Archive for June, 2012


“Belief is a toxic and dangerous attitude toward reality. After all, if it’s there it doesn’t require your belief- and if it’s not there why should you believe in it?…

You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.”

Terence McKenna

PANDEISM

[noun]

also known as pan-Deism (from Ancient Greek: πάν pan “all” and Latin: deus meaning “God” in the sense of deism) – a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of pantheism (that “God”, or its metaphysical equivalent, is identical to the universe) anddeism (that the creator-god who designed the universe no longer exists in a status where it can be reached, and can instead be confirmed only by reason). It is therefore most particularly the belief that the Creator of the universe actually became the universe, and so ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity.

Art by: Dunno. You know? Lemme know!

A NASA-sponsored researcher at the University of Iowa has developed a way for spacecraft to hunt down hidden magnetic portals in the vicinity of Earth. These portals link the magnetic field of our planet to that of the sun.

Photographer Joel James Devlin has spent enormous amounts of time over the past few years examining and perfecting the effects of moving light through long exposure photographs. In the amazing photos below Devlin has experimented with lights on various bodies of water.

Light Trail Photographs by Joel James Devlin photography long exposure light

Light Trail Photographs by Joel James Devlin photography long exposure light

Light Trail Photographs by Joel James Devlin photography long exposure light

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Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a large spiral galaxy surrounded by dozens of smaller satellite galaxies. Scientists have long theorized that occasionally these satellites will pass through the disk of the Milky Way, perturbing both the satellite and the disk. A team of astronomers from Canada and the United States have discovered what may well be the smoking gun of such an encounter, one that occurred close to our position in the galaxy and relatively recently, at least in the cosmological sense.

“We have found evidence that our Milky Way had an encounter with a small galaxy or massive dark matter structure perhaps as recently as 100 million years ago,” said Larry Widrow, professor at Queen’s University in Canada. “We clearly observe unexpected differences in the Milky Way’s stellar distribution above and below the Galaxy’s midplane that have the appearance of a vertical wave — something that nobody has seen before.”

The discovery is based on observations of some 300,000 nearby Milky Way stars by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Stars in the disk of the Milky Way move up and down at a speed of about 20-30 kilometers per second while orbiting the center of the galaxy at a brisk 220 kilometers per second. Widrow and his four collaborators from the University of Kentucky, the University of Chicago and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have found that the positions and motions of these nearby stars weren’t quite as regular as previously thought.

“Our part of the Milky Way is ringing like a bell,” said Brian Yanny, of the Department of Energy’s Fermilab. “But we have not been able to identify the celestial object that passed through the Milky Way. It could have been one of the small satellite galaxies that move around the center of our galaxy, or an invisible structure such as a dark matter halo.”

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Leap represents an entirely new way to interact with your computers. It’s more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen. For the first time, you can control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements.

Elegant ideas for an elegant home. These vinyl wall decals are available from the Cut N Paste Etsy shop. Love them all…hard to decide which one to get!
jtotheizzoe:</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>staceythinx:</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Elegant ideas for an elegant home. These vinyl wall decals are available from the Cut N Paste Etsy shop.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Science-influenced wall decals should have a place in every home.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
” /></p>
<div></div>
</div>
<div style=jtotheizzoe:  staceythinx:  Elegant ideas for an elegant home. These vinyl wall decals are available from the Cut N Paste Etsy shop.  Science-influenced wall decals should have a place in every home.

jtotheizzoe:</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>staceythinx:</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Elegant ideas for an elegant home. These vinyl wall decals are available from the Cut N Paste Etsy shop.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Science-influenced wall decals should have a place in every home.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
” /></div>
<div style=
jtotheizzoe:  staceythinx:  Elegant ideas for an elegant home. These vinyl wall decals are available from the Cut N Paste Etsy shop.  Science-influenced wall decals should have a place in every home.

The Surreal Forests of Romania trees Romania photography

The Surreal Forests of Romania trees Romania photography

The Surreal Forests of Romania trees Romania photography

The Surreal Forests of Romania trees Romania photography

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Steady advancements in chemistry, light and optics culminated in 1826 with the creation of the first photograph. Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce pondered the possibility of using light-sensitive compounds to reproduce imagery as early as 1793, but it wasn’t until a summer’s day in 1827 that Niépce managed to permanently fix the first photograph. He coated a pewter plate with bitumen of Judaea and placed this sheet inside a camera obscura, then focused it on the scene outside his window—the courtyard and outbuildings of his family’s country home. The place was exposed to sunlight for eight hours, during which the bitumen subject to brightness became hardened and bleached. Niépce later washed the plate in lavender oil and white petroleum, dissolving the bitumen that wasn’t exposed and leaving only the hardened parts behind. The result was a lasting impression of the garden: a direct positive, because the dark parts are the metal plate and the light parts are the bleached bitumen. Basically, every image we have today—on TV and video games and the internet—all evolved from bitumen and lavender oil on a metal plate.

SAUDADE

[noun]

a unique Galician-Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English. Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. The term has been described as a “…vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist … a turning towards the past or towards the future.”

Art by: Dunno. You know? Lemme know!

Playing with light, shadow, and perspective, Japanese artist Nagai Hideyuki creates these stylized optical illusions using the entire spread of his sketchbooks.

3D Illusion Sketchbook Drawings by Nagai Hideyuki illustration illusion drawing 3d

3D Illusion Sketchbook Drawings by Nagai Hideyuki illustration illusion drawing 3d

3D Illusion Sketchbook Drawings by Nagai Hideyuki illustration illusion drawing 3d

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An average human, utterly unremarkable in every way, can 
perceive a million different colors. Vermilion, puce, cerulean, periwinkle, chartreuse—we have thousands of words for them, but mere language can never capture our extraordinary range of hues. Our powers of color vision derive from cells in our eyes called cones, three types in all, each triggered by different wavelengths of light. Every moment our eyes are open, those three flavors of cone fire off messages to the brain. The brain then combines the signals to produce the sensation we call color.

Vision is complex, but the calculus of color is strangely simple: Each cone confers the ability to distinguish around a hundred shades, so the total number of combinations is at least 1003, or a million. Take one cone away—go from being what scientists call a trichromat to a dichromat—and the number of possible combinations drops a factor of 100, to 10,000. Almost all other mammals, including dogs and New World monkeys, are dichromats. The richness of the world we see is rivaled only by that of birds and some insects, which also perceive the ultraviolet part of the spectrum.

Researchers suspect, though, that some people see even more. Living among us are people with four cones, who might experience a range of colors invisible to the rest. It’s possible these so-called tetrachromats see a hundred million colors, with each familiar hue fracturing into a hundred more subtle shades for which there are no names, no paint swatches. And because perceiving color is a personal experience, they would have no way of knowing they see far beyond what we consider the limits of human vision.

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Art by: Dunno. You know? Lemme know!

PSA: Water

The Surprisingly Strange Physics of Water

1. Race to the bottom

A logical person might assume that it would take longer for hot water to plunge down the temperature scale to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and freeze than would cold water. But oddly enough, this is not always the case. As was first observed by a Tanzanian high school student, Erasto Mpemba, in 1963, hot water actually freezes faster than cold water when the two bodies of water are exposed to the same subzero surroundings.

And no one knows why.

One possibility is that the Mpemba effect results from a heat circulation process called convection. In a container of water, warmer water rises to the top, pushing the colder water beneath it and creating a “hot top.” Scientists speculate that convection could somehow accelerate the cooling process, allowing hotter water to freeze faster than cooler water, despite how much more mercury it has to cover to get to the freezing point.

2. Levitating liquid

When a drop of water lands on a surface much hotter than its boiling point, it can skitter across the surface for much longer than you’d expect. Called the Leidenfrost effect, this occurs because, when the bottom layer of the drop vaporizes, the gaseous water molecules in that layer have nowhere to escape, so their presence insulates the rest of the droplet and prevents it from touching the hot surface below. The droplet thus survives for several seconds without boiling away.

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The Drake Equation is a famous attempt to mathematically estimate the number of technologically advanced civilisations in our galaxy. The equation was formulated in 1961 by Dr. Frank Drake (currently on the Board of SETI), and it identifies specific developmental factors and presents them as variables that narrow down the estimate. The equation looks like this:

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

R is the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy, fp is the fraction of stars with planets, ne is the number of Earth-like worlds within one of these star systems, fl is the fraction of those planets where life develops, fi is the fraction where intelligent life develops,fc is the fraction of intelligent life that develops a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space—and finally, L is length of time that these signals are sent.Currently, Drake’s own estimate is that there are 10,000 technologically-advanced civilizations in the Milky Way. Of course, we don’t have definite figures for most of these variables so an accurate answer is nearly impossible, but the calculating itself stimulates intellectual curiosity, helping us realise what a successful product of cosmic evolution we are.

Art by: Dunno. You know? Lemme know!

Taking cues from the firefly, a Dutch electronics company has created a product called “Bio-light”—an eco-friendly lighting system that uses glowing, bioluminescent bacteria. They’re not powered by electricity or sunlight, but by methane generated by the company’s Microbial Home bio-digester that processes anything from vegetable scraps to human waste. The living bacteria are fed through silicon tubes, and as long as they’re nutritionally-fulfilled, they can indefinitely generate a soft, heat-free green glow using the enzyme luciferase and its substrate, luciferin. They’re kept in hand-blown glass bulbs clustered together into lamps, but you can’t light up your house with them yet—the glow isn’t nearly bright enough to replace conventional artificial lights. They do, however, get people to think about untapped household energy sources and how to make use of them. The company, Phillips, also envisions the use of these Bio-lights outside the home—for nighttime road markings, signs in theatres and clubs, and even biosensors for monitoring diabetes.

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