Joel Johnson and Bill Barol have blogged here before about The Impossible Project, a group of Dutch Polaroid enthusiasts who bought an old Polaroid factory and recreated the company's instant film manufacturing process. General consensus: It's an impressive undertaking, but also kind of unnecessary and expensive.
Today, we're going to focus on the impressive part, with this video showing the manufacturing process that creates Impossible Project instant film. It's 5 minutes long, but the joy you'll get from watching it rivals those old Sesame Street crayon manufacturing videos, so it's totally worth it. Conclusion: The Impossible Project may not be necessary, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch.
Iconic images by Gannis: Mike Doyle surfing Waimea in 1967 and "Midget" Farrelly surfing Shore Break, Makaha 1968. Gannis was a master of using light to convey emotion.
LeRoy Grannis, who along with "Doc" Ball helped revolutionize the field of surf photography, has died. He also co-founded what's now Surfing Magazine. A lifelong surfer himself, Grannis didn't take up photography until 1959, when he was 42. That was the year surfing hit mainstream consciousness through the film Gidget.
Cord Jefferson at Good posted a cool piece on artist Bryan Lewis Saunders. Since 1995, Bryan has created about 8,000 self-portraits, one each day, some of them while under the influence of various chemicals. He believes this has caused brain damage, so he says he now does that series while under medical supervision. Bryan does a lot of other work that mixes creativity with self-experimentation, so check out his site! (Thanks, Calpernia!)
Some of you may recall that I am a big fan of physicist Dr. Franklin Ruehl. I previously mentioned an episode of The Tupperware Container of Ironic/Coincidental Hollywood Deaths. Aficionados of weird video unfamiliar with his oeuvre, prepare yourselves for a weekend treat. Since my last post, he has uploaded a lot of his vintage work to his YouTube channel, including several of his Pat Sajak Show appearances, and a demo reel (above) that includes his hand-made replica of the world's largest shoestring bezoar, among other timeless treasures.
The cross-dressing man was caught with the animal in the dry moat of King Henry VIII's Pendennis Castle overlooking Falmouth Bay in Cornwall. ... As the two ladies spotted the cross dresser he ran away. Later one of [their] dogs chased after the man; by the time the women had caught up, the man was having sex with the pet. Castle staff then restrained the man while police were called.
November 9 would have been Carl Sagan's 75th birthday. To celebrate the man, his work and the awesome wonderment of science, Broward College in Davie, Florida is hosting the first ever Carl Sagan Day tomorrow (Saturday the 7th). If you're in that area, they've got a whole day's worth of activities going on---from planetarium shows and stargazing, to a "Cosmos" marathon, to appearances by Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait and James "The Amazing" Randi (who was a personal friend of Sagan's).
The majority of us not conveniently located in southern Florida, however, will have to find other ways to celebrate. Perhaps you've already got a Beethoven's Birthday-style public march planned, but, if not, you can at least enjoy some fine video tributes. BoingBoing already linked to the soothing memorial techno remix of Sagan's "Cosmos" PBS show, so I'm going to go in a different direction and offer you one of his last interviews, from May of 1996, on Charlie Rose. Among other things, Sagan talks about his (then) new book (and one of my favorites), "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark". Enjoy.
Not pictured: A convenient terrestrial solar panel. Image from thebadastronomer Flickr stream, via CC.
Light can't escape a black hole. Some people look at this fact and get the shudders. Others think, "Hey, that would make a really effective solar panel!"
Or, rather, it might if not for that whole "massive, crushing force of gravity" problem. MIT's Technology Review has a neat piece about scientists trying get around that minor hiccup. They're working with light-distorting metamaterials, the stuff you frequently see written up in stories about the coming of futuristic cloaking devices, alongside references to Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. But instead of bending light around the metamaterial, these researchers are focusing on a weirder--and, in my opinion, much cooler--goal.
...a metamaterial that distorts space so severely that light entering it (in this case microwaves) cannot escape.Their black hole consists of 60 layers of printed circuit board arranged in concentric circles (see picture below). The printed circuit boards are coated in a thin layer of copper from which Qiang and Tie have etched two types of pattern that either resonate at microwave frequency or do not. They've measured microwaves at 18 GHz going in and none coming out. And the circular symmetry of their metamaterial means that the microwaves are absorbed in all directions at once.
There you have it: The light-capturing power of a black hole, without the teeny inconvenience of being smooshed. Incorporate the material in solar collectors, and you could end up with a much more efficient way of harnessing the sun for energy.
"It", in this case, referring to "The Right Stuff". Brandon Keim at Wired Science had a great post yesterday about attempts by NASA contractors to get women into the space program during the late 1950s. The (ultimately unsuccessful) charge was led by Randy Lovelace--the doctor responsible for putting together health tests for astronaut hopefuls during the original Mercury 7 selection process--and Donald Flickinger--an Air Force general. Flickinger founded the Women in Space Earliest program in 1959, Keim writes...
But the Air Force canned it before testing even started, prompting Lovelace to start the Woman in Space Program.
Nineteen women enrolled in WISP, undergoing the same grueling tests administered to the male Mercury astronauts. Thirteen of them -- later dubbed the Mercury 13 -- passed "with no medical reservations," a higher graduation rate than the first male class. The top four women scored as highly as any of the men
It's pretty fascinating stuff, I just wish Keim had included more biographical information on the women involved. Unlike the male astronaut candidates, they couldn't have come from the Air Force (and 1959 seems a little late for women who'd been with the WAC in World War II to be in prime physical condition), and yet, the women were trained, experienced pilots. There's some great stories fluttering in the shadows around this piece. I, for one, would love to know more.*
*Read: I would kill to interview one of these women. If you, your mom, or your grandma were involved, email me. Seriously.
When I saw this picture last summer on the Awkward Family Photos blog, I had to know where it came from. Most of the commenters were convinced the answer was "a really freaky, messed-up hippie family." But one intrepid denizen of the Interwebs offered a better explanation.
In reality, these hand-knit people suits--made from angora--are the work of artist Anna Maltz. She makes them in the aforementioned "natural" version, but also in muppet-esque blue, mermaid, and Superman styles. Then she takes photos of people wearing the suits.
This video from San Francisco's KQED takes you along on one of Maltz's shoots.
And, if that's not enough to make her completely awesome, in 2004 Maltz apparently wrote an essay about her work called "Don't Be the Bunny." "Urinetown" references = +1000!