Saturday, August 28, 2010


"It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation."
~Carl Jung

are typically a Hindu or Buddhist sacred tradition. The idea is that they are a small representation of the universe. They are to be a spiritual/metaphysical representation of the universe, and as far as I understand not intended to actually represent the physical configuration of the universe (check some Hubble sites if you want to see something like this ;) ). I find it to be truly beautiful and intriguing artwork. Mandalas represent the intricacy and flexibility of human thought.

Buddhist Monks Create a Mandala in 6 Days

Tibetan Sand Mandala

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brilliant Physics Simulator

created by Lagoa Multiphysics

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Non-Reflective Surfaces as Mirrors (Artist Daniel Rozin)

Daniel Rozin is an artist who makes reflective surfaces out of unreflective materials. This mirror is composed of 830 'wooden pixels.' A built in camera activates motors behind each of the wooden pieces, which through some (seemingly elaborate) method creates a visual representation. The other mirrors operate by similar principles

Other Mirrors

The Circles Mirror:

The Trash Mirror:

The Weave Mirror:

The Rust Mirror:

The rest of his art (or at least some portion of it) can be found on his site:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bug Trails

Above is a two second exposure to the flight of insects around a floodlight at Hurst, TX on September 19, 2009.

Some moths and bugs are attracted to bright lights because they use the Moon for orientation. Steady angle in relation to light source is possibly obtained via transverse orientation.

All of the information about all of this was pretty much obtained from:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's basically an e-Hamster

I would put it on the side with the fishes, but I'm not quite sure how.

A View of the Stars as Earth Rotates

Truly awe-inspiring in its magnitude and beauty.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."

~Carl Sagan

Check out the overview effect.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Extremophiles (radical, bro)

Searching for "Impossible" Life

are just lifeforms which thrive in extreme environments. They can be eukaryotic (animals, plants, fungi), but tend to be prokaryotic (archaebacteria, eubacteria). Most complex organisms that we know of would die under the conditions in which these beings survive. It has been proposed that perhaps the earliest life on Earth began in these extreme environments (as the early Earth would have been quite inhospitable for many species we know).

Some types of extremophiles:
Acidophile: Survives in extreme acidity (pH < 3)
Alkaliphile: Survives in extreme basicity (pH > 9)
Halophile: Survives in extreme salinity
Piezophile: Survives in extreme pressure
Thermophile: Survives in extreme heat (Temp > 60 Celsius)
-Hydrothermophile: Survives in extreme temperatures near hydrothermal vents
Psychrophile: Survives in extreme cold (Temp < 30 Celsius)

David Gallo on Deep Sea Ocean Life - WATCH THIS IF NOTHING ELSE!

Some articles:
Explanatory Article
Yellowstone Light-Harvesting Species
ARMAN Acidophile
Deep Subsurface Bacteria
Antarctic Deep Sea Methanophile
Life Below Antarctic Glacier (no light, no oxygen)
Deep Sea Microbes involved in Nitrogen Cycle?
Deep Ocean Biomass
& again

^Multicellular Animal in Oxygen-Free Environment^
Radiation-Consuming Bacteria....just think of the practical uses!
So why not on other planets?
Extremophiles, Antarctica, and ET Life
Alaska as Model for Solar System Environments?
They can grow in moon soil
Ultramicrobacterium seems well suited for Exo-planetary life

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood for Engineers

Done as a reinterpretation of Little Red Riding Hood by graphics design student Tomas Nilsson

Check out his website:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Smithsonian Zoo Animal Webcams

I can't embed the cams or anything, but here's the main website for it:

My personal favorites are the Ferret Cam, the Microscope Cam, and the Gold Lion Tamarin Cam. The ferrets have recently had babies, so I believe I see them roamin' around in there from time to time.

Here's the zoo's main website:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mike Mitchell's Artwork

I very much enjoy this artist. He's got an interesting style, quite an imagination, and frequently give homage to many geeky topics.

Little Pilot Skullington

Mr. Bunners the Rabbit Master

Iron Giant

The Dude Invitational


Death of Neon

Discover Magazine Einstein


His main website:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Intricate Devices of Antiquity


Used to calculate motions of astronomical bodies. It's almost exactly precise, and it was created about 2,100 years ago by the Greeks (not to be confused with geeks)!!! The device's workings are based on the geocentric model of astronomy. Found in 1901 as part of a shipwreck in the town which shares the same name as the device, the original is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens ( Devices of similar complexity to this appear to have been lost for some time and only recreated around the 1300's.

Check out wikipedia for a much better description:

Michael Wright's Model:

Here's a simulation of the internal gear workings:


It's another astronomical calculator (less intricate) developed in 150 BC. This primative version isn't quite as impressive as the 13th-century one shown in the next video.

Again, check wikipedia; it's much better:

Tom Wujec demos the 13th-century Astrolabe:

Here's a spherical astrolabe, like those of the middle ages:


These are most likely from the early centuries AD. There are a couple theories as to the use of these devices. Some suggest they weren't actually electrochemical cells at all, but that they were for storing scrolls, which decayed and then left acidic traces within. This theory is largely based on the lack of voltage which can be generated by a battery, but it's not completely unrealistic to assume that multiple batteries were connected by wires to achieve more usable voltages. I don't ascribe to this theory. I personally think they were used for electroplating (coating silver with gold in this case via a redox reaction) based on the different theories I've read. Other ideas are that they were used for electrical acupuncture or even a religious experience (shock). When Mythbusters tested 3 of these theories (electroplating, acupuncture, religious experience) by stringing a couple of the batteries together in series, all 3 were found to be plausible. Note that if these were indeed used as electrochemical cells, they precede the invention of batteries by over 1,000 years.