Science

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A Tornado of Fire Filmed in Australia by Chris Tangey

October 1, 2012

Christopher Jobson

I’ve been traveling a bit so I’m a bit late to this as I know it’s been on a lot of news outlets lately. Regardless, filmmaker Chris Tangey shot this incredible footage of a ‘fire devil’ near Alice Springs, Australia on September 11th. In the unedited, raw footage recently provided by Tangey you can watch as the tornado—which is technically more of a dust devil—towers over 100 feet (30 meters) high. The Huffington Post explains that while footage like this is rare, these vortices of fire are actually pretty common.

 

 



Guerilla Creative Collective ‘Kut’ Brings Unexpected Weather to the Streets of Riga

August 29, 2012

Christopher Jobson

A Latvian group that goes by the name Kut who describes themselves as “a creative collective consisting of filmmakers, musicians, artists, politicians and cats,” recently undertook an action on the streets of Riga called “Oh Joy!” where the group brought nature to the city and made the weather change unexpectedly. Aside from the few “Oh dear god what is this stuff all over me” moments, it looks like most people enjoyed it quite a bit. Love the editing. (via vimeo)

 

 



New Interpolated HD Video of Curiosity Mars Rover Descent Depicts Real-Time Landing

August 26, 2012

Christopher Jobson

I’ve seen several different videos of Curiosity’s descent down to the Mars, and while incredible because of what they depict, none approached the frame-rate we might normally expect from an actual film. Using footage provided by NASA, Reddit user Godd2 just spent the last four days on behalf of all humankind creating a stunning interpolated HD version of the descent. In layman’s terms interpolation involves taking a choppy video, in this case NASA’s 4 frames-per-second video, and rendering the “missing” frames in between resulting in an incredibly smooth 25 frames-per-second video. This is, I believe, the closest approximation ever of what it might feel like to land on another planet in real time using actual footage. Amazing. Here it is on YouTube.

 

 



This is What Happens When a Squid Listens to Cypress Hill

August 23, 2012

Christopher Jobson

This just completely blew my mind. First a minor detail: squids do not possess ears. However, the same impulses created when audio is converted to an electrical signal, like what happens inside a microphone, can actually be gently applied to tissue, in this case the dorsal side of a squid fin. Joe Hanson over on It’s OK to be Smart explains this better than I ever will. The video above comes from the team over at Backyard Brains who did some experiments at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts where a squid was hooked up to a special iPod playing Cypress Hill’s 1993 hit Insane in the Brain. Via YouTube:

The video is a view through an 8x microscope zoomed in on the dorsal side of the caudal fin of the squid. We used a suction electrode to stimulate the fin nerve. Chromatophores are pigmented cells that come in 3 colors: Brown, Red, and Yellow. Each chromatophore is lined with up to 16 muscles that contract to reveal their color.

A number of incredibly smart people even wrote a scholarly paper on the phenomenon aptly titled Neural Control of Tuneable Skin Iridescence in Squid! (via brainpicker)

 

 



An Interactive 360° Panorama of Curiosity’s Landing Site on Mars

August 14, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Last week I stayed up well into the night waiting for news of Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars. Although the first few dusty, low-res images were a bit underwhelming they were no less incredible: after traveling for over 8 months and 352 million miles we successfully landed a 2,000 pound car on another planet. Thankfully the wait for incredible imagery is finally over. The folks over at EDS Systems have stitched together a high-resolution interactive panorama of Curiosity’s landing site from where she’ll soon embark on at least two years of research and investigation of the red planet.

 

 



Stunning New Time Lapse Video from the International Space Station

November 12, 2011

Christopher Jobson

A few weeks ago a beautiful time lapse video shot from the International Space Station made the rounds. When I saw this new video pop up on Vimeo I assumed it was the same thing, but immediately realized it was something wholly more incredible, not to mention five times longer. This new (or newly edited?) video was shot with a special low-light 4K-camera by the crew of expeditions 28 and 29 onboard the ISS from August to October, 2011 and captures numerous shots of the Aurora Borealis. I recommend clicking HD full-screen for this one.

 

 



Quantum Levitation

October 17, 2011

Christopher Jobson

A representative from the Superconductivity Group at Tel Aviv University conducts a demo of quantum superconductors locked in a magnetic field for the ASTC. Excuse me while I clean fragments of my brain off my monitor. If somebody had shown me this in grade school I would be a physicist now. (via stellar)