Category: Science

A Mesmerizing Sequence of Biological Simulations by Maxime Causeret for Max Cooper’s ‘Order from Chaos’ 

Starting with a recording of raindrops hitting the skylight in his old apartment, this track titled Order from Chaos from London-based artist Max Cooper‘s newest album Emergence is the culmination of three years work merging his interests in science, music and visual arts. French visual effects artist Maxime Causeret was asked to provide the visuals and the result is a mesmerizing blend of biological simulations and music video. Cellular forms appear to collide, merge, and even compete for resources while brain-like structures explode and crash across the screen. Cooper explains a bit of the science behind the art:

Maxime Causeret selected this track to work with, under the brief to map the emergent rhythm to an exploration of emergence in living form. His video shows the raindrops initially, then going into simple cellular forms and then showing the important idea of cooperation between simple cells to form more robust colonies of life. This develops into a visualisation of the idea of endosymbiosis, where simpler smaller organisms can live inside larger cells, each providing a benefit to the other, and eventually forming parts of the same organism as they evolve to be entirely dependent on each other.

Fullscreen, headphones, you know the drill. This is definitely worth getting lost in for a moment. You can listen to Cooper’s full album here.

chaos-1

chaos-2

chaos-3

See related posts on Colossal about , , .

The First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber is Covered in Feathers 

Photo by R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Courtesy National Geographic.

Photo by R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Courtesy National Geographic.

dino-2

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.

See related posts on Colossal about , .

Incredible Fungi Timelapse from Planet Earth II 

mush-1

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.

mush-2

mush-5

mush-4

See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

Crystal Birth: A Beautiful Timelapse of Metallic Crystals Forming in Chemical Solutions 

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.

crystal-1

See related posts on Colossal about , , , .

Overview: A New Book of High-Def Satellite Images Capturing How People Have Changed the Earth 

03-gemasolar-thermosolar-plant

Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant / 37·560755°, –5·331908° / This Overview captures the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Seville, Spain. The solar concentrator contains 2,650 heliostat mirrors that focus the sun’s thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through a 140-metre-tall (460-foot) central tower. The molten salt then circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is used to produce steam and generate electricity. In total, the facility displaces approximately 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

In December of 2013, an Instagram account called Daily Overview began to catalog a wide spectrum of satellite images that capture the many ways people have transformed the face of Earth, for better or worse. The account is run by Benjamin Grant who uses imagery taken from DigitalGlobe, an advanced collection of Earth imaging satellites that provide data to services like Google Earth. The project gets its title from a phenomenon experienced by astronauts who spend extended periods of time in space and what they describe as a “cognitive shift in awareness” as they continuously view the world from above dubbed the overview effect.

As Grant’s Instagram has swelled to nearly a half million followers, some of the best images from the project have been gathered into a new 288-page hardcover book called Overview. The book includes images of our collective impact on Earth, a collection of interlinked systems often too difficult to grasp including aspects of industry, agriculture, and architecture.

All images © 2016 by DigitalGlobe, Inc. from Overview by Benjamin Grant, published by Amphoto Books. Used with permission. (via Twisted Sifter)

04-tulips

Tulips / 52·276355°, 4·557080° / Every year, tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands begin to bloom in March and are in peak bloom by late April. The Dutch produce a total of 4·3 billion tulip bulbs each year, of which 53% (2·3 billion) is grown into cut flowers. Of these, 1·3 billion are sold in the Netherlands as cut flowers and the remainder is exported: 630 million bulbs to Europe and 370 million elsewhere.

05-olives

Olives / 37·263212°, –4·552271° / Olive tree groves cover the hills of Córdoba, Spain. Approximately 90% of all harvested olives are turned into oil; the remaining 10% are eaten as table olives. With rising temperatures and phenomenal weather variations in growing regions, olive groves on high hills or slopes will probably suffer less, but groves located on low altitude areas or plains could become totally unproductive.

06-moab-potash-evaporation-ponds

Moab Potash Evaporation Ponds / 38·485579°, –109·684611° / Evaporation ponds are visible at the potash mine in Moab, Utah, USA. The mine produces muriate of potash, a potassium-containing salt that is a major component in fertilisers. The salt is pumped to the surface from underground brines and dried in massive solar ponds that vibrantly extend across the landscape. As the water evaporates over the course of 300 days, the salts crystallise out. The colours that are seen here occur because the water is dyed a deep blue, as darker water absorbs more sunlight and heat, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes for the water to evaporate and the potash to crystallise.

09-marabe-al-dhafra

Marabe Al Dhafra / 23·610424°, 53·702677° / The villas of Marabe Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates are home to approximately 2,000 people. Located in one of the hottest regions of the world, the record high temperature here is 49·2°C (120·6°F).

15-port-of-singapore

Port of Singapore / 1·237656°, 103·806422° / Cargo ships and tankers – some weighing up to 300,000 tonnes – wait outside the entry to the Port of Singapore. The facility is the world’s second-busiest port in terms of total tonnage, shipping a fifth of the world’s cargo containers and half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil.

20-ipanema-beach

Ipanema Beach / –22·983606°, –43·206638° / Ipanema Beach is located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Recognised as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the sand is divided into segments by lifeguard towers known as ‘postos’.

25-nishinoshima-volcanic-activity

Nishinoshima Volcanic Activity / 27·243362, 140·874420 / Nishinoshima is a volcanic island located 940 kilometres (584 miles) south of Tokyo, Japan. Starting in November 2013, the volcano began to erupt and continued to do so until August 2015. Over the course of the eruption, the area of the island grew in size from 0.06 square kilometres (0.02 square miles) to 2·3 square kilometres (0·89 square miles).

book

See related posts on Colossal about , .

The Extraordinary Details of Tiny Creatures Captured with a Laser-Scanning Microscope by Igor Siwanowicz 

igor-1

Acilius diving beetle male front tarsus (foot) 100x

If you’ve ever wondered how a diving beetle swims through the water or manages to rest just on the surface, the answer is in part because its foot is infinitely more complicated than your own. As seen above, this microscopic image of a male Acilius sulcatus (diving beetle) by photographer Igor Siwanowicz reveals the extraordinary complexity of this aquatic insect’s tiny appendage. This is just one of many examples of Siwanowicz’s work as a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus. His brilliantly colored images show the tree-like structures of moth antennas, the wild details of barnacle legs, and the otherworldly shapes of plant spores. The photos are made with a confocal laser-scanning microscope capable of “seeing” vast amounts of detail beyond what you might capture with a traditional lens-based microscope. You can see much more of his nature photography here. (via Synaptic Stimuli, Wired)

igor-2

Barnacle

igor-3

Midge Pupa

igor-4

Paraphyses & Sporangia

Isopod appendage

igor-6

Front leg of whirligig beetle

igor-7

Moth antennae

Moth antennae, detail

See related posts on Colossal about , , .

Page 2 of 311234...»