Posts filed under “Science”

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins

What are things made of? What is the sun? Why is there night and day, winter and summer? Why do bad things happen? Are we alone? Throughout history people all over the world have invented stories to answer profound questions such as these. Have you heard the tale of how the sun hatched out of an emu’s egg? Or what about the great catfish that carries the world on its back? Has anyone ever told you that earthquakes are caused by a sneezing giant? These fantastical myths are fun – but what is the real answer to such questions? “The Magic of Reality”, with its explanations of space, time, evolution and more, will inspire and amaze readers of all ages – young adults, adults, children, octogenarians. Teaming up with the renowned illustrator Dave McKean, Richard Dawkins answers all these questions and many more. In stunning words and pictures this book presents the real story of the world around us, taking us on an enthralling journey through scientific reality, and showing that it has an awe-inspiring beauty and thrilling magic which far exceed those of the ancient myths. We encounter rainbows, our genetic ancestors, tsunamis, shooting stars, plants, animals, and an intriguing cast of characters in this extraordinary scientific voyage of discovery.


Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean have created a dazzling celebration of our planet that will entertain and inform for years to come. Buy The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins on ( or in your local Waterstone’s store:

Category: Science, Weekend

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day NASA, September 14, 2011

Category: Science, Weekend

Depth Perception

via XKCD

Category: Humor, Science, Weekend

Storm Tracker!

We’re hunkered down, but if you are anywhere else in the country (or world) you can track the coming blower via this site:

click for larger interactive map

Map via Crisis Landing

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Category: Science

The Known Universe

Prepare to be delighted for the next 6 minutes . . . (go full screen) The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most…Read More

Category: Science, Weekend

Human Activity Can Cause Earthquakes

It’s Official: Human Activity Can Cause Earthquakes Human Activity Is Officially Acknowledged to Cause Earthquakes The United States Geological Survey is America’s official expert on earthquakes. It’s the Federal agency charged with monitoring, reporting on, researching and stressing preparedness for earthquakes. So I was surprised to read the following statement by the USGS: Earthquakes induced…Read More

Category: Science, Think Tank

Incredible Science Discoveries

It has been an amazing month for science. MIT researchers have succeeded in printing solar panels onto any piece of paper. Dutch company PlantLab has figured out how to triple the yield of plants using only 10% of the water typically needed: When grown outdoors plant photosynthesis is only about 9% efficient. With the correct…Read More

Category: Science, Weekend

Hubble Stares Deep into Dust-Choked Galaxy

11 million light-years away, deep inside the massive spiral galaxy Centaurus A (also known as NGC 5128), baby stars are bursting into existence. Although these enigmatic events appear to be choked by a thick shroud of dust, the Hubble Space Telescope has looked into the cosmic smog, revealing previously unseen intricacies of this well-known galaxy. Below:…Read More

Category: Science, Weekend

Space Shuttle Discovery – 360VR Images

I can confidently tell you this will be the most insane thing you will see today: > click for interactive 3d shuttle interior Hat tip Mike R!

Category: Science, Weekend

Synthetic Biology: E. Chromi

E. chromi is a collaboration between designers and scientists in the new field of synthetic biology. In 2009, seven Cambridge University undergraduates spent the summer genetically engineering bacteria to secrete a variety of coloured pigments, visible to the naked eye. They designed standardised sequences of DNA, known as BioBricks, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria.

Each BioBrick part contains genes selected from existing organisms spanning the living kingdoms, enabling the bacteria to produce a colour: red, yellow, green, blue, brown or violet. By combining these with other BioBricks, bacteria could be programmed to do useful things, such as indicate whether drinking water is safe by turning red if they sense a toxin. E. chromi won the Grand Prize at the 2009 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM).

Designers Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and James King worked with the team to explore the potential of this new technology, while it was being developed in the lab. They designed a timeline proposing ways that a foundational technology such as E. chromi could develop over the next century. These scenarios include food additives, patenting issues, personalised medicine, terrorism and new types of weather. Not necessarily desirable, they explore the different agendas that could shape the use of E. chromi and in turn, our everyday lives. This collaboration has meant that E. chromi is a technology that has been designed at both the genetic and the human scale, setting a precedent for future collaborations between designers and scientists.

E. chromi by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

E. chromi from Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg on Vimeo.


Design: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & James King
Animation – Cath Elliot (Little Giant Pictures)
Music – Matthew Irvine Brown
Illustration – Alice Hoult

Category: Science, Video