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.
Engineers and designers are giving commercial aircraft a makeover, in a bid to make them faster, greener and more efficient. Look up into the skies today at a passing aeroplane and the view is not that much different to the one you would have seen 60 years ago. Then and now, most airliners have two wings, a cigar-shaped fuselage and a trio of vertical and horizontal stabilizers at the tail. If it isn’t broke, the mantra has been, why fix it, particularly when your design needs to travel through the air at several hundred miles an hour packed with people. But that conservative view could soon change. Rising fuel prices, increasingly stringent pollution limits, as well as a surge in demand for air travel, mean plane designers are going back to their drawing boards. And, now, radical new shapes and engine technologies are beginning to emerge, promising the biggest shake-up in air travel since de Haviland introduced the first commercial jet airliner in 1952. Of course, it would be wrong to say nothing has changed in the last few decades, says Rich Wahls, an aerodynamicist at Nasa’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “New model airliners don’t come out every year like cars, but it’s not as if they haven’t been evolving under the skin the whole time. There’s so much more technology in there nowadays.” (via BBC - Future - Technology - Radical planes take shape)
Neurologists Find Logic and Empathy to be Mutually Exclusive: Brain Physically Can’t Do Both At the Same Time
A new study published in NeuroImage found that separate neural pathways are used alternately for empathetic and analytic problem solving. The study compares it to a see-saw. When you’re busy empathizing, the neural network for analysis is repressed, and this switches according to the task at hand.
Anthony Jack, an assistant professor in cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study, relates the idea to an optical illusion. You can see a duck or a rabbit in the image, but not both at the same time. This limitation to what you can see is called perceptual rivalry.
Jack’s new study takes this concept beyond visual perception, and investigates how the brain processes situations. It found separate neural networks for social/emotional processing and for logical analysis.
NASA Plays With Water In Outer Space
To which we respond:
Online browser-based interactive resource allows you to examine human anatomy:The BioDigital Human is a 3D platform that simplifies the understanding of anatomy, disease and treatments. Explore the body in 3D!The BioDigital Human is a 3D platform that simplifies the understanding of anatomy, disease and treatments. Interactive tools for exploring, dissecting, and sharing custom views, combined with detailed medical descriptions provide an unprecedented new visual format to learn about your body.This app uses the exciting new web standard for 3D - WebGL.
Photograph of a crumpled yet functional all-CNT-FET device. Image credit: Aikawa, et al. ©2012 American Institute of Physics
Thanks to the flexible yet robust properties of carbon nanotubes, researchers have previously fabricated transistors that can be rolled, folded, and stretched. Now a team from Japan has made an all-carbon-nanotube transistor that can be crumpled like a piece of paper without degradation of its electrical properties. The new transistor is the most bendable reported to date that doesn’t experience a loss in performance.
The researchers, Shinya Aikawa and coauthors from the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo University of Science, have published their study in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.
“The most important thing is that electronics might now be usable in places or situations that were previously not possible,” coauthor Shigeo Maruyama, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tokyo, toldPhysOrg.com. “Since our device is so flexible and deformable it could potentially be stuck anywhere. This could lead to active electronic devices that are applied like a sticker or an adhesive bandage, as well as to wearable electronics.”
Unlike other field-effect transistors (FETs), the new FET is unique in that all channels and electrodes are made of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), while the substrate is made of highly flexible and transparent poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA). Previously, the majority of flexible, transparent FETs have used gold or indium tin oxide as electrodes. However, gold decreases the devices’ transparency while brittle indium tin oxide limits the flexibility. A few recent FETs have been made that consist entirely of CNTs, but so far these devices have been built on thick plastic substrates, limiting their flexibility.
Click title to read more.
Tupac’s cool (yet creepy) return from the dead to perform at Coachella: Here’s how it was done.
Tupac’s Return … How was it done?
This a great explanation of what was not, in fact, a hologram, but rather an illusion called “Pepper’s Ghost”.
The optical techniques behind this illusion actually date back to the 16th century, developed by camera obscura tweaker Giambattista della Porta. Which I think is important becausethe Machiavelli/Makaveli theory is just too much fun it’s all part of the plan he shall return.
Full explanation at the link, but the Tupac that we see above is a hi-res computer rendering projected onto an invisible sheet of Mylar foil from some point off-stage. No word on if the footage and vocals were an actor or reconstructed from previous performances.
Awesome use of science, all the same.
One hundred years after Alan Turing was born, his eponymous test remains an elusive benchmark for artificial intelligence. Now, for the first time in decades, it’s possible to imagine a machine making the grade.
Turing was one of the 20th century’s great mathematicians, a conceptual architect of modern computing whose codebreaking played a decisive part in World War II. His test, described in a seminal dawn-of-the-computer-age paper, was deceptively simple: If a machine could pass for human in conversation, the machine could be considered intelligent.
Artificial intelligences are now ubiquitous, from GPS navigation systems and Google algorithms to automated customer service and Apple’s Siri, to say nothing of Deep Blue and Watson — but no machine has met Turing’s standard. The quest to do so, however, and the lines of research inspired by the general challenge of modeling human thought, have profoundly influenced both computer and cognitive science.
There is reason to believe that code kernels for the first Turing-intelligent machine have already been written.
“Two revolutionary advances in information technology may bring the Turing test out of retirement,” wrote Robert French, a cognitive scientist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, in an Apr. 12 Science essay. “The first is the ready availability of vast amounts of raw data — from video feeds to complete sound environments, and from casual conversations to technical documents on every conceivable subject. The second is the advent of sophisticated techniques for collecting, organizing, and processing this rich collection of data.”
Chocolatiers and chocoholics take note: New tech eliminates the need for a steady hand on that pastry bag full of ganache. Custom boxes, logos and portraits made from chocolate — and all in 3-D — will be as easy as pressing a button.
Last year, University of Exetor senior lecturer and materials scientist Liang Hao started his own company called Choc Edge. His goal was to perfect the prototype for a 3-D machine that prints personalized chocolate shapes. In a scrumptious advancement, Hao told the BBC News he expects Choc Edge to start selling the printer shortly.
Science Fiction = Science Fact
From the same team that created “Bodies: the Exhibition,” a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum of London peels away the skin of hundreds of species to reveal their anatomies.
“Animal Inside Out” opens in London on April 6, 2012 and runs until Sept. 16, 2012. It features about 100 specimens displaying the structure of many creatures.
The animals were preserved using the technique of plastination which was used by Gunther von Hagens in the “Body Worlds” exhibit.
Here, a woman examines a plastination of a shark.