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Friday, 12 July 2013

10 years to take a picture of the universe

This is a compiled image of 10 years worth of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs. NASA call this the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) which is a section of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field (previous holder of the title 'deepest image of the universe') and contains 5,500 galaxies even within its smaller field of view. The faintest galaxies you can see on the picture are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. You can go into more detail and watch a video on the NASA website.

(Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Lava over ice. Completely mesmerising.

You wouldn't think this video was 8 minutes long after sitting through it with your jaw slightly ajar and your eyes fixed at your screen in wonder. I love lava. It is an incredible thing that rocks can even get so hot that they can be poured but I had never considered how interesting and entertaining it would be to watch when in contact with something at the other end of the kelvin scale.

Watch in awe as the bubbles grow into glass domes and burst before settling into black rivers and boulders of semi-molten rock.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Life-size chocolate skulls

Whilst browsing on Firebox I noticed these chocolate Skulls and they reminded me of my previous post on Chocolate skulls with walnut brains. I thought that these too were small treats but what is in fact on offer is 2.5kg of life-size chocolate cranium molded on an actual human skull offering exceptional likeness to life. The team say "Each skull is cast by hand in intricate detail, displaying the ravages of age as well as various timeworn scars and bumps". One of these will set you back a hefty £350 but the look on people's faces as you nibble away at it would be priceless.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Nike's x-ray tights

Nike released these pretty cool x-ray leggings at the end of last year and I keep meaning to post about them. So here they are - Nike thinking outside the box.


The say in some admittedly effusive 'brand' speak:

 "The new Nike Women’s Exclusive Print tight is a performance based pant for the athlete unafraid to make a statement. On the outside, she might be the girl next door, but on the inside, her body has survived grueling workouts, often pushing through pain, broken bones, pulled muscles and harsh tears."

Still, despite over-egging the campaign behind the tights, they look pretty awesome.

Friday, 15 March 2013

The most beautiful sight in space is urine

From down here on our humble planet, the best sight for me is the Milky Way on a clear night in a remote location. Or a meteor shower. Or a Solar Eclipse. Or Uranus, Venus and Mars all visible with the naked eye on the same night. But for Russel Schweickart of Appolo 9...

"The most beautiful sight in orbit…is a urine dump at sunset"*

Um. Awkard. So, could you explain yourself please Russel?

Russel wasn't available for comment but I can regurgitate what others have said for you. Space shuttles don't have much space on board for the little extras, like bodily waste, so they regularly have to release them to lighten their load. When urine is released from the exit nozzle it freezes immediately and 'instantly flashes into 10 million little ice crystals which go out almost in a hemisphere…a spray of sparklers, almost' (say Scientific American anyway). And it gets better, once those little droplets are crystals, the sun then hits them and transforms them into water vapour to create a kind of mesmerizing cloud of human bodily fluids.

The urine dump that Russel was talking about was a particularly big one (about 68 kilos of urine and water) because the shuttle couldn't unload during it's 10-day stay at the international Space Station. Nice.

*Source: Time

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Magic Zig-zagging water

A colleague sent me this link to an experiment on Alex Hardy's Blog where a 24Hz Sine Wave is put through a flow of running water adn it appears to run in a zig zig motion. I don't know if this beats non-newtonian fluid on a speaker* but it's pretty darn close.


The camera frame rate is adjusted to match the vibration of the wave (so, 24 FPS {frames per second})to get this effect. This is an optical illusion resulting from viewing the stream of water at the same FPS as the HZ of the sound. In person, it wouldn't look like this. It's a bit like the way the rims on a car appear to spin in reverse at certain speeds. At 23Hz the stream of water would look like it is moving backwards and 25Hz like it is moving forward in slow motion.

 *I just searched back for a blog post to link to on non-newtonian fluid on speakers and was amazed to find that I haven't posted about it yet. Error. Post coming soon!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Tiny, tiny baby mouse. How cute.

When I say baby, what I really mean is embryo. This 18.5-day-old double transgenic mouse embryo (transgenic simply meaning that it contains genes from another species) was taken by Gloria Kwon and it won 1st place in the annual Nikon Small World photomicrography competition back in 2007.

photo by Gloria Kwon, copyright of Nikon Small World

The image was taken at 17x magnification. The green that you see is the in-tact yolk sac with green fluorescence  The rest of the embryo, including the placenta, have red fluorescence.

The image was taken using widefield microscopy with various lighting conditions under brightfield as well as green and red fluorescent filters in darkfield which enable her to show up details of the embryo that would be difficult to see or document otherwise.