Explore the Vast Scientific Collections of D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History Paired with Respective Experts 

A presentation of entomology specimens arranged within one aisle of the Entomology Department compactor collection cabinets at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Designed to illustrate the size and scope of the Entomology collection. May 9, 2006. Featured researchers: Dr. David Furth, Collections Manager; Dr. Ted Schultz, Research Entomologist; Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Senior Scientist; Patricia Gentili-Poole, Museum Technician.

A presentation of entomology specimens arranged within one aisle of the Entomology Department compactor collection cabinets at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Designed to illustrate the size and scope of the Entomology collection. May 9, 2006. Featured researchers: Dr. David Furth, Collections Manager; Dr. Ted Schultz, Research Entomologist; Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Senior Scientist; Patricia Gentili-Poole, Museum Technician.

Carefully arranged within thousands of drawers, flat files, and shelving units are the collections of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) which together comprise 90% of the Smithsonian’s collections. Found in these material assortments are the reference objects that help scientists, researchers, and museum curators understand our planet—from solid earth fragments to biological material and cultural objects from civilizations long deceased.

In this phenomenal photo series from the Smithsonian we get to see the many researchers paired with the items they explore and evaluate behind doors closed to the general public. You can learn more about these many varied collections on NMNH’s website. (via Juxtapoz)

The Botany Department Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, displaying algae specimens, including coraline algae, wet specimens and the usual herbarium sheets. Featured researchers: Dr. James Norris (right, front), his research assistant Bob Sims (left, front), and associate researcher, Katie Norris (left, back).

The Botany Department Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, displaying algae specimens, including coralline algae, wet specimens and the usual herbarium sheets. Featured researchers: Dr. James Norris (right, front), his research assistant Bob Sims (left, front), and associate researcher, Katie Norris (left, back). All images by Chip Clark.

Botanical collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Botany staff present are Dr. David Bruce Lellinger (left, front), Carol Kellof (right, middle), and Rusty Russell (left, back).

Botanical collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Botany staff present are Dr. David Bruce Lellinger (left, front), Carol Kellof (right, middle), and Rusty Russell (left, back).

A view of one part of the Paleontology collection in the Smithsonian Institution's National Musuem of Natural History, arranged by the addition of representative specimens from other parts of the three floors of fossils in the East Wing. Staff: Dr. Scott Wing, Chairman of the Department of Paleontology.

A view of one part of the Paleontology collection in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, arranged by the addition of representative specimens from other parts of the three floors of fossils in the East Wing. Staff: Dr. Scott Wing, Chairman of the Department of Paleontology.

Whale skeletons from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology's marine mammals collections are displayed in storage at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland.

Whale skeletons from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s marine mammals collections are displayed in storage at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland.

Anthropological collections on display in Pod 4 (designed to house oversized objects) at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland. Anthropology collections staff present. Panoramic image #7 of 7 at 26mm focal length.

Anthropological collections on display in Pod 4 (designed to house oversized objects) at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland. Anthropology collections staff present. Panoramic image #7 of 7 at 26mm focal length.

An assortment of mineral specimens from the Department of Mineral Sciences' collections are displayed in the storage vault known as the "Blue Room," at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Mineral Sciences staff present are (left) Paul Pohwat, Collections Manager of Minerals, and (right) Russell Feather, Collections Manager of Gems.

An assortment of mineral specimens from the Department of Mineral Sciences’ collections are displayed in the storage vault known as the “Blue Room,” at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Mineral Sciences staff present are (left) Paul Pohwat, Collections Manager of Minerals, and (right) Russell Feather, Collections Manager of Gems.

Collections from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Invertebrate Zoology Staff present: Paul Greenhall, Robert Hershler, Ellen Strong, Jerry Harasewych, and Linda Cole.

Collections from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Invertebrate Zoology Staff present: Paul Greenhall, Robert Hershler, Ellen Strong, Jerry Harasewych, and Linda Cole.

Mice from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology's mammals collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Mice from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s mammals collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

The Department of Vertebrate Zoology's wet collections of fish specimens preserved in alcohol, located at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

The Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s wet collections of fish specimens preserved in alcohol, located at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Anthropological collections are displayed in Pod 1 at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.

Anthropological collections are displayed in Pod 1 at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.

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New Ornate Ink Portraits of Lovable Dogs by Alex Konahin 

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Graphic artist and illustrator Alex Konahin (previously here and here) has just finished a new illustration-based project centered around the subject of seriously detailed dogs. The Latvia-based artist is known for his highly decorative style which he illustrates in each of his drawn subjects, a trait that is exemplified in the ornate fur of the included animals.

Konahin’s series was inspired by no inspiration at all, the works coming from a time when Konahin was going through an intense creative block after a long break from his personal creative work. Konahin’s first portrait in the series was of an English Bulldog, and after liking the result, followed that piece up with a German Shepherd and Pit Bull Terrier. You can see more of Konahin’s work on his Behance, Instagram, and Facebook.

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All images courtesy of Alex Konahin

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When Given Colored Construction Paper, Wasps Build Rainbow Colored Nests 

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It’s unnerving to discover a wasp’s nest dangling outside your house, but perhaps it would be a tad less so with the help of biology student Mattia Menchetti who cleverly realized he could give colored construction paper to a colony of European paper wasps. By gradually providing different paper shades, the wasps turned their homes into a functional rainbow of different colors. This isn’t the first time scientists have encountered insects producing colorful materials with the aid of artificial coloring. In 2012, residue from an M&M plant caused local bees to make blue and green honey, and a similar—though admittedly more tragic—incident involving bees and the dye used in Maraschino cherries occured recently in New York. You can see more of Menchetti’s experiment on his website. (via Booooooom)

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A Deconstructed Garden Suspended in the Air by Rebecca Louise Law 

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All images courtesy of Bikini Berlin

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To celebrate spring, London-based artist Rebecca Louise Law (previously) has placed 30,000 live flowers in the atrium of German Bikini Berlin, suspending a colorful garden above the heads of the store’s visitors with copper wire. The deconstructed floral arrangement was donated by Dutch Toll was blumen machen and designed to be an installation that would dry over the time of its placement in the space.

“The installation is designed to be an inviting, enchanting celebration of the outdoors and of spring color,” said Law. “We decided to name the sculpture simply, ‘Garten’ the German word for garden, in keeping with the simple, understated post-war design statement made by the Bikini Berlin building itself.”

You can walk beneath the flowers of Law’s Garten through May 1, 2016. (via Designboom)

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Wrapped: A Stunning Animated Time-lapse that Depicts Powerful Plants Reclaiming New York 

There have been countless films set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic New York teeming with wildlife and overgrown with plants, both Planet of the Apes and I Am Legend come to mind. In this animated short titled Wrapped from Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper and Florian Wittmann, we instead see the demise of the city as a vivid time-lapse that blends real footage, CG, and several of its own science fiction twists. The time-lapse begins with the death of a small rat that sets in motion the complete demise of the city’s human-made infrastructure that is quickly razed by super powerful vines. They share about the project:

“Wrapped” is a VFX driven short film by Roman Kälin, Falko Paeper and Florian Wittmann that combines Time Lapse Photography with CG to create a new reality. The short explores the effects of time and change focusing on the the world’s seemingly never ending cycles. The deterioration of one is the foundation for another. This fact takes on new dimensions when the unexpected forces of nature clash with the existing structures of our civilization.

Wrapped was originally released in 2014 and was screened at over 100 festivals picking up tons of accolades along the way. The film was made viewable online for the first time ever today. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

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A Rocking Chair That Knits You a Hat as You Read the Paper 

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All images via Gessato

Two longtime porch activities are now combined into one simple contraption thanks to designers Damien Ludi and Colin Peillex, creators of the Rocking Knit. The wooden rocking chair is rigged to knit as you sway back and forth, producing a cap from minimal energy output. The invention was produced as a part of Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne‘s Low-Tech Factory, a workshop that encourages students from the industrial design program to invent simple machines that at once create an experience and a material good. Ludi and Peillex premiered their contraption at Designer’s Saturday in Langenthal, Switzerland and produced a video that demonstrates their invention below. (via My Modern Met)

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