This new LEGO X-Wing Masterpiece is being unveiled in Times Square today. It was made from 5,335,200 individual bricks and weighs an astounding 45,980 pounds (20856.2 kg)! You may be asking yourself how such a creation came to be… Well, 32 “Master Builders” spent 17,336 man-hours in Kladno, Czech Republic constructing the rebel fighter jet — that’s the equivalent of one man spending about 2 years of his life.
The X-Wing breaks the World Record for the largest LEGO model ever built by about 2 million bricks (LEGO robot will not be happy). The folks at Wired caught up with a team leader, Erik Varszegi: “My fellow Master Builders and I are always looking for a challenge — and for projects that push our skills to the next level.” The team chose the X-Wing because it “is one of the most iconic vehicles in the Star Wars universe and the sheer size and scope of the building and engineering challenges was one we couldn’t resist.”
I’m not sure who funded the work, but I’m glad this happened. Someone should build a giant LEGO Brain to complete the RobotSpaceBrain series!
Billy Bragg is an English musician with a musical history steeped in political activism. From the artist: “My theory is this; I’m not a political songwriter. I’m an honest songwriter. I try and write honestly about what I see around me now.”
In other words, he writes songs with meaning. ”No One Knows Nothing Anymore” speaks to the barrage of scientific advancement which doesn’t necessarily bring serenity to our lives. Sometimes it’s better to take a step away from all of life’s worries, and enjoy the time we have.
The Lyrics to “No One Knows Nothing Anymore”
“Deep down in the underground, atoms spinning round and round Scientists monitor readings Searching for the Holy Grail, the particle or at least the tale Of the one who gives the universe its meaning.
But what if there’s nothing, no big answer to find? What if we’re just passing through time?
No one knows nothing anymore Nobody really knows the score Nobody knows anything Let’s break it down and start again
What happens when the markets drop, If the numbers really don’t add up? Everyone seeks the safe haven. And as they contemplate their ruin, The self-proclaimed smartest people in the room Are trying very hard not to sound craven
But what if there’s nothing, no pot of gold to find? Only the blind leading the blind.
No one knows nothing anymore Nobody really knows the score Seems nobody knows anything Let’s break it down and start again
Let’s stop pretending We can manage our way out of here. Let’s stop defending the indefensible. Let’s stop relying on The lecturing of the experts Whose spin just makes our plight incomprehensible.
High up on a mountain top, somebody with a skinhead crop Is thinking deep thoughts for us all. Serenity is all around, but if you listen you can hear the sound Of one head being banged against the wall.
But what if our ancestors had stayed up in the trees Who’d be sleeping weighed down by these worries?
No one knows nothing anymore Nobody really knows the score Since nobody knows anything Let’s break it down and start again”
Tom Beddard created these illustrations using his custom WebGL 3D fractal creator. This form of algorithmic art is created from fractal objects, which are “various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size.”
It seems logical that Tom Beddard would enter this form of art, considering he completed a PhD in laser physics before moving into web development and design. From the artist: “I’m interested in how equations and formulas can be used to create interesting, unpredictable imagery.”
From Fast Company: “Beddard doesn’t write the actual mathematical equations himself — for that he goes to the geniuses on FractalForums.com. Instead, he just… explores, using his custom software. ‘You get an intuition about what equations lead to interesting results,’ he says. ‘Everything in ‘Surface Area’ comes from slowly changing just one parameter. And when it moves in and out of phase with some of the other parameters, certain structures pop out: some organic, some geometric, some classical and tree-like.’”
I think this is about as scientific as art can get…
The “Fox River Derivatives” project from Peter Hoffman is a collection of photos addressing mankind’s relationship with natural resources. The Fox River is a 202-mile-long tributary of the Illinois River. Hoffman shot photos as he biked up and down the river. Then, the abstract images were created by pouring gasoline on the negatives and setting them on fire.
From the artist:
“Fox River Derivatives is a series that questions our relationship with our natural resources. Using the theme “Water and Oil”, with consideration to the large BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the images are part of a larger experiment that utilizes water and fossil fuels in the actual image-making process, letting these substances become an important variable in the visual representation. Photographs are made along the Fox River which passes through both untouched rural areas and consumer-oriented suburban sprawl.”
The Mariana Trench is the deepest, darkest portion of the ocean. Its maximum-known depth is 10,911 meters, which is over 2000 meters deeper than Mount Everest is tall. Light only travels about 1000 meters into the ocean water, so more than 90% of the Mariana Trench exists in complete darkness. This absence of light creates wild-looking animals that don’t seem to come from this world, so I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the alien creatures here on the site. I must admit, they all look a bit terrifying…
The image at the top is a photograph of the Deep Sea Anglerfish. It gets its name from an elongated dorsal spine that supports a light-producing organ, which it uses as a fishing lure to attract prey. It then uses those giant teeth to finish the victims off.
The Barreleye fish is very strange. What you think are sad looking eyes are actually decoys, and the real eyes are those large, globes under the transparent dome of soft tissue. Stephen Colbert called it the craziest F&@*ing thing he’s ever seen.
Benthocodon is a genus of jellyfish. Like the Anglerfish, this animal uses bioluminescence to attract prey. Those red wisps on the edge of its dome are fine red tentacles, which the animal uses to propel itself quickly through the water.
The Deep Sea Dragonfish is a ferocious predator that lives at depths of up to 5000 meters. This animal is only about 6 inches long, so no need to fear for your life. It has a striking resemblance to a Chinese Dragon, which is most likely where its name comes from.
The Dumbo Octopus is straight out of a Disney movie. Its tentacles have a row of suckers and two rows of fleshy spikes for feeding. Interesting fact: they don’t have a tough tongue with teeth like many molluscs. Instead, they swallow their prey whole!
The Fanfin Seadevil is another version of the Anglerfish, yet it doesn’t use bioluminescence to attract prey. It is almost completely black, which makes it very stealthy in the dark depths of the ocean. Interesting fact: the male is only 1/2 inch long, while the female grows up to 8 inches.
The Football Fish (great name!) is a globose Anglerfish, and it is said to be the first deep-sea Anglerfish ever discovered, washing ashore on a beach in Greenland in 1833.
This Frilled Shark was discovered back in 2007 by a Japanese fisherman. Experts sometimes call this animal a “living fossil” because it belongs to a primitive species that has changed very little over millions of years.
The Goblin shark is one scary looking fish. It hunts by sensing prey with electro-sensitive organs in its snout. Once a goblin shark finds its prey, it suddenly protrudes its jaws, while using a tongue-like muscle to suck the victim into its sharp front teeth. Wow! It grows up to 3.3 meters and 159 kg.
Deep Sea Hatchetfish have extremely thin bodies which resemble the blade of a hatchet, but what I find more fascinating are those facial expressions! Apparently, its eyes can focus close up or far away.
Martensia ovum also known as the Arctic comb jelly or Sea Nut, is a ctenophore that was first described back in 1790. They can deploy tentacles that are up to 10-20 times its body length.
The Telescope Octopus gets its name from its uniquely-shaped tubular eyes. It is transparent and nearly colorless, giving it an eery ghost-like appearance.
Another Anglerfish… from my nightmares… :/
I have no idea what this thing is, nor could I find any useful information. Those sure do look like human lips though.. I could think of some creative (and NSFW) names for this one.
And last but not least, we have the Viperfish. Its fangs are so large that they can’t fit inside its mouth. Instead, they curve back very close to the fish’s eyes. The Viperfish is thought to use these sharp teeth to impale its victims by swimming at them at high speeds.
Ok, that’s all for now. It is important to note that these animals don’t really live at deepest portions of the Mariana Trench (10,000 meters +), where you’ll mostly just find bacteria and Xenophyophores. These creatures usually lurk somewhere between 1000 and 5000 meters.
Colonel Chris Hadfield returns from the International Space Station this evening, and he decided to sing one last song before takeoff. This couldn’t be a more perfect end to an amazing 5 months of science communication from Hadfield. ’Space Oddity’, a David Bowie cover, was mixed with the help of staff at the Canadian Space Agency and features a somber piano intro and modified lyrics that reference the Soyuz capsule that will return Hadfield to Earth. It’s a beautiful video which features a floating guitar, incredible time-lapse shots of Earth, and Hadfield darting around the space station.
The song takes on a new level of meaning when it’s sung in space. The lyrics just match the situation perfectly!
I hope Commander Hadfield continues to share the beauty of space after his return home. He is a level-headed, yet optimistic, scientist who understands the importance of research. ”We will go to the Moon and we will go to Mars, we will go and see what asteroids and comets are made of,” he told BBC News.
“But we’re not going to do it tomorrow and we’re not going to do it because it titillates the nerve endings we’re going to do it because it’s a natural human progression”.