Graham's Tumblelog





I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort and disappointment and perseverance.
Vincent van Gogh  (via beautilation)



A couple months ago I shared some GIFs of invisible things, and I finally got around to putting them together in this video:

When light travels through areas of different air density, it bends. You’ve probably noticed the way distant pavement seems to shimmer on a hot day, or the way stars appear to twinkle. You’re seeing light that has been distorted as it passes through varying air densities, which are in turn created by varying temperatures and pressures.

Schlieren Flow Visualization can be used to visually capture these changes in density: the rising heat from a candle, the turbulence around an airplane wing, the plume of a sneeze … even sound.  Special thanks to Mike Hargather, a professor of mechanical engineering at New Mexico Tech, who kindly provided a lot of these videos.

I’m totally Schlieren right now. Amazing sights of sounds.

at Glendalough

at Glendalough

Moral licensing turns out to be, at its core, an identity crisis. We only reward ourselves for good behaviour if we believe that who we really are is the self that wants to be bad. From this point of view, every act of self-control is a punishment, and only self-indulgence is a reward. Moving beyond moral licensing requires knowing that who we are is the self that wants the best for us – and the self that wants to live in line with our core values. When this happens, we will no longer view the impulsive, lazy or easily tempted self as the “real” us. We will no longer act like someone who must be bribed, tricked or forced to pursue our goals, and then rewarded for making any effort at all.
McGonigal, Kelly; Maximum Willpower. Macmillan
The more important objection is that the fact that a certain behavior is common does not negate its being corrupt. Indeed, as is true for government abuses generally, those in power rely on the willingness of citizens to be trained to view corrupt acts as so common that they become inured, numb, to its wrongfulness. Once a corrupt practice is sufficiently perceived as commonplace, then it is transformed in people’s minds from something objectionable into something acceptable. Indeed, many people believe it demonstrates their worldly sophistication to express indifference toward bad behavior by powerful actors on the ground that it is so prevalent. This cynicism – oh, don’t be naive: this is done all the time – is precisely what enables such destructive behavior to thrive unchallenged.
Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity. For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is so timid and dislikes going into the water
Friedrich Nietzsche
The Act of Planning

The act of planning is what matters, more than the plan itself.

Even if the plans change entirely, even if you throw away the plan as soon as it is finished - the fact that you have planned enables you to make better choices.

Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.
Richard Wiseman, summarising “The Luck Factor”

I’m concerned about the potential for anthropogenic climate change to irrevocably damage ecosystems and biodiversity, and cause a lot of human suffering.  I’m also excited about the potential of new technology to mitigate the damage by reducing carbon emissions.

I found myself thinking about the technologies I’ve read about that could help, and below I’ve collected some of my favourites that, in my amateur opinion, have the potential to greatly reduce carbon emission in residences, commerce and wheeled-transport.