Posted in biology

Coral Sculptures bring awareness to reef bleaching

It’s hard to get passionate or take action on things you can’t see. This is why projects like this or the Crocheted Coral Reef are so crucial to bring awareness to the devastation of our oceans and broader environment.

With the Great Barrier Reef suffering the worst mass bleaching event in history, climate change could kill off the world’s coral reefs for good by the end of the century. When that happens, Courtney Mattison’s coral reef art might be the closest thing to the reefs we have left.

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Called Our Changing Seas, Mattison’s series of massive, intricately detailed ceramic sculptures were created by hand to represent coral reefs in the midst of being bleached. Bleaching is what happens to reefs when their sensitive zooxanthellae—a symbiotic algae that gives coral its pigmentation—die, usually due to environmental factors like pollution or temperature. And when the zooxanthellae die, so do the reefs.

To recreate these reefs in ceramic, Mattison pokes thousands of holes into the clay with her fingers to mimic the sponge-like cavities of a coral colony, while sculpting coral’s more tubular polyps with the aid of simple tools like paintbrushes and chopsticks. Each of her sculptures takes between seven and ten months to create in her Denver studio. There, they are sculpted and fired in as many as 100 separate pieces, which combined will make up the finished reefs, weighing 900 to 1,500 pounds each.

Read more…

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Posted in biology, medical imaging

Innovative Brain Imaging Combines Sound And Light : NPR

I started this blog – I can’t remember how many years ago – when I was working for a scientific society focused on the study of light. Their members, such as this gentleman, were doing amazing things that made the very thin barriers between art and science bleed right into each other. Amazing breakthroughs that are only possible when we think creatively.

Lihong Wang creates the sort of medical technology you’d expect to find on the starship Enterprise.

Wang, a professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has already helped develop instruments that can detect individual cancer cells in the bloodstream and oxygen consumption deep within the body. He has also created a camera that shoots at 100 billion frames a second, fast enough to freeze an object traveling at the speed of light.

Recently, Wang began experimenting with a technique that blends the speed and precision of light with the penetrating ability of sound. It’s called photoacoustic imaging.

“We’re combining the strengths of two forms of energy, light and sound, in a single form of imaging,” Wang says.

…light goes into the brain, and sounds come out. And just a few months ago, those sounds allowed a lab team to create high-speed, highly detailed, three-dimensional images of a mouse brain at work.

read more about it at Innovative Brain Imaging Combines Sound And Light : Shots – Health News : NPR.

Congratulations to Lihong Wang.

Posted in biology, chemistry, communication and networking, medical imaging

Antibotics: Using storytelling to get kids to take their medicine

IDEO has come up with a cool idea to get kids (and grown ups) actually interested and informed on taking antibiotics the right way.

The Antibotics are a robot gang with a plan to save the world from the deadly bacteria that kills thousands of people, and cost the taxpayers £1 billion, annually.

How will this intrepid team of roving robots come to the rescue? By using digital storytelling, pills and packaging to educate parents and kids about how to use antibiotics properly.

read the whole thing via Antibotics: Using storytelling to get kids to take their medicine.

A great way to get kids engaged with actually taking their medicine and feeling proactive, as well as educational for both kids and grown-ups.

 

Posted in biology, chemistry

The Microbes on the Handprint of an 8-Year-Old After Playing Outside | Colossal

This is really quite a stunningly beautiful study of the human hand in a unique and mirrored way.

We all know our bodies are home to countless millions of bacteria and microorganisms, but without seeing them with our bare eyes it’s almost impossible to comprehend. This petri dish handprint created by Tasha Sturm of Cabrillo College, vividly illustrates the variety of bacteria found on her 8-year-old son’s hand after playing outdoors. The print itself represents several days of growth as different yeasts, fungi, and bacteria are allowed to incubate.

It’s safe to say almost everything you see growing in this specimen is harmless and in many cases even beneficial to a person’s immunity, but it just goes to show why we sometimes it’s good to wash our hands. Sturm discusses in detail how she made the print in the comments of this page.

via The Microbes on the Handprint of an 8-Year-Old After Playing Outside | Colossal.

Posted in biology, electronic imaging and displays

Interactive Exhibition, Animations of Endangered Species using CSS

Designer Bryan James is trying to raise awareness and make people care about protecting animals and the environment, through interactive polygon art.

With more natural habitats being exploited for their resources on our planet, many species are in danger of extinction. To draw attention to this issue, designer Bryan James crafted a gorgeous interactive exhibition of 30 fascinating animals facing extinction, using morphing polygons.

In Pieces beautifully depicts rare creatures like the pygmy three-toed sloth, the Somali ostrich, the Brazilian armadillo and Kemp’s Ridley turtle with subtle animations as well as information on the threat to each species, visualized stats and links to preservation efforts to protect them.

more via This Interactive Exhibition of Endangered Species is Amazing.

Posted in biology, electronic imaging and displays, Optics

Here’s the science behind that darn dress – ScienceAlert

…As much as I dislike stepping into the fray, it is rare that the combination of art and science makes such headlines, so, without further ado…

is the dress white and gold or black and blue

In case you missed it, this dress has been blowing up the Internet and tearing friendships apart since it was posted on Tumblr yesterday. Because even though the dress is so very clearly white and gold, some people out there are equally convinced it’s blue and black.

But we’re not going to get started on that debate. We’re here to tell everyone to chill, because there’s a scientific explanation behind this witchcraft. And, much to my horror, the dress is actually blue.

Read on to find out why.

via Here’s the science behind that darn dress – ScienceAlert.

Just for the record, my friend is able to switch back and forth between seeing it both as white and gold AND black and blue. I cannot. #thatdress

Posted in biology

The Museum of Fabric Brain Art Revisited

I have seen knitted ovaries and plush organs, but it’s rare you see squishy (fabric) brains…

I featured this museum on the site several years ago. It doesn’t look like they’ve added much since then, but always interesting.

knitted brain

The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art bills itself as “the world’s largest collection of anatomically correct fabric brain art.”

h/t to the Scientific Illustration for the Research Scientist page on Facebook, so thanks for the reminder, but check out the museum’s website for more.