December 8th, 2012

mechanised birdsong

A mechanical singing bird mechanism. Made around 120 years ago in Paris, probably by Bontems. In the film I hope you can identify all the major parts and see them working together to make the sound. The mechanism was in a rusted and seized state and has been restored. Surpisingly the bellows are in good original condition. See our channel for more, much more.

If this is for real, it’s very impressive! Actually if it were not real it would be impressive too. See more at the house of automata. (via sciencedump)

November 13th, 2012

electronic bookbinding

Elektrobiblioteka / Electrolibrary from waldek wegrzyn on Vimeo.

Terrific project! Thanks Aengus for the heads-up.

November 10th, 2012

the littlest clean-up team

Watch a time-lapse video showing the Museum’s smallest workers, flesh-eating beetles, preparing the skeletons of a great green macaw, tawny owl and mountain peacock-pheasant for our collections. Chemical preparation of skeletons can cause damage to the bones so a special beetle species, Dermestes haemarrhoidalis, is used to strip off the flesh while leaving the bones and collagen untouched.

The Natural History Museum is using a species of flesh-eating beetles to clean-up skeletons of bird specimens. They were kind enough to upload a video for the curious.

(via 3qd)

October 23rd, 2012

return of the t-cell

Here’s a BBC documentary about the human cell and its relationship over billions of years with the virus cell.

It takes a nice, broad perspective and presents the story with impressive visuals. Quite impressed as I am, I didn’t like the incredibly tedious camera work for the in-between segments, and the drone of David Tennant’s narration throughout the entire film. You can’t have it all.

Update: Pity the video has been taken down. It was called Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell.

October 14th, 2012


Researchers at Stanford university compare the the networking of an ant colony to the mechanism of the internet. A lesson in harnessing the collective power of individual units! (via sciencedump)

October 9th, 2012

alternative scarecrow

What a mechanism! Now that’s resourceful. (via sciencedump)

September 30th, 2012

one step at a time

Thanks Kobe.

September 17th, 2012

in aristotelian wars the combatants simply fight forever

He understands, as Darwin would, that there is a war of nature. But, where in Darwinian wars some species flourish while others go extinct, in Aristotelian wars the combatants simply fight forever.

A documentary exploring Aristotle’s biological investigations and comparing his understanding to our current knowledge.

September 14th, 2012

butterfly flame

What is a flame made of? (sciencedump)

September 2nd, 2012

druze pita / kubbiz markouk

Druze pita or, in Lebanon, Kubbiz Markouk, made on a stove-top taboun. A recipe.

August 25th, 2012

the ‘feel’ of being in Paris or London

Mind-boggling image research allows us to create time and site specific portraits of city architecture and make comparisons. Very impressive! via ScienceDump

August 24th, 2012

they have plastic pieces that will pop into there

Reuben Margolin‘s wave inspired mechanical sculptures.

July 19th, 2012

coalescence cascades

The other day I was wondering… Why does rain not accumulate (‘coalesce’) in the sky, given the distance it falls, to form deadly sheets or lakes of rainwater that could fall in one place as one large mass? I found the explanation that there is a maximum size of droplet that is reached before the droplet begins to break apart again in freefall.

Picture a huge room full of tiny droplets milling around. If one droplet bumps into another droplet, the bigger droplet will “eat” the smaller droplet. This new bigger droplet will bump into other smaller droplets and become even bigger–this is called coalescence. Soon the droplet is so heavy that the cloud (or the room) can no longer hold it up and it starts falling. As it falls it eats up even more droplets. We can call the growing droplet a raindrop as soon as it reaches the size of 0.5mm in diameter or bigger. If it gets any larger than 4 millimeters, however, it will usually split into two separate drops.

On the topic of water coalescence I coincidentally discovered this uncanny video that shows a mind-boggling dance that occurs when a drop of water meets another body of water. The drop only becomes assimilated after a strange interaction that happens too quickly for us to see without high-speed cameras.

Video via 3qd, text above via US Geological Survey.

July 9th, 2012

springtime is here when the snowmelt is increasing

A report on ‘frazil ice’ and ‘snowcones’, chilly natural phenomena found in Yosemite national park in March and April.

June 28th, 2012

would you like to come up and see my etchings?

Steven Pinker explains the phenomenon whereby we speak indirectly at one level of conversation as a means of insurance protecting the status of the relationship in question while we are negotiating on another level.

June 9th, 2012

automatically aligning the mushrooms

(via kottke)

June 7th, 2012

bacteria born boots

English designer Suzanne Lee is working with a biodegradable leather-like material she grows herself in a bathtub, using bacteria, yeast and green tea. BBC Video.

See her website

May 29th, 2012

on another note

Excellent portrait of a fascinating character and her environment.

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