September 13, 2010

City of the Future

Posted in environment, Random, thought tagged , , , , at 12:37 am by silivalilife

What comes to your imagination first when asked about the future? In the best scenario that is, without world wars, global warming, ice ages, etc. I am  not sure, there is no much place left in my imagination, because I have been imposed a very generalized image by the people, whether it is an artist, writer, director, or a scientist. A Megapolis that covers whole planet. It is assumed that in best scenario there are going to be a lot of us on a very little space. Oh well, nothing much we can do there.  Ok, I wanted some of those images, from Google. has a lot of images:

this is how we imagined it may look in 1985

There are more gloomy images, this one might be not the best of the scenarios:

It is quite realistic though, and not much of a future, cities like this exist already.

 This one is creepy too, imagine living in one of these:

All of the images I found have a lot in common. High buildings, some lawns for green feeling. What I could not find in any of those images were the trees. In the present time cities the trees somehow managed to survive, usually dusty, dwarfed and surrounded, tangled in humiliating Christmas lights, but still giving us some illusion of being close to nature.  But according to common vision there is no place even for those our bright future. 

What happened to those childhood love towards climbing trees, hiding in tree houses, sleeping in the shades of the trees.  It is possible that we are feeling unsuitable for the humans on higher level of evolution still getting messed up with the same things our distant ancestors were used to – living among the trees and even hanging on the trees.

Not sure how everyone else, I would feel much happier to live among trees. So I modified my search to look for “city in a forest”.  And, there are images, this one from I liked

I hope a time will come when we would at least dream of a city where the trees are dominant.

May 19, 2010

Shopping and Bees

Posted in environment tagged , at 3:28 pm by silivalilife

I usually have a routine walk route around a huge shopping mall. Starting this winter I noticed a bee colony choose  a crack in the wall to build a nest. This is a busy place with a lot of people getting back and forth and I am surprised nobody pays attention.

I was very cautious at first, I still am. I know they can be aggressive in defending their colony if they feel threatened. But then I noticed how careful they are in avoiding me. Those which return back are loaded and it is easy to notice them flying heavily.  The wind sometimes ushers them making difficult to get in and out. They still manage to avoid me. I am not trying to be on their way, no. I am afraid of them. But the ease they change their trajectory amazed me so much I checked some information about them on the web.

The flight of the bee was considered a mystery and early 20th century scientists famously calculated that it is aerodynamically impossible because the flops of the wings of hefty bugs cannot keep them aloft.

In recent years the scientists have figured out honeybee flight by the help of the high-speed digital photography, to snap freeze-frame images of bees in motion, and a giant robotic mock-up of a bee wing.

The smaller the insect the faster is flaps for staying afloat. As the aerodynamic performance decreases with size, the smaller insects have to flap their wings faster, for example mosquitoes flap at frequency of over 400 beats per second. The bees expect to flap their wings slowly and to sweep them across the same wide arc as other flying insects, whose wings cover nearly half the circle. But instead the bees’ wings beat over a short arc of about 90 degrees, at the speed of 230 beats per second. Fruit flies which are 80 times smaller flap their wings 200 times a second. When the bees are loaded, they increase the arc of their wing strokes, but keep flapping at the same rate. This also puzzled scientists as aerodynamic efficiency would require not how far they flat their wings, but how fast. This is one mystery to solve yet.

Flight of a bee in slow motion

Another fact we still need to realize, one-third of our food depends on honey bees for pollination.

I noticed the exterminator car by the nest a couple of days ago and thought they will destroy the colony. But they didn’t, I do not know why. Maybe they thought it is dangerous to do anything while people is around and will come later. The nest is still there after two weeks. I hope they decided to relocate  the little workers we depend so much on.