Science

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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

 

 



Science

Oyster Mushrooms Sprout from The Pages of a New Book About Fungi

May 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image © Merlin Sheldrake

Biologist and author Merlin Sheldrake is using a particularly self-referential marketing strategy for his new book Entangled Life. In a recent Instagram post, Sheldrake announced the mycelium-based project’s release with an image of the text literally bursting with fungi. “Here it is being devoured by Pleurotus, or oyster mushrooms. Pleurotus can digest many things, from crude oil to used cigarette butts, and is also delicious. Now Pleurotus has eaten Entangled Life, I can eat the Pleurotus, and so eat my words,” he writes. You can purchase your own (untarnished) copy from Bookshop.

 

 



Photography Science

Millions of Monarchs Swarm Fake Hummingbird As It Captures Spectacular Footage of Their Flight

April 30, 2020

Anna Marks

With its clementine-colored wings bordered with black lines and white spots, the monarch, also known as Danaus Plexippus, is a widely recognizable insect. As the weather changes and gets cooler, the monarchs migrate from their breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States and fly to central Mexico, where they form clustered colonies on oyamel fir trees to conserve heat until the days grow longer and they migrate north once again. 

In this spectacular clip filmed by the PBS series Spy in the Wild, a mechanical “spy hummingbird” flies over a swarm of resting monarchs. Creators chose the flying creature because it feeds on nectar and thus isn’t seen as a threat. As the sun warms the butterflies’ wings to 50 degrees, the insects wake and start to flutter and move. The hummingbird spy finds itself within the very heart of the swarm and captures a spectacular scene in which millions of butterflies take to the sky once more in a mesmerizing confetti-like cloud. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



History Science

Intrusive Clowns, Preserved Cats, and Centuries-Old Hair: Museums Are Sharing Their Creepiest Objects

April 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Top left via GR Public Museum, bottom left via Yorkshire Museum, right via Bell Museum

If you’re not into clowns, taxidermied creatures, or centuries-old piles of hair, you probably should avoid the #CreepiestObject hashtag on Twitter. In recent days, museums worldwide have been digging into their nightmare-inducing archives to uncover the most disturbing pieces their collections have to offer. Findings include a preserved mermaid-like animal, a cross-section of a pregnant cat, and a children’s toy that’s rumored to move on its own.

Similar to the virtual bouquets and the challenge to recreate famous artworks, the movement is one of the ways shuttered museums are engaging with—and now terrifying—their quarantined audiences. We’ve gathered some of their picks below, but please consider this your warning before you scroll down or dive deeper into the hashtag. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 

“STEP ASIDE ALL. These are hand-made models of figures playing cards and of gold miners hauling gold nuggets to the surface. BUT the figures are made from crab’s legs and claws… Typical Victorians, they loved weird/creepy stuff. #CreepiestObject” —York Castle Museum

 

 

 

“Bringin’ our A-game for this #CURATORBATTLE! What is it? Just a CURSED CHILDREN’S TOY that we found inside the walls of a 155-year-old mansion. We call it ‘Wheelie’ – and it MOVES ON ITS OWN: Staff put it in one place and find it in another spot later on…. #Creepiestobject” —PEI Museum

 

 

“Imagine rummaging through an archive and unwrapping this Down pointing backhand index MC 490A: Broken Dolls head in many parts with fair hair c.1920 Found on the grounds of @StJudesHead . Let’s hope they treat the pupils better Face with tears of joy #CuratorBattle #CreepiestObject” —Egham Museum

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

A Natural History Compendium Catalogs Albertus Seba's Exotic Specimens through Exacting Illustrations

April 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Taschen, shared with permission

Packed with careful illustrations of striped snakes, preserved creatures, and now-extinct animals, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the most impressive natural history compendiums of the 18th Century. Spanning nearly 600 pages, the new edition from Taschen features the work of Amsterdam-based pharmacist and zoologist Albertus Seba, who was a renowned collector of natural life. He commissioned the meticulous illustrations in 1731 that he then published into four, hand-colored volumes. The new Cabinet of Natural Curiosities catalogs these original drawings of exotic specimens in a single text and features writing by Irmgard Müsch, Jes Rust, and Rainer Willmann. Grab your copy from Taschen’s site.

 

 

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins