April 25th, 2012

descriptive camera

The Descriptive Camera works a lot like a regular camera—point it at subject and press the shutter button to capture the scene. However, instead of producing an image, this prototype outputs a text description of the scene.

See Mr. Richardson’s page to learn how he achieves this. Wish I had made this, not least because I want one.

Thanks to Aengus for the heads up.

March 27th, 2012

time to tinker

Now that we have unlimited information at our disposal, or rather at our heels, it’s a wonder anyone ever actually does anything to make use of it. I feel unlucky in a sense not to exist in a world of slow streaming information, that I might be lost in one task, one interest, one pursuit, for hours. Like this man.

Image via shorpy.

February 13th, 2012

subtle sci fi

I like the paranormal if it’s subtle like this. But then again, I also like Ghostbusters.

Sassetta, The blessed Ranieri frees the poor from a Florentine jail, San Sepolcro Altarpiece, 1437-44, Musée du Louvre, Paris

January 18th, 2012

google brain visualized

Search by Image, Recursively, Transparent PNG, #1 from kingcosmonaut3000 on Vimeo.

Very neat. Via kottke:

This is mesmerizing: using Google Image Search and starting with a transparent image, this video cycles through each subsequent related image, over 2900 in all.

It gets more interesting the longer it goes on. It’s like watching a visualisation of the neural connections of a cyborg. Or something.

December 16th, 2011

love at first bite

Photo: David Paul/Mark Norman.

Neatorama has a round-up of the most bizarre mating mechanisms in the animal kingdom. That of the Anglerfish seems so impossibly beyond our reality that it’s spine-chilling and awe-inspiring at once…

Anglerfish, a deep sea fish named for the spiny appendage on its head that it uses as bait to “fish” its prey, has an unusual mating habit. As it spends its time in the bottom of the ocean, finding a mate is a problem – but the species solved this evolutionary challenge beautifully.

At first, scientists were perplexed because they’ve never caught a male anglerfish. Also, all female anglerfish have a lump on their body that looks like a parasite. Only later did scientists discover that the lump is the remain of the male fish.

The tiny male anglerfish are born without any digestive system, so once they hatch, they have to find a female quickly. When a male finds a female, he quickly bites her body and releases an enzyme that digests his skin and her body to fuse the two in an eternal embrace. The male then wastes away, becoming nothing but a lump on the female anglerfish’s body!

When the female is ready to spawn, her “male appendage” is there, ready to release sperms to fertilize her egg.

More at Neatorama

October 8th, 2011

gustav mahler

I was reading about Gustav Mahler on wikipedia when… this caricature. 1901.

September 26th, 2011

bornean beards

Borneo is home to the bearded pig. Via Tetrapod Zoology blog

September 14th, 2011

saturn abides

If you look to the top left of Saturn, seen here eclipsing our sun, you can see the planet Earth as a tiny white dot in the background. The perfect order of such a massive object and the debris bound by it’s pull, and the perfection in turn of its alignment in space, is glorious.

From Nasa’s image of the day September 04 2011.

August 16th, 2011

phone sex

August 3rd, 2011

polystyrene foam macaroon of ginger with smoked coconut butter

The restaurant El Bulli is cataloguing its dishes online. I can’t stop looking and marvelling.
Above: ‘polystyrene foam macaroon of ginger with smoked coconut butter’.

More here.

July 29th, 2011

1896 olympic marathon

Wikipedia via kottke

July 27th, 2011

the backtrackings of time and the changes of heart

June 8th, 2011

medieval dentistry

I like this medieval illustration of dentistry.

Miniature on a initial ‘D’ with a scene representing teeth (“dentes”). A dentist with silver forceps and a necklace of large teeth, extracting the tooth of a seated man.

From Wikipedia.

May 14th, 2011

people and places

Photo by Jasper James

May 14th, 2011

bike chain wall clock

By Andreas Dober (via designsquish).

April 25th, 2011

the tabacco hornworm & bioaccumulation

The Tabacco Hornworm or Manduca Sexta. Photo: Daniel Schwen.

Some animal species exhibit bioaccumulation as a mode of defense; by consuming toxic plants or animal prey, a species may accumulate the toxin which then presents a deterrent to a potential predator. One example is the tobacco hornworm, which concentrates nicotine to a toxic level in its body as it consumes tobacco plants. Poisoning of small consumers can be passed along the food chain to affect the consumers later on.

Other compounds that are not normally considered toxic can be accumulated to toxic levels in organisms. The classic example is of Vitamin A, which becomes concentrated in carnivore livers of e.g. polar bears: as a pure carnivore that feeds on other carnivores (seals), they accumulate extremely large amounts of Vitamin A in their livers. It was known by the native peoples of the Arctic that the livers should not be eaten, but Arctic explorers have suffered Hypervitaminosis A from eating the bear livers (and there has been at least one example of similar poisoning of Antarctic explorers eating husky dog livers). One notable example of this is the expedition of Sir Douglas Mawson, where his exploration companion died from eating the liver of one of their dogs.

Bioaccumulation @ wikipedia.

March 26th, 2011

francis antonio blake

Antonio Saura‘s illustrations sometimes look like a mix between Quentin Blake and Francis Bacon… A lot of his work can be found categorized neatly on the website of his succession.

Above is an example of his graphic work from 1973.

Previous post: Quentin Blake keeps it jazzy

February 18th, 2011

in brainbows

Proto magazine has some gorgeous images and representations of brain structures. Above is “Broad Overview [of a Human Hippocampus],” Tamily Weissman, Jeff Lichtman and Joshua Sanes, 2005.

It was the hippocampus as no one had ever seen it, illuminated in radiant hues. The image is called, aptly, a Brainbow, the colors serving a scientific purpose by highlighting specific neural structures. Yet their choice also reflects an artistic bent; scientists display the brain not the way it is (an undifferentiated gray) but the way we want to see it, “painted” with bursts of fluorescent color.

Below is “Olfactory Bulb [of a Dog],” by Camillo Golgi, pen and ink on paper, 1875.

More at Proto magazine.

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