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'Listen' to Satellites Whiz Around Earth With NASA's Orbit Pavilion

bevy of satellites hurtle high above the Earth, collecting data about the planet’s atmosphere, biosphere, and oceans—an important process that goes mostly unnoticed by land-dwellers below.

We may be able to see some satellites passing in the night sky, but we're still mostly oblivious to the work they do. So NASA wanted us to experience them in other ways. According to WIRED, they hired Brooklyn-based architecture studio StudioKCA to create the NASA Orbit Pavilion, a seashell-shaped aluminum structure that tracks the International Space Station and 19 individual satellites via sound.

Visitors walk into the enclosure and are surrounded by a variety of soothing noises—chirping crickets, crashing waves, swaying tree branches, etc.—that move from one side of the room to the other via a network of speakers. The movement of the sound corresponds to an individual satellite’s movement, allowing you to trace the craft’s journey as it whizzes across the sky.

The presentation lasts for five minutes—far shorter than satellites’ actual orbital periods. Also, keep in mind that satellites don’t actually make these noises in real life. Bottom line? The Orbit Pavilion is intended to be more representational than literal. Still, it does a good job of letting ordinary people experience something of the satellites' extraterrestrial whirl without having to blast off in a rocket.

Right now, the Orbit Pavilion is at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. This summer, you'll be able to find it in the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. For more information on the space-inspired installation piece, watch the above video courtesy of Bedford + Bowery, a hyperlocal web collaboration between New York magazine and New York University. 

All images courtesy of Vimeo

[h/t WIRED]

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The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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