Bioluminescent Hawksbill Sea Turtle

September 29th, 2015 | Brain

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Marine biologist David Gruber, of City University of New York, recently underwent a mission to film biofluorescence in small sharks and coral reefs near the Solomon Islands. The team was keeping an eye out for crocodiles in the area when surprisingly, a glowing “spaceship” hovered by them in the dark waters. It was the first time that a bioluminescent turtle had ever been caught on film.

We’ve featured biofluorescence on the site before in Japan and in the Maldives. Animals are known to use it for hunting, mating, but it’s still unclear why turtles would benefit in this case.

After this film was shot, Gruber visited with the local villages and found some captured turtles that all glowed as well. Further research will be surely be conducted to determine how these turtles acquired this amazing ability.


To Scale: The Solar System

September 17th, 2015 | Space

To Scale the solar system Nevada

Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh made this impressive scale model of the solar system out in a dry lakebed in Nevada. Trying to make sense of our place in the solar system is extremely difficult. Most of us don’t travel beyond a few miles from our homes with much regularity, so I really appreciate films like this and “Riding Light” (featured here), which give us a much greater appreciation for the staggering immensity of our Universe.

Some people may feel insignificant, but it makes me feel hopeful. There is so much to explore even in our small corner of the galaxy.


Mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope

September 10th, 2015 | Space

James Webb Telescope

In the image above, NASA engineer Ernie Wright observes the primary mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled for launch in late 2018. NASA hopes that the new telescope will be able to observe the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe, along with the first stars to ever be created.

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The process to make such intricate mirrors is fascinating in its own right. The NASA video below demonstrates a bit of the process to treat the gold-coated beryllium.


Computing Cancer

August 26th, 2015 | Brain

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Scientists have recently created a comprehensive computer model of a cancerous tumor in three dimensions. The interdisciplinary research team was constructed of collaborating scientists from Johns Hopkins, Harvard University, and the University of Edinburgh. The new method will allow laboratories to gain a better understanding of cancer growth dynamics and the response to therapies.

Cancer is genetically heterogeneous and thus, the response to treatment is not always uniform. Some cells of the tumor may respond to one of the chemotherapy drugs, while other cells remain resistant. This new modeling tool (and its future iterations) can help us understand how genetic heterogeneity arises and potentially lead to improved treatment protocols.


Space Paintings by Michael Kagan

August 25th, 2015 | Space

Michael Kagen Space Paintings 1

Michael Kagan is a Brookyln-based oil painter who made these abstract space scenes for the Smithsonian Institute. He has also collaborated on projects with big-time musical artists such as Pharell and White Lies. Inspired by NASA’s Mercury missions, Kagan captures scenes of astronauts and shuttle launches in thick swaths of blue and white paint.

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Kagan exhibited these works last year at Joshua Liner Gallery in an exhibition titled “Thunder in the Distance”. Find more of his work here.


Bi-Directional Model Train Spiral

August 13th, 2015 | Robot

Youtuber, James Risner, has built this mesmerizing spiral train setup that looks pretty amazing to view in endless GIF format. I’d like to see a similar video with different colored trains that could synch up in different ways through the train’s passage.



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