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Humans are a virus

Posted: April 22, 2014 in humor
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“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.” Agent Smith, Matrix, 1999.

In this Earth Day I was picking up pieces of themes to make a post, so I remembered this anthological quote from Agent Smith (played by Hugo Weaving in the Wachovsky brothers’ film Matrix) and this research of professor Cédric Feschotte from University of Texas showing that about eight percent of human genetic material comes from a virus and not from our ancestors, according to a new study. The research shows that the genomes of humans and other mammals contain DNA derived from the insertion of bornaviruses, RNA viruses whose replication and transcription takes place in the nucleus.

Well, virus or not we are more than 7 billion now and we have just one planet to live. Think about it.

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22 April: Earth Day

Posted: April 22, 2014 in news
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Earth_flag_PDA flag designed for the first Earth Day (1969) by John McConnell is a dark blue field charged with The Blue Marble, a famous NASA photo of the Earth as seen from outer space.

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation written by McConnell and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in recognition of his work. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.

Source: Wikipedia. Read more, donate and help: http://www.earthday.org.

And you? What are you doing to help and make Earth a better planet?

The Green Cities Campaign

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Earth Day Network launched the Green Cities campaign in the fall of 2013 to help cities around the world become more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint. Focused on three key elements – buildings, energy, and transportation – the campaign aims to help cities accelerate their transition to a cleaner, healthier, and more economically viable future through improvements in efficiency, investments in renewable technology, and regulation reform.

Energy

Most of the world currently relies on outdated electric generation structures that are extremely inefficient and dirty. To help cities become more sustainable, we need to redesign the current system, transition to renewable energy sources, and implement 21st century solutions.

Green Buildings

Buildings account for nearly one third of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Through simple efficiency and design improvements to buildings we can reduce those emissions drastically. To realize that vision, cities need to update ordinances, switch to performance based building codes, and improve financing options.

Transportation

Transportation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, three quarters of which comes directly from road vehicles. To reduce these emissions and the resulting smog, we need to improve standards, increase public transportation options, invest in alternative transportation, and improve city walkability and bikeability.

Read more: Green Cities Campaign.

Artist and photographer Michael Paul Smith has spent hours upon hours photographing one special town that he holds very dear to his heart. There is something that always drew him to it, and the images he created are simple, but stunning. They glow with small-town charm and innocence, reminiscent of days and decades past…

Welcome to Elgin Park!

visitepThinking where to spend vacations next summer? How about a quiet country town, wooded, no traffic, where people know each other by the name and where everything breathes the memories of an era that will never return? Yes, Elgin Park is the ideal city. Is quaint and beautiful:

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It’s like each picture tells a story of how life used to be in the United States.

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There’s not much going on in these pictures, but it’s obvious that this town is nothing but charm.

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To Michael Paul Smith, this is what quintessential America looked like when he was a kid. But Elgin Park it’s not real… It doesn’t exists, except in the mind of photographer and artist Michael Paul Smith. For over 25 years, he has been creating this imaginary world called “Elgin Park”, filled with scaled models of old cars. They’re 1/24th the size to be exact. He chooses appropriate surroundings for these models, and then uses his camera to capture the most realistic shot possible. The kind of shot that you have no idea is within a tiny world. Here’s the best part: he does it all with a $200 point and shoot camera.

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His photos tell a story that takes you back to that time and place. “What started out as an exercise in model building and photography, ended up as a dream-like reconstruction of the town I grew up in. It’s not an exact recreation, but it does capture the mood of my memories”, Michael says. The photos that recreate this imaginary town of “Elgin Park” are believable not only because the backgrounds, lighting and subject are expertly integrated, but also because of the extensive and thoroughly researched details in each scene.

Michael sets his models up on a card table and populates it with cars from his extensive collection of Danbury Mint and Franklin Mint die cast autos and trucks. The buildings are constructed of resin-coated paper, styrene plastic and basswood, plus numerous found objects. No Photoshop was used in these images; they’re all composed in the camera. He places the scene near the street or in a parking lot and lines up the camera angle and horizon to perfectly match that of the model, getting the perspective just right. Michael also does night scenes, which are usually photographed inside his small apartment using a very simple lighting setup. He is also able to duplicate the moods of different weather conditions, seasons and times of day with streets wet from rain or curbs drifted with snow made from carefully applied baking soda.

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If you’d like to see more pictures of this perfect American town, visit the Elgin Park website or visit Michael’s page on Flickr. To learn more about Michael’s work, please visit the Craftsmanship Museum website for a full writeup on his talents and process.

Source: http://www.amusingplanet.com

SW Picture of the day

Posted: April 14, 2014 in humor
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Jedi Twins

May the Force be with you! Have a nice week!

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