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This is the personal blog of a science writer and journalist. It's for anyone who loves, wants to love or doesn't know how to love science.
Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo.
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns:...
Envisat (“Environmental Satellite”), the largest Earth observation satellite, has spotted an algae bloom in the shape of a figure 8 in the south Atlantic Ocean.
Building a robot is kids’ play!
All you need is a milk-frother, Velcro and felt-tip pens to build your very own drawbot.
Creativity at its best: Laser-cut seaweed makes for designer sushi rolls.
Japanese ad agency I&SBBDO was approached by a client who wanted to boost their flagging business after the 2011 tsunami in Japan– the product, however, was nori (sheets of Japanese seaweed used in sushi). In an effort to reinvent this simple square of seaweed without losing sight of the age-old traditions embedded in their culture, I&SBBDO decided to laser cut classic Japanese patterns into the paper-thin nori sheets.
Each pattern is meant to symbolize good fortune, happiness, and longevity, etc. and the result is a delicate, unexpected reinvention of the classic Japanese food with a modern twist. The patterns are crisp, and when incorporated into the rolls, they create a sharp contrast between the dark seaweed and the white grains of rice within. They’ve entered (and won) a number of ad/design contests for this phenomenal work.
The five designs are Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Mizutama (Water Drops), Asanoha (Hemp), Kikkou (Turtle Seashell), Kumikkou (Tortoise Shell).
Tupac back from the dead in hologram at coachella 2012.
This year’s coachella visitors were in for an amazing treat: Tupac back on stage in a duet with Snoop Dogg. Wohay!! Check the video especially at 2:40 when Snoop gets on stage. SPECIAL!
This was an idea by Dr Dre. He first approached Digital Domain (a media special effects company founded by James Cameron ) a year ago about the idea of a virtual Tupac and finally began work on the project four months before Coachella. The pricetag is estimated to be around $100,000 - $400,000 to make it happen.
Dre didn’t just take it upon himself and include Pac in his show. He actually went to his mother Afeni for permission, and made a donation to the rapper’s charity, The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s camps have declined to comment about the rumored tour.
But think of the possibilities!! The Doors resurrected with a young Jim Morrison, Nirvana on tour with a virtual Kurt Cobain or a resurrected Tupac and Biggie sharing a stage for a greatest hits show. But does the success of the Tupac mini-set mean that holograms are the touring industry’s version of 3-D movies?
Video credit: Coachella.
A prison in South Korea is testing the world’s first robot prison guard. Equipped with 3D cameras and software designed to gauge a prisoner’s emotional state, the robot might soon replace human guards to keep prisons safe.
“The purpose to develop this kind of robot is to secure prisoner’s life and safety, and to decrease the workload of correctional officers in a poor working environment.” says Lee Baik-Chul, chairman of the Asian Forum for Correction.
Ingenious: The Chork - the lovechild of a fork and chopsticks.
Mobile Broadband: The future is unimaginable.
It was not too long ago when we used mobile phones only for voice calls. That all changed with the introduction of mobile broadband. Watch this video which features industry insiders talking about what’s next in the world of mobile broadband.
Scott Eaton has just finalised his prototype of his gorgeous iPad docking station, which he calls it the Venus of Cupertino.
Not only does she look totally chilled out, stylish, sexy and cool, she will also charge and sync your iPad (first, second and third generation) from an inconspicuous charger located in her midriff. Hello Mama!
If you would like to be on the mailing list for updates on the Venus project as it moves into production and be available for Summer 2012, then put your name down here.
1. The atomic bomb
The H.G. Wells book “The World Set Free” includes numerous descriptions of atom bombs. Not that impressive, until you realize the book came out 30 years before the first atomic bomb test.
2. The internet
When not defining American comedy for generations, Mark Twain dabbled the occasional sci-fi story. One of which, “From the ‘London Times’ of 1904”, actually described the internet as we know it today.
Twain’s ‘telectroscope’ was a phone system that connected people the world over. “The improved ‘limitless-distance’ telephone was introduced, and the daily doings of the globe made visible to everybody, and audibly discussable too, by witnesses separated by any number of leagues.”
According to Jules Verne’s story “From the Earth to the Moon”, the first mission to the moon was launched in December from a base in Florida. The crew consisted of three men who were seated in a large capsule constructed almost entirely from aluminum. After their moonwalk, Verne’s crew lands in the Pacific Ocean and is picked up by a U.S. Navy ship. Sound familiar?
While most people don’t consider Hugo Gernsback’s 1911 novel “Ralph 124C 41+” a particularly good book, they do credit it with predicting an amazing amount of the technology we use today, including remote controlled television, tape recorders and solar power.
5. Online newspapers
In 1968, the Internet had yet to make printed media look as antiquated as an abacus, which makes it surprising that Arthur C. Clarke featured online newspapers in his novel “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
In just a paragraph, Clarke was able to perfectly sum up on the online news experience we’re familiar with today. “In a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased … The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.” Oh, and those communications satellites? Clarke invented those, too.
H.G. Wells was quite successful at predicting the war machines of the future in his novels. In addition to the atomic bomb mentioned earlier, Wells also predicted the development of the tank, or as he named them ‘Land Ironclads.’
While bicycles are not something you see on the battlefield anymore, tanks have been a big component of combat since they made their first appearance in 1916, 13 years after Wells story came out.
7. Virtual reality games
The first video game was invented in 1958, yet Arthur C. Clarke was writing about virtual reality games two years before that.
His novel “The City and the Stars” describes the city of Diaspar. A place that is entirely run by computer, even its residents. The people of Diaspar live for one thousand years, before their essence is absorbed back into the city’s Memory Banks. Many years later they will emerge again, with a fully formed adult body.
8. Video chat
These days we have Skype and computers that come with built in cameras. AT&T introduced the first ‘picturephone’ at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, but it was Hugo Gernsback who brought the idea to the public’s attention in 1911.
Once again, his novel “Ralph 124C 41+”, Gernsback wrote about technology that we’d be using years later. His Telephot was a wall-mounted screen that connected you to others with the push of a few buttons. In Gernsback’s story, his hero even meets his future girlfriend over the Telephot in case of crossed wires.
9. Credit Cards
When he wrote about the use of credit cards in 1888, Edward Bellamy was pulling ideas out of the air, as shoppers could only buy something on credit if they knew the salesperson. In his novel “Looking Backwards”, Bellamy described credit card transactions that could be taking place today, even down to the duplicate receipts.
The novel is about a man who falls asleep in 1888 to awaken in the year 2000 to a socialist society. In Bellamy’s version of the future, the credit card system is backed by the credit of the American government. Each person is given a certain line of credit on his or her card and the government uses part of the GDP to pay off that credit. Bellamy even described how the credit card could be used the world over, for all types of currency.
10. Scuba Diving
In Jules Verne’s day, hanging out underwater for a prolonged period of time involved wearing a large, cumbersome suit, and being tethered to a ship by your air hose, which had to be long enough to reach the surface so you could breath. The diving apparatus he describes in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” sounds a lot more like the scuba diving we’re familiar with today.
Verne’s system was based on Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze design, which stored enough air to divers to move around untethered for 7 to 8 minutes, Verne’s device “consisted of a reservoir of thick iron plates, in which I store the air under a pressure of fifty atmospheres. This reservoir is fixed on the back by means of braces.” This gear also allowed the user to spend between 7 and 8 hours exploring the deep.
Image credit: NASA
Experiments using malt from the Ardbeg distillery on Islay (which has been producing whisky for more than 300 years) are being carried out on the International Space Station to see how it matures without gravity.
Compounds of unmatured malt were sent to the station in an unmanned cargo spacecraft in October last year, along with particles of charred oak.
Scientists want to understand how they interact at close to zero gravity.
NanoRacks LLC, the US company behind the research, has said understanding the influence of gravity could help a number of industries, including the whisky industry, to develop new products in the future.
The experiment, unveiled at the Edinburgh International Science Centre, will last for at least two years.
Image Credit: NASA
Alcohol under the microscope.
Ever wondered what your favourite drink looks like under the microscope? The molecules in our tipples make up some beautiful images. We knew it all along: Alcohol is art.
(Hover over the images to reveal the types.)
Pictures: Barcroft USA
Beautiful: Brains grid structure revealed. It’s organised just like the NYC street grid. It makes sense, why would the one thing that makes us function not be organised in this way? But the jury is still out on the newly published theory, detailed in an article by the New Scientist, if Van Wedeen and his team at the Massachusetts General Hospital are onto a winner here.
Their big idea is that the brain consists of a three-dimensional grid of fibres. Such a three-dimensional grid would provide a coordinate system to standardise studies linking abnormalities in brain anatomy to neurological and psychiatric disorders. Skeptics are not 100% behind this theory but right or wrong, only further research will prove it one way or another.
In the meantime, we quite like the idea of having an organised brain.
Going to the dentist will be less daunting in the future. Injex is an innovative device that doesn’t use needles to inject a drug. Instead Injex propels a fine stream of insulin through a tiny opening at the end of a disposable ampule. The drug goes through the skin in a fraction of a second completely needle free and less painful.
Trials with this system have shown that the extremely fine jet of medication gently penetrates the subcutaneous fatty tissue and selects the path of least resistance. In effect there is no damage to blood vessels, nerve fibers or osseous tissues that have been observed. We like it!