Archive for the ‘Just Cool’ Category
 
Posted in Art+Science, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on November 15th, 2012
 

Check out these remarkable photographs by Jason Tozer, a London-based photographer. With a special lighting technique he developed himself, Tozer manages to turn regular soap bubbles into stunning macro shots resembling something you would see in space. Via PetaPixel:

All of these bubbles are sitting on a wet ring. This gives me time to set the focus and size of the bubble, and manipluate the colours if I choose to. I blow down a straw to excite the surface of the bubble & spin the colour bands around. Occasionally a bubble will last much much longer than the others and it becomes increasingly clear as the colour bands move to the base. If I blow carefully on these, I can sometimes create the almost colourless textures, the more moon like ones.

I use household detergent with a little bit of glycerine in the mix. That helps with the lengevity of the bubble.

The project is appropriately titled “Bubbles”, which became a reality when Tozer was simply trying to test out a new camera. The photographer claims to use very little retouching on his work, so what you are seeing here is the authentic details and colours of the bubbles.

If you love this coupling of science + art, be sure to check out our DNA portraits!

 
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Posted in gift ideas, Inspirational Design of the Week, Just Cool by Courtney on November 7th, 2012
 

You know how we have a soft spot for innovative design? Well this week, we seem to have fallen for a new mash-up of botany and technology. Introducing the Click and Grow — the answer to the lazy gardener’s prayers! Via Mashable:

The Click and Grow flower pot and plant cartridge work like a printer and toner. The pot contains electronics, sensors, batteries, a pump and a water reservoir; the cartridge contains seeds, nutrients and software (in a microchip) for growing the plant. There are currently 13 varieties of flowers and plants, and the selection is continuously growing. Right now the available selection includes painted nettle, lamb’s ear, marigolds and more. You can also grow edible things such as basil, thyme, sage, tomatoes and chili peppers.

Founder Mattias Lepp tells Mashable all you have to do is add water and batteries (not in the same place) — everything else is done by the sensors and software. You’ll also have to find a sunny place for your plant to sit, or at least somewhere it can absorb the sun’s rays, sunshine or not.

The idea for Click and Grow began three years ago, Lepp says, while reading an article about a NASA mission in which plants were taken into space. He began fusing technology with gardening in his own backyard in Estonia to see if he could grow plants with little or no care in a harsh climate. He made several iterations of the planter and one very cold winter, he says, the device he created was able to grow tomatoes “very quickly.” The company grew from there and officially launched one year ago.

Lepp said Click and Grow should also cut down on the waste that comes from single plants being purchased in plastic containers that then get thrown away. The potting container is reusable; though the cartridges need to be replaced for each new plant.

The product retails for $59.99, with cartridges costing about $19.99 each. We’d love to get our hands on one of these for the DNA 11 offices!

 
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Posted in International, Just Cool, On this day in science, Science by Courtney on November 2nd, 2012
 

On this Day in Science is a DNA 11 blog series featuring historical discoveries, births, or news in the science or genetics world.

Twelve years ago today, the International Space Station finally began operation two years after it was officially launched into orbit.  The station has roughly the same volume as a five-bedroom house and can hold up to six crew members at a time. It’s still in use today, and has housed astronauts and cosmonauts from over a dozen different nations. Via National Geographic:

The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory and construction site that synthesizes the scientific expertise of 16 nations to maintain a permanent human outpost in space.

While floating some 240 miles (390 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, the space station has hosted a rotating international crew since November 2000.

Astronauts and supplies are ferried by … the Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. Astronauts who reach the facility aboard one of these missions typically live and work in orbit for about six months.

Simply by spending time in orbit, astronauts reveal much more about how humans can live and work in space. Crews have learned the difficulties of diet, in a world in which their sense of taste is decreased, and of getting a good night’s sleep while secured to a non-floating object.

But the crew is also occupied with a full suite of scientific experiments, the ongoing improvement and construction of the station, and a rigorous regime of physical training. Astronauts must exercise for two hours each day to counteract the detrimental effects of low gravity on the body’s skeleton and circulatory system.

COOL FACT: The state of Texas passed a piece of legislation in 1997 allowing US astronauts to vote even if they were serving a mission in space. To this day, American occupants of the ISS can “beam” down their ballots via a secure electronic system.

Looking for art that’s out of this world? Check out our unique portraits.

 
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Posted in Inspirational Design of the Week, Just Cool by Courtney on October 18th, 2012
 

Tree ring lights by Judson Beaumont

It’s getting colder outside and we’re always on the hunt for cool ways to bring the outdoors in. Check out these awesome lights via Colossal:

These funky tree lights were designed by Judson Beaumont of Straight Line Designs, a furniture design firm out of Vancouver. Called Tree Rings, the lights are made out of a beetle pine shell topped with mirrored Plexiglas that allows the embedded cool fluorescent light to shine through in the dark. I’m not sure of the practical application, but it appears the lights can be used as as small tables and bear enough weight to act as a stool.

The vibrant colours remind us of our Infrared and Firesky DNA Portraits!

 
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Posted in Art+Science, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on October 16th, 2012
 

The Space Shuttle Challenger meets the Dodge Challenger, NASA’s Liberty Bell 7 meets Philly’s Liberty Bell, and the Viking Probe resembles Eric the Red. These are just a few “NASA Mashups” created by artist Doug Pedersen, in his 6 part series which matches NASA creations with their earthly equals. Via Wired:

Pedersen credits the inspiration for the series to a lifelong love of NASA and space exploration along with the resurgence of interest that surrounds Curiosity landing on Mars. “I had also just finished reading Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Space Chronicles and was probably inspired by that a bit”, he adds.

Though the overall concept is quite straightforward (pick a classic NASA spacecraft, combine it with another pop-culture icon that has the same name), Pedersen says that the devil is in the details. In particular, getting the text captions right for each diagram was tricky. “They had to be sort of funny yet relate to both the craft and pop-culture icon.” He nails it with MPG figures that include “earth orbit”, and mission objectives that add “Conquer”, “Burn”, and “Pillage” to the standard scientific fare.

Pedersen wanted to “give the pieces a feeling as though they’d been buried in some NASA file cabinet that no one had bothered to look through in decades”.  He added some aging effects and even graph lines to the artwork to give it this effect. We love his attention to detail, as well as his pairing of science + art in this project.

We’ve created a mashup of our own with genetics and art! Check out our DNA Portraits

 
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Posted in Just Cool, Science by Courtney on October 12th, 2012
 

Portrait of Albert Einstein

Known for his fuzzy hair, quirky personality, and of course E=mc— Albert Einstein is the original “absent-minded professor”. Today he is regarded for being one of the most intelligent men in history. Have you ever wondered what sets him apart from the rest?

In 1955 a pathologist named Thomas Harvey removed, preserved, and photographed Einstein’s brain after an autopsy. Fast forward 57 years and Harvey has now given us the chance to digitize these samples, and they’ve been turned in to a new iPad app so we can take a closer look at the famous physicist’s brain . Via Discovery News:

A new iPad app lets anyone who wants to, take a microscopic look at Albert Einstein’s brain … The app was created by a Chicago museum that got permission to scan and make digital about 350 slides containing very thin slices of Einstein’s brain that were obtained after he died. Already, doctors studying Einstein’s brain discovered that his parietal lobe — which governs our understanding of math, language and spatial relationships — was 15 percent wider than normal. The slides will allow researchers to dig deep into the genius’ brain tissue and possibly find other areas that are different from the rest of our brains.

The app, which is dubbed “Einstein Brain Atlas“, can be purchased for just $9.99. One of the best parts about it? All profits from the sales will go to support the Department of Defense’s National Museum of Health and Medicine. Even after half a century, Einstein is still making an impact on modern day science.

Love science? Browse through our unique portrait ideas.

Photo credit: Yousef Karsh circa 1948.

 

 

 
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Posted in Art+Science, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on September 20th, 2012
 

Side by side images of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein

Yes, you read that right! Pictured above are two famous portraits that were re-created using a special photo-printing method that actually involves the use of E. coli bacteria. The method was developed by former microbiologist Zachary Copfer, who can now add artist to his list of talents. Via PetaPixel:

Here’s how Copfer’s method works: he first takes a supply of bacteria like E. coli, turns it into a fluorescent protein, and covers a plate with it … Next, he creates a “negative” of the photo he wants to print by covering the prepared plate with the photo and then exposing it to radiation. He then “develops” the image by having the bacteria grow, and finally “fixes” the image by coating the image with a layer of acrylic and resin.

Using this process, he creates images of things ranging from famous individuals to Hubble telescope photos of galaxies.

Side by side images of galaxy and close up of Albert Einstein

Do you love the mash up of biology and art as much as we do? Be sure to read up on Zachary’s method, and check out more of his genetically modified photos.

If you’re looking to create your own personal work of art, check out our unique portrait ideas that also combine science and art.

Header Image: Side by side bacteria prints of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein via Gizmodo.
Galaxy image and Albert Einstein in a petri dish bacteria prints via PetaPixel.

 
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Posted in DNA Ancestry, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on September 14th, 2012
 

We dug up this excellent infographic via Online Education and had to share. Does anything surprise you?

 
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Posted in Art+Science, biotechnology, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on August 21st, 2012
 

We’re always on the lookout for cool DNA developments! Did you catch this story via Science Now?

When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA—one trillionth of a gram—an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data.

A few teams have tried to write data into the genomes of living cells. But the approach has a couple of disadvantages. First, cells die—not a good way to lose your term paper. They also replicate, introducing new mutations over time that can change the data.

To get around these problems, a team led by George Church, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, created a DNA information-archiving system that uses no cells at all. Instead, an inkjet printer embeds short fragments of chemically synthesized DNA onto the surface of a tiny glass chip. To encode a digital file, researchers divide it into tiny blocks of data and convert these data not into the 1s and 0s of typical digital storage media, but rather into DNA’s four-letter alphabet of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. Each DNA fragment also contains a digital “barcode” that records its location in the original file. Reading the data requires a DNA sequencer and a computer to reassemble all of the fragments in order and convert them back into digital format. The computer also corrects for errors; each block of data is replicated thousands of times so that any chance glitch can be identified and fixed by comparing it to the other copies.

Read more…

Do you dig DNA as much as we do? Check out our DNA portraits, where art meets science.

Image: Scientists have found a way to store an entire textbook in the code of DNA. (John Goode/Flickr)

 
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Posted in Cool Art Ideas, Just Cool by Courtney on August 15th, 2012
 

Light painting is a photography technique that involves moving a hand-held light source while the camera shutter remains open, and Brian Matthew Hart is a master of it. We loved these unique portraits for their modern yet hieroglyphic feel. Via Colossal:

Hart created a number of mosaics using individual exposures, the largest hand (below), part of an unfinished diptych, is made from 324 photographs! …check out his website for plenty more.

Given we’re big fans of fingerprint art, we’re all over this series of hand prints. We love the details on the fingertips and the uniqueness of each piece. Hart modelled these light paintings after real-life subjects, however the portrait below is simply called “right hand“.

 
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