The European Space Agency’s launch of the Sentinel-5P satellite in October of 2017 ushered in a new era of atmospheric monitoring from space. The instrument provides near-daily global measurements of ozone, NO₂, SO₂, formaldehyde, aerosol, carbon monoxide and, crucially, methane, a substantial component of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The enormous insight that Sentinel-5P provides into planetary emissions is extraordinary — but there’s a catch. Because, while some of these gases are relatively easy to measure from space (and drawing conclusions from their measurements is thus a fairly straightforward exercise), other gases are not so cut and dry.
☞ I explicitly excluded any overtly offensive images from this rundown that I could identify. Even so, some of the subject matter (as well as their occasionally unnecessary embellishments) may strike modern audience members as inappropriate. The images are a reflection of both their era and medium (magazine advertising). While it is not my intention to romanticize these images, my hope is that, with their historical context in mind, they collectively tell a story worth considering about the way Fortune’s advertisers chose to depict the world throughout decades of global change.
Fortune magazine is known for its rich legacy of…
Let’s cut to the chase. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is a buzzword that is applied to so many things that it almost has no meaning at all.
What isn’t A.I. these days?
We have A.I. on our phones and in our homes. (“Hey Siri, tell me how Alexa defines, ‘Ok, Google.’” … … 💥). We have endless videos of humans laughing at or “tormenting” robots in our social media feeds. A.I. has been a prominent thread in Hollywood for decades. It’s a whole big, sprawling phenomenon that can essentially be defined as any computer system with the ability to achieve goals…
You know that feeling of desperation you get when you walk into a darkened movie theater in the middle of a beautiful sunny day and you can’t see a darn thing?
Ohhh, I think I see the exit sign! But where the heck are the seats? WHY IS THIS TRAILER SO GLOOMY?!
Then you play chicken with your date. No, YOU pick our seats! And you proceed, hoping beyond hope that you don’t accidentally sit on someone’s jumbo Pibb Xtra (formerly known as Peppo, apparently).
Without getting into eyeball mechanics, you’re having trouble seeing because your eyes are primed for…
Unless you completely avoided modern society in August and September, you helped make this map.
If you were in a car, bus or train with a combustion engine, if you were in an electric vehicle that was charged using non-renewable energy or if you consumed something that was shipped to you on an actual ship—chances are, you contributed to this global composite of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) made using data from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite.
In a city, almost all…
Note: This post was updated on January 3, 2019 to clarify that lidar was used as ground truth data to train the model only. Lidar is not needed to run the model; it requires only ~1m resolution four-band imagery (near infrared, red, green and blue) as inputs.
Much fuss has been made over city trees in recent years. Urban trees reduce crime and help stormwater management (yay!). Cities and towns across the U.S. are losing 36 million trees a year (boo!). But, hold up—climate change is accelerating the growth of urban trees in metropolises worldwide (boo/yay?). Urban trees are under…