Artist Geoffroy Amelot created this Lego-centric replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait.
Simple DIY rainbow magic with Skittles candies. Form a circle with Skittles on a plate (colours should be in repeated order, preferably according to colours of the rainbow e.g. purple, green, yellow, orange, red), then pour hot water over them. Wait for the magic to unfold right in front of your eyes
Also funny are the various YouTubers attempting to replicate the effect only to end up with a brownish mix of melted candy slime on their plate. Read the rest
The magic of physics.
The Encrypted Page Maker lets you paste in a HTML document, pick a password, and then hosts the resulting page at its own site. Simple public publishing, with the source code available in the page source.
The contents of you page is compressed using LZString.js and optionally encrypted using mjsCrypt.js, and stored in the hash of a loader URL. The page loader reads the contents of the URL hash and decrypts and expands the page, setting the value of body.outerHTML. Scripts will work as they are compiled and executed after the page is loaded. Cookies and localStorage will not work between pages as they are both wiped clean when the page loads.
The encryption is unproven, and may only act as a deterent. This page and the loading pages are served over HTTP without SSL so do not trust it with actual confidential infomation. This is a toy. I hope you can have fun with it. All source code is freely avaliable in the page source.
In the Chronicles of Riddick series, a shiner is an outlaw who has undergone eyeshine surgery to give them night vision. That same thing, incredibly, is happening in a garage in a small town in central California: Science for the Masses is a group of biohackers who have successfully tested a procedure giving its brave/foolish test subject the ability to detect shapes in a no-light environment. Read the rest
Here's a new protest movement for all you old Hippies out there: "Bring the T5 VW Camper to USA". This sweet ride is like a Robocop update of the old VW bus, full of RV-like amenities including a fold-out bed, a sink, refrigerator and fold-out table; perfect for that cross-country drive to discover the soul of America you've been meaning to take. Read the rest
It’s always fun to cruise through Fantagraphics’s store in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. You never know what you might stumble across amid the new comics releases, independent zines and assorted odd runs and old stock there. I happened upon a copy of Justin Green’s Sign Game (ST Publications and Last Gasp Of San Francisco). It's an 80-page paperback collection from 1995 of the monthly comic strips Green did for the sign painter’s trade newsletter Signs of the Times from back in the 1980s and 90s.
As detailed in Green’s comics, that was a turbulent time of transition for sign painters. Just as desktop publishing and digital photography transformed the graphic design and photography businesses (ask bankrupt Kodak about that!), the dawn of the computerized vinyl letter cutting machines undid the business of hand-lettered and painted signage.
Each densely rich comic takes on one arcane aspect of this dying art, from the ins and outs of doing gold leaf lettering, or how to wield a mahlstick, to the fine points of font design and brush technique needed for painting on the corrugated surface of metal trucks. Green’s sardonic tone and hilarious perspective also illustrate each hard won lesson of running a business, filled with characters like hard-boiled artists, chiseling customers, and back-biting competitors.
As a comic, Green’s one-page masterpieces employs a myriad of graphic techniques: send ups of Johnson Smith & Co. catalog layouts, Goofus and Gallant-ish profiles, Dick Tracy Crimebsuters comic crooks, and an endless supply of cartoon lettering intro panel gimmicks that ape plexiglass, peeling vinyl letters and stencils. Read the rest
Digging this drawing by astronomy blogger Invader Xan, showing spaceships of the past, present, and (possible?) future lined up side-by-side for size comparison. I, for one, just learn that the Space Shuttle Orbiter was larger than I thought in comparison to the International Space Station.
Also cool: Skylon—a rather terrifying name for a spaceplane that's currently in the early stages of development by a private company. Interestingly (or, perhaps, even more terrifyingly—seriously, this thing is going to need a new name, like woah), Skylon would not have a human pilot but would be capable of hauling humans into space, carrying up to 24 in a special box loaded into the payload bay.
Check out Invader Xan's blog, Supernova Condensate, for more information, including a version of this graphic that includes the Starship Enterprise.Read the rest
Grant, a fabulous magician, has systematically stumbled into a way to place a sealed pack of cards into a completely unaltered milk-bottle; but he didn't stop there. Grant also started leaving the bottles in random locations around his hometown of Vancouver B.C. simply asking the people who find them to identify when and where they found the prize (which they are welcome to keep). A project he calls "Send Wonder".
Having zero artistic talent, however, I focused on what I know and love- magic. Via a series of events that will never be replicated in my lifetime I'm sure, I stumbled upon a way of getting a sealed deck of cards inside a milk bottle, without altering the glass whatsoever. And, with that, the "Anything Is Possible" bottle was born.The photo below is of a special deck of White Lions cards, part of a limited edition series Jamie did with magician David Blaine. Over the years Jamie's incredible bottles have found their way around the world, they sit in Eastern European bars, on the desks of celebrities and in the most awesome palace of prestidigitation -- the Magic Castle (of which I am also a member).
I encourage you to keep an eye out for his bottles, they seem to pop-up everywhere.
How many batteries have you used today?
Energy storage devices have become an integral part of our lives, but they still aren't really a part of our electric grid. There are some good reasons for that—at that scale of storage, batteries become gigantic and extremely expensive. But the lack of storage on the grid has some distinct drawbacks, putting the stability of our electric system at risk and making it harder to add in lots of renewable energy generation.
Because of that, researchers are looking for ways to get the benefits of batteries without some of the detriments. There are lots of different ways to do this, but one solution is particularly awesome to describe. Hint: It involves caves.
Last Friday, I had a guest post on i09 explaining Compressed Air Energy Storage, an old technology that could be one of the most cost-effective ways to store energy at a grid scale.
Read the rest
At any given moment, there must be almost exactly the same amount of electricity being produced as there is being consumed. If the balance tilts either way-even by a fraction of a percent-it could lead to a blackout. To simply keep the lights on, the grid has to be constantly monitored, with controllers predicting demand and making small adjustments, minute-by-minute, to supply. This happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
... That's where CAES comes in. CAES systems store energy underground in the form of compressed air, but to make it work you have to start with the right kind of geology.
This gorgeous photo of a statue in England called The Angel of the North was taken by Justin Quinnell, over the course of three months, using a pinhole camera made out of a beer can. Yes, the parabola is the path of the Sun, with the highest peak being June 21. New Scientist has more information on how Quinnell made this photo. (Via Roger Highfield) Read the rest
Phytoplankton are tiny, plant-like organisms that live in the ocean and are, basically, at the very bottom of the food chain. But, sometimes, they get their revenge. When lots and lots and lots of phytoplankton get together, they can form what we call a "red tide," a discoloration of the water at a particular point where the plankton have become densely concentrated.
Some red tides are natural. Others happen when nutrient runoff from farm fertilizers creates a massive buffet for plankton. Some red tides can kill, as the plankton can produce toxins and their deaths reduce the oxygen content of the water. And sometimes, red tides glow in the dark.
The phytoplankton in this red tide off a California beach are bioluminescent. Their cells produce a chemical reaction that creates a soft, blue-green glow. It's basically the same thing that makes lightning bugs light. In this video by Loghan Call and Man's Best Media, you can see plankton light up in the beach (and a few surfers).