Have you ever wondered whether black holes exist? And if so, how do astronomers study them? What would it be like to be close to a black hole? UCSC astrophysicist Dr. Martin Gaskell has spent his career studying what happens around supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies. He explains in simple, everyday language recent progress in understanding what is going on around these extraordinary objects as they eat up matter around them. Martin Gaskell is a researcher in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UCSC. He has over four decades of experience working on issues related to supermassive black holes (including a Ph.D.), a couple of hundred publications, and many research grants. He was a finalist for five years in a row for top teaching award at the University of Nebraska. Martin also engages in many popular talks to the public. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
The world’s supply of cheap and clean fresh water will likely plummet as the climate warms and populations boom. Can we find ways to conserve, cut waste, and find new sources before it’s too late?
The latest installment of our What Happens Next series looks for solutions in an unlikely spot: a city perched on the edge of the world’s oldest desert. For the residents of Windhoek, Namibia, the arid future arrived long before the growing freshwater crisis made headlines around the world.
And this city responded to worsening cycles of drought by tapping water resources from a radical source that was already on hand: wastewater from their own city sewers. And while the technology for building a toilet-to-tap management system isn’t new, the mindset required to do here offers a lesson to any city facing an increasingly arid future.
What is the best life we can live? How can we cope with whatever the universe throws at us and keep thriving nonetheless? The ancient Greco-Roman philosophy of Stoicism explains that while we may not always have control over the events affecting us, we can have control over how we approach things. Massimo Pigliucci describes the philosophy of Stoicism.
London-based designer, artist, and all-around professional brainstormer Dominic Wilcox is the person behind Little Inventors, a global project that connects kid inventors with grown-up experts to bring children’s ideas to life. Little Inventors took root in 2015, when Wilcox began establishing inventing workshops for children in his native Sunderland in the north of England. Since then, Little Inventors has steadily grown to a global scale. The organization currently hosts over 7,000 youthful ideas on their website, where adults chime in with words of affirmation to champion the original thinking that goes into each project.[…]
Danish artistNina Saunders creates sculptures that drip, tip, and spill what appears to be amorphous contents onto the ground, turning domestic objects of comfort and kitsch into sculptural pieces unintended for practical use. Her works typically involve secondhand furniture like armchairs and love seats, with the occasional melting piano thrown into her multi-media practice. Floral fabrics run from chair to floor, while the shiny black exterior of a piano seems to leak from its position on the balcony of a busy mall.
No matter what alteration Saunders makes to her collected furniture objects, they are always rendered unusable, with cushions ballooned to an abnormal proportion or legs leaning to an unnaturally slanted angle. Several of her works were included in the recent Hang-Up Collections Exhibition at Hang-Up Gallery in London alongside works by Banksy, David Shrigley, Bonnie and Clyde, and several others […]
Psychologists at the University of Sussex have found a link between depression and an acceleration of the rate at which the brain ages. Although scientists have previously reported that people with depression or anxiety have an increased risk of dementia in later life, this is the first study that provides comprehensive evidence for the effect of depression on decline in overall cognitive function (also referred to as cognitive state), in a general population.
For the study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, researchers conducted a robust systematic review of 34 longitudinal studies, with the focus on the link between depression or anxiety and decline in cognitive function over time. Evidence from more than 71,000 participants was combined and reviewed. Including people who presented with symptoms of depression as well as those that were diagnosed as clinically depressed, the study looked at the rate of decline of overall cognitive state…
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Japanese miniaturist Kiyomi imitates antiques with a stunning attention to detail, creating worn and clouded glass jars, slightly tarnished silverware, and cases packed with dozens of drawers. The talented craftswoman produces pieces for dollhouses out of paper, wire, wood, and other materials that imitate their larger companions. To give her audience a sense of scale, the artist will present her small works alongside a scaleable object, either placing a miniature chair on the seat of a regularly proportioned seat or dwarfing a set of drawers by putting it on the step of a ladder. […]
Artist Phil Young twists the commonly-held perception of wood as a stiff material in his mind-bending sculptures made of polished wood and metal. Each artwork focuses on a single piece of wood that has been carefully carved to appear as if it is being stretched, twisted, bound, or squashed, often by visible forces like metal rings or nails. Young works carefully with each bit of raw material, paying attention to its natural shape and grain as he transforms it into a finished work.
Although his work is non-representational, he is able to evoke a surprising degree of emotion through the dynamic pressure the pieces appear to be subjected to. “I wouldn’t be satisfied if all I did was make beautiful pieces,” the artist explains. “I want the people who see them to question what beauty is, so I take inspiration from places you wouldn’t expect to find beauty, including surgery, diseases, wounded or wrinkled skin, and try to make that look beautiful. I think if you can find beauty even in these places, you can find happiness wherever you are.” […]