Posts filed under “Science”

Missions to Mars

Cool infographic by Bryan Christie showing all Earth missions to Mars:


mars missions

Laughing Squid via boingboing

Category: Science, Weekend

H1N1 (swine flu) Fatality Rates: Overreaction?

Whether it is a function of the Recency Bias, or mere ignorance, this infographic suggests Swine Flu worries are wildly overblown: > via Information is Beautiful > UPDATE: December 11, 2009 WSJ: 47 million Americans (one in six people in the U.S.) were sickened with swine flu from April to mid-November 9,820 of them died…Read More

Category: Psychology, Science

Optical illusions show how we see

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

Category: Science, Video

Every Space Mission Ever Flown On One Map

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

Category: Science, Weekend

Fantastic Photos of our Solar System

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

Category: Science, Weekend

Carl Sagan – Glorious Dawn (ft Stephen Hawking)

A musical tribute to two great men of science. Carl Sagan and his cosmologist companion Stephen Hawking present: A Glorious Dawn – Cosmos remixed. Almost all samples and footage taken from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and Stephen Hawking’s Universe series. Cosmos Remixed

Category: Science, Weekend

Ultra Low Cost Space Photography

> 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

Category: Science, Weekend

Voyage in the Milky Way

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

Category: Science, Video

Celestial Sphere

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

Category: Science, Weekend

Movie: Darwin’s Origin of the Species

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Category: Film, Science, Video