We can all agree that the Northern Lights can be stunning, but the solar storms that cause them can also wreak havoc. The one on July 14, 2017 proved to be minor ( even the resulting aurora disappointed some viewers), but FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has already prepared for the worst sort of “Extreme Space Weather”. In 1859, a massive CME (a coronal mass ejection, the same thing that happened last week, but on a much, much bigger scale) travelled from the Sun to the Earth in less than 18 hours. It was bad, but also 1859, so not exactly dire. However, given our current technological addictions, it would take us 10 years to recover from even a moderately severe storm like it. Our power and communications systems would fail. Satellites would die. Most electricity, including cellphones as well as the mighty internet would pretty much stop working. And the damage to the power grid in North America? Very, very bad. At least we’d have some very pretty skies to keep us company.
A Toronto food columnist says we’re “suckers” for food fads, prizing appearance over taste. Must be all that Insta. Still, it’s important to realize the difference between food fads (like rainbow food, even though the example above is a hella more natural than most) and food trends, like seeking out celebrating local food or loving ugly fruits and vegetables. We should all be asking: But does it taste good?
Abandoned buildings: Peaceful or creepy? And what really would happen to all our stuff if we disappeared? ASAP Science [video] has some answers. Within several hours, lights would shut off. In a couple of days, subways would flood. Satellites would fall to earth. Most homes, built from wood, would burn from fire or be consumed by termites. Without regular paint, metal structures would rust, eventually crumbling. Animal populations would get bigger. Escaped zoo animals might form wild populations far from native habitats. (OK, that's kind of cool.) In just a few thousand years, they’d be little evidence that we existed. Well, except for all that plastic.
Old school phone booth? Rare enough today that my son is excited when he discovers one and wants to play inside, like Superman. Thanks to cellphones, we hear everyone’s conversations and they hear ours. The BuddhaBooth aims to give us our personal space back, with a crazy twist. Instead of for phones, these new pop-up booths are a private place to grab a few minutes of meditation while on the go.
Millennials love their food trucks for the cheap but good eats and the crazy variety. Would-be restaurateurs love them too for the relatively low cost of entry (compared to opening a restaurant) and the ease of testing a new concept and iterating on the fly. A lucky few have turned those mobile kitchens into bonafide eateries with a fixed address. But the laws are not always on their side: stale bylaws all over North America are making it hard for operators to stay in business. In Canada, at least, the Competition Bureau is calling for a rethink, stating rules stifle choice and competition. In Toronto, for example, trucks have to be parked at least 30 metres from any restaurant, there can only be two in each block and they can’t stay for more than 5 hours.
This may look like just another pretty harbor in the sunset, but the waters in this bay in Liguria hold a well-known treasure: just off the coast of San Fruttuoso, the Christ of the Abyss statue lies submerged 18 meters below sea level. The statue was sunk in 1954 in remembrance of diver Dario Gonzatti, who died while scuba diving here in 1947. Since then, the diving community has adopted the statue, claiming it protects those diving in the bay. And at the end of July, on the last Sunday of the month, there’s an annual celebration for the statue, which features an underwater procession and Mass on the beach.
There’s an entire series of these images. While still small, the number of female mechanics is growing. There's been a fair amount of media coverage, but in truth, women have been working on cars, trucks and motorcycles since they've existed. Women, working as ambulance drivers in WWI were expected to maintain their own vehicles and there were female mechanics in the Armed Forces by WWII. Now we've got auto repair garages that not only cater to women (who sometimes feel they get ripped off when it comes to car repair) but that are owned and staffed by women too. And now, even Somalia has their first female mechanic.