Science

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Animation Science

Frightening Animation Compares the Size of Asteroids in the Solar System to New York City

February 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

A new animation created by Alvaro Gracia Montoya of MetaBallStudio provides a terrifying look at the exceptional asteroids currently in the solar system. The video begins by comparing a human to one of the minor planets before revealing their enormity as the following asteroids quickly dwarf New York City in its entirety. 2008 TC3 is the smallest shown with a mean diameter of about 4.1 meters, while the largest is 1 Ceres, which has a mean diameter of about 939 kilometers.

If the sizes of the rock and mineral objects aren’t scary enough, the B612 Foundation concluded in 2018 that it’s “100 percent certain we’ll be hit, but we’re not 100 percent sure when.” That same year, Stephen Hawking wrote in his last book Brief Answers to the Big Questions that asteroids are the biggest threat to Earth. For a more calming animation, check out this comparison of tree heights. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Science

Underwater Footage Captures a Blanket Octopus Revealing Her Billowing Iridescent Membrane

February 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

In a short clip captured during a blackwater night dive in the Lembeh Strait, a blanket octopus unfolds and displays a colorful web multiple times her original size. The aquatic animal’s iridescent body and tentacles glow against the nighttime water before she releases her translucent blanket that connects her dorsal and dorsolateral arms. Only adult females are equipped with the lengthy membrane that reaches as long as six feet and dwarfs male octopi, which are less than an inch in size and most often die immediately after mating. Generally, the females only unfurl their color-changing blankets to appear larger and more intimidating to potential predators. Shared by NAD Lembeh Resort, the underwater video was taken on a RED Gemini with a 50 millimeter Zeiss Macro lens. You might also want to check out this footage of a blanket octopus in waters near the Philippines. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 



Art Craft Science

Anatomical Forms Emerge From Zippers, Quilted Fabric, and Felt by Élodie Antoine

February 14, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

“Zip thorax” (2014), zippers. All images © Élodie Antoine, shared with permission 

Belgian artist Élodie Antoine understands the behavior of fibers, controlling them in ways to produce textile designs that are organic, fungal, and oftentimes anatomical in nature. Her anatomies emerge from taut lycra, dense felt structures, and an impressive number of zippers. The pieces are as much a reflection of the numerous tissue types in the human body as the textiles themselves. 

Antoine shares with Colossal her view on the connection between textiles and anatomy. “Textile is a soft material, very sensual and transformable. Felt especially is very interesting for making sculptures because it allows to make forms without sewing, without suture, like the organs of the human body,” she writes.

From a young age, Antoine remembers a fondness for textiles, saying, “using it was obvious for me as both my parents were very interested in knitting and sewing—it was all around me.” She familiarized herself with classic sewing techniques, mastering them to create contemporary forms that transcend technique and fiber. Particularly interesting are her felt sculptures that take on the form of teeth, lower limbs, bones, and other peculiar organic forms. Antoine uses a kitchen knife to slice through the unassuming masses to reveal vibrant anatomical-like cross-sections.

She currently teaches textile design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels (ARBA-ESA) and is represented by Aeroplastics Gallery. Keep an eye on Antoine’s latest textile endeavors, including watching her cut through her felt sculptures, on Instagram.

Left: “Sliced blue felt” (2013), © Galerie Aeroplastics

“Quilted brain” (2014), lycra and padding, 33 x 25 centimeters

“Quilted heart” (2016), red lycra, padding

 

 

 



Craft Science

People Are Knitting, Crocheting, and Weaving Tangible Records of Temperature Changes

February 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image © Josie George

In an effort to make the ongoing effects of climate change more visible, needleworkers around the globe are creating temperature blankets and scarves that track local weather patterns. Earlier this month, writer Josie George began an expansive Twitter thread about the project, motivating others to share their similar work. “I decided that this year, every day, I would knit a row on a scarf to mark the corresponding daily temperature/weather of my town,” George wrote in the original post. “It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year. A way to notice and not look away.”

Although the technique and materials vary, each project follows a basic pattern utilizing a key (like this free one) to track some combination of the temperature, sky conditions, season, and date. The personal projects are part of a larger movement to document micro weather changes that may serve as indicators of broader climate issues. Groups like The Tempestry Project have been crafting wallhangings tracking the daily high temperature of a specific location during the course of year, weaving the results into a yarn-based work resembling a bar graph. Check out this Instagram tag to see more of the activism-inspired projects. (via My Modern Met)

Image © Josie George

Image © qp nell

Image © Annie S

 

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Science

‘Evolution’ Captures Every Microscopic Detail of Insect and Plant Life as It Unfolds

February 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

Evolution,” directed by French video artist Thomas Blanchard (previously), offers an otherwise undetectable look at the minute movements of natural life. The macro-view project shows the first signs of flowers blossoming, in addition to glimpses of dozens of insect legs scurrying across a crumbling surface and of other bugs bating and catching their prey. Utilizing an array of deeply saturated light sources, Blanchard illuminates vibrant florals as they spread open and insects with glossy bodies, adding artistic nuance to an accurate depiction of nature’s cycles.

Aedan, who produced the time-lapsed video, calls it “an exercise in patience and observation that the master of macro, here (the) director, masters to perfection… The result is a striking spectacle where you can observe life with a new eye.” It was filmed in 8K with a RED Helium camera, using both a Canon 100 millimeter L macro lens and MPE 60 millimeter macro lens, and was edited in 4K. Keep up with Blanchard’s surreal transformations on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Animation Science

A Verdant Botanical Animation Takes a Macro View of Nature’s Cycles

February 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

Spanning from day to night and from sunshine to rain and wind, “Story of Flowers” shows the various stages of botanical growth and the help plants get along the way. The instructional project—which was illustrated by Katie Scott, animated by James Paulley, and directed by Azuma Makoto—depicts the interconnected networks within an ecosystem, like the organisms underground fertilizing the soil or a bumblebee landing atop and pollinating a pistil. Each stage of the germination process is shot with an enlarged view to magnify roots stretching out, sprouts poking through the ground, and flowers opening up to bloom. As rain falls, the petals drop and plants release their seeds, which then are embedded into the soil, beginning the cycle once again. Head to Instagram to check out more work from Scott, Paulley, and Makoto. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 



History Illustration Science

150,000 Botanical and Animal Illustrations Available for Free Download from Biodiversity Heritage Library

January 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

Billed as the world’s largest open access digital archive dedicated to life on Earth, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is comprised of animal sketches, historical diagrams, botanical studies, and various scientific research collected from hundreds of thousands of journals and libraries around the globe. In an effort to share information and promote collaboration to combat the ongoing climate crisis, the site boasts a collection of more than 55 million pages of literature, some of which dates back to the 15th century. At least 150,000 illustrations are available for free download in high-resolution files.

Among the collections is a digital copy of Joseph Wolf’s The Zoological Sketches, two volumes containing about 100 lithographs depicting wild animals housed in London’s Regent’s Park. Wolf originally sketched and painted the vignettes in the mid-19th century. Other diverse works range from a watercolor project detailing flowers indigenous to the Hawaiian islands, to a guide for do-it-yourself taxidermy replete with illustrated instructions published in 1833.

The library also offers a variety of tools, including search features to find species by taxonomy and another option to monitor online conversations related to books and articles in the archive. Consistently adding collections to the public domain, the organization currently is working on a project to promote awareness of the field notes available from the Smithsonian Institution Archives, the Smithsonian Libraries, and the National Museum of Natural History.

For those who don’t want to dig through pages of archives, head to Flickr and Instagram for a more streamlined visual experience. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

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