Thursday, 28 May 2015

Hot lava flows in a parking lot—in upstate NY

Back in 2012, we pointed you to an awesome project at Syracuse University that creates artificial lava flows for science, art, and outreach. They don’t use some mild, room-temperature stand-in for lava, they do it the artisanal way:  melting small batches of basalt in a serious furnace and pouring out the incandescent results. I’ve been hoping to see it for myself ever since, and recently I got the chance to tag along with a group of volcanology students from Colgate University, who were designing and running their own lava experiments for class.

The furnace is surprisingly well-insulated, disguising the fact that it holds molten rock heated to over 1,200 degrees Celsius. It does emit a low, ominous roar, however, as it consumes natural gas to feed its fire. Once poured out, the lava quickly loses heat—it solidifies in just a minute or so, though it still remains incredibly hot long after. Because it solidifies so quickly, it forms amber-black volcanic glass riddled with bubbles of gas that were unable to escape.

The lava pours are as mesmerizing and beautiful as they are geologically exciting. And they’ve probably shocked many a bus rider staring dully out the window while passing the art building.

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Lisbon is Subverting Street Art Cliches Through Creative Workshops for Older People

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LATA 65 is connecting art between generational divides, matching older citizens of Lisbon with a relatively young form of art—graffiti (“lata” means “can” in Portuguese). Through workshops attendees learn the history of street art while making their own stencils and tags, ultimately incorporating their work in murals across the city. These bright colors go into run-down parts of the Lisbon, and each new artist is aided by the help of well-known street artists.

The goal of LATA 65 is to eliminate the many cliches that come with street art by widening both its audience and participants. Through introducing the art of graffiti to a different group of makers, the project hopes to create a solidarity between all groups involved while adding some colorful designs to the city along the way. (via mashkulture, Messy Nessy Chic, CollabCubed, and mental_floss)

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Marchesa Bridal Spring 2016


I love that no matter how edgy, how minimal, how avant-garde a designer is, when it comes to bridal, they are unapologetic romantics. Marchesa creates some of the most amazing sculpted gowns that an A-list celebrity could ever hope for on the red carpet. Fittingly, their wedding dresses are the dream-like and cinema-worthy.

The tiered, asymmetrical skirt of the top dress is a fresh take on the traditional ballgown. The skirt looks transparent but high volume with innovative use of horsehair along the edges. Normally, a skirt with this shape needs many layers of fabric and ends up looking like a mountain. The back ruffles also is a new take on a bustle. The 3-dimensional flowers appliqued onto to tulle look like they are popping off the fabric.

Marchesa bridal makes your fantasy princess gown, 2.0. Now what can the groom where that even compares?
Photos provided by Marchesa via FirstVIEW

 
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New chip architecture may provide foundation for quantum computer

Quantum computers are in theory capable of simulating the interactions of molecules at a level of detail far

The post New chip architecture may provide foundation for quantum computer has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Tiny diamonds wrapped in graphene get rid of friction

Friction is an important fact of life, robbing efficiency from anything where two surfaces interact with each other, such as engines and wheels. Lubrication can reduce the amount of friction, but it's never possible to get rid of it entirely.

In some rare cases, however, it's been possible to get the coefficient of friction to drop dramatically. A phenomenon called superlubricity occurs when two perfectly flat surfaces with incompatible crystal structures slide past each other. It's only been observed in extremely small samples, however, as larger surfaces have imperfections that tend to get stuck as they slide around.

Now, researchers have managed to create superlubricity in a large sample. They do so by getting graphene to wrap around nanoscopic diamonds, creating something akin to tiny ball bearings.

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Bats’ sonar secrets could make for better submarines, drones

The U.S. Navy has found that it pays to listen to Rolf Mueller carry on about his bat

The post Bats’ sonar secrets could make for better submarines, drones has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Maggie Sottero Bridal Fall 2015

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 One of the surprising fashion shows during NY Bridal week was the Maggie Sottero and Sottero & Midgley Fall 2015 presentation at the Metropolitan Pavillion in New York. The Knot's Couture Bridal Show is a trade show for brands to sell directly to their retailers. For the most part, there were lots of clipboards, order forms, a few makeshift runways in front of desks. The looks you see here are ready to hit the stores almost immediately as opposed to the bigger catwalks.

The majority of the press-baiting creations on the NY Bridal Week runway cost the equivalent of a luxury car. Unlike a luxury car, a custom designer gown is something you only get into once (maybe twice if you are creative at Halloween). In my conversations with recent brides, many complained after multiple appointments at bridal retailers, how difficult it was just to find even a simple sheath under \$2000.

I admit, when I attend and shoot fashion shows, I am not always conscious of the price point of the looks on the runway. I am just documenting the design elements of what I see before me from the perspective of my design background. Being at a trade show, there was an announcer shouting out the catalog page number and both the retail and wholesale price for every style. What this jarring voice lacked in adding to the ambiance it made up for in practicality for the clients in attendance.

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I saw the full, extravagant silhouettes on this runway that were comparable to any of the most famous designers that anchor NY Bridal Week. I admired the vintage inspired crystal studded embroideries on many of their looks. However, I was most impressed at the prices I was hearing from the announcer. Most of the richly embellished gowns were under \$2500 retail (and usually negotiable with the boutique itself). Many were at the \$1500 mark. From my own experiences at stores like Kleinfeld, that's barely a starting point. 

The Maggie Sottero collection calls both Utah and Australian their home base. That's rather unusual for the designers that are major players in the bridal game. While Sydney is one of the most stylish cities in the Southern hemisphere, Salt Lake City is not the one of the top fashion locales to come to mind. Either way, the collection I photographed here was glamorous but actually accessible to most brides. 
All photos by Mariana Leung
 
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Observation of quantization in surface Dirac states of topological insulator

Topological insulators are an unusual class of materials, which do not conduct electricity in their insulating interiors but

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