The Last Japanese Mermaids
For nearly two thousand years, Japanese women living in coastal fishing villages made a remarkable livelihood hunting the ocean for oysters and abalone, a sea snail that produces pearls. They are known as Ama. The few women left still make their living by filling their lungs with air and diving for long periods of time deep into the Pacific ocean, with nothing more than a mask and flippers.
In the mid 20th century, Iwase Yoshiyuki returned to the fishing village where he grew up and photographed these women when the unusual profession was still very much alive. After graduating from law school, Yoshiyuki had been given an early Kodak camera and found himself drawn to the ancient tradition of the ama divers in his hometown. His photographs are thought to be the only comprehensive documentation of the near-extinct tradition in existence
This map shows the high-speed rail (Shinkansen) routes in Japan.
Japan’s plan for a solar collector in space in nothing new, however, if executed, it will be amazing.
That’s right. And before you preemptively speculate, this is not something new.
Space-based solar power generation has been proposed and feasible since the 60’s. However, you may have heard of recent proposals in the last few years, such as the U.S. Navy’s plan to beam down energy from orbiting solar panels, the Department of Energy’s developments via their Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Space Energy’s ambitious project for SBSP (space-based-solar-power) toward a clean energy market, Russia’s proposed plan regarding infrared energy receiving stations via an “infrared window”, and the proposed collaboration between the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on an Space-Based Solar Power Initiative…to cite a few.
Space-based solar power (SBSP) is the concept of collecting solar power in space (using an “SPS”, that is, a “solar-power satellite” or a “satellite power system”) for use on Earth. It has been in research since the early 1970s. [source]
Although there is speculation behind everything due to the obvious history of humankind, let alone of the countries allocating such time to even put forth plans such as these which involve collaboration toward a monumental common goal for the greater good regarding the longevity of our species…one this is certain and blatantly obvious: ambivalence regarding fossil fuels and climate change is beyond irrelevant.
We can no longer entertain climate change deniers or wish away our carbon emissions. Action is needed, and the sun has been a thriving energy power plant blinding us with its raw power, while the physics have been awaiting our crawl out of carbon addiction to realize what we’ve known all along…anything unsustainable will ultimately be just that — not sustainable. It’s only been a matter of when. We must come up with the how, and there are a growing number of feasible options.
“The timing of the oil catastrophe is a great opportunity for re-evaluating solar energy from space.” - Former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin [read the blog post from the National Space Society]
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has proposed an exciting Space Solar Power System, whereby sunlight is collected in geostationary orbit, converted into electromagnetic radiation via microwaves or laser beams, transmitted to a ground or ocean-based receiving facility for use as electricity and hydrogen for Earth use.
Questions? Read “Practical-Application of Space-Based Solar Power Generation" from JAXA and the MOTHERBOARD | VICE editorial, which addresses such issues as Earth’s rotation…
The problem is that part of the Earth’s rotation spins it away from the sun, which doesn’t do much good for a solar power station. So the scientists hacked the initial model by adding in a couple mirrors to reflect the sunlight and point it directly on the panels, 24/7. These mirrors are just floating free, and scientists on the ground have to configure the whole setup with extreme precision. [source]
…and the storage of energy via solar stations on Earth.
The solar station is tethered to a base station on the ground with six-mile-long wires. This acts as a counterforce to offset the gravitational pull so the satellite is essentially pulled in tow as the Earth turns, keeping it at a fixed point in geostationary orbit. It’s the concept astrophysicists proposed to build our future space elevators, as explained Professor Emeritus at JAXA Susumi Sasaki in an editorial in IEEE. [source]
For further reading, I recommend IEEE Spectrum’s article “How Japan Plans to Build an Orbital Solar Farm”.
No matter what avenue is explored first, when it comes to sustainable energy, the future is indeed bright. Watch JAXA’s SBSP Systems video HERE.
Mapa de la plantas nucleares en Japón y posibilidad de un terremoto / Nuclear plants and earthquake probability in Japan
This is a long exposure photo of fireflies in Okayama prefecture, Japan.
Fireflies or Lampyridae are a family of insects within the order Coleoptera, aka; the Beetle family. Firlies exist on every continent in the world, except Antarctica, with about 2,000 species globally. With the exception of species that are active during the day, fireflies are bioluminescent organisms, which means that they produce their own light.
Fireflies produce their “light” through a chemical reaction consisting the substrate Luciferin, the enzyme Luciferase, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and oxygen. This chemically produced light may be yellow, green or pale red with wavelengths ranging from 510 to 670 nanometers. The colour of light emitted, signal pattern, time and duration vary from species to species. In some of these species, all stages of the lifecycle glow, even the larvae, which are called “glow-worms”.
Fireflies produce light for three primary reasons; the males use the light to signal females for the purpose of mating, the light is used as a mechanism of defense against predators (the light warns other species that they are distasteful), and finally, the light can be used as a mechanism to warn others of danger.
Whatever the reason for creating this beautiful light, it definitely makes them a captivating sight on summer nights.
Photo courtesy of:Tsuneaki Hiramatsu
Niijima now larger than its older neighbour
We reported some months ago the new volcanic island being born off Japan as an undersea volcano breached the surface right next to an already existing neighbour (see http://tinyurl.com/oe22xtl). The eruption is still ongoing, and the islands have now joined, with newborn Niijima now outbulking its older sib Nishino-shima. The white line in the inset marks Niijima’s size at the end of December. The island is now over a km across and the volcanic cone is over 60m high, revealing the early part of the process by which these peaks slowly grow to huge size over many eruptions as long as magma remains available.
Most of our posts are not reaching you in your news feed due to facebook’s filtering system. If you wish to enjoy our posts more often, click on the following link for information on how to go about it:http://tinyurl.com/qgwac8k.
Image credit: NASA
The UN’s International Court of Justice has ruled that Japan must cease its whale hunting program in the Southern Ocean, which saw thousands of minke whales slaughtered, for the sake of “science.”
More via Popular Science: http://bit.ly/1dOdc5b
Hidden away on the remote island of Iriomote in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, you can find the small beach of Hoshizuna no Hama. The name translates to “star sand beach” accredited to the star shaped sand like formations that can be found there. The star shapes are the exoskeletons of a tiny one-celled organism, barely a millimetre across, called Baclogypsina sphaerulata. These protozoa have 5 or 6 pointed arms that help them move from place to place and accumulate some of the diatoms which they eat. The outer shell is made of calcium carbonate, and when they die, they leave their star shaped exoskeleton behind to be washed up on the beaches.
After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Japanese officials have been scrambling to find way to halt the environmental damage from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. According to a team of Japanese scientists, a combination of micro-algae and aquatic plants may be the answer to cleaning up the radioactive pollution.
At this point anything helps, TEPCO (the company in…