Mind-boggling image research allows us to create time and site specific portraits of city architecture and make comparisons. Very impressive! via ScienceDump
Urenlang Dragon in de gaten houden tijdens de nadering is geen straf. Hier over Namibie.
Hours on end monitoring Dragon’s approach is no punishment. Here over Namibia.
The FlickR photostream of Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers is a unique and visually beautiful insight into life in space…
Started thinking about making an underwater sound installation and found that this video serves as a nice introduction to the understanding of sound’s behaviour in water.
The International Space Station has a nice camera on board these days… View fullscreen.
Another (see previous post) impressive time-lapse video found via kottke.
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.
As you can see in these videos, not only is some of the surface ejected into space as a result of the explosion, some of it returns to crash back into the Sun. The videos are being provided through Helioviewer.org which is an open-source project, funded by ESA and NASA, for the visualization of solar and heliospheric data. It seems the video of the solar flare was so popular on Tuesday that some visitors to Helioviewer.org had long movie waits due to the increase in traffic.
More video, photo and background info at geek.com.
The European Space Agency has some insights into the unglamorous practical details of daily life as an astronaut. Snip:
Once stirred, the astronauts tend to adopt a foetus-like posture as they move weightlessly about the station. Sometimes referred to unflatteringly as the “simian hunch”, it seems to be the natural human attitude in microgravity; perhaps it really is an echo of the weightless months that every growing embryo spends floating in its mother’s womb.
The crew dress as quickly as they can: no easy task when your limbs float out at odd angles. They wear disposable clothes, replacing them once every three days: there are no washing machines in space. But the ISS does have a shower. Water squirts out of the “top” to be sucked down by an air fan at the “bottom”. The shower has to be used sparingly to conserve water, but it is a luxury item that earlier space pioneers would have envied. and today’s astronauts cherish.
More on the ESA website (via reddit)
Wiki: Hieronymus Bosch’s The Conjurer. While other figures observe objects within the painting, the woman in green observes the viewer. The painting thus makes the viewer aware of being on display.
Gaze is a psychoanalytical term brought into popular usage by Jacques Lacan to describe the anxious state that comes with the awareness that one can be viewed. The psychological effect, Lacan argues, is that the subject loses some sense of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object. This concept is bound with his theory of the mirror stage, in which a child encountering a mirror realizes that he or she has an external appearance. Lacan suggests that this gaze effect can similarly be produced by any conceivable object such as a chair or a television screen. This is not to say that the object behaves optically as a mirror; instead it means that the awareness of any object can induce an awareness of also being an object.
Related: Men dream of women
The Galaxy Song from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
ISS Space Officer Jon Pettit:
Few people have experienced traveling into space. Even fewer have experienced the smell of space. Now this sounds strange, that a vacuum could have a smell and that a human being could live to smell that smell. It seems about as improbable as listening to sounds in space, yet space has a definite smell. Being creatures of an atmosphere, we can only smell space indirectly. Sort of like the way a pit viper smells by waving its tongue in the air and thenpressing it to the roof of its mouth where sensors process the molecules that have been adsorbed onto the waggling appendage. I had the pleasure of operating the airlock for two of my crewmates while they went on several space walks. Each time, when I repressed the airlock, opened the hatch and welcomed two tired workers inside, a peculiar odor tickled my olfactory senses. At first I couldn’t quite place it. It must have come from the air ducts that re-pressed the compartment. Then I noticed that this smell was on their suit, helmet, gloves, and tools. It was more pronounced on fabrics than on metal or plastic surfaces. It is hard to describe this smell; it is definitely not the olfactory equivalent to describing the palette sensations of some new food as “tastes like chicken.” The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation. It reminded me of my college summers where I labored for many hours with an arc welding torch repairing heavy equipment for a small logging outfit. It reminded me of pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes. That is the smell of space.
Two things to geek out about, today. Firstly, an Earthlike, ‘goldilocks’ planet has been discovered! One not too hot, not too cold — just right for life to have evolved.
Gliese 581g’s atmosphere is hugged snugly in place by the planet’s gravity. The conditions are thought to be suitable for liquid water to exist on the surface of the planet. The climate is stable — with one side always facing the sun, it receives constant daylight on one side and constant darkness on the other. Its sun is ancient, meaning that life should have had plenty of time to gain a foothold on the planet. It’s 20 light years from our planet. That means it would take 20 years to reach the planet from ours if we were travelling at the speed of light (which is currently not possible).
“Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say that the chances for life on this planet are 100 percent. I have almost no doubt about it,” Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at University of California Santa Cruz, told Discovery News.
More at Discovery news.
The other story is smaller in scale but, relatively speaking, perhaps equal in merit and profundity: a father and son send an HD camera into space by balloon, practically discovering planet Earth for themselves. And the footage is glorious, perhaps all the more for the traditional home-movie-like shakiness.
(Both stories via Reddit.)
The International Space Station has a LIVE webcam, beaming video of Earth back home. Stream.
People can’t anticipate how much they’ll miss the natural world until they are deprived of it. I have read about submarine crewmen who haunt the sonar room, listening to whale songs and colonies of snapping shrimp. Submarine captains dispense “periscope liberty”—a chance for crewmembers to gaze at clouds and birds and coastlines and remind themselves that the natural world still exists. I once met a man who told me that after landing in Christchurch after a winter at the South Pole research station, he and his companions spent a couple days just wandering around staring in awe at flowers and trees. At one point, one of them spotted a woman pushing a stroller. “A baby!” he shouted, and they all rushed across the street to see. The woman turned the stroller and ran.
Image courtesy of Flickr user VeloSteve.
Does adding salt to water really make it boil quicker? Not by any significant degree, according to the article Everything you ever wanted to know (plus more!) about boiling water.
Adding a handful of salt to simmering or boiling water certainly appears to make it rapidly boil. This is because of little things called nucleation sites, which are, essentially, the birthplace of bubbles. In order for bubbles of steam to form, there needs to be some sort of irregularity within the volume of water—microscopic scratches on the inside surface of the pot will do, as will tiny bits of dust or the pores of a wooden spoon. A handful of salt rapidly introduces thousands of nucleation sites, making it very easy for bubbles to form and escape.
Ever notice how in a glass of champagne the bubbles rise in distinct streams from single points? It’s a good bet that there’s a microscopic scratch or dust particle right at that point.
On a much grander scale, entire galaxies were formed when matter started to collect in gravity wells formed initially by tiny nucleation sites in the early universe. This baffles scientists (if there was nothing before the big bang, what then were these primordial nucleation sites?). But that’s neither here nor there (or perhaps it’s everywhere?)
The full article is boiling over with further factoids. Read more at Serious Eats.