Update: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says to feds, “Get off your asses”:

Update: Google scheduled time on some recent fly-overs to photograph the flooding damage. Google Maps now has a ‘Katrina’ tab as a view option when you’re navigating inside the area covered.

William McDonough: Cradle To Cradle

“William McDonough (…) argues that we can only think of our future cities if we think about what our intention is as a species.”

(Jo Twist, BBC)

“The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones. It ended because it was time for a re-think about how we live.”

(William McDonough)

Communist China, which will face the challenge of providing shelter for 400 million more people in the next 12 years, has adopted McDonoughs’s recent book, Cradle to Cradle, as government policy. Furthermore, they have comissioned him to create a village according to his vision: Huangbaiyu, a pilot for potential cities of similar design.

“Everything in his cities is designed from the molecule up. (…)

He looks at the Next Cities as objects of human artifice. They can grow, they can breathe, and they can be ecologically sound, just as trees, forests, and gardens are.

They can use energy, expel waste, and reproduce in ways that nature intended without destroying everything else around them. (…)

The buildings and all around it work like biological, growing beings, photosynthesising and producing and re-using their own energy.”

(Jo Twist, BBC)

What’s more:

“… the book itself is a physical symbol of the changes to come. It is printed on a synthetic ‘paper,’ made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged. And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This ‘treeless’ book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality – in cradle-to-cradle cycles.”

(book description, author’s website)

We Are Cancer

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

The picture above is of 500-or-so nude sunbathers, from a global aerial photographic survey conducted by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and a team of editors, technicians, translators, etc. Started in 1994, the project is called The Earth From Above, and “was born from Yab’s dream for a general survey on the state of the Earth at the eve of the 21st century”.

Nina Paley

The picture of sunbathers made me think of an animation by Nina Paley called The Wit And Wisdom Of Cancer. Nina is known for her syndicated comic strips Nina’s Adventures and Fluff, and a number of highly acclaimed animated shorts, including most recently, The Sitayana.

Surfing The Morning Glory

“The remote settlement of Burketown, in Australia’s northern Queensland, is not the sort of place you’d expect people to travel thousands of miles to visit. With a population of just 178, Burketown sits in one of Australia’s most remote shires. But every September and October, a small group of individuals journey from all corners of the country for the appearance of a remarkable and dramatic cloud called the Morning Glory. Clouds don’t usually have names, nor are they normally linked to a particular location, but then the Morning Glory is no normal cloud. (…) it stretches up to 600 miles (about the length of Britain) and sweeps over Burketown at speeds of up to 35mph. The visitors who come to marvel at this beautiful and awe-inspiring meteorological phenomenon are an intrepid group of glider pilots (…) Each year they come to this sleepy town in the hope of ‘soaring’ the Morning Glory, an exhilarating gliding adventure that can only be described as cloud-surfing.”

(Gavin Pretor-Pinney, The Cloud Appreciation Society)

Four three-minute shorts aired in the UK about Gavin’s trip to Burketown with footage of “some of the most dramatic and exciting gliding conditions in the world”. While his site has them available for watching, the second episode has already been taken down due to overwhelming demand. I grabbed the last two episodes (the most interesting ones) and put them on CN’s server:

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