January 19, 2017
The Earth and moon as seen from Mars
It's lonely, outer space.
Wait a sec — what's that music I'm hearing?
[via the New York Times]
January 18, 2017
Life-Size LEGO Batmobile gives a whole new meaning to "pimp my ride"
You can see it today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
From USA Today:
The superhero's ride, inspired by Batman's vehicle in the upcoming "LEGO Batman Movie" is on display through January 22.
The 17-foot-long, 9-foot-wide, nearly 7-foot-tall supercar weighs nearly 1,700 pounds.
344,187 LEGO bricks were used to make the LEGO Batmobile; it took 1,833 hours to build and was designed and assembled by LEGO master builders in Enfield, Connecticut.
Worried about the next Fukushima? Military-grade direct-read radiation dosimeter will give you a heads-up
Cheap at twice the price should you wake up in the 2017 rendition of Chernobyl.
January 17, 2017
Glitch Carpets by Faig Ahmed
Azerbaijan-based conceptual artist Faig Ahmed utilizes traditional decorative craft and the visual language of carpets in contemporary sculptural works of art.
He experiments with traditional materials and colors, such as the rug weavings of Azerbaijan or Indian embroidery, while engaging the viewer through the unexpected marriage of crafts steeped in history with hypercontemporary digitally-distorted images, in the form of pixelation, three-dimensional shapes, and melting paint.
Ahmed employs computers to sketch his works and transfers his designs onto the carpets using traditional weaving techniques.
The show will remain up through January 25 at Sapar Contemporary in New York City.
USB-Powered Paper Cup Warmer
What took so long?
From the website:
Perfect for keeping those takeaway cups of coffee or tea warm during the winter.
The semi-transparent cup can be attached to a USB-enabled device to power its heating function.
Use it in the car
or connect to your computer.
Features a handle so you can drink without your beverage having to leave its cozy confines.
Features and Details:
• Detachable handle
• USB charging cable included
• Keeps drink warm for 4 hours
• Fits standard-size disposable cups
• Automatic cut-off prevents overheating
• Instructions: Japanese (but easy to use)
• Reaches optimal temperature in 4 minutes
$25 (paper cup and coffee not included).
January 16, 2017
Ruby Sea Dragon observed swimming in the wild for the first time ever
Back story here.
Even more here.
More is never enough.
Wake-Up Light with Colored Sunrise Simulation
Living in the basement?
Your ship aka light just came in.
From the website:
• Just like the rising sun, the red-to-yellow dawn simulation helps you wake up naturally
• Bedside light dims automatically when room gets dark
• 20 brightness settings when used as lamp
• 5 natural wake-up sounds or FM pre-set
• Tap-to-snooze alarm clock
January 15, 2017
BehindTheMedspeak: Paperfuge is a centrifuge that costs 20 cents and weighs 2 grams
From the Economist:
A cardboard centrifuge separates blood cells from plasma
Take a cardboard disc and punch two holes in it, on either side of its center.
Thread a piece of string through each hole.
Now, pull on each end of the strings and the disc will spin frenetically in one direction as the strings wind around each other, and then in the other, as they unwind.
Versions of this children's whirligig have been found in archaeological digs across the world, from the Indus Valley to the Americas, with the oldest dating back to 3,300 BC.
Now Manu Prakash and his colleagues at Stanford University have, with a few nifty modifications, turned the toy into a cheap, lightweight medical centrifuge.
They report their work this week in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Centrifuges' many uses include the separation of medical samples (of blood, urine, sputum and stool) for analysis.
Tests to spot HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, in particular, require samples to be spun to clear them of cellular debris.
Commercial centrifuges, however, are heavy and require power to run.
That makes them impractical for general use by health-care workers in poor countries, who may need to carry out diagnostic tests in the field without access to electricity.
They also cost hundreds — often thousands — of dollars.
Dr. Prakash's device, which he calls a "paperfuge," costs 20 cents and weighs just two grams.
The standard version (pictured) consists of two cardboard discs, each 10cm across.
One of the discs has two 4cm-long pieces of drinking straw glued to it, along opposing radii.
These straws, which have had their outer ends sealed with glue, act as receptacles for small tubes that contain the blood to be centrifuged.
Once the straws have been loaded, the two discs are attached face to face with Velcro, sandwiching the tubes between them.
For string, Dr. Prakash uses lengths of fishing line, tied at each end around wooden or plastic handles that the spinner holds.
The result, which spins at over 300 revolutions per second (rps) and generates a centrifugal force 10,000 times that of gravity, is able to separate blood into corpuscles and plasma in less than two minutes.
This is a rate comparable to that of electrical centrifuges.
Spinning samples for longer (about 15 minutes is ideal, though that is a lot of effort for a single spinner) can even separate red corpuscles, which may be infected by malarial parasites, from white ones, which cannot be so infected.
The team is now trying the system out for real, to find out what works best, by conducting blood tests for malaria in Madagascar.
Once samples have been separated, they still need to be analysed.
Fortunately, the paperfuge is not the first cheap laboratory instrument Dr. Prakash has invented.
In 2014 he unveiled the "foldscope," a microscope made from a sheet of paper and a small spherical lens.
The foldscope goes on sale this year, but his laboratory has already distributed more than 50,000 of them to people in 135 countries, courtesy of a charitable donation that paid for them.
He plans to ship a million more by the end of 2017.
Putting this together with a paperfuge means it is now possible to separate biological samples and analyze them under a microscope using equipment that costs less than a couple of dollars.
Olé Hook Kitchen Towel Holder
From the website:
The flamenco dancer gets a new dress every time you change the towel.
Attaches to any smooth surface with included double-sided adhesive.
Can be wall-mounted with nail or screw.
9.44'' x 4.92" x 0.6".
$14.90 (towels not included).
January 14, 2017
Owls Through Time — Edward Steed
Batman Bath Ducky
Res ipsa loquitur.
January 13, 2017
Birds in Flight
Barcelona-based Xavi Bou snaps hundreds of photos of birds in flight and stitches them together in Photoshop, compressing several seconds of movement into one frame.
He call the results — exemplars
above and below —
Somewhere Brancusi is smiling.
*órnis means bird in Ancient Greek
NICE UNDERWEAR DOORMAT
January 12, 2017
The center of the Milky Way — in radio color
Use the GLEAMoscope to view the GLEAM survey and the sky at wavelengths other than our visible range.
From the New York Times:
This is the real Technicolor sky.
Imagine if you could put on radio goggles to see the clouds of energy billowing from quasars or the lighthouse blasts from pulsars.
Or X-ray visors to see the spitfire from black holes.
Most of the wonders of the universe are invisible to us without technological help.
Visible light rays, after all, are only a small slice of nature's repertoire of electromagnetic radiation, which ranges from tiny high-energy bites of energy called gamma rays to the long, slow, booming rise and swell of radio waves.
Astronomers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, in Perth in Western Australia, have produced what they call the GLEAMoscope to dial up visions of the night sky over Australia in whatever kind of light you prefer.
It is based on an interactive graphic called Chromoscope that was produced at Cardiff University, combining data from a raft of astronomical instruments sensitive to different varieties of electromagnetic radiation.
Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, dominates every frame as an edge-on band of energy.
But using the slider, a viewer can choose to see the dull red glow of hydrogen gas throughout space, the twinkling stars and dust clouds of the visible galaxy, the superhot gas vibrating X-rays, the warm infrared glow of dust clouds, and even the spotty, glowing remnants of the Big Bang itself, manifesting as microwave radiation.
The Australian group has added the results of a new survey of the Southern Sky at very long radio wavelengths, called Gleam for the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-Sky M.W.A.
Carried out by a $50 million telescope known as the Murchison Widefield Array near Geraldton, Australia, it cataloged some 300,000 galaxies, the astronomers said, making it one of the largest radio surveys of the sky ever performed.