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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Time: Animated

Philip Zimbardo visualises hedonism, time perspective and pace of life in this superb animated guide to 'The Secret Powers of Time'

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

The smallest periodic table ever in the World ever?

I have seen myriad videos of images being basically printed onto strands of human hair; university logos, names, shapes...but this one takes the biscuit.  The University of Nottingham gave Professor Martyn Poliakoff a birthday treat by 'printing' the periodic table onto one of his hairs.

The printing is done by radiating the hair with ions of gallium which flake away teeny weeny bits of the hair at a time.  The resulting periodic table is 86 microns long (you could fit a million of them onto a square the size of your palm) and whilst this little trick is itself ultimately useless it does demonstrate the awesome (in it's richest and less colloquial sense) capabilities of nanotechnology.

See for yourself. I mean, aside from the lovely chap's odd-yet-endearing nutty professor appearance and poor televisual suitability, there is some pretty cool technology on show.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Facebook: mapping earth

There are six degrees of separation, so they say, and the world is an intricate web of mothers, husbands, colleagues, cousins, friends, enemies, frenemies. But this we're-all-the-earth's-children hippy talk of all being 'connected' is turned on it's tie-dye bandana-adorned head when searching through facebook and finding the right name, a similar face (but the picture's so small, I'm just. not. sure.) and to top it off, no mutual friends.

That is, until now. You may not feel connected to the rest of the world through your photo tags and wall posts and stalking the guy that you're inconveniently in love with, but an intern at Facebook has spent an undisclosed (obscenely large) amount of time poring over data to create this map of the world through Facebook's eyes, forcing you to admit that actually, we are a pretty snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug close knit family unit.

by Paul Butler (intern), crucial cog in the Facebook machine

Each line connects cities with pairs of friends, with brighter lines sprouting from the cities with the most pairs of friends.

Paul said of his digital creation:
"Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. [...] What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships."
You'll notice that large chunks of the Earth appear to be missing, such as China and most of rural Africa, and this is because Facebook hasn't quite permeated into the pores of their very existence yet...but give it time.