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A Backstage Pass To Hidden London

Hidden London

I lived in London for twenty-five years and never got to see the inside of the 1930s decommissioned Battersea Power Station. Nobody does! But the guy that took this picture (above), Peter Dazeley– he even got them to switch on the control room’s art deco lights for him. And it turns out, getting this kind of access wasn’t just a lucky coincidence. Peter Dazeley gets a backstage pass to hidden places all over London, because it’s his job. Veteran photographer, born and bred Londoner, Dazeley’s ongoing project “Hidden London” is about recording unseen, historic London buildings, their architecture and interiors as they stand in the 21st century. It’s an ongoing project that will soon be on show in both an exhibition and a book.

More at Messy Nessy Chic

We’re Over The Hill At 24

24

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but if you’re over 24 years of age you’ve already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new study. In one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data, the researchers investigate when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that.

More at ScienceDaily

Why Nobody Can Tell Whether The World’s Biggest Quantum Computer Is A Quantum Computer

DWave Quantum Computers

For the past several years, a Canadian company called D-Wave Systems has been selling what it says is the largest quantum computer ever built. D-Wave’s clients include Lockheed Martin, NASA, the US National Security Agency, and Google, each of which paid somewhere between $10 million and $15 million for the thing. As a result, D-Wave has won itself millions in funding and vast amounts of press coverage—including, two months ago, the cover of Time (paywall).

These machines are of little use to consumers. They are delicate, easily disturbed, require cooling to just above absolute zero, and are ruinously expensive. But the implications are enormous for heavy number-crunching. In theory, banks could use quantum computers to calculate risk faster than their competitors, giving them an edge in the markets. Tech companies could use them to figure out if their code is bug-free. Spies could use them to crack cryptographic codes, which requires crunching through massive calculations. A fully-fledged version of such a machine could theoretically tear through calculations that the most powerful mainframes would take eons to complete.

More at Quartz

Cherry Trees That Flew To Space Bloom Six Years Early

Cherry Blossoms

Japanese astronauts took hundreds of cherry tree seeds with them to the International Space Station in 2008-2009, after which they were planted in several locations throughout Japan. About 265 seeds were taken from a celebrated old tree outside a Buddhist temple in Gifu, in central Japan, that is thought to be 1,250 years old. One of the space seeds was sprouted near the temple, but oddly, shot up more quickly then other cherry trees of its variety (that weren’t taken to space). And now the tree is blooming, at four years of age — about six years ahead of schedule. “We are amazed to see how fast it has grown,” Masahiro Kajita, chief priest at the Ganjoji temple, told AFP. The seeds were planted at a total of 14 locations, and blooms have already developed in four locations.

More at Popular Science

The Netherlands Built A Glow In The Dark Highway

sustainable_highway_2

Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced streetlights on a 500m stretch of highway in the Netherlands.

Studio Roosegaarde promised us the design back in 2012, and after cutting through rather a lot of government red tape we can finally see the finished product.

One Netherlands news report said, “It looks like you are driving through a fairytale,” which pretty much sums up this extraordinary project. The design studio like to bring technology and design to the real world, with practical and beautiful results.

More at Wired

The Strange Reason You’ll Always Weigh Less In Canada Than Anywhere Else

Canada

Canadians like to point out all the things they have that America doesn’t: Mounties, the metric system, universal health care. But you might not know that there’s one thing they’re a little short on north of the border: gravity. That’s right: Canada actually has less gravity than it’s supposed to. The reasons for the shortage have puzzled scientists for decades.

Gravity isn’t uniform all over the Earth’s surface. It’s a result of mass, which means the varying density of the Earth at different locations can affect how much you weigh there. Canadians aren’t all free-floating like Sandra Bullock, but the effect is definitely measurable. In the Hudson Bay region, the average resident weighs about a tenth of an ounce less than they would weigh elsewhere. (And much less than they’d weigh if they moved south, where there are more Tim Hortons. But that’s a different story.)

More at The Daily Traveler

A Pyramid In The Middle Of Nowhere Built To Track The End Of The World

End Of The World Pyramid

A huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar. An abstract geometric shape beneath the sky without a human being in sight. It could be the opening scene of an apocalyptic science fiction film, but it’s just the U.S. military going about its business, building vast and other-worldly architectural structures that the civilian world only rarely sees.

The Library of Congress has an extraordinary set of images documenting the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in Cavalier County, North Dakota, showing it in various states of construction and completion. And the photos are awesome.

More at Gizmodo

How To Keep The NSA From Spying Through Your Webcam

No Webcam

You already know that laptops, desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones are all at risk of being hacked. But did you know that intruders might use the built-in camera to take surreptitious pictures and videos of you and your surroundings or hijack your microphone to eavesdrop on conversations?

The latest story from the Edward Snowden leaks yesterday drives home that the NSA and its spy partners possess specialized tools for doing exactly that. According to The Intercept, the NSA uses a plug-in called GUMFISH to take over cameras on infected machines and snap photos.

More at Wired

Check Out This Chapel Made Of Human Bones

Chapel Made Of Bones

Though it might look like any other Polish chapel from the outside, the Kaplica Czaszek chapel sets itself apart: behind a humble pair of wooden doors, it contains the bones of thousands. After visiting shallow grave sites commemorating the fallen soldiers and civilians killed in the Silesian Wars, the Thirty Years’ War, plagues, and cholera, a local priest named Vaclav Tomasek collected and cleaned skeletal remains, embedding them in the chapel walls.

More at Beautiful Decay

How To Have An Out Of Body Experience

Out Of Body Experience

You can have an out of body experience right now, and it isn’t even that hard. Some people can do it more easily than others, and it may take a little practice. But it is something that anybody can do, and it can be done scientifically.

Let’s start with a question: Where do you feel like the center of your “self” is right now? Most people feel like the center of their consciousness—the vantage from which they are experiencing the world—is somewhere behind their eyes. This makes sense: Your eyes are there, your ears are there, and even your mouth and your nose are there. Four out of five of your senses are all focused in a single area, so it’s no surprise that you feel like the center of your self is “in your head.”

More at The Kernel