As artist John Edmark's sculptures wiggle, wobble, and twist before your eyes like some alien creature, it’s hard to believe that what you’re seeing is a real physical object—but we assure you it is, with a bit of trick photography and some heady mathematics thrown in for good measure. Blooms 2 (a year in the making) is the latest collection of wild strobe-animated sculptures that begin life as computer programs written in Python before being 3D printed and set in motion on a table, but the patterns you see are created, in a sense, by nature itself.
“Blooms are based on the same geometry nature uses in many plant forms, including artichokes, sunflowers, and pinecones, all of which share the same underlying mathematical pattern,” Edmark shares with Colossal. He explains in more detail how each sculpture is designed:
Blooms are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi).
While the strobe is necessary to witness the animation when viewing these pieces in person, for the sake of creating this video filmmaker Charlie Nordstrom set the camera to a short shutter speed that freezes individual “frames” of the spinning sculpture.
Many of Edmark’s pieces are now in galleries and permanent museum collections around the world. You can see several of his sculptures right now at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Technorama in Winterthur, Switzerland. You can also see some of his first designs in his original Blooms video, and for what it’s worth, we also carry his amazing Helicone sculpture in the Colossal Shop.
A micro-CT scan reveals the delicate feathers that cover the dinosaur tail. Photo by Lida Xing, courtesy National Geographic.
The first known dinosaur tail preserved in a piece of amber was recently discovered by paleontologist Lida Xing while collection samples in Myanmar last year. Dating back to the mid-Cretaceous Period some 99 million years ago, the roughly apricot-sized piece of amber contains a 1.4-inch appendage of 8 vertebrae unmistakably covered in primitive feathers. Scientists ruled out the possibility of the tail belonging to a bird, and based on its structure believe it came from a juvenile coelurosaur, a group of dinosaurs that includes tyrannosaurs. Via National Geographic:
While individual dinosaur-era feathers have been found in amber, and evidence for feathered dinosaurs is captured in fossil impressions, this is the first time that scientists are able to clearly associate well-preserved feathers with a dinosaur, and in turn gain a better understanding of the evolution and structure of dinosaur feathers.
The findings were first published today in a report co-authored by Ryan McKellar in Current Biology and you can read more on National Geographic.
Using common household props, Twitter user @thumb_tani stacks gravity-defying towers that rely on precise and calculated balance. Coins, toothpicks, and silverware are positioned to play off of each others’ weight in ways that might crumble with the slightest of touch. The sculptures go beyond experiments many might have seen before, ranging in shape from thick twirling cylinders to horizontal pieces that balance coins at the very edge of a knife’s blade. You can see more of his feats of balance, and incredible patience, posted to his Twitter. (via My Modern Met)
This stunning timelapse footage from the new Planet Earth II series on BBC One captures a wide variety of unusual fungi as it blooms at night. The clip is from the latest Jungles episode (UK only) and includes a few specimens that were shot for the very first time by Steve Axford whose fungi photography we’ve shared here many times. Unfortunately, watching Planet Earth II anywhere outside the UK legally is almost impossible until early next year, so you’ll have to hang tight for the whole episode.
In Chichibu, Japan, two hours northwest of Tokyo, there’s an odd museum; perhaps the only one of its kind. It’s called the Chinsekikan (which means hall of curious rocks) and it houses over 1700 rocks that resemble human faces.
The museum houses all kinds of jinmenseki, or rock with a human face, including celebrity lookalikes like Elvis Presley. And according to a 2013 post on Kotaku, there are also movie and video game character rocks like E.T., Donkey Kong and Nemo.
According to the Sankei, the museum is currently run by Yoshiko Hayama, the wife of the original owner who passed away in 2010. But it was his rock collection that started it all. An avid collector, the late Shozo Hayama spent 50 years collecting rocks that looked like faces. His only requirement was that nature be the only artist.
There are currently so many rocks on display that some don’t even have names. So the owner occasionally invites visitors to name the rocks. The Chichibu Chinsekikan (Gmap) is a 10-min walk from Kagemori Station. However, it’s recommended that you call ahead if you plan to visit because the museum is known to unexpectedly close for personal reasons. You can explore more photos on Another Tokyo and Yukawa.net. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Head curator, Yoshiko Hayama.
Italian chemistry student Emanuele Fornasier also has a knack for photography and spent the last few months documenting the formation of crystals. The result is Crystal Birth, a timelapse of some 18 examples of electrocrystallization, where an electric current is run through a chemical solution, causing metal deposits to form over a period of several hours or days. You can see more of his chemistry and timelapse work on his website.