Posts filed under “Science”
Beau Lotto’s color games puzzle your vision, but they also spotlight what you can’t normally see: how your brain works. This fun, first-hand look at your own versatile sense of sight reveals how evolution tints your perception of what’s really out there.
“Let there be perception,” was evolution’s proclamation, and so it was that all creatures, from honeybees to humans, came to see the world not as it is, but as was most useful. This uncomfortable place — where what an organism’s brain sees diverges from what is actually out there — is what Beau Lotto and his team at Lottolab are exploring through their dazzling art-sci experiments and public illusions. Their Bee Matrix installation, for example, places a live bee in a transparent enclosure where gallerygoers may watch it seek nectar in a virtual meadow of luminous Plexiglas flowers. (Bees, Lotto will tell you, see colors much like we humans do.) The data captured isn’t just discarded, either: it’s put to good use in probing scientific papers, and sometimes in more exhibits.
Outside the studio work, the brain-like (that is, multidisciplinary) organization is also branching out to bigger public engagement works. It’s holding regular “synesthetic workshops” where kids and adults make “color scores” — abstract paintings that computers interpret into music, as with scrolls fed to a player piano. And lately they’re planning an outdoor walkway of color-lit, pressure-sensitive John Conway-esque tiles that react and evolve according to foot traffic. These and Lotto’s other conjurings are slowly, charmingly bending the science of perception — and our perceptions of what science can be.
Lotto teaches at University College London.
“All his work attempts to understand the visual brain as a system defined, not by its essential properties, but by its past ecological interactions with the world. In this view, the brain evolved to see what proved useful to see, to continually redefine normality.”
British Science Association
This is a very cool depiction of every space mission over the past 50 years, overlaid on one map of the solar system Each line traces the path of a different space mission or satellite launch. Notable missions (including failures) are included, as are those from different countries . . . > click for ginormous…Read More
In the past decade, extraordinary space missions have discovered new features of the Sun, the planets and their moons. The Cassini spacecraft, which is now orbiting Saturn, looked back toward the eclipsed Sun and saw a view unlike any other. The rings of Saturn light up so much that new rings were discovered. Saturnian moons…Read More
> 2 MIT students put together Project Icarus — an ultra low cost rig which they lofted a digital camera via weather balloon to the edge of space. Ingredients: Helium, a styrofoam beer cooler, a cheap Canon A470 camera, and instant hand warmers to prevent the camera batteries from freezing. They added a prepaid GPS-equipped…Read More
This video makes us travel through our galactic home, the Milky Way. Using the magnificent 800-million-pixel, 360-degree panoramic image featured in the GigaGalaxy Zoom project, launched by ESO within the framework of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), we move towards the Galactic Centre, then across the Galactic Plane that runs horizontally through the image.
Voyage in the Milky Way
European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere
click for ginormous photo > This is the entire celestial sphere as seen from the best vantage points on Earth. The 800-million pixel image comes from the European Southern Observatory’s GigaGalaxyZoom project. The Milky Way, viewed edge-on, shows its central bulge and both dark and glowing nebulae – birthplaces of new stars. > Sources: ESO…Read More
Introducing the Briefly series. Taking theory and presenting it in it’s most concise form.
We start with the Big Bang because the theory is important and amazing, but often misunderstood.
This video was produced without any funding from any outside sources. It was put together with donated creative time from a group with a desire to further public cognition of science.
Science has many amazing stories to tell, this is the first. The Big Bang Briefly.
I got into (yet another) one of those useless, interesting, unprovable debates on exactly where growth is go to come from. My colleague sees no US job growth in the near or distant future, much more pessimistic than I. My view is that there are several fields that are potentially big growers, but their best…Read More