Why hurricanes hardly ever hit Europe

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You don’t have to live far inland to avoid hurricanes. Just move to Europe. It rarely sees full-on hurricanes. But that may soon change. Following is a transcript of the video.

Europe hasn’t had a hurricane reach its shore in over 50 years. Now don’t get the wrong idea. Hurricane season still brings a hefty dose of wind and rain. But Europe has something that North America doesn’t, when it comes to protection against hurricanes. Location.

Hurricanes usually form off the coast of West Africa, where warm water near the Equator and high humidity create columns of rapidly rising rotating air. It’s the perfect recipe for a storm. Now the more warm, moist air that the system picks up, the stronger it becomes. That’s why a tropical storms can quickly grow into a full on hurricane as it marches across the Atlantic. Now normally hurricanes are propelled on a westward track by the trade winds, caused by the Earth’s rotation. That’s why Europe as well as the West Coast of the US, rarely experience full on hurricanes. But that’s not the whole story.

After all, since the year 2000, remnants of around 30 hurricanes have reached Europe. For comparison, Florida has seen 79 real hurricanes over the same time frame. By the time these remnants make landfall, they’ve went from a hurricane force, to a tropical storm or weaker. And that’s where Europe’s location comes into play. In order for a hurricane to head towards Europe, something crucial has to happen. It has to travel really far North by about 200 miles. Once a storm system reaches 30 degrees north, it encounters the subtropical jet stream. Which moves in the opposite direction of the trade winds. And therefore, blows the storm East But because the storm is now farther North, the waters underneath are colder by up to about five to 10 degrees Celsius. Which means less energy available to feed the storm. And as a result, it starts to die down by the time it’s headed for Europe. Even though it’s no longer a hurricane, it still packs a punch when it hits shore. In fact, most of these hurricane remnants will combine with other nearby cyclones and weather fronts, that create high winds and rain that mainly hit Ireland and Great Britain. But have been known to reach as far as Greece or even farther in Northern Russia. Typical damages include power outages, flooding, and occasionally casualties. Most recently the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia made landfall in Ireland and Scotland in 2017. About 50,000 households in Northern Ireland lost power. Three deaths were reported and downed trees closed many of the public roads and highways. This was the worst storm that Ireland had seen in 50 years. And it may be a sign of what’s to come.

As global surface temperatures rise, it will also increase the sea surface temperatures in the Northern Atlantic. Which researchers estimate could contribute to an increase in the number of hurricane force storms that reach Europe. Some experts predict that by the end of the 21st century, Europe could experience, on average, 13 powerful storms each year during hurricane season. Compared to the two per year it sees now.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Stephen Hawking’s last paper on black holes is now online

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Chris Williamson via Getty Images

Stephen Hawking never stopped trying to unravel the mysteries surrounding black holes — in fact, he was still working to solve one of them shortly before his death. Now, his last research paper on the subject is finally available online through pre-publication website ArXiV, thanks to his co-authors from Cambridge and Harvard. It’s entitled Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair, and it tackles the black hole paradox. According to Hawking’s co-author Malcolm Perry, the paradox “is perhaps the most puzzling problem in fundamental theoretical physics today” and was the center of the late physicist’s life for decades.

The information paradox arose from Hawking’s theoretical argument back in the 1970s that black holes have a temperature. As such, they’re bound to evaporate over time until there’s nothing left, releasing energy now called the “Hawking Radiation.” See, it’s believed that when an object enters a black hole, its information gets preserved on its surface forever even if it vanishes from sight. If a black hole evaporates, though, then so will that information. That creates a paradox, because according to the rules of quantum physics, information can never be destroyed.

The new paper shows how that information can be preserved by photons called “soft hair” surrounding the edge of black hole, which you might know as the event horizon. According to Hawking, Perry, Andrew Strominger and Sasha Haco, a black hole’s temperature changes when you throw an object (say, a planet’s atoms) into it. The hotter it gets, the more its entropy (its internal disorder) rises. That entropy is what’s preserved in a black hole’s soft hair.

Perry said he called Hawking a few days before he passed away to discuss their work. “It was very difficult for Stephen to communicate and I was put on a loudspeaker to explain where we had got to. When I explained it, he simply produced an enormous smile. I told him we’d got somewhere. He knew the final result,” he told The Guardian. The scientists admit that there’s a lot of work to be done, though: “It’s a step on the way, but it is definitely not the entire answer,” Perry said. “We have slightly fewer puzzles than we had before, but there are definitely some perplexing issues left.”

You can read the paper in full in its pre-published state. Earlier this year, Hawking’s last paper on the multiverse theory was also published in the Journal of High Energy Physics, in case that’s more up your alley.

from Engadget https://engt.co/2yj8vyh
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Fake a $30k pro video controller with an APC40 or Beatstep and Davinci Resolve

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We’re living in an age of video and motion graphics. But now not only can you get a free license of Davinci Resolve to use pro-level tools, but this hack will let you make a standard music controller do a convincing impression of a $30,000 controller. Finally, visuals get as easily hands-on as music.

The Tacyhon Post has a bunch of excellent tools for users of Davinci Resolve. (Resolve is the editor / motion graphics / post tool from Blackmagic. It’s a pro-grade tool, but you can use a free license.) But most intriguing are controller mappings for the Akai APC40 and original Arturia Beatstep. If you don’t have an APC40 already, for instance, that’s an inexpensive used buy. (And maybe this will inspired other mappings, too.)

The APC mapping is the most interesting. And it’s ridiculous how much it does. Suddenly color grading, shapes and motion, tracking and all the editing functions are tangible controls. THe developer has also added in mappings for Resolve FX. And it’s updated for the latest version, Resolve 15, released this summer.

Watch:

The Beatstep version is pretty cool, as well, with similar functionality to the APC. This isn’t the Beatstep Pro but the “vintage” Beatstep. Unlike the APC, that controller hasn’t had quite the staying power on the music side – the Pro version was much better. But that means it’s even better to repurpose it for video, and of course then you have an effective mobile solution.

If you’re the sort of person to drop 30 grand on the actual controller, this probably isn’t for you. But what it does is to liberate all those workflows for the rest of us – to make them physical again. The APC is uniquely suited to the task because of a convenient layout of buttons and encoders.

I’m definitely dusting off an APC40 and a forgotten Beatstep to try this out. Maybe if enough of us buy a license, it’ll prompt the developer to try other hardware, too.

Super custom edition by the script developer, with some hardware hacks and one-off paint job. Want.

Meanwhile, where this really gets fun is with this gorgeous custom paint job. DIY musicians get to be the envy of all those studio video people.

Grab the scripts to make this work (paid):

https://posttools.tachyon-consulting.com/davinci-resolve-controllers/apc40-resolve-edition/

https://posttools.tachyon-consulting.com/davinci-resolve-controllers/beatstep-resolve-edition/

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How Fast You Can Realistically Build Natural, Drug-Free Muscle? Here’s Your Answer.

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How To Build Muscle Naturally

Photo by John Fornander on Unsplash

As a former 103 pound skinny runt I wanted nothing more than to build muscle. I figured more strength and muscle would help me in sports and more importantly, to get laid.

Unfortunately, I fell prey the same misinformation you probably see today.

“Add an inch to your arms this week!”

“Add ten pounds of mass in BulkTober!”

Whatever the marketing hype, I bought it…along with the supplements and miracle workouts programs sponsoring the overhyped programs. Chances are, you’ll have the same experience.

Realistic Muscle Building Expectations

Before setting any goal, you must know what’s physically possible.

For example, I’m 5’9”.  It’s an unrealistic expectation that I can make a living playing left tackle and protecting Aaron Rodgers blindside.

Just as I can’t expect to make a living playing left tackle, the average bro can’t expect to eat, train, and look like a bodybuilder.

Further, for most guys who want to look bigger, they’d be best served by getting leaner first. Getting leaner-10-12% where you can see some abs–will show more definition through your chest, arms, and back. Plus, the leaner you are, the less body fat you’ll store when bulking up.

Consider getting leaner first before trying to build muscle.

The Scientific Models of Muscle Growth

The Lyle McDonald Genetic Muscular Potential Model is the golden standard when it comes to determining “how much muscle you can build.”

For starters, this model is built for natural, drug-free guys. Second, this is the maximum potential–meaning if you do everything right, this is what you can expect. Most guys don’t do everything right, whether they’re not eating enough, not training correctly, or skipping on sleep.

What does this mean?

Building muscle is a slow process. Agonizingly slow, to be exact. Most guys scoff at the idea of only adding one or two pounds of muscle per month, trade in their beer money for weight gainer shakes, and add up building their FUPA faster than their biceps.

Bad idea.

When it comes to building muscle, play the long game. The longer you lift and train correctly, the longer it’s going to take, likely capping your muscle growth at 40-50 pounds, total.

As you progress, it gets exponentially harder to build lean muscle.

For example, a 30-year-old or 40-year-old silver-back bro will struggle to gain as fast as an 18-year-old male with the testosterone of a raging bull.

How To Build Muscle Naturally

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

Realistic Muscle Building In Action

Let me tell you about David.

David is a 21-year-old college student. He lifted weights in high school and as a freshman in college but fell off every few weeks. David would rather play Call of Duty, drink cheap beer, and chase girls. Not a sad life too different from my college days.

Unfortunately, girls don’t often date quiet, timid guys who resemble their cute nephew.

David grew sick of the same old same old and decided to build muscle once and for all.

At 140 pounds, David follows a workout plan based on getting stronger in the gym with exercises like squats, deadlifts, rows, and bench presses. He’s training four days per week and tracking his workouts.

He’ll no longer eat “a lot.”

To find how many calories he needs to eat, he took his bodyweight (pounds) x18.

140x 18= 2520 calories.

He’s eating 1g of protein per pound, (140g) and plenty of carbs and fats to fill the rest of his diet.

He’s tracking his diet, drinking less beer, and even sleeping eight hours per night.

Here’s what he can expect.

Year One: Beginner

Woohoo! David built a decent amount of lean muscle. Here’s how it breaks down:

140lbs x .0125 (rate of total body weight per month) = 1.75 pounds per month = 21 pounds per year.

David gained nearly 2 pounds of lean muscle per month and now weighs 161 pounds. Goodbye, little t-shirts and hello, mediums.

 

Year Two: Intermediate

For the first time, David started to hit a wall with his workouts. Luckily, he tweaked his routine by working with me as his online coach (shameless plug, I know; did I mention I now have a mortgage, a beautiful lady to please and a dog to feed?) David started to add lean muscle again.

161 lbs X .0075 (rate of total body weight per month) = 1.2 pounds per month or 14 pounds in a year. David is still gaining at an impressive rate.

David gained about a pound per muscle and now weighs 175 pounds. He’s lean with a few abs showing and appears much bigger than he is. David deadlifts 405 lbs and looks better than 90% of guys in the gym.

As to whether his dating life is improving, I leave that to your imagination.

Year Three: STILL Intermediate

David has learned a lot. He might not be a gym Jedi, but he’s every bit a Han Solo.

He knows how to make subtle adjustments to his training. He tracks his workouts and “feels” when he needs to push harder or dial back. He’s in the zone and pushing his body to the max.

175 lbs x 0.0037 (rate of total body weight per month) = 0.65 pounds of muscle per month, or 7.7 pounds in a year.

David gained almost eight pounds in his third year and now weighs 183 pounds.

His strength gains slowed down, so he added more training volume to focus on building muscle. Right now, he’s at a level most folks won’t ever reach in the gym.

How did David do it?

Well, he’s been consistent.

David can continue making progress, but the process will be slow. He’s creeping towards his genetic limit for size and strength. He might gain a few pounds per year, but he’s not piling on 30 pounds of new muscle like a newb.

The Journey

After a few years of solid training, your progress will slow to a trickle. No biggie, it’s part of the game when you’re no longer makin’ newbie gains.

Again, your reaction to slower progress is key. Don’t try every method under the sun and end up with information overload,  like most lifters. Instead, reconsider down on your expectations and review your progress.

Are you willing to dedicate every aspect of your life for bigger arms or a more symmetrical body?

If not, consider continuing on your path and understanding you’ll still make progress, but it’s going to be a journey.

Remember most guys can build around 40-50 pounds of lean mass.

Gaining more than the aforementioned 40-50 pounds requires an elite level of discipline (like competitive bodybuilders) and potentially, a good pharmacist. Not here to judge in either way, but facts are facts.

The Takeaway

You can gain 1-2 pounds of lean muscle as a beginner and gradually less; .2 – .5 lbs per month after. The process is slow when looking forward, but well worth the journey.

******

Follow Eric and get tons of awesome fitness advice on his Instagram at Bach Performance.

More From Eric Bach On BroBible: 

Why Most Fat Loss Diets Fail: And Two Better Options To Achieve Actual Results

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Self-repairing material plucks carbon from the air

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Strano et. al.

Scientists might have a particularly clever way to help the environment: they’ve developed a material that can not only heal itself, but could reduce CO2 levels in the process. The substance uses its combination of a gel-like polymer with chloroplasts (cell elements that handle photosynthesis in plants) to grow by snatching carbon from the air after exposure to light. If you cracked or scratched an already-solidified piece of this material, the newly exposed sides would promptly expand and fill the gap without requiring heat, ultraviolet light or other special reactions like you see with existing self-healing products.

Researchers have isolated chloroplasts before this, but these organic components tend to stop working a few hours after removal from a plant. The team made them more practical by significantly extending their useful lifespan.

There’s more work to be done, such as replacing the chloroplasts with artificial catalysts that could achieve a similar effect. The potential applications are already clear, however. You could use the polymer as a building material that fixes itself while countering excessive CO2 emissions. It might function as a coating for other products, too. And it could even be economical — construction crews could ship the material in liquid form and make panels out of it at the building site. Urban sprawl would still be a problem after this, but it might have its upsides for the planet.

from Engadget https://engt.co/2QSbIvh
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Palm returns as an ‘ultra-mobile’ smartphone

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I shared images I shot of the Palm device with a few co-workers ahead of this morning’s unveiling, and they were downright giddy. The new “ultra-mobile” device (a term us old people used to use to refer to something closer to a netbook) is a hard thing to contextualize without a picture, so I took a bunch, and many of my oft-jaded co-workers fell for the thing immediately.

The device, which is designed to split the difference between a smartphone and a smartwatch, is admittedly adorable. The startup behind the product employs designs with some impressive credentials, from Samsung to Frog Design.

Really, the device most obviously resembles an iPhone, shrunk down to a 3.3-inch display. The first iPhone, incidentally, had a 3.5-inch screen — though a lot has been done in the intervening 11 years to jam that kind of real estate into a far smaller footprint. And this device, fittingly, fits comfortably in the Palm of your hand.

But adorableness is hardly enough to convince a large swath of the public to shell out $349 for a product category they didn’t know they needed in their life until this morning. There are a number of issues. For one thing, this is a Verizon exclusive. Sure, our parent company’s parent company has a lot of subscribers, but you’re already writing off a number of potential buyers with the fact that you need an existing VZW plan to tack the Palm onto. Oh, and that will run you an additional $10 a month.

[Note: I did not take this photo of Steph.]

I’m sure you’re already imagining the ways this thing will fit into your life. If not, Palm investor, accessory designer and Splash Brother Stephen Curry is happy to help you. The Warrior all-star has been incorporating the product into his off-season workouts, and certainly there’s something to be said for the much smaller form factor when it comes to strapping it to your arm for NBA workouts.

For the rest of us, perhaps the reborn Palm represents freedom from being tethered to our six-inch smartphones. Granted, it’s still a smartphone of sorts, but it’s a start. And the device can help you get a lot more done than your average smartwatch — though I speak from experience when I say it’s going to take a lot of practice to get used to typing on that tiny screen again.

The Palm runs Android (8.1), naturally. Though the company has created a custom skin that forgoes the desktop and takes you right into the app tray. From there, you can reorder your apps based on preference. And yes, unlike Wear OS, they run as their full versions here.

The device is IP68 water-resistant and sports an 800mAh battery — not big, but then, neither is the screen, so they ought to even each other out. Palm rates it as “All Day.” Inside, you also get 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a Snapdragon 435. Those are bad smartphone specs, but perhaps good specs as far as “ultra-mobiles” go? Hard to say. The category didn’t really exist until right now.

The newly reborn Palm created the device with help from supplier TCL. Unlike TCL’s BlackBerry deal, however, the startup owns the exclusive rights to the once-mighty Palm name and operates independently of the massive Chinese phone maker.

Cute? Check. Interesting? Double check. Ready to disrupt the industry? The jury is definitely still out on that one.

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3 Myths About Algorithmic Trading

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3 Myths About Algorithmic Trading

By Nitesh Khandelwal

Algorithmic Trading is often confused with similar concepts and terminologies like quantitative trading, HFT and Automated trading, here are few of them that everyone needs to have clarity about

With the emergence of new technologies, it becomes essential to have clarity of the concepts related to it, which may otherwise cause unpardonable mistakes resulting in losses. Algorithmic Trading is one such domain which is witnessing a rapid growth and hence is surrounded by many myths arising due to misinformation and lack of clarity. Among the few misconceptions which I came across, these are few of them which I feel everyone needs to have clarity about.

Algorithmic Trading is the same as Quantitative Trading, High Frequency Trading (HFT) and Automated Trading

Algorithmic Trading is often confused with similar concepts and terminologies like quantitative trading, HFT and Automated trading. Though these are quite related, but are different from each other. Let us understand these differences by explaining what each term means.

Algorithmic Trading –  Algorithmic Trading is the process of converting a trading strategy into an algorithm or computer code, and checking whether the strategy provides us with good returns by performing backtesting on historical data.

Quantitative Trading – Quantitative trading involves using advanced mathematical and statistical computations along with quantitative analysis to devise trading strategies. This can then be executed manually or in an automated fashion, depending on the strategy (and the strategist!)

Automated Trading – It is automating the overall process of order executions like buying or selling and would often have portfolio & risk management automated as well..

HFT (High-Frequency) Trading – High Frequency Trading involves executing orders in an extremely short span of time, usually in a sub second, and targeting minuscule profit from each trade but doing a vast number of them overall. HFT is a subset of Algorithmic Trading and given the speed at which you’d need to send the orders, must be automated. Interestingly, most of the HFT strategies, except for plain vanilla arbitrage, are quite quantitative in nature.

Retail traders are at a loss due to the use of colocation by High Frequency Traders

This is one of the most common myth regarding the use of colocation and stands completely incorrect as the High Frequency Traders do not compete with retail traders, rather they compete amongst themselves.

Colocation involves placing the servers of the HFT traders in close proximity to the exchange. Given that most of the markets are made (market making) by HFT desks, and since they target to collect few pennies on an average per trade, any sudden event/news can cause significant losses. Being in colocation facility ensures that they are able to update their orders to the fair price within a very short time. This ensures that they are able to offer much better quotes, resulting in significant saving in transaction cost for an average retail trader.  Effectively, it potentially benefits the retail traders as the bid-ask spread is reduced and they can execute their orders at a better price in general.

Individual traders can’t do Algorithmic Trading

As opposed to HFT which can’t be done by an individual trader, Algorithmic Trading can be done by individual traders in most major geographies globally. Algorithmic trading needn’t involve huge capital investments in infrastructure and technology, which is why it is an open domain for everyone to explore. What it requires is a trading idea or strategy converted into an algorithm or code and implemented. Many might be skeptical to try out Algorithmic Trading on their own in live markets for which backtesting, a process which involves testing the strategies on historical data, is of great benefit to ensure maximum efficiency of the trading strategy.

Now that you are familiar with these concepts and have gained clarity about these common myths, you can start exploring the field of Algorithmic trading and bust more such myths surrounding this topic.

 

Read the original article here: 3 Myths About Algorithmic Trading

The post 3 Myths About Algorithmic Trading appeared first on .

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9 of the best movies on Netflix that will make you cry, according to audiences

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Room Movie Brie Larson

Netflix got weepy on Tuesday.

The streaming service asked users on Twitter to name the films that make them cry, using the hashtag "#FourFilmsThatWreckMe," and it retweeted the best ones.

We looked at what Netflix retweeted and rounded up nine of the films that you can actually watch on the service, in case you’re looking for a good cry. They range from the tearjerker that won Brie Larson an Oscar to a classic high-school dramedy.

Below are nine of the best films on Netflix that will make you cry, according to Netflix users:

SEE ALSO: Mark Hamill wants ‘Star Wars’ fans to campaign for Carrie Fisher to receive her Walk of Fame star early for the release of ‘Episode IX’

"Blue Valentine" (2010)

Description: "Two of the most gifted young actors working in cinema today — Academy Award nominees Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams — star in ‘Blue Valentine,’ a romantic drama that follows the intense relationship between a couple who fall passionately in love in their early twenties, and then face challenges to their marriage six years later."

"The Breakfast Club" (1985)

Description: "They were five students with nothing in common, faced with spending a Saturday detention together in their high school library. At 7 a.m., they had nothing to say, but by 4 p.m. they had bared their souls to each other and become good friends. John Hughes, creator of the critically acclaimed Sixteen Candles, wrote, directed and produced this hilarious and often touching comedy starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. To the outside world they were simply the Jock, the Brain, the Criminal, the Princess and the Kook, but to each other, they would always be The Breakfast Club."

"Carol" (2015)

Description: "Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novella The Price of Salt about the burgeoning relationship between two very different women in 1950s New York. One, a girl in her 20s working in a department store who dreams of a more fulfilling life, and the other, a wife trapped in a loveless, moneyed marriage desperate to break free."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Sagittarius Rising – Long exposure photography from the stratosphere

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I shoot long-exposure photos from the cockpit and how they end up sharp, despite flying at roughly 950kmh / 500kts through the air. I will try to answer that question in more detail, going through the process and challenges step by step. Hopefully it sheds some light (pun intended) on the techniques I use and for the pilot-photographers among us some valuable and easy-to-use tips for your next night-flight.

How it began

Back in 2006, when I started flying the Boeing 737 all over Europe for Transavia, I was fascinated by the world at night that passed by my windows at an altitude where we would overfly most of the European weather. A perspective and tranquility that was unparalleled from what I’ve seen before and that simply asked for to be captured.

It was not just the mesmerizing view of countless of city lights of the sleeping world below that fascinated me; also the moonlight on the snow-covered Alps, the constellations above and the other wonders of the night that are simply unique when seen from a pilot’s perspective.

In an attempt to capture those wonders of the night sky, I used my very limited funds to buy the Nikon D80. A beginner-model DSLR camera that gave relatively satisfying results by day. At least it was better than the compact camera I had before.

By night though, the D80 was having a hard time to cope with the lack of light so by logical reasoning, I decided to invest in a lens that would offer the widest angle and had the largest lens-opening for light (aperture) so even my little D80 could achieve at least something at night.

Enter; the Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. Buying this lens was a huge risk considering the steep price, my very restricted financial means and the rather limited-use of Fisheye lenses in general. You will often see those lenses ending up on eBay or second-hand marketplaces after owners found that their use is too limited or even useless in normal photography due to their extreme distortions.

For me though, this little lens has proven to be a unique asset to my unique position above the clouds and even today, nearly 12 years later, I carry that same objective with me. A few scratches, lots of stories and adventures later, she’s always close at hand.
Looking back, buying this tiny Fisheye lens was one of the best investments I have ever made.

How it evolved

In a small space like the cockpit of an aircraft the Fisheye lens proved to be a winner, but the camera was clearly a limiting factor. Soon, my holiday-money was invested in the Nikon D200; a slight step up the camera-ladder and my photography took another small step forward.

But it wasn’t until I was starting to fly the Boeing 747 in 2011 that my night-photography started to get serious.
With flights all over the world and through all time-zones, I was getting more and more interested in capturing the next challenging thing; the moonlight reflected on the clouds, the tender light of a sun long gone below the horizon or even the wonders of the northern lights or falling meteorites.

Finally, my finances (barely) allowed me to invest in my very first full-frame DSLR, the Nikon D800. Only now I started to reap the benefits of using a prime f/2.8 lens on my camera and the real experimenting began.

The balance between shutter-time, aperture and ISO (sensor)-sensitivity became more and more a second nature. Just a glimpse out of the window will tell me what settings are needed without too much ado.
Factors like the phase of the moon, amount of lights from the ground, strength of the Northern Lights or intensity of nearby thunderstorms all led to the point that I started to get a good intuitive feel for the camera settings needed at any time.

Sharp images

Many people have asked me how I manage to get sharp images despite the fact that the airplane is flying at high speeds through the atmosphere.
There are a few factors at play here, and I’ll try to cover them all with as few words as possible.

– Airplane movement;

The airplane is flying at nearly 950km/h or 500kts through the atmosphere. When taking pictures with a long shutter-time (anything between 3 and 30 seconds), you are bound to get some blur from the lights that pass by.
But what is the actual movement? Sure; the lights on the ground pass by noticeably, resulting in streaks or lines of light. But what about the stars? Don’t they move?

Well think about it.. the stars are literally light-years away. Many billions of miles/kilometers. The movement of the aeroplane relative to the stars is nil, nothing. We can easily fly a thousand kilometers an hour; but the stars so extremely far away simply don’t move.

Besides the lack of relative moment, with shutter-times over 30 seconds you will see the movement of the stars ever so slightly, but that is simply because of the rotation of the earth. Then again.. for shutter-times of anything above 15 seconds you will need to have an extremely stable atmosphere to get a sharp shot and you have to be lucky to get any sharp shot anyway. The movement of the stars is your least concern with those very long shutter-times.

– Turbulence:

The eternal and unpredictable spoiler. Whenever I see something incredible that requires a longer shutter-time, I grab my camera and… turbulence starts. Just as predictable as when getting a fresh cup of coffee filled to the brim, or starting to fill out the fuel-calculations on the paperwork; turbulence. Sure to make my handwriting look like Japanese characters with an Okinawa accent.

Long story short; there is nothing I can shoot with turbulence and perhaps its nature’s way of telling me to just enjoy the view without being able to share it with the rest of the world.

I have been unable to shoot some of the most amazing views of Northern Lights and moonlight because of this.. frustrating but hey, what can you do but to simply enjoy it in all silence.

Apart from those annoying moments, most of the times I simply wait for a few minutes when the air is stable enough to just get my camera out and hope for the best.

Fortunately, the Boeing 747 is one of the largest planes in the world and due to its size and weight, the machine is very stable by nature and not easily tossed around. Another benefit of flying the most iconic and beautiful machine in the world.

– Fixation of the camera:

No tripods or other equipment are used. There is simply no room in the small cockpit for those things, neither are they practical to carry along during a 3-4 week trip.

The most efficient way is placing the camera on the glare-shield (the cover of the instrument panel up to the front windows) where I simply put the camera and press the trigger, hoping the air is stable enough.

To fix the camera a notch up or down I use simple stuff like my glasses-case, agenda or lens-cover to stabilize the camera position.

For the window-shots I hold the camera by hand and push it into the corner of the window frame and hold it there. The camera is quite bulky and this allows a relative easy fixation in a position somewhere in the window frame.

– Wide-angle lenses:

One other trick to get sharp images in-flight is using a wide-angle lens.

The further you zoom out (use wider angle view), the less any eventual movement will show in the photo. Imagine; let’s say you zoom in with a tele-lens on the moon or a star and use a long exposure. Even the slightest movement of the camera, air or tripod could blur the image. Now imagine using a wide-angle lens to cover the entire sky.

A slight tremble of the tripod or camera becomes nearly unnoticeable in the general photo.
The same applies for cockpit photography; use a wide-angle lens and cover as much as you can from the sky as possible. This gives you a bit of leeway for any tremble or movement of the aeroplane.

– Window reflections:

Next to turbulence, reflections are my worst enemy.

In general, I found that dimming the cockpit lights as much as practically possible helps in reducing the ambient light pollution of my images. Another trick is to place the lens-opening as close to the window as I can.
You’ll see that if you press the camera nearly against the window, the reflections are more or less disappearing from immediate view.

Unfortunately, there will always be some reflections and here comes another benefit of the 45MP sensor of the Nikon D850; you can crop a lot of the image out and still end up with a very high-resolution image. A definite advantage of the D850 or any other high-end camera.

From the passenger cabin:

‘Well Mr. Pilot; its all nice and dandy that you’re shooting images from that fancy cockpit but how about us passengers, bound to the inflight-entertainment of a wing-view, crying children and a few peanuts?’
Fear not my friends, for I have often taken my photos through the small windows of airliner-cabins as well and I know the limitations of life and photography from the passenger cabin.

Basically the same principle apply; try to fix the camera as close to the window and prevent any reflections.
One way to do that is to try and block the camera body between a seat and the window, if possible. Or just press it against the window with any means possible and keep it as still as possible.

In order to reduce the amount of reflections and ambient light, ask for a blanket and try to cover as much of the area around the window as possible. You might get a few frowns from other passengers, but after a few tries you might end up with that awesome shot of the stars, northern lights or moonlight finally.

What’s in the bag.

Today I always carry the Nikon D850 in my flight bag, together with the following lenses.

– Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Even though this is a DX lens (designed for crop sensors) I love the sharpness, speed and reliability of this little lens. Ideal for long exposures from the flight deck and easy to carry with me due to its small size and low weight, I always have it at hand while I’m flying.

– Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. By far, one of the very best wide-angle lenses that Nikon has to offer at the moment. The 14mm’s are just perfect for long-exposures and shots, both day and night.

– Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. Even though its relatively heavy and I do not use it that often, the 24-70 is perfect for daylight use and air-to-air photos.

Conclusion

To take sharp night-images from an airplane (both cockpit and cabin) you need to keep the following things in mind;
– preferably, use professional equipment that can handle low-light conditions
– use wide-angle lenses
– place the camera as close to the window as possible
– cross your fingers and hope for a smooth flight!

About the Author

Christiaan van Heijst is a pilot, born and raised in The Netherlands. He is flying as a Senior First Officer on the Boeing 747-8 and -400 Freighter, and combining his passion for flying with the passion for photography. His job allows him to see many beautiful places, and he has captured many different parts of the planet with his camera.

If you’d like to see more of Christiaann’s work, make sure to visit his website, Instagram, Facebook page, 500px, and follow him on Twitter. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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A team of Johns Hopkins researchers is calling for magic mushrooms to be made legally available as medicine

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shrooms magic mushrooms psilocybin

It’s not every day that a team of top-notch scientists calls for an illegal psychedelic drug to be made available as medicine.

But earlier this year, some of the leading researchers at Johns Hopkins University — people who’ve pioneered some of the highest-caliber studies on psychedelics’ therapeutic mental health potential — suggested that’s what should happen for a drug derived from magic mushrooms.

In a recent article published in the medical journal Neuropharmacology, four preeminent psychiatrists wrote that psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, should be placed in the most lenient category by the Drug Enforcement Administration and made legally available through clinicians, pending final data from several ongoing clinical trials.

In essence, they argue, the potential benefits presented by psilocybin outweigh its possible harms.

The available evidence suggests they’re correct.

Although the DEA currently considers psilocybin a Schedule I drug "with no medical use," the past decade has seen a resurgence of research on psychedelics’ therapeutic possibilities for treating psychiatric diseases like anxiety and depression. A large recent survey also suggested that magic mushrooms could be among the safest recreational drugs.

That suggests to several experts — including the authors of the recent article — that psilocybin should be handled differently than, say, heroin or bath salts (other Schedule I drugs).

"It is the opinion of the authors of this review that the original placement of psilocybin was the result of a substantial overestimation of the risk of harm and abuse potential," they wrote.

The authors included Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professors of psychiatry Matthew Johnson, Roland Griffiths, and Jack Henningfield; as well as Peter Hendricks, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health.

A resurgence of interest in psychedelics as medicine

man silhouette alone sunrise sunsetOver the past several years, a handful of studies have suggested that psychedelic drugs like psilocybin could help treat a range of mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, drug addiction, and PTSD.

One of those studies — a clinical trial published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2016 — was written by Griffiths and Johnson, two authors of the recent piece outlining why psilocybin should be made medically available. Griffiths’ and Johnson’s seminal work concluded that in people with a terminal cancer diagnosis, a single high dose of psilocybin appeared to help pull them out of severe depression and anxiety. On a press call after the study came out, Griffiths likened the treatment to "a surgical intervention" for the mental illnesses.

Since then, research into drugs like LSD, ecstasy, ketamine, and marijuana (which many experts consider to have psychedelic properties) has abounded. Last year, a study suggested that ecstasy could help veterans cope with PTSD symptoms. Another recent paper hinted that ketamine could be used to curb severe depression. Several more recent studies of psilocybin have suggested it might help treat obsessive-compulsive disorder as well.

"At this point, the data suggest that the potential therapeutic benefits of psilocybin-assisted therapy are real, and of potential medical and public health significance," the four authors wrote in their recent article.

The findings on psychedelics are also garnering the attention of investors and tech moguls. Just last month, German entrepreneur Christian Angermeyer launched a new biotech company called Atai with the mission of backing more psychedelic mental health research. Compass Pathways, a research startup studying and producing psilocybin for depression, recently attracted backing from tech magnate Peter Thiel.

But the legal classifications of these drugs not be keeping adequate pace with the research or the investments.

‘Replacing fear and misinformation with scientifically based facts’

Despite the ongoing research, neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the DEA has announced an intent to reschedule psilocybin or any other psychedelic. But such a move could happen. It did recently with marijuana.

In June, the FDA approved the first medicine made with a compound from cannabis. Called Epidiolex, the drug treats two rare forms of epilepsy using CBD, a marijuana compound that’s not responsible for a high. As a result of the FDA’s green light, the DEA was forced to reclassify CBD.

"We don’t have a choice on that," DEA public affairs officer Barbara Carreno told Business Insider in June. "It absolutely has to become Schedule 2, 3, 4, or 5."

So this September, the DEA officially shifted its stance on marijuana for the first time in 46 years by putting CBD in Schedule 5 alongside substances like cough syrup and sleep aids — all drugs that the agency considers at the lowest risk of abuse or harm.

In their article on psilocybin, the authors write that it too should be placed in Schedule 5, pending its approval as a medicine. Some experts say that could happen as soon as 2027.

"Schedule I is for substances with a high potential for abuse, lack of therapeutic approval, and that cannot be used safely in medicine," they write. "History of use and available scientific data show that the first criterion is questionable, and the third criterion is likely not true."

Meanwhile, the research on psilocybin is continuing to blossom. Clinical trial results from Compass are expected before 2020; researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are currently enrolling patients in a study to see whether psilocybin could assist in group therapy to improve the mental health of long-term AIDS survivors; and scientists at New York University aim to study whether psilocybin could be used to treat alcoholism.

Johnson, Griffiths, Henningfield, and Hendricks seem to believe the future of those studies — and psilocybin’s potential — is bright.

"This area of regulatory science has the potential to facilitate innovative therapeutic breakthroughs by replacing fear and misinformation with scientifically based conclusions and facts," they wrote.

Read more of our psychedelic medicine coverage:

SEE ALSO: A drug derived from marijuana has triggered the first federal shift on cannabis in half a century, and experts predict an avalanche effect

DON’T MISS: The DEA’s surprising shift on marijuana could keep a booming $1 billion industry in check, experts say

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