Monday, 31 August 2015

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IRIS and Hinode: A Stellar Research Team

Modern telescopes and satellites have helped us measure the blazing hot temperatures of the sun from afar. Mostly

The post IRIS and Hinode: A Stellar Research Team has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Michael Kagan’s Space-Based Paintings Explore the Fatalistic Power of Manmade Machinery

Contact Light, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 45 inches

Contact Light, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 45 inches

Heavily tinted blue paintings form space stations, spacesuits, and rockets just after blast. Michael Kagan paints these large-scale works to celebrate the man-made object—machinery that both protects and holds the possibility of instantly killing those that operate the equipment from the inside. To paint the large works, Kagan utilizes an impasto technique with thick strokes that are deliberate and unique, showing an aggression in his application of oil paint on linen.

The New York-based artist focuses on iconic images in his practice, switching back and forth between abstract and representational styles. “The painting is finished when it can fall apart and come back together depending on how it is read and the closeness to the work,” said Kagan about his work. “Each painting is an image, a snapshot, a flash moment, a quick read that is locked into memory by the iconic silhouettes.”

Kagan exhibited this series of space-based paintings last year at Joshua Liner Gallery in an exhibition titled Thunder in the Distance. He was also recently commissioned by The Smithsonian to create three large paintings inspired by their air and space archives. You can see more of his work on his Instagram here. (via Fubiz)

One Day This Will All Be Yours, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

One Day This Will All Be Yours, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

Reflector, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

Reflector, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

We Live On In The Thoughts Of Others, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

We Live On In The Thoughts Of Others, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

Apollo, 2010, Oil and linen, 60 x 34 inches

Apollo, 2010, Oil and linen, 60 x 34 inches

Supersonic, 2014, Oil and linen, 72 x 54 inches

Supersonic, 2014, Oil and linen, 72 x 54 inches

Mankind, 2014, Oil and linen, 96 x 54 inches

Mankind, 2014, Oil and linen, 96 x 54 inches

With All The F*cking Force, 2011, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

With All The Fucking Force, 2011, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

 
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The Gas Giant Jupiter

Ever since the invention of the telescope four hundred years ago, astronomers have been fascinated by the gas

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Sunday, 30 August 2015

There will never be another space race

Ellen Stofan, NASA's chief scientist, saw her first rocket launch at age 4. Her father worked at NASA as an engineer, and the thrill of space exploration captured her imagination from an early age. But at a Future Tense film screening of The Dish in Washington D.C. last week, Stofan acknowledged that for many people she meets, what first sparked a space obsession was the Apollo program — President John F. Kennedy's audacious commitment in 1961 to putting Americans on the moon before the end of the decade.

Today, NASA's goal to put astronauts on Mars by the 2030s could be a similarly unifying project. And not only in the United States. A far cry from the fierce Cold War Space Race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, exploration in the 21st century is likely to be a far more globally collaborative project.

Why has the idea of reaching Mars captured the world? A trip to Mars is a priority for many scientific reasons — some believe it's the planet that most resembles our own, and one that could answer the age-old question of whether we're alone in the universe — but there's also been a long popular fascination with the planet, Stofan observed. Ever since Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli first observed the canali on Mars in the 1800s or when H.G. Wells wrote about aliens from Mars in his 1898 science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds, the planet has loomed large in the public's imagination.

And perhaps it's this historic obsession that partly explains the more international effort: the U.S. is hardly the only country dreaming of deep space — and a trip to Mars — these days. India has plans to put astronauts in the sky, Japan just launched a spacecraft to collect asteroid samples, and of course, the European Space Agency had the recent, hugely successful Rosetta mission and Philae lander. It seems that what Apollo did for America's imagination and spirit of invention, foreign space programs can also do domestically. "You see countries like India really investing in their space program because they see it as inspirational and good for their economy," Stofan told the audience.

The truth is, as Stofan put it, "When we go to explore, we do it as a globe." In a conversation outside the event, she recounted the stories of some of the astronauts featured in the 2007 documentary, In the Shadow of the Moon, who travelled the world after they returned from the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 70s. People from all sorts of countries welcomed them, not just as Americans, but as "our astronauts".

"People see space as a place where you go and cooperate," she told me.

This spirit of trans-border ownership and investment seems set to continue. One key part of this is the Global Exploration Roadmap, an effort between space agencies like NASA, France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, the Canadian Space Agency, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, among many others, that is intended to aid joint projects from the International Space Station to expeditions to the Moon and near-Earth asteroids — and of course, to reach Mars. On a recent trip to India's space agency, Stofan recounted to me, she met with many Indian engineers who were just as excited as the Americans to get scientists up there, not only to explore, but also to begin nailing down the question of whether there was ever life on the red planet.

It's also clear that the next stage of space exploration will not only be more global, but will equally involve greater private and public partnerships. Companies like Space X and Boeing are increasingly involved in NASA's day to day operations, including a joint project that could carry astronauts into space in 2017. NASA's view is to turn over to the private sector those projects that in a sense have become routine, Stofan suggested, and let NASA focus its resources on getting to Mars.

This environment feels a lot different from the secretive and adversarial Space Race days, when the U.S. and Soviet Union battled to reach the moon first. What's changed? The Cold War is over, of course, but with it, the funding commitment may also be missing this time around. Stofan mentioned, in response to an audience question, that at the time of the Apollo missions, NASA got up to about 4 percent of the federal budget, while now it's only around 0.4 percent. The dollars are still large, of course, but perhaps increased international and private cooperation can be seen as an efficient, clever way to do more with less.

So, what does the future hold? NASA is extremely focused on how to get to Mars and back again safely, Stofan told the audience, but the fun role of science fiction, she suggested, is to start envisioning what the steps after that might be. For example, what it might be like to live on Mars? After all, science often gets its inspiration from the creative world. Just look at how similar mobile phones are to the communicators from Star Trek, she pointed out, or the fact that MIT students made a real life version of the robotic sphere that Luke Skywalker trains with in Star Wars. "Stories are a great counterpoint to science."

What would Stofan like to see on the big screen next? "The Martian. I think it's being made into a movie in already. And I wish someone would redo The Dune."

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A Cloud of 100,000 Illuminated Balloons Suspended Inside Covent Garden by Charles P├ętillion

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French artist and photographer Charles Pétillion has just unveiled a cumulus cloud composed of 100,000 white balloons illuminated from the inside at London’s Covent Garden. Titled ‘Hearbeat,’ the installation was created as part of the upcoming London Design Festival and stretches the length of the South Hall ceiling of the Market Building. Pétillion is known for his use of white balloons to fill unusual spaces, a photographic series he refers to as Invasions. This is by far his largest installation to date and his first public art piece. He shares about Heartbeat:

The balloon invasions I create are metaphors. Their goal is to change the way in which we see the things we live alongside each day without really noticing them. With Heartbeat I wanted to represent the Market Building as the beating heart of this area – connecting its past with the present day to allow visitors to re-examine its role at the heart of London’s life.

Each balloon has its own dimensions and yet is part of a giant but fragile composition that creates a floating cloud above the energy of the market below. This fragility is represented by contrasting materials and also the whiteness of the balloons that move and pulse appearing as alive and vibrant as the area itself.

The installation will be on view through September 27, 2015, and you can watch a timelapse video of its construction and an interview with Pétillion below. (via Designboom)

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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Sticker shock: simple bus ads could drastically improve road safety in Kenya

Road safety is a serious public health issue worldwide: 1.3 million people are killed in road transportation accidents every year, most of which occur in the developing world. In a study published in PNAS, researchers present the results of a randomized intervention to test whether a simple sticker could be enough to change people’s behavior behind the wheel. This extremely simple and cost-effective approach reduced insurance claims by 25 to 33 percent.

The road safety experiment was conducted in Kenya between 2011 and 2013. Stickers with evocative messages were posted inside the country’s 14-seater minibuses, suggesting that passengers speak up if their driver was being unsafe. Vehicles (and their drivers) were recruited into the study at the point of insurance purchase then randomized into one of the treatment groups or one of the control groups.

The experiment included several different treatment groups, including a placebo set that saw a neutral sticker saying "Travel Well." The other three groups all saw stickers intended to catch eyes:  the first used evocative messages with text about dangerous driving and no images; the second saw evocative messages with text about dangerous driving and images of people speaking up; and the third viewed evocative messages about dangerous driving with images of post-accident riders. Within each of these groups, there were subgroups in which the message encouraged either individual action or collective action—the latter involved a message roughly equivalent to “together we can.”

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From Fluids to Flames, Research on the Space Station is Helping Advance Technology

The International Space Station enables technological advances that benefit the planet and people who live on it. The

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Glass Cross Sections of Fruit and Other Foods by Elliot Walker

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London-based artist Elliot Walker uses molten glass to create a stunning variety sculptures including these arrangements of eating utensils, vessels, and cross sections of food. The stark outer surfaces of the surrounding objects contrasts with the vibrant interiors of the edible pieces, not unlike the effect of a cut geode. Walker currently has work at the Peter Layton Glass Blowing Studio as part of their current exhibition titled Essence that runs through the end of the week. You can see more photos of his work on Facebook.

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Space Image: Feathery filaments in Mon R2

Fierce flashes of light ripple through delicate tendrils of gas in this new image, from ESA’s Herschel space

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Watch Molten Glass 3D-Printed From a Kiln at 1900 Degrees

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In collaboration with the MIT Glass Lab, the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab has produced a way to 3D print glass, creating intricate patterns from molten glass inside a kiln-like printer and giving a completely modern twist to the 4,500 year-old material. The video produced to exhibit the ways in which the technology works displays the process without words, instead focusing on the mesmerizing way the hot glass stacks upon itself in the machine and ultimately cools into the final vase-like forms.

Glass 3D printing (or G3DP) is based on a dual-heated chamber concept, with the top chamber heating the glass and lower chamber slowly cooling it to prevent internal stresses. The top chamber operates at approximately 1900°F, and funnels the molten material through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle into its programmable shapes.

The researchers explain the concept of the project as one that “synthesizes modern technologies, with age-old established glass tools and technologies producing novel glass structures with numerous potential applications.” One application of which is beautifully designed vessels created without human error, forms that are mathematically perfect in appearance and design.

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Caustic patterns of a 3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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Caustic patterns of a 3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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Glass 3D printing process. Photo: Steven Keating

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Glass 3D printing process. Photo: Steven Keating

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3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

 
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Cameras Delivered for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission as Launch Prep Continues

The first U.S. mission to return samples of an asteroid to Earth is another step closer to its

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“Quantum dot” technology may help light the future

Advances at Oregon State University in manufacturing technology for “quantum dots” may soon lead to a new generation

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Friday, 28 August 2015

A Visit Inside One of the Only Hand-crafted Globe Studios in the World

Long gone are the days when our first instinct is to migrate to a spinning globe to track the destinations around us or find a specific country. Now we have the power to digitally zoom in and out of the entire earth, utilizing mapping tools like Google Earth. The romanticism tied to these newer forms however, does not match the art of the ancient globe, the earliest dating back to the mid-2nd century B.C. Nowadays globes are either modern and massively produced, or antiquated models unsuited for casual browsing.

Frustrated by this lack of quality options when trying to find a globe as a present, Peter Bellerby started Bellerby & Co. Globemakers in order to produce globes that exist somewhere in-between the two options. “I did this as a direct result of looking, searching for a globe for my father for his 80th birthday, and I couldn’t find anything,” said Bellerby. “Initially my plan was to make one for him and maybe one for me if I had the budget.”

After spending tens of thousands of dollars more than he had originally predicted on the process, he decided to use what he’d learned to set up a company in 2008, eventually moving into their current location in Stoke Newington, London. The company employs a small team of makers that fastidiously work in an open environment with large windows, nestled between test sheets of watercolor paints and hanging strips of paper twirling from clothes pins. To master the process of applying paper to the sphere globes (called “goring”) can take up to a year or more.

“It’s been something that’s been an incredible challenge. The whole design process, the whole way of making anything using a sphere at its base, at its centerpiece is fraught with different problems and issues because you are multiplying every error by pi,” said Bellerby.

Bellerby & Co. Globemakers’ globes have been featured in Hollywood movies and BBC productions as well as used in installations by established artists. The company has also had support from the Royal Geographic Society and was able to host their first ever globe exhibition in 2012. To see more images of the daily life at the Bellerby & Co. studio, visit the company’s Instagram or their blog. (via My Modern Met)

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Thursday, 27 August 2015

New theory: If we want to detect dark matter we might need a different approach

Physicists suggest a new way to look for dark matter: They believe that dark matter particles annihilate into

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Mystery of exploding stars yields to astrophysicists

A longstanding mystery about the tiny stars that let loose powerful explosions known as Type Ia supernovae might

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Imports from China are blocking US ozone improvements

For a simple molecule, ozone (O3) wears many hats. Up in the stratosphere, the ozone layer provides planetary sunscreen, absorbing UV radiation before it can reach the Earth. Between the surface and the stratosphere, ozone’s significance comes from absorbing infrared radiation from the Earth—it’s a greenhouse gas. And down at ground level, ozone's reactivity makes it a harmful enough lung irritant that it’s a part of the daily weather report in some cities.

Ozone is produced in the atmosphere naturally, but it’s also created as a result of air pollution. In particular, nitrogen oxides react with sunlight to let rogue oxygen atoms loose, which can get together with friendly O2 molecules in the lower atmosphere, forming O3. By cutting the emissions of those “ozone precursors,” we can dial back the amount of ozone down here where we breathe. In the western US, emissions of nitrogen oxides were reduced by 21 percent between 2005 and 2010, yet ozone stayed about constant. Part of the answer to that conundrum lies across the Pacific, according to a new study led by Wageningen University’s Willem Verstraeten.

The suggestion that ozone from China is ending up in the US isn’t new, but the researchers turned to data from NASA’s Aura satellite (launched in 2004) to improve past estimates. The satellite data confirmed that nitrogen oxides had declined across the American West, while average ozone hadn’t changed much (some areas saw a slight decrease and some a slight increase). In China, on the other hand, emissions of nitrogen oxides rose about 21 percent between 2005 and 2010, and ozone increased by around seven percent.

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Miami Swim Week: Sinesia Karol 2016


 Brazilian elegance. Designer Sinesia Karol 's Resort 2016 collection was a combination of South American chic mixed with her Massachusetts sensibility. As a big fan of the arts, she works with artists to create the beautiful prints of her looks.

This runway show was set in the Setai Hotel's inner courtyard on a floating runway. The setting was dramatic, the models glided down the runway (though often at risk of falling into the water itself). Many of the looks could double as evening wear. The luxurious fabrics were intended to be so light that the wearer doesn't even feel them on her skin.


 
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Fashion Illustrations with Embroidered Accents and Accessories by Izziyana Suhaimi

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Singapore-based artist Izziyana Suhaimi introduces embroidered accents to her carefully rendered pencil and watercolor illustrations. Patterns of flowers unfold much like a tapestry across the paper canvas creating pieces she refers to as “evidence of the hand and of time.” For her series The Looms in Our Bones Suhaimi focuses mostly on fashion acessories where scarves, hats, and other clothing is depicted in thread, while she also uses the same techniques for more abstract shapes and designs. From her artist statement:

Embroidery for me is a quiet and still act, where each stitch represents a moment passed. The building of stitches then becomes a representation of time passing and the final work is like a physical manifestation of time – a time object. Each stitch is also a recording of the maker’s thoughts and emotions. I enjoy the duality of embroidery, in its movements of stabbing, cutting, covering, building, repairing, taking apart. Every stitch made seems to unfold a story and withhold it at the same time.

You can see much more of Suhaimi’s work here. (via Fubiz)

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