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Cosmos Trailers Have Given Me Goosebumps

For all you science geeks and nerds, you’re going to want to stay tuned to FOX’s 13-part docu-series, which is set to debut in 2014. According to the official Cosmos page:

Hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series will explore how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. It will bring to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge and transport viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale.

A second trailer was just recently released.

Both trailers look amazing.  And I hope that the whole series turns out to be amazing.  I am definitely going to watch.  Can’t wait!

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Southern Patagonian Icefields of Chile Taken from Space

Southern Patagonian Icefields of Chile
Southern Patagonian Icefields of Chile

Currently, my significant other is in Chile, at its northern end doing his astronomy observations.  I decided to do my own observations, from the opposite direction: looking down on Chile from space.  Of course, doing so in real-time would be impossible since I’m not an astronaut. That said, I discovered a site with photographs taken by astronauts that made me feel like I was up there. The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth is one such site that archives digital images taken by NASA astronauts.  There I discovered spectacular images of the southern patagonian icefields of Chile.

I love Chile, and this is a region that I’ve yet to visit and explore.

Southern Patagonian Icefields of Chile
Southern Patagonian Icefields of Chile

Kudos to the astronaut who took these shots!  They are framed so beautifully.  For those interested in the type of camera used,  I know from the photograph attributions found on the webpage that the astronaut used a Nikon D3S camera.

Southern Patagonian Icefields of Chile
Southern Patagonian Icefields of Chile

Absolutely stunning! The specific region of Chile in these photographs is the Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins Region. Note: these photographs are not color corrected.

(All images are from The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.)

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Amazon Continues to Yield New Species

Callicebus caquetensis discovered in Colombia.
Callicebus caquetensis discovered in the Amazon (© Thomas Defler)

Over a period of 4 years (between 2010 and 2013), over 400 new and exciting animal and plant species were discovered. One of the new discoveries is, in my opinion, the very cute, Callicebus caquetensis part of the titi species of monkey, which was discovered in the Amazon basin. One of its rather special traits is purring like a cat when content. Aww.

Sobralia imavieirae
Sobralia imavieirae © Andre Cardoso

Another discovery was a beautiful pink orchid called Sobralia imavieirae . One of my latest obsessions has been to collect various unique-looking phalaenopsis hybids as well as zygopetalum hybrids. So this new discovery of an orchid is particularly exciting for me.

Now we all know how gigantic an area the Amazon is, and it will come as no surprise to me if it continues to yield new plant and animal discoveries. Let’s hope that we (humans) don’t destroy it before future discoveries can be made.

(ht: Science Daily)

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Look What’s Being Auctioned: A (RED) Mac Pro

(RED) Mac Pro

It was just the other day that I was salivating at the December launch of the Mac Pro during the Apple event announcing the iPad Airs. Look what I just discovered! Apple as produced a one of kind red Mac Pro to be auctioned as part of Sotheby’s “Jony and Marc’s (RED) Auction” on November 23, 2013, in NYC.

(RED) of course is the global organization that mobilizes corporations to produce “red” products to support HIV prevention, treatments, and research.

The red Mac Pro has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.

I think the red Mac Pro is absolutely stunning, and I would jump at buying it if it were mass produced, even at a premium over the black ones.  I’m sure winning bid will far exceed the estimate.

(I wonder if the person who wins this will actually use it? I doubt it.)

(ht: TechCrunch)

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The History of Space Photography at the George Eastman House

The History of Space Photography
Bill Finger (American, b. 1961). Floating in a Most Peculiar Way, 2012. From the series Ground Control. ©Bill FingerThe History of Space Photography at the George Eastman House (via @EastmanHouse)

Now through January 12, 2014, the George Eastman House: International Museum of Photography and Film has a brilliant two-in-one show called “The History of Space Photography.”  The main exhibition “as been organized by the California/International Arts Foundation in Los Angeles.” The other component of the show, “Astro-Visions,” showcases works from the museum’s collection.

The History of Space Photography showcases a variety of astronomical photographs that have been created since the development of the photography in the early 19th century, and will feature a number of the most important scientific photographs ever created. (Source)

Kudos to the George Eastman House for putting on this show! This show epitomizes the melding of art and science. Folks passing through Rochester, NY, need to check this exhibit out.

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One Fearless Man on the Engineering Marvel That Is the Golden Gate Bridge

My palms are sweating thinking about this fearless guy atop the Golden Gate Bridge in 1935, two years before its completion.  Is the man even harnessed to something?

Golden Gate Bridge Construction (1935)
Golden Gate Bridge Construction (1935)

(ht: @historicalpics)

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3D iPhone App Seene Is Nifty

“Deer in Headlights” (2013)

I discovered the niftiest app the other day called Seene, though hadn’t much time to really check it out until today.  The app allows you to take a “3D” photo by shooting around the object in four moves – up, down, left, and right – and without the use of 3D glasses.  The resulting image above can be moved around with your cursor.  Seene pics really look amazing on the iOS7.  The image moves around as you move your phone in different directions.  It can be quite tricky to take a Seene of someone who can’t stay still, like a baby or a cat.  It would be cool if the app had filters, though I’m sure that’s coming.  I’m looking forward to using this app more and testing out how creative I can get with it.

Seene is only available for the iPhone.

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We Have a Name: Glitch Art

Luke Jerram's sculpture at Bristol Temple Meads Station
Luke Jerram’s sculpture “Maya” at Bristol Temple Meads Station, UK (Source)

The Guardian today did a feature on a particular niche of contemporary new media and digital art and named it “Glitch Art.”  There’s a ring to the name, I think.  While artists using technology (particularly analog video and photography) have exploited these happy aesthetic accidents arguably for over thirty years now, there hasn’t always been a name nor a particularly cohesive movement for this type of work, until now.

Glitch art takes temporary pixelations, interruptions and glitches and turns them into visually arresting pieces, questioning the forms and traditions of art using digital techniques. (Source)

Mishka Henner "NATO Storage Annex, Coevorden" 2011
Mishka Henner “NATO Storage Annex, Coevorden” from the “Dutch Landscapes” series (2011) (Source)

Of the artists featured, I love Luke Jerram’s sculpture of his daughter Maya.  I imagine the sculpture is a bit freaky a night. Using Google Maps and the deliberate censoring of spaces by the Dutch government, Mishka Henner re-aestheticizes these censored areas through her color pixelations.

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3-D Chair Made out of Fungus

Mycelium Chair by Eric Klarenbeek
Mycelium Chair by Eric Klarenbeek (via The Verge)

Our household is patiently waiting for an affordable 3-D printer, but never have we thought of trying to do anything as ambitious as Eric Klarenbeek, who has designed a chair made out of fungus! Called the “Mycelium Chair,” it is actually a really beautiful symbiosis of design, technology, and nature.

the chair concept is made by mixing water, powdered straw, and mycelium, the threadlike vegetative part of fungus. That mixture is then coated with a thin layer of bioplastic, and as the mixture dries and the mycelium grows, it creates what’s described as a solid but light material. (Source)

(ht: The Verge)

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