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174 posts tagged Science

This is Moss FM, the world’s first plant-powered radio and “the first working moss-powered object requiring more electricity than an LCD.” It was created by Swiss product designer Fabienne Felder in collaboration with Dr. Paolo Bombelli from the University of Cambridge. Powered by the process of photosynthesis, Moss FM is an example of biophilic design. “Biophilia is a hypothesis that there is an instinctive bond between plant life and human beings.”

According to Felder, “Moss FM makes use of an emerging biophilic technology called Biophotovoltaics. Electrons and protons produced by photosynthesising plants are harnessed and transformed into electrical current.”

Click here to watch the Moss Radio in action. At present the radio can run for a few minutes powered by a battery that is charged exclusively by moss.

You can learn more about Moss FM and Biophotovoltaics here on Tumblr at mosspower.

[via Design Taxi]

While it’s true that a bunch of ants can ruin a picnic or turn a camping trip into a stinging nightmare, they’re also amazing. The New York Times posted this fascinating video from the Georgia Institute of Technology about researchers studying how groups of fire ants can flow together like a liquid or band together in a solid, rubbery mass. Both of these awesome behaviors may facilitate the development of self-assembling robots and self-healing materials.

For more information about astonishing ant physics, head over to the New York Times.

[via Laughing Squid]

Spanish artist Raul del Sol may not be an entomologist by profession, but these finely-detailed ink on wood illustrations reveal that he certainly seems to be one at heart.

For a beautiful ongoing series entitled Metamorfosis, Raul closely studies insect anatomy and the stages of metamorphosis for different species and then illustrates their awesome transformation processes on sets of plain wooden Matryoshka or Russian nesting dolls.

Visit Raul del Sol’s website to view more of his elegant entomological artwork.

[via Illusion]

The speckled egg in this hypnotic gif is demonstrating an amazing evolutionary advancement. It’s a strangely pointy egg and it belongs to a Common Murre or Guillemot, a seabird that congregates in large colonies on rocky cliff shores and does not make nests. Instead the birds lay their eggs directly on bare rock ledges. And that’s one of the reasons their eggs have evolved such an unusual shape - so that when they roll, instead of rolling away from their parents and into the sea, they roll in a tight little circle. It’s further proof that nature is awesome.
Head over to io9 to learn more about Guillemots and their wonderfully unusual eggs.
[via io9]

The speckled egg in this hypnotic gif is demonstrating an amazing evolutionary advancement. It’s a strangely pointy egg and it belongs to a Common Murre or Guillemot, a seabird that congregates in large colonies on rocky cliff shores and does not make nests. Instead the birds lay their eggs directly on bare rock ledges. And that’s one of the reasons their eggs have evolved such an unusual shape - so that when they roll, instead of rolling away from their parents and into the sea, they roll in a tight little circle. It’s further proof that nature is awesome.

Head over to io9 to learn more about Guillemots and their wonderfully unusual eggs.

[via io9]

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Art + Science = Awesome

Hana Kim of Supahcute is curating a wonderful and group art show called the Supahcute Science Fair at Leanna Lin’s Wonderland in Los Angeles. It’s a completely kawaii exhibition and it opens on Saturday March 8th and runs through April 27, 2014.

Pictured here two adorable felt specimens, Pink Slug and Mushroom and Ant and Mushrooms by Hiné Mizushima (previously featured here), Butterwinged Fairybug by Shing Yin Khor, and Laboratory Glassware Chart by Michael Fleming.

Visit Laughing Squid for a sneak peek at more contributions to the Supahcute Science Fair.

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena introduces us to an incredibly beautiful nighttime occurrence known as Light pillars. They’re one of nature’s rewards for enduring extremely cold weather.

Light pillars are created when ice crystals with roughly horizontal faces form in the atmosphere and reflect light from the sun, moon, or even man-made sources such as street lights.

"So, how does one explain all of the colors? As the Weather Doctor states, ‘Because the light rays forming pillars are reflected, they take on the color of the incident light. For example, when the sun is higher in the sky, pillars are white or bright yellow in color. But when it is near the horizon and its light color dominantly orange, gold or red, so is the resulting pillar.’”

Light pillars have been known to be the source of false UFO reports, which doesn’t seem at all surprising when you consider the Close Encounters-esque atmosphere in each of these wonderful photographs.

Photos by Jay Callaghan, Osato Naoya, Francis Anderson, Tristan Grezko, and Jason Ahms respectively.

Visit My Modern Metropolis to view a few more.

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders introduces us to, as RR Helm calls it, “The most beautiful animal you’ve never seen,” a tiny species of crustacean called a Sapphirina copepod or Sea Sapphire. This video footage, shot by liquidguru, feels like something Mulder and Scully might’ve been called to investigate, but there’s nothing supernatural or extraterrestrial about these dazzling animals.

"Copepods are the rice of the sea, tiny shrimp-like animals at the base of the ocean food chain. And like rice, they are generally not known for their charisma. Sea sapphires are an exception. Though they are often small, a few millimeters, they are stunningly beautiful. Like their namesake gem, different species of sea sapphire shine in different hues, from bright gold to deep blue."

"When they’re abundant near the water’s surface the sea shimmers like diamonds falling from the sky. Japanese fisherman of old had a name for this kind of water, “tama-mizu”, jeweled water.”

Visit Deep Sea News to learn a lot more about these awesome little creatures.

Taking something inconceivably large and making it look like something extraordinarily small is an awesome feat. After viewing a bunch of tilt-shift photography, Italian artist Haari Tesla was inspired to experiment with applying the same photo manipulation technique to publicly distributed photos of celestial objects. Her efforts produced a captivating series entitled Illuminated Code From Space, in which stunning photos of galaxies, nebulae and supernovae look like beautiful microorganisms. Instead of looking out into space we’re peering down into a microscope.

"The initial idea for the series came from the Greek Neo-Platonic schema of macrocosm and microcosm. Essentially, this is the recognition that the same traits appear in entities of many different sizes. Plato wrote about how we see these patterns reproduced in all levels, from the largest scale (macrocosm, or the universe) all the way down to a microscopic level (also know as microcosm)."

Visit Haari Tesla’s Behance page to check out more of her artwork.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders transports us to the Maldive Islands. It was there that Taiwanese photographer Will Ho encountered a beach covered in a magical starry carpet made of millions of bioluminescent phytoplankton. 

"These tiny organisms glow similarly to fireflies and tend to emit light when stressed, such as when waves crash or when they are otherwise agitated. While the phenomenon and its chemical mechanisms have been known for some time, biologists have only recently began to understand the reasons behind it.”

Visit Will Ho’s Flickr stream for additional photos of this marvelous sight.

[via Colossal]