Oct 17, 2014

Viral examples of human stupidity turned into brilliant organ donor ads

posted by Laura Domela

Belgium-based ad agency Duval-Guillaume has a new clever campaign using the kind of stupid people who risk their lives stupidly and post it online to raise awareness about organ donation.

via Sploid

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Oct 17, 2014

Can science fiction spur science innovation

posted by Laura Domela

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Does science fiction help us innovate? According to Arizona State University’s strange and strangely compelling Center for Science and the Imagination, the answer is, absolutely yes. The Center (yes, it’s abbreviated CSI) has joint projects with organizations like IBM and the World Bank, and it was founded on the premise that imagination is an essential component of our society’s greatest scientific and technological accomplishments. If we want to do big things, then we need to rev up our imaginations—with science fiction.
via Pacific Standard

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(Photo: iurii/Shutterstock) 

Oct 17, 2014

Parrot with British accent missing for four years, returns speaking Spanish

posted by Laura Domela

When last seen four years ago, Nigel had a distinctively crisp British accent.

But when Nigel returned home this month, the African gray parrot was bilingual, with a slight Panamanian accent and the ability to ask "¡Qué pasó?"

As perplexing, the parrot mysteriously talked about someone named "Larry."

The bird and his British accent disappeared from Torrance about four years ago. And then, just as suddenly, Nigel recently reappeared out of nowhere.
via Los Angeles Times

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Oct 17, 2014

Glass sculptures that look like knitted yarn

posted by Larra Morris

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Artist Carol Milne creates remarkable glass sculptures that look like knitted yarn. She achieves the effect by knitting with pliable wax, which she then turns into a heat resistant mold. She pours molten glass into the mold to create the final sculpture. The process is described in detail in Carol Milne Knitted Glass: How Does She Do That? by Steve Isaacson. Milne’s work is part of the ongoing exhibition “Reaching Beyond: The Northwest Designer Craftsmen at 60″ at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington through January 4, 2015.
via Laughing Squid

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Oct 17, 2014

A French inventor once proposed a giant mirror to burn a message on Mars

posted by Larra Morris

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When we want to leave our mark on Mars today, we simply send over a few Rovers to roll around in its red soil. But 150 years ago, scientists had very different plans for contacting the planet, including one French inventor who wanted to use the refracted light of the sun to sear a welcoming message into the Martian desert.

Charles Cros was a reputable inventor who developed several key advancements in color photography and an early version of a phonograph. And he was also convinced that spots of light seen on Mars (probably clouds) were giant Martian cities that we should try to talk to. In 1874 he started work on an ambitious proposal to build a giant mirror that would direct a ray of sunlight towards Mars. But that's not all: He wanted to use the rays to place a message on Mars, by burning large letters onto the Martian landscape. He spent years petitioning the French government to build this mirror until his death in 1888.
via Gizmodo

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Image: Popular Science

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Oct 17, 2014

Pumpkins grown in Frankenstein's Monster face molds

posted by Larra Morris

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Tony Dighera of Cinagro Farms in Ventura County, California, has spent the last four yearsdeveloping the perfect mold to grow these Frankenstein's monster faced pumpkins in. This year was his first successful commercial harvest, producing 5,500 molded pumpkins, which he sold to suppliers for $75 apiece. That's over $400,000 in profit. Next year he plans to devote his entire farm to the pumpkins (including some skull-shaped white pumpkins) and produce between 30,000 - 40,000.
via Geekologie

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Oct 16, 2014

Lockheed figures out fusion (maybe)

posted by Laura Domela

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Lockheed Martin's Compact Fusion technology has the potential to revolutionize life as we know it. Maybe. If it works.

After years of development at the company's legendary Skunkworks facility, Lockheed is coming forward now to find partners in the public and private sector. The main breakthrough is having shrunk the size of the reactor into something about the size of a shipping container.

Here's the deal, and why it could be really cool.

Unlike nuclear fission (the splitting of atoms, like current nuclear reactors), fusion does as its name suggests, it fuses atoms together. This is what our sun does to create sunburns and life and stuff.

Fission is messy, and leaves all sorts of nastiness behind (i.e. radioactive waste that's untouchable for, well let's just say effectively forever). Fusion power, on the other hand, is much cleaner. In the case of the current version of Lockheed's Compact Fusion tech, they're using deuterium (found in seawater), and tritium (found in lithium, found in the ground). This fuel mix can result in "10 million times more energy than the same amount of fossil fuels." Future versions could use different fuel.
via cnet

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