Science

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Design Science

Scientists Develop Hydrophobic Metal That Causes Water to Bounce

January 21, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics led by professor Chunlei Guo have developed a new type of hydrophobic surface that is so highly water repellent, it causes water droplets to bounce off like magic. Unlike earlier hydrophobic surfaces that rely on temporary (and slowly degrading) chemical coatings such as teflon, this new super-hydrophobic surface is created by etching microscopic structures into metal with the help of lasers. Potential applications include airplane wings that resist icing, a whole new type of rust proofing, or even a toilet that wouldn’t require water. Watch the video above to see the surface in action, and you can read Guo’s research paper here. (via Sploid)

 

 



Photography Science

Macro Photographs of Singapore's Most Unusual Insects and Arachnids by Nicky Bay

January 8, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Cicadae Parasite Beetle (Rhipiceridae)

One of my favorite Flickr accounts to follow is Singapore-based photographer Nicky Bay (previously) who ventures into some of the most ecologically diverse (ie. creepiest and crawliest) places in the world to shoot macro photos of insects, arachnids, and fungi. Bay went on 46 different shooting excursions in 2014 and discovered creatures that seem more at home in an Avatar movie than here on Earth. He’s also begun working more with ultraviolet light that he uses to reveal the natural fluorescence of many organisms he encounters. My favorite discovery while scrolling through Bay’s 2014 photos is this species of moth that builds a cage out of its own caterpillar spines to protect itself while in a pupal stage. You can follow his day-to-day adventures on Facebook.

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Archduke larva (Lexias pardalis dirteana)

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Caterpillar

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Freshly molted Jumping Spider

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Harvestman illuminated with 365nm wavelength ultraviolet light; Millipede fluorescence.

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Treehopper (Membracidae)

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Cuckoo Bee

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Caged pupa. The spines of the caterpillar were used to construct this magnificent cage for protection during pupation.

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Bioluminescent fungi

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Longhorn beetle

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Huntsman Spider consuming prey exposed under ultraviolet light for 20 seconds.

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Twig Spider

 

 



Photography Science

NASA Releases New High-Definition View of Iconic 'Pillars of Creation' Photo

January 6, 2015

Christopher Jobson

New view of the Pillars of Creation — visible

New view of the Pillars of Creation, visible light. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.

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New view of the Pillars of Creation, visible light, detail. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.

New view of the Pillars of Creation — infrared

New view of the Pillars of Creation, infrared light. NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team.

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2015 v. 1995 ‘Pillars of Creation’ comparison. WFC3: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team. WFPC2: NASA, ESA/Hubble, STScI, J. Hester and P. Scowen (Arizona State University)

One of the most iconic images ever produced by NASA is the “Pillars of Creation” photograph taken by Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. The photo depicts tall columns (called elephant trunks) of interstellar dust and gas within the Eagle Nebula about 6,500 light years from Earth. For the first time in 20 years, NASA revisited the Pillars of Creation using a new camera installed on Hubble back in 2009 capable of much higher resolutions. The new photo, including an infrared version, was published yesterday. From the NASA press release about the new image:

Now Hubble has revisited the famous pillars, capturing the multi-coloured glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-coloured elephants’ trunks with the newer Wide Field Camera 3, installed in 2009. The visible-light image builds on one of the most iconic astronomy images ever taken and provides astronomers with an even sharper and wider view.

In addition, NASA says that although the original photograph was titled Pillars of Creation, the newer imagery suggests the columns might also contain a fair amount of destruction:

Although the original image was dubbed the “Pillars of Creation”, this new image hints that they are also pillars of destruction. The dust and gas in these pillars is seared by intense radiation from the young stars forming within them, and eroded by strong winds from massive nearby stars. The ghostly bluish haze around the dense edges of the pillars in the visible-light view is material that is being heated by bright young stars and evaporating away.

You can see the new photo in even higher detail by downloading images at several resolutions on this page. I also spent the morning cropping a bunch of wallpapers you can download here: 1280×800, 1440×900, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, 2560×1440, 3840×2400, iPad, iPhone, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6+. (via Metafilter)

 

 



Photography Science

Temperature Inversion Causes the Grand Canyon to Flood with Clouds

December 15, 2014

Christopher Jobson

Grand Canyon Inversion: December 11, 2014

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Photo by Maci MacPherson for Grand Canyon National Park

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Photo by Maci MacPherson for Grand Canyon National Park

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Photo by Maci MacPherson for Grand Canyon National Park

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Photo by Maci MacPherson for Grand Canyon National Park

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Photo by Maci MacPherson for Grand Canyon National Park

Almost a year to the week after an extremely rare temperature inversion caused the Grand Canyon to fill with clouds, the phenomenon happened again. The Grand Canyon National Park had cameras at the ready and shot some fantastic photos from around the canyon as well as a timelapse video. (via Neatorama)

 

 



Science

How to Draw Mushrooms on an Oscilloscope with Sound

December 10, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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In this surprisingly interesting video from Jerobeam Fenderson we watch (and listen) as he explains how to draw images using the visualizations of sound waves on an old analog Tektronix oscilloscope. To be clear: the images you’re seeing here are not being animated through software, instead Fenderson creates waveforms (sounds) using his computer, and those sound waves LOOK LIKE THIS when fed into an oscilloscope. Suffice to say there’s lots of math involved, and it’s all a little bit over my head, but luckily he answers some questions over on his blog about how it all works. Make sure to watch through to the end.

 

 



Design Science

How to Build the World's Simplest Electric Train

December 1, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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The AmazingScience YouTube channel demonstrates how to build a ridiculously simple electric “train” with the help of a few magnets, a battery, and a copper coil. You can also use the same materials to build a little spinning motor-like contraption. (via Twisted Sifter)