A sample of the diversity of life living around hydrothermal vents in the Pacific
Starting from the top and going down:
- A forest of of Giant Tube Worms (Riftia pachyptila)
- bordered by a thicket of their smaller cousins, the Jericho Worms (Tevnia Jerichonana).
- In the right top is an enlarged view of a Pompeii Worm (Alvinella pompejana), one of the most heat-tolerant multicellular animals. Pompeii worms, which live in thin-walled tubular dwellings along the sides of hydrothermal vents, can tolerate temperatures up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To the left is a Pacific Grenadier (Coryphaenoides acrolepis) a common deep-sea fish often found hunting and scavenging near vents.
- To the right is an Eelpout (Thermarces cerberus), the top predator of the vent ecosystem.
- Below the Jericho Worms is a field of Vent Mussels (Bathymodiolus thermophilus) interspersed with several giant, ivory-white Vesticomid Clams (Calyptogena magnifica)
- At the bottom of the picture is a Blue Mat, a field of tiny tubular dwellings— called lorica— secreted by folliculinid ciliates (Folliculinopsis sp.).
- In the middle of the mat is a magnified view of several of these ciliates with their arm-like peristomal feeding lobes extended.
- Crawling around the field of mussels and worms are several Vent Crabs (Bythograea thermydron) along with a Vent Octopus (Vulcanoctopus hydrothermalis), and a Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta).
- In the lower left corner are several Deep-Sea Stauromedusae (Lucernaria janetae). Stauromedusae are jellyfish that permanently attach themselves to a hard substrate using a short stalk.
- Lastly on the bottom right is a Vent Dandelion (Thermopalia taraxaca), a colonial scavenger related to Portuguese Man-o-wars and other siphonophores.
“The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.”
—Jules Henri Poincare, a French mathematician (1854-1912)
The University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed the winners of the 2012 Cool Science image contest at the beginning of the month. From clusters of cells, zebrafish neural networks to ZnO Fall Flowers as seen above, this year’s contest showed nothing but impressive content for us to enjoy. Check out the rest of the contestants here!
Satellites orbiting Earth (2013)
A Woman of Art and Science
April 2nd marks the birth of a very important female scientist that was ahead of her time. The artistic and scientific explorations of German artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) helped pioneer the way for other women in science. Enterprising and adventurous, Merian raised the artistic standards of natural history illustration and helped transform the field of entomology, the study of insects.
In 1670, she and her husband moved to Nuremberg, where Merian published her first set of illustrated books. In preparation for a catalogue of European moths, butterflies, and other insects, Merian collected, raised, and observed living insects, rather than working from preserved specimens.
At the age of 52 and divorced, Merian and her younger daughter embarked on a dangerous trip to the Dutch colony of Suriname, in South America, without a male companion. Merian spent the next two years studying and drawing the indigenous flora and fauna within their natural habitats. Forced home by malaria, Merian published Insects of Surinam, her most significant book, in 1705. The lavishly illustrated book forever established her international reputation as an accomplished woman of science.
You’re looking at a brain. But not really.
Connectograms are an intersection of data, neuroscience, design and art. This represents the inter-brain-region connections of 110 right-handed men, with various color codes indicated to show how strong those connections are in various ways. The Wikipedia page can decode the regions around the edge for you.
Studying the wiring of the brain is essential to understanding it. But it is not sufficient to understand it. We love to share beautiful images of brain mapping studies (I do it all the time), but relying on mapping alone is like clicking through Google Maps and saying you’ve been to Paris.
There’s just something missing, right? And that something is us. Except that we must be in there, because we can’t exist outside of that. But why can’t we distill our “us-ness” from the map of all the pieces?
But does this map show you a brain? Does it show you a person? What’s the difference?
Jessica Lloyd-Jones - Anatomical Neon, 2010
Blown glass human organs encapsulate inert gases displaying different colours under the influence of an electric current. The human anatomy is a complex, biological system in which energy plays a vital role. Brain Wave conveys neurological processing activity as a kinetic and sensory, physical phenomena through its display of moving electric plasma. Optic Nerve shows a similar effect, more akin to the blood vessels of the eye and with a front ‘lens’ magnifiying the movement and the intensity of light. Heart is a representation of the human heart illuminated by still red neon gas. Electric Lungs is a more technically intricate structure with xenon gas spreading through its passage ways, communicating our human unawareness of the trace gases we inhale in our breathable atmosphere.
Tattoo (at 20x Magnification)
Before the development of modern tattooing methods, a wide variety of techniques were utilized. Many Native American tribes, for instance, rubbed pigments into prick marks or scratches to produce tattoos, and in other parts of the world a number of different implements, from thorns and knives to small rake-like instruments and needles followed by pigment-coated thread have been utilized to make permanent markings on the skin. Indeed, there are almost as many ways to create a tattoo as there have been cultures that practiced tattooing. The unusual art form has been known to humans for at least several thousand years, a mummy dating from about 3,300 BC exhibiting what is believed to be the most primitive evidence of tattoos. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Germans, Britons, and other early societies are also known to have utilized tattoos for various purposes, though the rise of Christianity led to their disappearance in Europe for many centuries.
Lisa Oppenheim - Lunagrams, 2010
In Lunagrams (1851/2010), a series of photograms, negatives depicting a lunar phase from 1851 are illuminated by moonlight of the same lunar phase in 2010, providing a translation of images of the past into the present. The source images are glass negatives taken by John William Draper, who was the first to photograph the moon. Photography as well as celestial bodies, such as the moon, can be seen as generic markers of the passing of time. The process of making these images is bringing to life which would otherwise be hidden away under a layer of dust in a library or archive - illuminating the past through the light of the present. [klosterfelde]
What if Earth were a cube?
Back in 1884, a Swiss astronomer by the name of Arndt made headlines when he claimed to have discovered a very curious planet in an orbit beyond Neptune — a surprisingly cubical planet.
You know, like Bizarro World from the Super Man comics.
Of course even in 1884, everyone knew this was bunk. The New York Times even ran a piece titled “The Cubical Planet” in their Nov. 16 edition. As informative as it is stuffy, the Gilded Age article interviews physicist Dr. Theodore Vankirk, who first dismisses the prospect of a square planet as pure hooey, and then proceeds to wax scientific about just what a cube world would be like.
It all comes down to gravity. On our spherical Earth, gravity pulls “down” us toward the planet’s center of mass. So on a flat surface, we naturally stand up straight.
A hypothetical cube world, however, would feature six square faces and you’d only encounter up/down gravity toward the centers of these regions. As you traveled closer and closer to the edge, it would feel like you were walking up an incline and it would be difficult to stand up straight because the gravitational pull would draw you toward the center of the massive cube, which wouldn’t lie directly beneath your feet. Standing on the “edge” of this cube world would feel like standing atop a mountain range.
Contemporary cosmologist Dr. Karen L. Masters also finds the topic of cube worlds fascinating — especially the atmospheric possibilities. As she explains in Cornell’s Ask a Physicist feature, all six faces of the planet would boast temperate weather, centralized bodies of water and none of them would feature polar or equatorial weather. What’s more, the pointy edges of the cube would actually poke through the planet’s atmosphere like titanic mountains. Here’s her explanation:
Let’s assume that the atmosphere goes up 1000 km above the Earth (when it is a sphere), and so is a sphere itself of radius 6400km+1000km=7400km. This should be about the right number. A cube with the same volume as the spherical Earth would have a side 10,000 km (6,400 miles) long so the corners are 8700 km from the centre! They would definitely stick out above the atmosphere.
As I was poking around the net on this topic, I also ran across this amusing tidbit from a 1964 edition of the Rice University campus paper. A mysterious, well-dressed gentleman had been observed hanging out around the Houston-area campus, distributing literature about an alien, cubical planet.
The man claimed that the planet was called Aocicinori and that it was the 63rd in a system of 96 planets. He showed off maps of the world, as well as some colorful illustrations of the creatures that lived there. The Rice University article reveals that these materials were created by Scotland L. Moore, an outpatient form the Houston State Psychiatric Institute.
About the author: Robert Lamb is a senior writer and podcaster at HowStuffWorks, where he co-hosts Stuff to Blow Your Mind with Julie Douglas. He has a love for monsters, an aversion to slugs and a hankering for electronic music.
Originally published at STBYM: What if Earth were a cube?
Topographically accurate LED moon light by NOSIGNER
“The so called Supermoon – the lunar occurance on March 19th, 2011 in which the moon appeared 14% bigger and 30% brighter – shined down on the people of Japan, inspiring them to believe in, and have hope for, rebuilding what they had lost just over a week ago. The Moon is a topographically-accurate LED light that was created based on data retrieved from the Japanese lunar orbiter spacecraft Kaguya.”
Hunter Cole - Artist and Geneticist
Cole grows the bacteria in a liquid culture, and then uses the culture as her paint, applying it to a gelatinous augur in a petri dish, as if the augur were a canvas. When applied, the culture is clear, but over a 24 hour period it slowly begins to glow, becoming more visible. For the two weeks following the culture’s application, as the bacteria grows and dies, the drawing changes.