Science

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Design Science

Japanese Aquariums Track Penguins’ Dramatic, Salacious Love Lives Through Complex Flowcharts

July 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

From Sumida Aquarium. All images © Kyoto Aquarium and Sumida Aquarium

Like most romances, penguins’ relationships aren’t black and white. The aquatic birds’ are known for their scandalous affairs, messy heartbreaks, and frequent kidnappings of each others’ chicks. To keep track of their complicated relationship statuses, caretakers at the Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium and Kyoto Aquarium have created a complex network documenting 2020’s romances.

The two flowcharts are replete with color-coded lines and symbols: Red hearts denote couples. Purple lines with question marks signify more complicated relationships with the potential of romance. A blue, broken heart indicates an ended affair. Yellow lines mean friendship, while green marks an enemy. Each penguin’s name is written underneath its photo.

In an interview with CNN Travel, Shoko Okuda, a spokeswoman for the aquariums, said the caretakers have included the dramatic birds’ flirtatious tactics, too, which includes wing flapping and shaking their necks left to right. Heartbroken birds—one female in Kyoto (shown below) ended six relationships last year alone—often refuse to eat their rice as they cope with the loss. The caretakers included have formed strong bonds with the penguins, sometimes even coming between same-species connections.

And remember, these are just the charts for 2020. Be sure to check back in with the Kyoto and Sumida caretakers to see what unfolds for 2021’s edition. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

From Sumida Aquarium

From Sumida Aquarium

From Kyoto Aquarium

From Kyoto Aquarium

 

 



Science

A Decade of Sun: A New Timelapse Chronicles Ten Years of the Enormous Star

June 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

Most experts advise against staring at the sun for more than a few seconds, and yet, a new timelapse from NASA lets viewers peer into the fiery mass for an entire decade. During the course of ten years, the Solar Dynamics Observatory took more than 425 million images of the massive star that were captured .75 seconds apart. Aggregated into an hour-long compilation titled “A Decade of Sun,” the photographs provide visual evidence of how the giant orb functions and its influence on the rest of the solar system. Each image was captured at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter, to show the exterior atmospheric layer that’s called the corona.

NASA has shared on YouTube a list of notable moments, including an appearance by Venus and an iconic interruption in 2012. Most of the dark spots in the video are a result of the earth or moon passing in between the Solar Dynamics Observatory and blocking its view, although there was a longer lapse in 2016 due to an equipment malfunction. When the spacecraft was recalibrating its tools, the sun shifts to one side of the screen.

Head to YouTube to dive into more of NASA’s explorations into outer space.

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Vintage Natural Science and Astronomy Illustrations Adorn Face Masks by Maria Popova

June 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Society6

Maria Popova, of Brain Pickings, has released a series of face masks that bring a dose of history to the modern-day essential. Each fabric covering is adorned with a vintage natural history or astronomy illustration, including Ellen Harding Baker’s solar system quilt, Ernst Haeckel’s renderings of jellyfish, and irises and other medicinal plants originally painted by Elizabeth Blackwell in the 18th century. “Because of the mask’s particular folding pattern, some of the artwork came alive in a wholly new and unexpected way,” Popova writes in a post.

My personal favorite — the original design I made for myself and my most beloved human — is the total solar eclipse mask, evocative of the opening line of astronomer and poet Rebecca Elson’s magnificent “Antidotes to Fear of Death”: “Sometimes as an antidote, To fear of death, I eat the stars.”

Explore some of the collection on Brain Pickings. You also might enjoy these artist-designed masks.

 

 

 



Art History Photography Science

Cabinet of Curiosities: A New Book Opens Centuries-Old Collections of Fossils, Sculptures, and Other Oddities

June 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Taschen, shared with permission

In a span of more than 350 pages, Italian photographer Massimo Listri captures some of the most wondrous and bizarre collections gathered throughout history. Cabinet of Curiosities, a new XXL edition from Taschen, is comprised of countless artifacts from the Renaissance to modern-day. Including massive fossils, excavated coral growths, and impeccably preserved sculptures, Listri’s photographs capture treasures of natural history, art, astrology, biology, and design. Many of the eccentric collections were maintained formerly by aristocrats, such as Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg.

Dive into the historical troves by picking up a copy of Cabinet of Curiosities from Taschen or Bookshop. Check out Listri’s stunning compendium of global libraries, too.

 

 

 



Amazing Science

Deep-Sea Exploration in the Ningaloo Canyons Unveils Gripping Footage of Undiscovered Aquatic Life

May 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

Plunge into the serene depths of the Indian Ocean through new 4K footage from the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s recent dive into the Ningaloo Canyons off the western coast of Australia. Previously unseen by researchers, the exploration captures aquatic life and swaths of the seafloor that have gone unexplored for years. Spanning 180 hours in total, the underwater adventure led to the discovery of more than 30 new aquatic species, in addition to the longest animal ever recorded. A member of the Apolemia genus, the record-breaking organism reaches an unprecedented 154 feet.

The humanless dive used the ROV Sebastian, a robotic underwater vehicle that can bear the pressure of 14,750 feet below water for lengthy durations, far more than people are capable of. See more of the institute’s mesmerizing videos on YouTube and find an extensive collection of deep-sea footage on its site. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Design Science

A New Hydroponic Planter Imprints Houseplants with Tessellating Root Systems

May 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Terraplanter

Bringing a design-based approach to indoor gardening, Terraplanter ensures that even those lacking green thumbs will be left with a beautiful, minimalist vessel if their plant-care skills aren’t quite adequate. When it’s in use, roots grip the lattice-like outside, which imprints their dense entanglements with a geometric pattern. The vegetation reveals its tessellating design when it’s removed.

The soil-free growing system has four planting methods: rubbing spores onto the surface, germinating seeds in the grooves, wrapping an already blooming vine around the pillar, or propagating a rooted plant by attaching it to the side. Water stored in the center of the vessel then diffuses through the porous material, hydrating the roots and ensuring they require little maintenance.

Because of its unique design, Terraplanter exposes root growth as it occurs, while securing it on the exterior. “We believe in nature-inspired-technology, we love plants, and we see things differently. Bound together with a passion for natural material, plants, and ecological products, we combined our knowledge and experience to create a user-friendly product and an optimal solution for plants to thrive indoors,” the New York-based company said in a statement.

Terraplanter already has raised more than $2,800,000 on Kickstarter, and there are a few rewards still available. To see more examples of the hydroponic propagation, check out Instagram, Facebook, and the video below, which was directed and animated by Kobi Vogman.

 

 

 



Science

Explore 30 Years of Arresting Images Captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in a New Book

May 19, 2020

Anna Marks

NGC 6302 Bug, nebula classification: planetary, nebula position: 17h 13m, –37° 06′ (Scorpius), distance from Earth: 3,800 ly, instrument/year: WFC3/UVIS, 2009. Image © NASA, ESA, and Hubble SM4 ERO Team

It’s the 30th anniversary of the first launch of the Hubble Space Telescope—the first major instrument to be placed in outer space and arguably one of the greatest inventions in the history of scientific discovery. The newly released book, Expanding Universe: The Hubble Space Telescope, is a celebration of this milestone, in which readers come face-to-face with some of the most unimaginable images that the telescope has captured. It also features 30 new snapshots on wide glossy pages. 

Launched in April 1990, the telescope sits above the Earth’s rainclouds and polluted skies, which allows it to capture an unobstructed view of distant stars, galaxies, and planets that make up the rich tapestry of our solar system. Alongside the arresting images, the book features texts that unravel some of the most compelling questions of space and time, including words by photography critic Owen Edwards, Hubble astronauts Charles F. Bolden, Jr., John Mace Grunsfeld, and Zoltan Levay.

Dive into the galactical explorations by picking up a copy of Expanding Universe from Taschen or Bookshop.

 

NGC 7635 Bubble, nebula classification: star-forming, nebula position: 23h 21m, +61° 12′ (Cassiopeia), distance from Earth: 7,100 ly, instrument/year: WFC3/UVIS, 2016. Image © NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NGC 2264 Cone, nebula classification: star-forming, nebula position: 06h 41m, +09° 25′ (Monoceros), distance from Earth: 2,500 ly, instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2002. Image © NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M. CLampin and G. Hartiq (STScI), the ACS Science Team

Hubble repairmen, STS-103, December 27, 1999. From their perch 350 miles above Earth’s surface, astronauts Steven Smith and John Grunsfeld replace the gyroscopes in rate sensor units inside Hubble. Image © NASA and ESA