This tumblr's for all the great men and women of science for whom we owe our current understanding of the natural world; their achievements, their failures, and even their quirks, we celebrate them all.
For Science. For Inquiry. For Humanity.
Derek Heisler shoots Bill Nye, a beautiful set of portraits for one of our greatest educators. Love the Superman one. Very appropriate, no?
In this Through the Lens I had the opportunity to photograph Bill Nye The Science Guy for the SETI Institute. For most, Bill doesn’t need an introduction. He filled our Saturdays will learning, laughter, and fun. I can definitely say that Bill played a part in my curiosity towards the Sciences.
While chatting on our way to my portrait area, we talked about how technology is affecting the brain. He was exactly how I remember him on TV so many years ago. During the shoot I mentioned that I was also an Engineer and that I had worked with control systems. He immediately perked up and said “I’ve got something for you! Remind me after we’re done”. I was curious like a child again! When we wrapped up the session, he grabbed his laptop and placed it on the table nearby. Without grabbing a chair he kneeled down to get to eye level with his laptop. He then began to explain how he had just been at a conference and someone (I apologize for forgetting his name) had revisited how control loops should be done. It was just a simple change that made increased efficiency of the system. I stepped back and had a fan boyish moment where I realized I was getting a personal Saturday Bill Nye The Science Guy lesson!
Bill is a genuine Educator. He does what he does, because of his passion for Science and sharing knowledge. We can all learn a little from that.
Astronomer Bill Snyder snapped this pic of Thor’s Helmet, a huge cosmic cloud in the Canis Nebula, about 15,000 light-years from Earth.
Let’s get this thing started. Yes, I am a nerd. This stemmed from a conversation about the fact that “gotta catch em all” seems particularly applicable when discussing the periodic table of the elements.
Jane the tyrannosaur - from a pile of bones to an active predator
Okay, this is a really awesome video for two reasons. One is because it’s AWESOME, and two is because I saw this with a group during the palaeontology event I attended before anyone else out there (other than WitmerLab, of course). It was fantastic to be part of the unveiling of the video to the public. Dr. Lawrence Witmer is a fantastic palaeontologist and great guy to watch lecture. Gotta love the new technology they’re coming up with over in Ohio!
No, seriously guys … it goes from a pile of bones to a bug-eyed chomper in mere seconds. Which, considering that it ends up looking like the most surprised predator in history, is both hilarious and fascinating.
Awesome technology. If anyone knows of any more sims like this with other species, send ‘em my way.
“No, this isn’t a make-believe place. It’s real.
They call it “Ball’s Pyramid.” It’s what’s left of an old volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago. A British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. It sits off Australia, in the South Pacific. It is extremely narrow, 1,844 feet high, and it sits alone.
What’s more, for years this place had a secret. At 225 feet above sea level, hanging on the rock surface, there is a small, spindly little bush, and under that bush, a few years ago, two climbers, working in the dark, found something totally improbable hiding in the soil below. How it got there, we still don’t know.
Here’s the story: About 13 miles from this spindle of rock, there’s a bigger island, called Lord Howe Island.
On Lord Howe, there used to be an insect, famous for being big. It’s a stick insect, a critter that masquerades as a piece of wood, and the Lord Howe Island version was so large — as big as a human hand — that the Europeans labeled it a “tree lobster” because of its size and hard, lobsterlike exoskeleton. It was 12 centimeters long and the heaviest flightless stick insect in the world. Local fishermen used to put them on fishing hooks and use them as bait.”
For all of you who don’t like insect, here’s something else to fear.
First Photos of 298 Million Year Old Forest Unveiled.
“ Scientists have just released the first photos of the incredible 298 million year old buried forest that was recently found below a coal mine in Yuda, China. The extensive array of tree and plant fossils that were photographed were found still arranged in a forest landscape - a first for fossil discovery. The entire forest was covered by fallen ash, which erupted from an ancient volcano, preserving it for eternity.
Speaking of old things, did you hear about the 30,000 year-old seeds found in a permafrosted squirrel den that sprouted into flowers?
There wasn’t much color photography in Darwin’s day, so all the photos we have of him are in black and white (or sepia). Here’s a site with some skillful retouching of old photos to add color…and a new version of a familiar image. (vía Pharyngula)
God damn technology, I love you.
Among the 435 members of the House, for example, there are one physicist, one chemist, one microbiologist, six engineers and nearly two dozen representatives with medical training. The case of doctors and the body politic is telling. Everyone knows roughly what doctors do, and so those with medical backgrounds escape the anti-intellectual charge of irrelevance often thrown at those in the hard sciences. Witness Senator Bill Frist, Gov. Howard Dean and even Ron Paul.
This showing is sparse even with the inclusion of the doctors, but it shouldn’t be too surprising. For complex historical reasons, Americans have long privately dismissed scientists and mathematicians as impractical and elitist, even while publicly paying lip service to them.
One reason is that an abstract, scientific approach to problems and issues often leads to conclusions that are at odds with religious and cultural beliefs and scientists are sometimes tone-deaf to the social environment in which they state their conclusions. A more politically sensitive approach to problems and issues, on the other hand, often leads to positions that simply don’t jibe with the facts, no matter how delicately phrased. Examples as diverse as stem cell research and the economic stimulus abound.
Politicians, whose job is in many ways more difficult than that of scientists, naturally try to sway their disparate constituencies, but the prevailing celebrity-infatuated, money-driven culture and their personal ambitions often lead them to employ rhetorical tricks rather than logical arguments. Both Republicans and Democrats massage statistics, use numbers to provide decoration rather than information, dismiss, or at least distort, the opinions of experts, torture the law of the excluded middle (i.e., flip-flop), equivocate, derogate and obfuscate.
Dinosaurs cavorting with humans, climate scientists cooking up the global warming “hoax,” the health establishment using vaccines to bring about socialism – it’s hard to imagine mainstream leaders in other advanced economies not laughing at such claims.
For one thing, there’s not a whole lot running for office. This is an interesting read.
What do you think?
O RLY? Not to pick on you, but …
When your brain fires that particular pattern of chemical signals and neurons that we call “love”? That’s science.
And music? The translation of carefully timed and arranged vibrations in the air, combined in particular ratios of frequencies that we find naturally complementary? That’s science.