Connect with us

Published

on

A few weeks ago, Michelle Watson woke up to a deafening, steadily oscillating screech. “What the heck is that noise?” she wondered.

She went outside to her yard and saw hundreds of beady-eyed insects enrobed in a thick shell of gold emerging out of the ground and crawling up the trees. What Watson was seeing was the emergence of thousands of Brood X cicadas, part of a billions-strong insect swarm that has lain dormant for 17 years before arising to “scream,” mate— all over about three thunderous weeks.

Watson had spent the past 20 years in Las Vegas, but moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia last year. She’d seen social media posts about the cicadas, which emerge once in a generation across a huge swath of the eastern United States, but figured they were just the usual summer bugs that she’d heard her entire life. “I thought, ‘What’s the big deal?’” she says.

Faced with an onslaught of bizarre creatures, though, she suddenly understood what the big deal was—and did what any modern human would do: She Googled it. Within minutes, she had downloaded Cicada Safari, a cicada-tracking app.

“We’re getting 16,000 photos a day, and at this rate, we are very likely to get half a million observations.” 

Apps like iNaturalist, PictureThis, and PlantIn have become popular respites from the pandemic. Many of these apps act as a digital resource, and allow users to submit photos and video for scientific study. Their success inspired Cicada Safari’s creator Gene Kritsky, an entomologist and biology professor at Mount St. Joseph University, to create his own service as a way of tracking Brood X.

Crowdsourcing has long been a way of gathering information for an event that only happens once in a generation, says Kritsky. Researchers in 1858 wrote to newspaper editors urging them to get readers to write in with observations, while postcards were popular in the first half of the 20th century. By the late 1980s, Kritsky was using a telephone hotline that would often get so drowned in tips that the tape on his voicemail machine would get jammed. In 2004, during the last emergence of Brood X, he urged people to send in observations via email with photos attached. He received about 1,000.

Cicada Safari app allows users to track sightings of cicadas on a map, as well as take photos of insects they spot and submit them to the app. And it is riding a wave, with nearly 180,000 downloads as of publication — not bad for a piece of software that most people won’t use beyond the three-week lifespan of the insects. 

The app has blown away Kritsky’s goal of 5,000 observations, he says. As of June 2, “we have over 400,000 cicada photos submitted,” he says. “We’re getting 16,000 photos a day, and at this rate, we are very likely to get half a million observations.” 

A team of 20 volunteers, including his wife, sift through each photo by hand, checking to make sure the images are clearly visible ones of a Brood X cicada; if the images aren’t clear, they’re deleted. Kritsky hopes that by the time the next major cicada explosion emerges in 2024—a brood in northern Illinois that emerges on a 13-year cycle—he’ll have figured out a way to use artificial intelligence to do the painstaking work.

“I’m just in awe”

Although Cicada Safari is the only cicada tracker on the US App Store, it is capitalizing on some key trends. Nature-based services tap people’s enjoyment of hikes and outdoor parks as the safest way to interact with others during the pandemic, whether they are vaccinated or not. Citizen science apps, meanwhile, offer a family friendly activity that allows anyone to record and submit natural observations. Michelle Watson feels her submissions to the app are “my small way of contributing to that research.” When you’re stuck at home, an app that makes you feel productive and helpful rather than reminding you of an emptying bank account can be powerful.

That’s reflected in the breadth of people engaging in citizen science. Kritsky says Cicada Safari does not collect data on who is using its service, but has seen photos from users of different ethnicities, often with children, and older people in the background. “We wanted the interface to be really simple,” Kritsky says. 

Citizen science apps have succeeded in opening up the conversation and work of research to many people with no science background. Watson, a former paralegal, has now joined a Facebook group dedicated to tracking cicadas, and is also on a group chat with fellow enthusiasts. The app’s leaderboard—a ranking of the top 500 submittors of usable cicada images—shows that she’s currently holding the  No.2 spot in the country, with 3,785 photos at the time of publishing (the leader is at nearly 7,000.)

I can already tell how my return to work will go after this little staycation.
Read More

————

By: Tanya Basu
Title: The Brood X cicadas are here — and yes, there’s an app for that
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2021/06/03/1025683/brood-x-cicada-safari-app-citizen-science/
Published Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2021 09:00:00 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/privacy-first-cross-chain-compute-protocol-automata-raises-2-4m/

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

Published

on

Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

Read More

————

By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/the-download-a-breakthrough-climate-bill-and-twitters-terrible-trends/

Continue Reading

Tech

Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

Published

on

EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

Read More

————

By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/

Continue Reading

Tech

Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

Published

on

The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

Read More

————

By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

Continue Reading

Trending