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More fun with Plugable's USB microscope

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Over the weekend, my 12-year-old daughter and I used our Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope to get a close-up look some of the stuff around the house. It's an excellent microscope, especially considering the low price ($35). Another other great thing about a USB microscope is that you don't have to take turns looking at the specimen - everyone in the room can see it on the computer display at the same time. That makes it so much more fun. And you can easily take photos and movie to share with other people. The image above is a rubber clown nose.

I like this microscope so much that I talked to the folks at Plugable and asked them to become a sponsor of our Weekend of Wonder extravaganza (WoW) on September 18-20 in Southern California. The kindly agreed, and now everyone who attends is going to get one of these super cool scopes, courtesy of Plugable! We will have a gross-out contest at WoW with these scopes, so start thinking about the yuckiest thing we can look at.

Here are a few of the things we looked at:

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Ball point pen (250X)

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Ball point pen (50X)

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Dirt

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Sharpie marker

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Sharpie dot on paper

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Gluten-free bread

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Comic book cover

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iPhone display

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Chewable vitamin

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Jane's hair

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White stuff on a tree leaf

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Tiny scab on Jane's leg

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Levi's denim jean fabric

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Jane's heel

Register here to join us at Boing Boing's Weekend of Wonder.

WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson give us a a brief history of everything

Neil deGrasse Tyson tell us how it is.

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As we marveled at Pluto, this spectacular comet image came out

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While we were busy enjoying the spectacular images of Pluto, ESA's Rosetta camera released this image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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Can science make us better drinkers?

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The headline sounds like a prime candidate for Betteridge's Law, but a neurologist and his cocktail-bar creative director daughter are on it.

Nathan Mattise reports from the annual Tales of the Cocktail gathering in New Orleans, "a drinking conference with a science problem."

Perhaps the average barkeep doesn't need to know that the body contains more than 350 receptor proteins solely to process smell (detecting more than half a million odorants, any of which may bind to these proteins for all of a millisecond). But that knowledge coincided nicely with Pamela Wiznitzer's recommendations to carefully consider the aroma of your garnishes. When possible, use scents that intentionally clash with a drink's ultimate flavor (thus creating an alluring complexity).

Among the insights: don't use liquid nitrogen to cool drinks, you might kill someone.

Incredible Science Machine team seeks Rube Goldberg record with chain reaction gizmo

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Chain reaction artists and domino builders have collaborated to create what they hope will go on record as the largest chain reaction in history.

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National Geographic's Pluto issue, autographed by NASA's New Horizons team

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Susan Goldberg: “How cool is this? The @NASANewHorizons #Pluto team autographed our fab July @NatGeo cover, written by @nadiamdrake.”

More: Pluto coverage on Boing Boing.

Video: HOWTO make waterproof sand at home

YouTuber IncredibleScience has a great at-home science project that's kid-friendly: making waterproof sand.

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Scientists create new strain of algae that tastes like bacon

Oregon State University researchers created and patented a new strain of the protein-rich red marine algae known as Dulse. When cooked, this new stuff really tastes like bacon. The engineered strain is high in protein, and purportedly offers twice the nutritional value of everyone's favorite vegetable-du-jour, kale.

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3D printing blends rigid and soft to improve robot performance

Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences released an interesting demo of blending rigid and soft materials during 3D printing to create hybrid robots with enhanced performance for tasks like jumping and landing.

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Let's build a Moon village, says European Space Agency's new director

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"I propose a Moon village on the far side of the Moon," says Johann-Dietrich Woerner who has been in the role of Director General of the European Space Agency (Esa) for just a week.

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University of Toronto upholds "alternative medicine" course that denied vaccines, taught "quantum medicine"


The course was taught under the Anthropology department by "homeopath" Beth Landau-Halpern, who is married to the dean of the Scarborough campus, and who had been previously caught on hidden camera selling sugar pills to parents and calling them "vaccine alternatives."

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Ant-Man, the Physics of Shrinking, and the Higgs Boson

It's simply a cross-interaction between the Higgs field and the Pym field!Read the rest

With its sonar-reflective leaves, this carnivorous plant is saying to bats “please poop on me.”

National Geographic


National Geographic

Science writer Ed Yong has fun with poop and bats and flesh-eating plants of the Pacific in this piece for NatGeo.

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Scientific study: real vampires don't want to be stereotyped

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People who claim to be real vampires and must drink others' blood for energy are hesitant to talk to psychological counselors and other helping professionals about their lives because they fear being "judged as being wicked or evil or viewed as being psychotic, delusional or having a psychological problem," according to a new scientific study.

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Gene therapy restored hearing in deaf mice

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Researchers partially restored hearing in deaf mice with a certain kind of genetic hearing loss by inserting working copies of the mutated genes. Eventually the technique could lead to gene therapy for certain causes of human deafness.

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Time-lapse: 11 years of the Opportunity Mars Rover's collision-avoidance camera

The brave little robot's covered 42.2km on its suicide mission to the Red Planet; this footage spans Jan 2004 to Apr 2015. (Thanks, Robbo!)

Human tears, viewed under a microscope

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Imaginarium of Tears, by Maurice Mikkers.

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