Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
 
Posted in Art+Science, International, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on January 24th, 2013
 

We’ve recently been hearing some very big, and very interesting news out of the DNA world! Researchers have claimed to have found a more efficient alternative to storing information on a computer hard drive — rather they are suggesting they have the capabilities to replace the hard drive with DNA. Via Engadget:

We’ve seen scientists experiment with DNA as a storage medium — most recently with a Harvard team fitting 704TB of data onto a single gram of the genetic material — and it looks like that research trend is only picking up. Scientists at the European Bioinformatics Institute in the UK have encoded an MP3 file — along with a digital photo and all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets — into DNA, with a hulking storage density of 2.2 petabytes per gram. The information was written using the language of DNA’s four bases (A, T, C and G, if you remember high-school bio), and to provide error correction the scientists reserved one of the letters to break up long runs of any of the other three bases. In practice, this system allowed for 100-percent accuracy in sequencing and retrieving the encoded files. Though DNA storage is still quite expensive, the researchers say this method could eventually provide a viable option for archiving information, especially considering DNA’s high capacity and long life span. Still, you won’t be ditching that hard drive just yet.

Share our love of DNA? Browse through our unique portrait ideas.

Photo credit: The Telegraph

 

 
Comments Off on Replacing the Computer Hard Drive with DNA
 
Posted in Art+Science, International, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on January 4th, 2013
 

This installation may be art + science at it’s finest! We’re amazed at how innovative, and unique this idea is — to see it in person would be truly thrilling. These photos were created by Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde, and are a part of his Nimbus series. Here’s some more information behind the photos, via Colossal:

Smilde’s methods … are less mythic and more practical, instead relying on delicate balance of smoke, moisture and light. Of course science alone doesn’t account for the striking visual impact contained in each image, as the artist carefully selects the perfect location for the creation of each cloud and then painstakingly lights it from behind for the desired effect. Via email Smilde tells me that it can take quite a while to get all of the elements in place for each cloud and that the installation is so fleeting, the use of photography is critical in capturing the split second where everything becomes perfect.

Smilde has three upcoming exhibitions this year including Ronchini Gallery in London from January 16 through February 16, the SFAC Galleries in San Francisco from February through April, and at Land of Tomorrow in Louisville, Kentucky also from February through April.

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

 
Comments Off on Berndnaut Smilde’s Nimbus Cloud Art Series
 
Posted in International, Just Cool, Science by Courtney on December 7th, 2012
 

Exciting news for those conspiracy theorists out there! A Texan researcher and her team of scientists claim to have confirmed the existence of what we refer to as Bigfoot — A.K.A. The Great Bear, Yeti, Sasquatch, Abominable Snowman, or Harry. Here is some more information on the study, and its findings via Red Orbit:

Researcher Melba Ketchum led a team of scientists in a five-year DNA study purporting to confirm the existence of the hominin hybrid species commonly referred to as Bigfoot. The findings of this study are not yet published and are currently undergoing peer review.

The study findings suggest that the mythical creature known as Bigfoot is a human relative that emerged approximately 1,500 years ago as a hybrid cross between modern Homo sapiens and another as yet unknown primate species. The team was a multi-disciplinary group of experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology. Dr. Ketchum confirms that the team has sequenced three complete Sasquatch nuclear genomes and has determined that the species is definitively a human hybrid.

“Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens,” said Ketchum.

With any news or emerging research such as this, there is alot of scepticism surrounding the study. Via Neurologica:

Let me offer a preliminary alternate hypothesis. The hair samples that contain only human mtDNA are from a human. The samples from which the nuDNA is isolated are also from humans but with some contaminants or some other animal source mixed in. That seems to be a more parsimonious interpretation. I would like to know more about the source of the DNA, but I guess that will have to wait for the full details to be published. The fact that the human DNA is modern human (hence the need for the alleged hybridization to have occurred so recently in the past) is most easily explained as the source simply being modern humans.

While Ketchum does have the experience and expertise to lend to her credibility — she has over 27 years of research experience in genetics and forensics — many sources are saying she will likely have issues getting her study published. Many are thinking the study should have gone under peer review, before being released to the media. What are your opinions on her study? We’d love to hear from you!

Love genetics? Browse through our unique portrait ideas.

Photo credit: Huffington Post

 
Comments Off on DNA Tests May Prove Bigfoot is the Real Deal
 
Posted in Just Cool, Science, Video by Courtney on November 30th, 2012
 

At DNA 11, we know all too well just how unique we all are. Your Fingerprint, DNA, and Kiss portraits are all individual representations of who you are – but how much do you really know about what makes you, well, you? DNA determines everything about us. From what hair colour you have, to how long you will live, to whether or not you’ll have dimples! Check out this great video showcasing “18 Things You Should Know About Genetics” by David Murawsky. Let us know what you think in the comments!

 
 
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!

 
Comments Off on Soap Bubbles Masked as Colorful Planets
 
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.

 
Comments Off on On This Day in Science: International Space Station
 
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

 
Comments Off on NASA Mashups: Spaceflight + Earthly Counterparts
 
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.

 

 

 
Comments Off on Cool New App: A Look at Einstein’s Brain
 
Posted in Science by Courtney on October 5th, 2012
 

Man holiding up a bushel of cilantro

Ever wonder what causes an herb to be such a controversial subject? Cilantro is normally loved or hated, there’s rarely an in between. It is so disliked it has sprouted a website called I Hate Cilantro where people can facilitate discussions about the garnish, and even share a haiku on the subject.

Believe it or not, recent studies have shown a correlation between distaste for cilantro and a specific gene. Via NPR:

Geneticists at 23andMe in California asked about 25,000 people whether they like cilantro or think it smells soapy. When they searched the people’s DNA for regions that correlate with a distaste for the herb, a single spot jumped out. And, it sits right next to a cluster of odor-detecting genes, including one that is known to specifically recognize the soapy aromas in cilantro’s bouquet.

The authors propose that this odor gene contributes to a person’s dislike for cilantro because it increases the herb’s soapy smell.

The scientists pinpointed three more genes that influence our perception of cilantro: Two of the genes are involved with tasting bitter foods and one gene detects pungent compounds, like those in wasabi.

Overall, Nicholas Eriksson (lead author on the study) says these studies demonstrate that DNA does shape our opinion of cilantro, but probably not enough that we can’t overcome it. “It isn’t like your height, that you’re stuck with. People can change it,” he says.

Who knew that such distaste for the leafy green substance could be engrained in your genetic makeup!

Ever wonder what your genes would look like as art? Check out our DNA portraits.

 
Comments Off on Cilantrophobia: Is it in your Genes?
 
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.

 
Comments Off on Bacteriography: Photo Printing with E.Coli Bacteria
 
 
Looking for corporate art? Create a photo canvas for your office: Visit our sister site CanvasPop.