Science is the poetry of Nature.

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Posts tagged "Sci"


Science and Photography

The Wellcome Trust — a London-based medical research charity — has just announced the winners of its 2012 image competition, and they are positively stunning.

1. Moth fly (Psychodidae)

This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph shows a moth fly (Psychodidae), also known as a drain fly. As its name suggests, the fly’s larvae commonly live and grow in domestic drains; the adult fly emerges near sinks, baths and lavatories. The moth flies’ bodies and wings are covered in hairs, which gives them a ‘fuzzy’, moth-like appearance. The fly is 4-5 mm long, and each eye is approximately 100 microns wide.

2. Lavender leaf

This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) shows a lavender leaf (Lavandula) imaged at 200 microns. Lavender, which is native to the Mediterranean region, is an evergreen shrub that grows to about three feet high and has small blue or purple flowers and narrow grey leaves. Lavender yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, which can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics and topical applications. It is also used to aid sleep, to relax and to alleviate anxiety.

3. Xenopus laevis oocytes

This confocal micrograph shows stage V-VI oocytes (800-1000 micron diameter) of an African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), a model organism used in cell and developmental biology research. Each oocyte is surrounded by thousands of follicle cells, shown in the image by staining DNA blue. Blood vessels, which provide oxygen to the oocyte and follicle cells, are shown in red. The ovary of each adult female Xenopus laevis contains up to 20 000 oocytes. Mature oocytes are approximately 1.2 mm in diameter, much larger than the eggs of many other species.

4. Caffeine crystals

This false-coloured scanning electron micrograph shows caffeine crystals. Caffeine is a bitter, crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. In plants, caffeine functions as a defence mechanism. Found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves and fruit of some plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide that paralyses and kills certain insects feeding on the plant. The main crystals of caffeine were 400-500 microns long; however, this crystal group formed on the end of the larger crystal and measures around 40 microns in length.

A Simple Illusion That Makes a Cube Drawing Move in Three Dimensions

Sometimes the simplest illusions are the best. A simple trick makes a sketch of a cube appear to float and twist in the middle of a sketch pad.

This optical illusion is completely inexplicable when you first look at it, and then utterly comprehensible the moment the person in the video shows the trick. At first, a person simply holds a sketch pad. On the pad is a simple drawing of a box. When the person moves the sketch pad in a simple circle, the box dances on the pad, moving around fluidly and easily. How is that possible? In a movie it might be animation or CGI.

In life, an optical illusion is best because the viewer’s brain is doing most of the work. The object on the pad looks at first glance like a drawn cube, letting the watcher assume a convex shape. When one set of lines on a cube shorten, the viewer assumes that that side has been turned away so less of the line is visible. When lines lengthen, the viewer assumes that that side is being turned towards them.

It’s only when the entire pad is turned — cluing the watcher in that the entire shape was concave — that the optical illusion makes sense. It makes sense so much sense that you can’t entirely re-capture the effect of the illusion for a while, after it’s transformed back. This shows us that our eyes take in lines, but our brains construct shapes from them, and sometimes we construct them wrong.

Via Youtube.

Twin NASA Probes Start Mapping Lunar Gravity

The twin GRAIL probes have just begun their science mission and will use a precision formation-flying technique to map Lunar Gravity, as depicted in this artist’s rendering. Radio signals traveling between the two spacecraft provide scientists with exact measurements which will result in the most accurate gravity map of the moon ever made. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s twin lunar orbiting GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) spacecraft christened Ebb and Flow have kicked off their science collection phase aimed at precisely mapping our Moon’s gravity field, interior composition and evolution, the science team informed Universe Today.

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