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The Wonderfully Mundane New iPhone

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new-iphone.jpg

The new iPhones look like the old iPhones. They sound like the old iPhones. They do the same things as the old iPhones. Just slightly better, more colorfully, and less expensively than the old iPhones. This might seem disappointing: even Apple’s phones are boring now. But this is an ideal state of affairs.

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mlapida
2566 days ago
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Love this take on the forward progress of our little gadgets. I think more people should expect this type of thing in the future. Enough with the wiz-bang top-useless-feature bs.
Houston, TX
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A 102-Year-Old Transport Ship Sprouts a Floating Forest

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A 102 Year Old Transport Ship Sprouts a Floating Forest trees nature history boats Australia
Bruce Hood

A 102 Year Old Transport Ship Sprouts a Floating Forest trees nature history boats Australia
Bruce Hood

A 102 Year Old Transport Ship Sprouts a Floating Forest trees nature history boats Australia
Andy Brill

A 102 Year Old Transport Ship Sprouts a Floating Forest trees nature history boats Australia
Stephane & Eva

A 102 Year Old Transport Ship Sprouts a Floating Forest trees nature history boats Australia
Stephane & Eva

Homebush Bay in Sydney, Australia is home to the remnants of a ship-breaking yard that operated during the mid 20th-century. Large watercraft that outlived their usefulness were towed to Homebush Bay and carefully dismantled to salvage any components that could be reused or sold for scrap.

One such ship was the SS Ayrfield, a 1,140-tonne behemoth built in 1911 as a steam collier that was later used during WWII as a transport ship. In 1972 it was brought to Homebush Bay to be dismantled, but fate would decide differently. Operations at the ship-breaking yard subsequently ceased and parts of several large vessels including the Ayrfield were left behind, the largest objects in an area now infamous for decades of chemical dumping and pollution. But only this century-old transport ship would be transformed by time into a floating forest, a peculiar home for trees and other vegetation that have since sprouted over the last few decades.

From 2008-2010 a concerted effort was made to remove many of the lingering chemicals in Homebush left from the industrial era. Not far away is the Brickpit Ring Walk, a former industrial site where nearly three billion bricks were made from 1911 through the 1980s that is now a carefully protected natural habitat. As the forest has grown inside the SS Ayrfield, the bay is now a popular place for photographers who wish to capture the uncanny sight of this strangely beautiful relic of the bay’s industrial past, not to mention nature’s resiliency.

A huge thanks to Bruce Hood, Andy Brill and Stephane & Eva for providing photos for this post. If you liked reading about the SS Ayrfield you might also like the Glass Beach in California. (via my modern met)

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mlapida
2662 days ago
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Something about these come off as refreshing.
Houston, TX
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Uh.

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Uh.

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mlapida
2705 days ago
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you aked...
Houston, TX
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Longest Sunset

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Longest Sunset

What is the longest possible sunset you can experience while driving, assuming we are obeying the speed limit and driving on paved roads?

—Michael Berg

To answer this, we have to be sure what we mean by “sunset".

This is a sunset:

This is not a sunset:

For the purposes of our question, this is not a sunset:

This is also not a sunset:

This is definitelynot a sunset:

And no matter what happens here, this will not be a sunset:

Sunset starts the instant the Sun touches the horizon, and ends when it disappears completely. If the Sun touches the horizon and then lifts back up, the sunset is disqualified.

For a sunset to count, the Sun has to set behind the idealized horizon, not just behind a nearby hill. This is not a sunset, even though it seems like one:

The reason that can’t count as a sunset is that if you could use arbitrary obstacles, you could cause a sunset whenever you wanted by hiding behind a rock.

Note: We also have to consider refraction. The Earth’s atmosphere bends light, so when the Sun is at the horizon it appears about one Sun-width higher than it would otherwise. The standard practice seems to be to include the average effect of this in all calculations, which I’ve done here.

At the Equator in March and September, sunset is a hair over two minutes long. Closer to the poles, in places like the London, it can take between 200 and 300 seconds. It’s shortest in spring and fall (when the Sun is over the equator) and longest in the summer and winter. at the solstice and equinox.

If you stand still at the South Pole in early March, the Sun stays in the sky all day, making a full circle just above the horizon. Sometime around March 21st, it touches the horizon for the only sunset of the year. This sunset takes 38-40 hours, which means it makes more than a full circuit around the horizon while setting.

But Michael’s question was very clever. He asked about the longest sunset you can experience on apaved road. There’s a road to the research station at the South Pole, but it’s not paved—it’s made of packed snow. There are no paved roads anywhere near either pole.

The closest road that really qualifies is probably the main road in Longyearbyen, on the island of Svalbard, Norway. (The end of the airport runway in Longyearbyen gets you slightly further, although driving there might get you in trouble.)

Longyearbyen is actually closer to the North Pole than McMurdo Station in Antarctica is to the South Pole. There are a handful of military, research, and fishing stations further north, but none of them have much in the way of roads; just airstrips, which are usually gravel and snow.

If you putter around downtown Longyearbyen (get a picture with the “polar bear crossing” sign), the longest sunset you could experience would be a few minutes short of an hour. It doesn’t actually matter if you drive or not; the town is too small for your movement to make a difference.

But if you head a little ways south, you can do even better.

If you start driving from the tropics and stay on paved roads, the furthest north you can get is the tip of European Route 69 in Norway. There are a number of roads crisscrossing northern Scandinavia, so that seems like a good place to start. But which road should we use?

Intuitively, it seems like we want to be as far north as possible. The closer we are to the pole, the easier it is to keep up with the Sun.

Unfortunately, it turns out keeping up with the Sun isn’t a good strategy. Even in those high Norwegian latitudes, the Sun is just too fast. At the tip of European Route 69—the farthest you can get from the Equator while driving on paved roads—you’d still have to drive at about half the speed of sound to keep up with the Sun. (And E69 runs north-south, not east-west, so you’d drive into the Barents Sea anyway.)

Luckily, there’s a better approach.

If you're in northern Norway on a day when the Sun just barely sets and then rises again, When the Sun is near the horizon in northern Norway, the terminator (day-night line) moves across the land in this pattern:

(Not to be confused with the Terminator, which moves across the land in this pattern:)

To get a long sunset, the strategy is simple: Wait for the date when the terminator will just barely reach your position. Sit in your car until the terminator reaches you, drive north to stay a little ahead of it for as long as you can (depending on the local road layout), then u-turn and drive back south fast enough that you can get past it to the safety of darkness. (These instructions also work for the other kind of Terminator.)

Surprisingly, this strategy works about equally well anywhere inside the Arctic Circle, so you can get this lengthy sunset on many roads across Finland and Norway. I ran a search for long-sunset driving paths using PyEphem and someGPS traces of Norwegian highways. I found that over a wide range of routes and driving speeds, the longest sunset was consistently about 95 minutes—an improvement of about 40 minutes over the Svalbard sit-in-one-place strategy.

But if you arestuck in Svalbard and want to make the sunset—or sunrise—last a little longer, you can always try spinning counterclockwise. It’s true that it will only add an immeasurably small fraction of a nanosecond. But depending on who you’re with ...

... it might be worth it.

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mlapida
2706 days ago
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So good.
Houston, TX
popular
2707 days ago
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10 public comments
thameera
2703 days ago
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Not everything is a sunset
Sri Lanka
Brstrk
2705 days ago
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If the sun suddenly hatched, it still wouldn't be a sunset, but it'd be an AWESOME dawn.
Michdevilish
2706 days ago
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What If?: Longest Sunset
Canada
lelandpaul
2707 days ago
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My new favorite illustration of capitonyms.
San Francisco, CA
tedder
2707 days ago
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if it's worth doing, its worth overdoing.
Uranus
roasty
2706 days ago
I am slightly ashamed to say that I looked at your comment and thought, "Wow that's really a great comment. I wish there were a way for me to 'like' this comment" Then I realized that "my liking of a comment adds nothing to it and does not really accomplish anything." Followed by, "Why have I been trained to think that my appreciation of a comment deserves to be expressed." Finally I realized that "if I make this series of thoughts into a reply I would be able to express my enjoyment of your comment while simultaneously exercising my Facebook fueled need to 'like' things."
iiieeeoo
2706 days ago
"Liking" has a purpose. In real life you often express appreciation for things without saying anything, by nodding, smiling etc.. It doesn't add content but it's an important part of casual communication. In text, you don't get that feedback unless people deliberately decide to show it. Sometimes they don't bother, sometimes they do and you get a series of contentless comments. When you can express appreciation with just a click you can do your virtual smile-and-nod with a little less effort and a little less inanity.
Andi_Mohr
2706 days ago
@roasty, try favouriting the comment (click the star). You'll like it.
roasty
2705 days ago
@iiieeeoo I hadn't considered that. Worth thinking about. @Andi_Mohr Interesting. I don't see a star to click.
dreadhead
2705 days ago
I wish you could star/favourite replies...
roasty
2704 days ago
Ah. The star is in the dev interface.
rclatterbuck
2707 days ago
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.
beslayed
2707 days ago
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//
cori
2707 days ago
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Funniest. WhatIf. Evar.
Madison and Stoughton, Wi

1972 : Alma Hitchcock with Alfred’s wax head in the fridge

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Alma Hitchcock with Alfred's Wax Head in the Fridge

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mlapida
2721 days ago
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Classic Alma
Houston, TX
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1 public comment
fredw
2721 days ago
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hahaha, nice
Portland, OR

While the notorious maze of airport hallways might only give you...

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While the notorious maze of airport hallways might only give you a headache while traveling, it turns out they’re rather beautiful from above.

Photographer Jeffrey Milstein took to the skies to capture the twisted terminals of some of the country’s largest airports.

Airports Are Strikingly Beautiful From Above

via Gizmodo

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mlapida
2723 days ago
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This may give me a better appreciation for the orchestra that is flying commercially.
Houston, TX
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