Facebook details a way to offer laser-based internet access

Have you wondered how Facebook might offer high-speed internet access using lasers? The company's Connectivity Lab is happy to show you. It justpublished a research paper explaining laser beam technology can deliver up to 2Gbps to remote places. The trick, it says, is to use fluorescent optical fibers to collect the light instead of relying on traditional optics. Since the fibers don't emit the same color that they're absorbing, you can shine a brighter light at them (similar to a solar concentrator) and manage an extremely quick turnaround time of under 2 nanoseconds. Combine that with multi-stream data encoding and you get the ample bandwidth that's normally reserved for WiFi and wired networks.....more 

7 groups fighting food waste around the world


Food waste is a serious problem, with an estimated 40 percent of all calories grown for human consumption getting lost or wasted along the way from field to fork. This is particularly tragic when you consider that nearly 800 million people do not get enough food to support an active life and that poor nutrition kills 3.5 million children each year (nearly half of deaths in children under age five).

A growing number of people are taking action against food waste, creating start-ups and groups within their communities to combat food waste. Most involve the redistribution the surplus food to local charities, while others cook and serve food that would otherwise go to waste. These groups are slowly saving food, diverting it from landfills, and feeding the hungry. Sometimes these actions go even further, as shown by India's Robin Hood Army, which crosses political borders and breaks down cultural boundaries in the process. Slowly but surely, change is happening, but the no food waste movement needs more volunteers and greater awareness in order to spread. See what's available in your own community; perhaps you can make a difference, too.

This Dutch organization’s name means “Crooked Cucumber.” It was created when two Business & Economics students, Jente and Lisanne, learned how much produce is thrown away each year because of irregular shapes, blemishes, even just for being too big or too small. The women launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that resulted in the production of a soup line that uses exclusively wonky vegetables.

Kromkommer has held urban celebrations of imperfect produce, serving and selling thousands of kilograms of produce that would otherwise be thrown away, in an effort to educate people about these usefulness of these foods, despite their unusual appearance.

In a letter to French supermarket chain Intermarch√©, famous for its “Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables” campaign in 2014, Kromkommer argued for a better approach:

“We think crooked cucumbers, heart-shaped potatoes and other so-called ‘inglorious’ fruits and vegetables are way more fun and extra special. So why would you call them ugly or ‘moche’? The same feeling of inferiority is communicated in the price. We read you sold the products at discounts of 30%. Wasn’t the whole point that a hideous orange is just as good as a perfect orange? Then why should we pay less? If we want to change the perception of consumers, shouldn’t we stop giving them the wrong cues?...more 

PHOTOGRAPHY: 'Underwater' by Ed Freeman

In his series ‘Underwater’, American photographer Ed Freeman captures nude people in water, creating a painterly paean to the nature of the human body.

Through underwater photography, Freeman explores human passion, sexuality and movement. However, these familiar themes, a part of every human’s life, are put into the surreal underwater scenery, opening the space for the viewer’s fantasies and dreams. Freeman, who was a musician in his early career, seems to capture his subjects during a gentle dance, showing astonishing nuances of the movement and human interaction.

“I want to make beautiful images. I take pictures of naked people because they are the most beautiful things I know of in this world that I can see with my eyes and photograph with a camera. Sometimes I think art is like prayer, a way to thank God for being human and having the life and the senses that we do. Then too I think it is a way to express thoughts and feelings for which there are no words.”...more

Jon Burgerman – world's greatest doodler on colouring in, tackling challenges and launching a new book

Jon Burgerman is a UK born, NYC-based artist instigating improvisation and play through drawing and spectacle. He is a purveyor of doodles and is often credited and referenced as the leading figure in the popular 'Doodle' art style.

His work is placed between fine art, urban art and pop-culture, using humour to reference and question his contemporary milieu. His is a pervasive and instantly recognisable aesthetic that exists across a multitude of forms including canvases, large scale murals (indoor and outside), sculpture, toys, apparel, design, print and people (as tattoos and temporary drawings).

Jon studied Fine Art at The Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2001 with First Class Honours. If you're a fan of his work, then you'll be happy to know that he's launching a colouring and sticker book today. Called Burgerworld and published by Laurence King, it's jam-packed with big personality and doodle artworks, where you can colour and scribble strange monsters and mind-boggling creatures.

We spent half an hour chatting to Jon about his new book, his life, the universe, doodles and everything...

Tell us a little more about yourself. Where are you from originally? Where did you study?

"Hello! I was born in the middle of the UK. I am a middle child. I don’t like sitting in the middle on the back seat of a car.

"I studied Fine Art in Nottingham in the East Midlands of the UK. When I graduated I didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew what I wanted to do - draw and make things, but I didn’t know how that could be a career, or what you’d even call it. In a funny sort of way I think I've carved out my own little career that I’m not sure existed before - I am a doodler!"

What was the main trigger for starting a career in illustration? Have you always drawn?

"Yes, like all children I drew. It’s just that as we grow up a lot of people stop drawing. It’s nothing unusual to draw as a child. It’s perhaps more unusual to keep drawing anthropomorphic pizza slices on skateboards well into your thirties.

"Whilst I do some illustration work from time to time I don’t think my career is in illustration. I don’t really do editorial pieces and the like (no-one ever asks me). If I relied solely on illustration work I’d of starved long ago."

Can you briefly talk us through your creative process, from planning (if this applies) to finished illustration?

"Thinking is the first thing. I think about what I might make and how it might feel. How it might feel to make it and how it might feel at the end of the process when the viewer is looking at it.

"Then I try and describe the feeling through drawings in ink. I take the drawings I like the best and, depending on the project and who it’s for, will scan them in.

"Once scanned I might clean them up at bit in Photoshop and then colour them in. And then it’s done. The process is very simple and often quite quick. The thinking and the feeling can take a long time though."...more 

For Coffee Drinkers, the Buzz May Be in Your Genes

Like most of my work, this article would not have been possible without coffee.

I’m never fully awake until I have had my morning cup of espresso. It makes me productive, energized and what I can only describe as mildly euphoric. But as one of the millions of caffeine-loving Americans who can measure out my life with coffee spoons (to paraphrase T.S. Eliot), I have often wondered: How does my coffee habit impact my health?

The health community can’t quite agree on whether coffee is more potion or poison. The American Heart Association says the research on whether coffee causes heart disease is conflicting. The World Health Organization, which for years classified coffee as “possibly” carcinogenic, recently reversed itself, saying the evidence for a coffee-cancer link is “inadequate.” National dietary guidelines say that moderate coffee consumption may actually be good for you – even reducing chronic disease.

Why is there so much conflicting evidence about coffee? The answer may be in our genes.

About a decade ago, Ahmed El-Sohemy, a professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, noticed the conflicting research on coffee and the widespread variation in how people respond to it. Some people avoid it because just one cup makes them jittery and anxious. Others can drink four cups of coffee and barely keep their eyes open. Some people thrive on it.

Dr. El-Sohemy suspected that the relationship between coffee and heart disease might also vary from one individual to the next. And he zeroed in on one gene in particular, CYP1A2, which controls an enzyme – also called CYP1A2 – that determines how quickly our bodies break down caffeine....more

MUSIC: Animal Feelings - So High (feat. Mammals)

MUSIC: Agar Agar - Prettiest Virgin

MUSIC: Jonas Martin - Wannabe