not drive us crazy. But that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped caring about the effects its new environments will have on our psychology. The new version of the old “space madness” question is how time away from our home planet will affect us—in the long term. What could life on Mars do to that that other cosmic mystery: the human emotional state?
NASA is hoping to find out. This week, in partnership with the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the agency launched the latest version of its Mars simulation experiment, the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation mission. On Hawaii’s Big Island, 8,200 feet above sea level, conditions are as Martian as they can be on Earth: Mauna Loa’s volcanic soil is quite similar to the volcanic regolith that can be found on Mars. HI-SEAS in general aims to replicate, as closely as is possible on Earth, what life would be like on Mars—and its latest iteration will put human emotions to the test.
Read more. [Image: NASA/HI-SEAS]
Did you know that you can make houses out of plastic bottles? By filling them with sand, and molding them together with mud or cement, the walls created are actually bullet proof, fire proof, and will maintain an comfortable indoor temperature of 64 degrees in the summer time.
And it’s not like there is any shortage on used plastic bottles out there. Here are some statistics from treehugger.com:
“The United States uses 129.6 Million plastic bottles per day which is 47.3 Billion plastic bottles per year. About 80% of those plastic bottles end up in a landfill!”
To build a two bedroom, 1200 square foot home, it takes about 14,000 bottles.
The United States throws away enough plastic bottles to build 9257 of these 2 bedroom houses per day! That’s just over 3.35 million homes, the same number of homeless people in America.
Many people in third world countries have taken up building homes out of plastic bottles, from Africa to Asia. Perhaps the trend will catch on in America and all of those bottles will stop ending up in the landfills. Wouldn’t they be better off housing the homeless? Kinda like all those empty houses scattered all over the country?
SYRIA, ALEPPO : A Syrian fruit vendor waits for customers next to a damaged building on February 24, 2014 in the Shaar neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo. More than 140,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Syria’s nearly three-year war, and millions more have been forced to flee their homes. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED AL-KHATIEB
Not all those photos you’re seeing of burning cities and pitched urban battles are from Kiev. Even as the near-apocalyptic imagery of Ukraine’s violent protests have captured the top of the news, Venezuelan cities have gone from dangerous to “warzone” overnight. Here’s what you need to know.
Gawker’s Adam Weinstein has compiled an extensive breakdown on the increasingly violent demonstrations taking place in Venezuela, where at least five people have died as a result of clashes between protesters and government security forces in the last seven days.
Death toll grows amid violent protests in Ukraine
BBC News: At least 75 people have been killed and 571 injured since the start of Ukraine’s violent clashes earlier this week, the country’s health ministry said.
The European Union approved sanctions on the country on Thursday, including visa bans and asset freezes for those responsible for the violence.
Protests are ongoing in Ukraine’s capital Kiev, where opposition leaders and the government have failed to reach an agreement.
Follow updates on this story and view live footage from the scene on Breaking News.
Photo: Anti-government demonstrators escort a captured police officer during clashes in Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday. (Yevgeny Maloletka / EPA)
- Yesterday Clashes between Ukrainian security forces and anti-government protesters left at least 25 people dead, while reports of new uprisings and weapon thefts outside Kiev began to emerge, and demonstrations continued as fires consumed the capital city’s Trade Unions Building.
- Today US and European leaders confirmed they are weighing the possibility of levying new sanctions against Ukraine, while Russia has threatened to stabilize the region itself. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych replaced his top general on Wednesday; however, the move is unlikely to calm anyone’s nerves in Kiev.
Facebook just bought WhatsApp for an absurd amount of money that makes the Instagram buyout look like a 7-Eleven purchase.
guys, if anyone’s reading this, please share it! we are practically getting killed now in Ukraine! our inside forces and police started using Kalashnikov’s and there is a lot of fire on the main street of Kiev. people are dying on the streets, hospitals are full. underground is closed, there is no way to get in or out of the city. please spread the word!!! everyone has to know what’s going on here!
We recommend that Minister Gan Kim Yong ignore the ridiculously misinformed and regretfully bigoted petition Review HPB’s FAQ on Sexuality. (gopetition.com/petitions/review-hpbs-faq-on-sexuality.html)…
A quick breakdown for those who don’t know:
The Health Promotion Board (HPB) released information about homosexuality (e.g. homosexuals are capable of forming healthy committed relationships) but negative responses have caused the HPB to edit their FAQ.
Example of the edit: In the original, a link to Oogachooga, a LGBTQ* support group was also included for non-heterosexuals to go to for support, but this was removed after the backlash.
Even after the editted version, there are STILL people who want the HPB to edit their FAQ even further in another petition:
We urge Minister Gan Kim Yong to conduct a thorough, non-biased, comprehensive review of the website’s information as it dangerously promotes homosexuality.
The original wasn’t even promoting homosexuality at all. It was just being informative about what homosexuality IS.
update: the opposing, homophobic petition has 4k signatures. this one only has 3k. please sign.
For real, guys.
I know this is one dumbass blog but if I reserve one serious post for the whole year, it would be for this. The homophobic petition has over 5000 signatures. The one against it has barely 3000. The notes on this post? Fucking negligible.
Let me fucking tell you what it’s like living in places like this, because believe me, I know. Homosexuality. Is. Criminalised. Forget about fucking fighting for your marriage or adoption rights, try fighting imprisonment for being queer.
You know how your politicians and media lie, are opaque or simply have no idea what they’re talking about in LGBT issues? I’ve had Ministers, whose names I obviously cannot disclose, lie to my face and tell me that the law against homosexuality is not enforced while the cases run openly in the courts.
How about trans visibility? Terrible in the West, isn’t it? There is none in these places. None. Zero. I did not know being transgender was a thing until I stepped on tumblr. Headlines do run freely about transfolk but it’s pretty much always about how X was a sexual predator or Y was a prostitute. That is why although I had technically heard of transfolk, they had never registered as ‘people’ to me, because my brain had automatically categorised them as, well, sexual predators and prostitutes. Come to think of it, I don’t think I knew ‘transgender’ was a word. Why would I? Everybody just calls them tr@nnies. Which I am still telling my friends back there not to, friends who are good people but just seem to forget — because nobody talks about this shit and nobody cares.
I was involved in the queer community once. I didn’t go too deep, but what I did see was the most intensely depressing, demoralising thing ever, because people are just plain scared. Nobody dares to speak out, because of censorship and perceived lack of support (and looking at the results of that petition, can you blame them?). These are the two most common plans I ran into: get the fuck out of the country (for the wealthy ones), or die. I hate, hate, hate talking about it, but I had to talk way too many friends out of suicide in those years (which, by the way, is also criminalised), and frankly, it was mostly out of habit, since I was idly considering it myself. You may have noticed that ‘fighting for change’ isn’t a considered option, and I am telling you that nearly every single person I asked about this simply told me ‘There’s no point. We’ll never win.’
They may be right, considering that an actual, non-discriminatory FAQ and a link to a helpful organisation was put up (seriously, this is a big deal. A really fucking big deal. I thought it was a joke when I first saw it.), and people immediately start petitioning to take it down.
I was lucky. I had money and resources and worked my ass off for twelve years to drag myself out of there, where in a supreme move of selfishness, I proceeded to plug my ears and hum very loudly and aggressively forget it all. When I saw this post, I thought of doing it again, because face it - things that aren’t in America, especially things that happen in a random-ass country in Asia, don’t get attention on Tumblr. But, you know — one last shot.
Please pay attention to this. Please give this country bad press, because damn, that’s definitely what the government cares about, and I cannot describe the terror I feel at even typing those words. If nothing else, please sign the petition.
I’m sorry for the rant, and if I was angry, bitter, and abrasive — but I lived with this shit for two decades. I have queer friends who are still living with it, as well as queer friends I abruptly never heard from again, and I don’t want to speculate what happened to them. The link’s right up top, and I promise, it takes no time at all.
Tumblr, let’s get to this.