Posts filed under “Science”
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: The new Hubble image superimposed over an older photograph of Centaurus A, showing the region of detail.
Hubble Stares Deep into Dust-Choked Galaxy
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
Design: Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & James King
Animation – Cath Elliot (Little Giant Pictures)
Music – Matthew Irvine Brown
Illustration – Alice Hoult
One of the more interesting things you will read this weekend is the Sunday NYT Magazine’s spread on legendary investor Jeremy Grantham. GMO’s chief strategist discusses quite a few topics ranging from investing to global warming to commodity plays to doom & gloom. (Yeah, I have a few words in it). There are a number…Read More
Sounds like an Aesop Fable: Veined Octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, showing sophisticated tool use behaviour. Footage shot by Dr Julian Finn of Museum Victoria. Finn, J.K., T. Tregenza and M.D. Norman. (2009) Defensive tool use in a coconut-carrying octopus, Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 23, R1069-R1070, 15 December 2009
A stalk-like prominence rose up above the sun, then split into roughly four strands that twisted themselves into a knot and dispersed over a two-hour period (July 12, 2011). A NASA satellite has caught a stunning, yet eerie, video of a huge plasma twister rising up from the surface of the sun. The video, taken…Read More
The 6dF Galaxy Survey has collected more than 120,000 redshifts over the southern sky over a 5 year period from 2001 to 2005. Its goal is to map our southern view of the local universe, and use the peculiar motions of one-tenth of the survey to measure galaxy mass. It covers more than eight times…Read More