Posted in biology, design and architecture, medical imaging

Knit a cuddly uterus

We have stuffed germs, why not knit organs? And the uterus is designed to be soft and squishy anyway!
From Inhabitots:

Tis the season for knitting warm scarves, mittens … and a uterus? You might not see human anatomy as inspiration for getting out your knitting needles, but this “cute, cuddly uterus doll” as Knitty describes it, could make a surprising DIY baby shower gift. After all, the womb is a pretty amazing organ, so why not celebrate it? Visit Knitty to find a pattern and learn how to create one yourself — fallopian tubes and all! We, of course, suggest you start by selecting an eco-friendly wool, not synthetic, pink yarn. And finish by stuffing your knitted uterus with leftover yarn or fabric scraps.

Aww, so cute! Wow, never thought I’d say that about an organ.

Posted in astronomy, communication and networking, electronic imaging and displays, museum

Learn about the cosmos while playing on your phone

American Museum of Natural History: Cosmic Discoveries App

This is a great example of combining technology, science education, and art into one engaging toy.

This App is actually very cool. It’s the American Museum of Natural History: Cosmic Discoveries. The App puts things into one of those mosiac images in which several tiny pictures create one huge image. You can zoom in by double-tapping or pinching, and read up on a ton of information.

Cosmic Discoveries was produced by the Museum’s Digital Media Department and curated by Dr. Michael Shara, a leading scientist and Curator in the Department of Astrophysics. It was developed in celebration of this exciting tradition of innovation and is the latest offering of the Museum’s expanding digital platform which enables public access to the Museum’s extensive resources in science, education, and exhibition—whether they are visiting on site or online. By anticipating the new ways that people access, learn, and share information today, the digital platform integrates the experience of visiting the Museum with a variety of mobile offerings that extend the Museum’s impact beyond its walls and put the wonder and excitement of discovery into the palm of one’s hand.

The design is great because it is artistically engaging, making the user want to explore and vicariously learn. It doesn’t feel like learning to the user, it just feels like a cool toy that they get cool factoids from.

It’s also free, so have a look at it here. Credit to for the discovery.

Posted in chemistry, engineering

Free-Flying Soap Bubble Sheets Created For the First Time


I loved playing with soap bubbles as a kid, seeing what different kinds of shapes I could come up with, and even got a square a couple of times using the bubbles surrounding other bubbles trick. But THIS is way cool: two scientists have figured out how to get the straight edges without the assistance of other bubbles!



Hans Mayer and Rouslan Krechetnikov at the University of California, Santa Barbara, put the community straight on this matter by performing exactly this experiment on film.



Their technique is straightforward. They make a metal frame in the shape of, say, a square and dip it in water mixed with glycerol and water, 4% glycerol and sodium dodecyl sulfate–a standard soap bubble mix.



They then pass a current through one side of the metal frame which rapidly heats up and boils the liquid in contact with it. This releases one edge of the film, allowing it to retract.



But the really cool work comes from passing a current around the entire metal frame, thereby releasing all the edges and creating a “free” soap film for the first time.




via Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: Forget Bubbles: Free-Flying Soap Sheets Created For the First Time.

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

Magic for med students

Much love to BoingBoing for providing us with such lovely tidbits of art, culture, science, and other random awesomeness:

The Healing Blade is a card game—based on games like Magic and Pokemon—that’s meant to teach future doctors to match a specific bacterial disease to the antibiotic best suited to treating it. Both drugs and diseases are illustrated as mythical creatures, wizards, elves, etc.

It’s not too hard to connect strategy games and medicine, co-inventor Dr. Arun Matthews told American Medical News

Read full story

Posted in biology, chemistry, education, engineering

Four toys that made science possible

Following along yesterday’s toy theme, I wanted to pay homage to toys in general and how they’ve contributed to science. People consider toys an artform (sometimes), so I figured why not.

From Scientific American: Advances in science and technology can launch from unassuming springboards. In 1609 Galileo tweaked a toylike spyglass, pointed it at the moon and Jupiter (not the neighbors), and astronomy took a quantum leap. About 150 years later, Benjamin Franklin reportedly used a kite to experiment with one of the earliest-known electrical capacitors. Continuing that tradition, these researchers prove toys inspire more than child’s play.

LEGO IN THE LAB: Because Legos are easy to reconfigure, they are an engrossing plaything for kids--and a pragmatic tool for Johns Hopkins researchers, who used the toy to create a "lab on a chip" of sorts.

Their top picks: etch-a-sketch, legos, shrinky-dink, and the balloon within a balloon.

They’ve totally forgotten about Slinky.

Read the full article

Posted in communication and networking, electronic imaging and displays

Science behind the art: DIY green screen/glove

From  our good friends at Make Magazine: DIY Movie Making

Today’s topic: how to make your LEGO creations dance all by themselves

Miguel Valenzuela “created a green screen glove out of some fabric and used it to animate a LEGO robot across a table. The green glove was made with green spandex and stitched together with only the thumb. It should really be called a ‘green mitten’ since it has no fingers.

I shot the video of the LEGO moving around and then moved it out of the frame. I then let the camera shoot about 20 seconds of background.

I imported the video into Adobe Premier and cut it into two segments: the glove shot and the background shot, and layered the glove shot over the background shot. I then keyed out the glove as much as possible and let in the background which matched seamlessly with the foreground.

On my second try I’d use a different material than spandex because it reflects a lot of light and creates hotspots which are hard to key out. I’d also crop out a significant portion of the hand and only key in the edges close to the LEGO.”

See the original article

Watch the LEGO dude in action.

Posted in design and architecture

Speaking of teddy bears…

World’s Smallest Teddy Bear

World's Smallest Teddy Bear

Supposedly this is the world’s smallest teddy bear, but I bet some nanolithographer has made a smaller one.
Some of us just can’t get to sleep at night without our teddy bear by our side, so German artist Bettina Kaminski created “Mini the Pooh”. At just 5 mm tall, it is the world’s smallest Teddy Bear! Very very cute but you couldn’t really snuggle up to it at night.