Category: Science

A Neural Network Generates Surprisingly Elegant Images of Dinosaurs Composed of Plants 

Artist and writer Chris Rodley utilized a deep learning algorithm to create these really lovely illustrations of dinosaurs composed of plants. The images were generated with an online service called DeepArt that lets you upload a “target” image and then apply a visual style to it. For step one he fed the network images of common dinosaurs and then applied the styles of 19th-century fruit engravings and botanical illustrations. The results are a sort of 21st-century artificial intelligence channeling Giuseppe Arcimboldo. You can read a bunch more about all the technical mumbo jumbo over on Sploid. (via Kottke)

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Alexander Semenov Photographs Astonishing Creatures from the Depths of the World’s Oceans 

Pegea confoederata

If you’re like me, the only possible reaction to these recent photographs by marine biologist Alexander Semenov is “What is that? What is that?! WHAT IS THAT!?” Semenov is the head of the diving at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station where he brings nearly a decade of underwater photography experience to a wide variety of research and exploration projects. He focuses mostly on invertebrate animals found in the Arctic ocean: squishy, wiggly, translucent creatures from jellyfish to worms found deep underwater, most of which have never been documented with such detail and clarity.

Semenov shares about his work in an artist statement:

My key specialism is scientific macrophotography in natural environments. This practice makes it possible to observe animals that cannot be properly studied under laboratory conditions, such as soft bodied planktonic organisms or stationary life forms living on the seafloor. My personal goal is to study underwater life through camera lenses and to boost people’s interest in marine biology. I do this by sharing all my finding through social media and in real life through public lectures, movies, exhibitions and media events.

Seen here are a collection of images from the last year including expeditions to the Southern Kuril Islands, the Southern Maldives, the White Sea, and the Mediterranean, but there’s hundreds of additional photos on Flickr.

Clavelina moluccensis

Alitta virens swimming

Siphonophore from the Sea of Okhotsk

Tubastraea faulkneri – Sun Cup coral

Pegea confoederata

Godiva quadricolor

Siphonophore 4

Unidentified hudrozoan jellyfish

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Playful Watercolors Illustrate the Many Classifications of the Animal Kingdom 

Illustrator and amateur naturalist Kelsey Oseid is focused on detailing the natural world, illustrating the animal kingdom’s many classes and orders on posters created with watercolor and gouache. The posters highlight more known orders such as Carnivora and Rodentia, while also showcasing the diversity of animals in lesser known orders like the Chondrichthyes and Artiodactyla. Oseid numerically labels the more common names of each animal in the footer of her works, pointing out where one can find the capybara, naked mole rat, and hammerhead shark.

The Minneapolis-based illustrator’s first book, What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky, comes out September 26 from Ten Speed Press. You can take a look at Oseid’s sketches and inspiration for her illustrations on her Instagram, and grab a poster for yourself on her Etsy. (via My Modern Met)

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The First Blue Pigment Created in Over 200 Years to be Used in a Crayon 

YInMn blue (photo courtesy Oregon State University)

YInMn blue (photo courtesy Oregon State University)

The first blue pigment to have been created in over 200 years will serve as the newest Crayola crayon. “YlnMn blue” was not developed within an arts context, but rather accidentally discovered in in an Oregon State University (OSU) chemistry lab in 2009. Graduate student Andrew Smith made the discovery alongside Mas Subramanian after combining manganese oxide, yttrium, and indium, elements which also serve as the inspiration for the pigment’s name.

“Most pigments are discovered by chance,” Subramanian explained in a statement. “The reason is because the origin of the color of a material depends not only on the chemical composition, but also on the intricate arrangement of atoms in the crystal structure. So someone has to make the material first, then study its crystal structure thoroughly to explain the color.”

YlnMn blue has a unique elemental structure which allows its manganese ions to absorb red and green wavelengths of light, only reflecting back a deep blue. This color is so durable that even when placed in oil or water it does not fade which makes it an attractive and versatile commercial product.

Shepherd Color Company, which received exclusive licensing to YlnMn blue in 2015, has since partnered with Crayola to launch its newest crayon. YlnMn blue’s name will be replaced this summer after a public rebranding contest by Crayola which ends June 2. The vibrant blue will take the place of Crayola’s yellow Dandelion crayon, which is being retired after a 27-year-run. (via Hyperallergic)

Photo courtesy of Karl Maasdam/Oregon State University

Professor Mas Subramanian gazes at YInMn blue which was discovered in his lab in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Karl Maasdam/Oregon State University)

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Fractal: A Magnificent Supercell Thunderstorm Timelapse by Chad Cowan 

For the last decade, Kansas-based photographer Chad Cowan has driven almost 100,000 miles across the United States chasing powerful supercell thunderstorms and recording them in high definition. The endeavor began as a personal project to capture a few storms as they developed but quickly grew into a full-blown obsession. Cowan has recorded hundreds of storms and condensed the highlights into this short film titled Fractal with editing help from Kevin X Barth. He shares about the nature of thunderstorms:

The ingredient based explanation for supercell thunderstorms cites moisture, wind shear, instability and lift as the reasons for their formation. I prefer to focus on the big picture. Supercell thunderstorms are a manifestation of nature’s attempt to correct an extreme imbalance. The ever ongoing effort to reach equilibrium, or viscosity, is what drives all of our weather, and the force with which the atmosphere tries to correct this imbalance is proportional to the gradient. In other words, the more extreme the imbalance, the more extreme the storm.

You can see more of Cowan’s storm photography on his website and on Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

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Still Photos of Jupiter Taken by the Juno Spacecraft Set in Motion by Sean Doran 

NASA’s Juno spacecraft launched in 2011, arriving at Jupiter in July of 2016 to begin a series of what will eventually be 12 orbits around the Solar System’s largest planet. The path selected for this particular mission is a wide polar orbit, most of which is spent well away from Jupiter. But once every 53 days Juno screams from top to bottom across the surface of the gaseous planet, recording data and snapping photographs for two hours. It takes around 1.5 days to download the six megabytes of data collected during the transit.

Juno only takes a handful of still photographs each time it passes Jupiter, all of which are made available to the public. Lucky for us Sean Doran stitched together the images from Juno’s last transit (colorized by Gerald Eichstädt) to create an approximate video/animation of what it looks like to fly over the giant planet. Music added by Avi Solomon.

Update: There’s now an extended version.

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