Posts filed under “Science”

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

GMO’s Jeremy Grantham in Sunday NYT Magazine

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

Category: Commodities, Investing, Media, Science

The Octopus & the Coconut

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

Category: Science, Weekend

Dinosaur Art!

Love this site: Fuck Yeah, Dinosaur Art! > Click For More Dinosaur Art

Category: Science, Weekend

Massive Sun ‘Twister’ Swirls Up 12 Earths High

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

Category: Science, Weekend

Galaxy Survey Fly Through

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

Category: Science, Weekend

The Milky Way So Close You Can Almost Taste It

Source: Daily Mail, The Milky Way July 15, 2011

Category: Science, Weekend

Looks Awesome: Los Angeles Museum’s Dinosaurs

Source: Giants on Tiptoe at a Los Angeles Museum NYT

Category: Science, Weekend

Lightning over Puyehue-Cordon Caulle

Lightning flashes around the ash plume at above the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain near Entrelagos. Source: Lightning over Puyehue-Cordon Caulle) BoingBoing, July 13, 2011

Category: Science, Weekend

Nature by Numbers

For centuries, artists and architects have used some well-known geometrical and mathematical formulas to guide their work: The Fibonacci Series and Spiral, The Golden and Angle Ratios, The Delauney Triangulation and Voronoi Tessellations, etc. These formulas have a reality beyond the minds of mathematicians. They present themselves in nature, and that’s what a Spanish filmmaker, Cristóbal Vila, wanted to capture with this short film, Nature by Numbers.

Nature by Numbers – Cristobal Vila from Natalia Godoy on Vimeo.

You can learn more about the movie at the filmmaker’s web site

Category: Science, Video