Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence, a feminist bird-watching club, an inclusive surf school and more

Helsinki Plans to Use Seawater to Create Sustainable Heating

Helsinki hopes to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and to do so the Finnish capital is planning on utilizing cold water from deep in the Baltic Sea to heat homes. Partnering with Spanish builder Acciona SA and infrastructure company YIT Oyj, the city’s power company Helen Oy will extract water from the seabed that remains at a constant two degrees Celsius. Then, the water will be processed in underground heat pumps, where heat exchangers will remove 1.5 degrees of heat (that will be returned to the sea via a tunnel later) and a heat pump process will increase the temperature to 80 to 95 degrees. In addition to being renewable and free, the seawater-derived heat will be able to power 40% of the capital and, during the summer, harvest energy to cool homes. Learn more about the innovative and unique process at Bloomberg.

Image courtesy of Helen Oy

Making Surfing Accessible to Children with Disabilities

Founded by Chris Antao, Gnome Surf is a Little Compton, Rhode Island-based non-profit making surfing accessible to kids with disabilities. Through individualized, inclusive programming for students with ADHD, autism, down syndrome, anxiety and adults who struggle with addiction, Gnome utilizes surf therapy—a method of intervention that combines the peacefulness of nature with physical and mental wellbeing—to empower people who are oftentimes overlooked and left out. “These are kids that typically do not get invited to birthday parties or sleepovers,” says Mackenzie Palumbo, a parent of two boys who have autism and surf with Gnome. “To see them having fun doing something that typical kiddos do, it’s a feeling like no other. Every time I stand on that shore and I watch my kids out on the board, I always think to myself, ‘This is what parents of typically developing children must feel like when they watch their kids play baseball or football or soccer.’ And you just feel so proud.” Learn more at PBS.

Two Astronomers Discuss Technosignatures in The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Macy Huston, a PhD candidate in astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, and Jason Wright, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the university, have penned a thought-provoking essay on technosignatures—or the signs of alien technology that could lead to discovery. Both work on SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and have addressed everything from radio waves to megastructures developed by advanced civilizations that harness the power of local stars, and even potential pollution in the atmosphere of exoplanets. Although no astronomer has yet to confirm a technosignature discovery, Huston and Wright provide inspiring observations and insights on the potential. Read their words at The Conversation.

Image courtesy of NASA/Jay Freidlander

The Feminist Bird Club Breaks Barriers

In 2016, Molly Adams founded the Feminist Bird Club in NYC after finding the birding community full of “sexist or queer-hostile attitudes.” Now with 27 chapters across four countries, the Feminist Bird Club is an organization that makes the hobby more accessible and welcoming for queer individuals, people of color and people with disabilities. While fighting for improved access to traditionally white outdoor spaces, the social justice-leaning club has also raised more than $100,000 for the National Network of Abortion Funds, Transgender and Intersex Justice Project and other vital non-profits. Club members Martha Harbison and Meera Jagroop credit fellow organizations like Outdoor Afro and Latino Outdoors, as well as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, for helping create pathways to build a movement. They write for Teen Vogue, “This work isn’t flashy. It’s investing in infrastructure, changing an economic model to accommodate more free passes and programming, compensating community experts for their labor, and training staff on how to create inclusion and belonging. It’s the ongoing, never-ending effort to build and maintain relationships and trust, especially with people who have been burned by half-hearted diversity pushes before.” Learn more at Teen Vogue.

Image courtesy of Mikey Burns/Outside Clothes

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image is an artist’s impression of the 5km diameter central core of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) antennas, courtesy of SPDO/TDP/DRAO/Swinburne Astronomy Productions‚ SKA Project Development Office and Swinburne Astronomy Productions