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- In For a Penny; In For a Pound;
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Under the Minamata Convention, the trade in mercury will be controlled, largely through an informed consent procedure. However, 50 countries will need to ratify the treaty before it comes into legal force. A new ZMWG report highlights the importance of the new treaty being ratified as soon as possible to reduce global pollution and exposure to mercury. The treaty will be signed next week near Minamata, where a major mercury poisoning incident was first discovered.
This line traces the path that the Sun takes through the zodiacal constellations every year, and shows the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Since all the planets circle the Sun in almost exactly the same plane, it also closely follows the planes of the orbits of the other planets, too. When Mercury is widely separated from the Sun, it is separated from it along the line of the ecliptic. But, at different times of year, the ecliptic meets the horizon at different angles at sunset and sunrise.
This would translate into Mercury being at different altitudes above the horizon, even if its separation from the Sun was constant. If the ecliptic meets the horizon at a shallow angle, then Mercury has to be very widely separated from the Sun to appear much above the horizon.
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Conversely, if the ecliptic is almost perpendicular to the horizon, Mercury may appear much higher in the sky, even if it is actually much closer to the Sun. The seasonal dependence of this is that at sunset, the ecliptic makes its steepest angle to the horizon at the spring equinox — in March in the northern hemisphere, and in September in the southern hemisphere. Conversely, it meets the horizon at its shallowest angle at the autumn equinox.
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Because the seasons are opposite in the northern and southern hemispheres, a good apparition of Mercury in one hemisphere will usually be badly placed in the other. At sunrise, these dates are also inverted, so that for morning apparitions of Mercury, the ecliptic makes its steepest angle to the horizon at the autumn equinox, and its shallowest angle to the horizon at the spring equinox.
This means that Mercury's separation from the Sun at greatest elongation varies, depending where it lies relative to the aphelion or perihelion points of its orbit. In mid-September and mid-March, the Earth is well placed to view the long axis of Mercury's orbit edge-on. So, if Mercury appears in the evening sky in mid-September, or in the morning sky in mid-March, then it appears more widely separated from the Sun than usual. The two effects described above are of similar magnitude, though the inclination of the ecliptic to the horizon is the more significant.
They conspire to make Mercury much easier to observe from the southern hemisphere than from the north. In the southern hemisphere, apparitions of Mercury which occur when the ecliptic plane is favourably inclined to the horizon also coincide with apparitions when Mercury is close to aphelion. Nothing stands in between you and your intentions. Within a Space, flows represent the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to accomplish the intention of the Space. By isolating services from their wider ecosystems, Mercury helps prevent potential avenues for distraction and unintentional content consumption.
The pinch gesture reveals a birds-eye view of every module inside the space, as well as the rules and collaborators that define how the space is generated. In a speculative future without Apps, corporations can continue to offer services through AI assistants. Adding these assistants into a spaces will add service-specific funtionality to the Modules in that space.
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For example, you may enlist the help of several Virtual Shopping Assistants on your quest to find the perfect pair of kicks. You can ask Collaborators to generate modules automatically, or restrict their activity based on context. Collaborators will not have access to any information outside of the modules directly affected by their input. The sandboxing of Collaborators within Spaces protects your privacy while preserving intentional access to services you may rely on.
Plan a trip to Vegas. Share documents, images, and work collaboratively in real time by inviting others to join one of your Spaces. Kiri takes a judicious approach to contrast — bringing clarity only where it is needed, while obfuscating extraneous noise under a soft mist. Mercury emphasizes contrast in type size to reinforce information hierarchy and spatial consistency.
Kiri retreats into the shadows when night falls. Modules are backlit with a sublime incandesence inspired by the ethereal glow of moonlight. The one thing that has become blindingly clear to me throughout this nine month process is how absurdly foolish I was in believing I could go about doing this alone. This particular line of inquiry is so ambiguous, so reliant on abstract ideas and metaphors that I found myself digging rabbit holes for weeks and weeks only to lose my way in their murky depths.
In fact, almost all of the defining moments of Mercury have been a product of inviting the brilliance of others into my isolation chamber for feedback or collaboration. The feeling of bouncing ideas off exponential collaborators and working towards a shared North Star is addictive; all I can think about is how much I want to do this for the rest of my life. And that is exactly what I intend to do. I will be graduating from my BFA program at RISD in under a week, and my current plan is to travel to the West Coast in search of exponential collaborators and cybernetic thinkers who are also passionate about exploring this domaine.
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There are so many questions I still need to answer, so many ambiguities I need to explore, and so many loopholes I need to reexamine. And what about screens as a whole? Is the future of computation really just sliding fingers around slabs of glass? Instead of trying to resist the crushing gravity of curiosity, I am choosing to commit myself to a life time of cybernetic thinking, question-asking, and trouble-making.
I have no clue. All I know is that I must keep going. Jason Yuan. Humane Interface Designer and Advocate. Creator of Mercury OS. Twitter Instagram Website Email. Mercury would not have been possible without the generous feedback and encouragement from my wonderful peers, mentors, and friends. Special thanks to: Marisa Lu for bringing brilliance to the darkest tunnels of this journey, Jodi Leo for keeping me afloat and for making the world feel less alone, Paul Soulellis for your guidance and unwavering faith, Lindsey Weiss for your profound insights and for siblinghood, Kris Sowersby for trusting me with bringing your characters to life.
Pam Daniels and Brandon Williams for introducing me to the world of design, David Catlin and TBD for the gift of storytelling and the strength to speak up,. And to Dennis Jin for being the epitome of an exponential collaborator. For helping shoulder the weight of Mercury, for your technical expertise, and for all the hours you poured into this.
Truly incredible. And thank you, dear reader, for participating in this conversation and for making it this far. Thank you for your curiosity. Sign in. Get started. UX Collective. Introducing Mercury OS.
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