How bad is it? The U.S. considers air with miniscule particles above 100 micrograms per cubic meter as “unsafe.” This weekend, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing logged concentrations almost as high as 900 micrograms. As many as 33 cities had “hazardous” air during the weekend, according to Chinese media, leading to crushes of people seeking medical help for breathing problems and a booming market for face masks.
Chinese officials’ response to the air-pollution crisis has been quick and decisive. Stay indoors! they say. Dozens of construction sites have shut down to help diminish the foul cloud. So far, the situation has not approached the direness of the weather-related smogmageddon of October 2010. An ocean of cottony air reduced visibility to as little as 330 feet in places, leading to a rash of traffic accidents that wound up killing at least 32 people.
Read more. [Images: Jason Lee, Reuters]
“December 22, 2012. If you’re watching this video, it means one thing: the world didn’t end yesterday,” this video begins. Yes, NASA is so confident the world won’t end that they released the video early. Pretty sassy for a bunch of earnest scientists.
Multimedia artist Jeff Frost’s Flawed Symmetry of Prediction isn’t your average time-lapse study of the Milky Way. Frost paints massive geometric shapes on walls so that they function as optical illusions, blurring the line between 2D and 3D when captured on video.The experimental piece unfolds to reveal a haunting, post-apocalyptic world where flickering wildfires and industrial plants illuminate desert vistas. Frost’s sci-fi vibe is inspired in part by actual science — one painting draws on a NASA diagram of evidence for the Big Bang and the soundtrack uses clips recorded by Voyager 1. Be sure to watch it full screen in HD to appreciate the crisp visual detail.
Your latest reminder that the future is now.
[Image: Till Credner via NASA]
It contains around 5,500 galaxies, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness visible to the human eye. There are spiral galaxies that resemble our own Milky Way, fuzzy red galaxies where stars are no longer being formed (at the time the light left them), and faint young galaxies, not yet fully grown. “The history of galaxies — from soon after the first galaxies were born to the great galaxies of today, like our Milky Way — is laid out in this one remarkable image,” NASA said in a press release. For the oldest galaxies in the image, the light now reaching us first shone some 13.2 billion years ago, more than 8.6 billion years before Earth even existed.
Read more. [Image: NASA]
On Friday, NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour landed in Los Angeles, California, after completing its final flight, a cross-country farewell journey with flyovers and stops in Texas, Arizona, and several locations in California. Endeavour completed its last space voyage in June of 2011, and has since been undergoing a decommissioning process in Florida, preparing to be delivered to the California Science Center. Now that the shuttle is in Los Angeles, it will undergo a few weeks of preparation before being carefully towed through city streets to its new home. Collected here are a few snapshots of Endeavour’s farewell flight. (Bonus: The last four images are 3D anaglyph images, for those with a pair of red/cyan glasses handy.)
See more. [Images: NASA, AP, Getty Images]
Built to replace the Challenger, NASA’s Endeavour flew missions to space between 1992 and 2011. Now, the retired spacecraft will spend its time at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. On September 21, Endeavour hitched a ride to Los Angeles International Airport on the back of a shuttle carrier aircraft. How many landmarks can you spot in NASA’s video of the spacecraft’s last journey?