Tag Archive: Fun
The moment you realize you have made a tactical error.
A beautiful black-and-white image that looks like the pattern on a scarf isn’t the work of an upscale French designer. It’s the stuff that lines your lungs.
The snapshot is a microscopic image that used fluorescent dye to reveal the patterns made by lung surfactant, a soaplike material that covers the inside of the lungs. Without surfactant, the lungs would collapse.
“During the breathing cycle, as your lung is compressed, it will form this pattern,” said Prajna Dhar, the creator of the striking microscopic image. Dhar and her colleagues published the picture in January 2012 in Biophysical Journal. This March, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences featured the image in their monthly newsletter, Biomedical Beat.
The researchers took the patterned surfactant image as part of a study investigating how nanoparticles affect the body. Nanoparticles are particles so tiny they’re measured in billionths of a meter. They’re the subject of major scientific research right now, because engineering on a nano-scale allows scientists to literally build materials atom by atom, like this world map one-thousandth the size of a grain of salt. Nanotechnology is being used to develop everything from nano-scale solar cells to medicine delivery systems.
The explosion in technology has led to concern that nanoparticles might harm human health, Dhar told LiveScience. The question is whether the tiny particles are toxic or not.
Who knew sand could look so damn colourful and interesting? Gary Greenberg, that’s who, whose incredible microphotography reveals each grain of sand to be a kaleidoscope of colour and texture that defies its rather bland reputation.
Death is never popular, even in social media: the poor guy behind @death on Twitter has zero followers.
You might think your online fans will lose interest when you kick the bucket, but an upcoming app says it will let you keep tweeting from beyond the grave.
LivesOn will host Twitter accounts that continue to post updates when users shed this mortal coil.
Developers claim the app’s artificial-intelligence engine will analyze your Twitter feed, learn your likes and syntax, and then post tweets in a similar vein when you’re gone.
You’ll become an AI construct, a proverbial ghost in the machine.
The app will launch in March, according to Guardian News. People who sign up will be asked to appoint an executor who will have control of the account.
Similar postmortem Twitter apps, such as DeadSocial, have only used prepared tweets, not updates created by an AI.
“It offends some, and delights others,” Dave Bedwood, a partner at the ad agency behind LivesOn, was quoted as saying in the Guardian report.
“Imagine if people started to see it as a legitimate but small way to live on. Cryogenics costs a fortune; this is free and I’d bet it will work better than a frozen head.”
Prof Stephen Milner from Manchester University discovered the historic document by accident while researching town criers and the proclamations they read out in archives in Florence.
The 1513 proclamation, which called for the arrest of Machiavelli, eventually led to his downfall and death.
“When I saw it I knew exactly what it was and it was pretty exciting,” said Prof Milner.
“When you realise this document marked the fall from grace of one the world’s most influential political writers, it’s quite a feeling.
“The Prince is a seminal work, with a lasting influence on political thought and culture. The term ‘Machiavellian’ and the naming of the Devil as ‘Old Nick’ all derive from this single work, but the circumstances of its composition have often been overlooked.”
When the Medici family returned to power in Florence in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in the city’s chancery because of his association with the head of a rival faction.
His name was then linked with a conspiracy to overthrow the Medici. They issued the proclamation found by Prof Milner for his arrest.
Pattern resulting from a lightning strike to a sidewalk
Scientists have used nanotechnology to create “selectively wet” materials that can be used to write long-lasting messages with water.
The concept, called “hydroglyphics,” was exhibited by scientists at Harvard who recently teamed up with a group of Merrimack, N.H., high school students and faculty to make an educational demo.
The demo, appropriately entitled “Hydroglyphics,” helps people visualize the difference between water repelling and wetting surfaces. The main principle behind hydroglyphics (a combination of the words “hydro” and “hieroglyphics”) is that by changing the properties of a surface, you can make your own special prints using water. All you need is some foam stickers, a modified Tesla coil and a Petri dish.
Each audience member takes a Petri dish and chooses a favorite sticker, tacking it onto the bottom of the dish. The demo performer then puts each dish under the Tesla coil, and zaps them. A purple spark appears accompanied by a loud noise. Once the sticker is removed, water is added to the dish. The water fills up everywhere except on the area where the sticker had been, creating an “engraving.” The message can last about one month.
These crow kin from Australia and New Guinea are known for constructing elaborate edifices to woo mates. But males of one species, the great bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis), go a step further: They use a trick of architectural perspective to boost their allure, and will stick to their own scheme even if it falls short with the females.
While most bowerbirds embellish their “love nests” with bright, shiny baubles, the great bowerbird’s decor is comparatively bland: an avenue of sticks leading to a pair of courts garnished with mostly gray-to-white objects like pebbles, shells, and bones.
But a lack of color doesn’t mean a lack of style for these birds. Biologists John Endler and Laura Kelley of Australia’s Deakin University have found that male great bowerbirds carefully arrange their courts’ decorations in a specific pattern, with bigger items farther away from the bower avenue (where the female stands), creating the illusion of an evenly textured stage.
This effect—called “forced perspective”—may be visually pleasing to the female, or it may simply make the male, who waves colored objects during his mating dance, easier to see. Whatever the reason, the males who build the most geometric patterns also have the most success in winning mates.
Vintage Confections has the answer with their fun set of eight lollipops containing edible images of the planets.