Archive for the ‘Science!’ Category

Preview of Sketch2Photo

Posted on November 16th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Science!, Tech News | 1 Comment »

So, this is a preview of a piece of software which I find to be absolutely ridiculous.
I had not thought that anyone had actually been able to program an algorithm to do this as well as this.
Here, we have a program which allows you to do very rough sketches of an image, say a beach with some birds, sailboats, and a newly wed couple kissing. Very rough sketch.
Well, this program takes your rough sketch and keywords for each object and runs them through image searches online and *builds a composite image of it.* In other words, it outputs a “photoshopped” image composite of what you had sketched.
All fine and good, it sounds relatively meh on paper. However take a look at these images and you will be astounded at how real the final picture seems, especially when compared to what it was extracted from.

Check out their university research page which has more ridiculous images made by Sketch2Photo, as well as the source code of the program itself!


Posted on July 13th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Photos/Videoes, Science! | Comments Off on NanoRadio?

Well, I know things are getting small and all….and nanotubes are getting funding like theres no tomorrow…but really, this is just ridiculous. Berkeley has developed a single nanotube that acts as the antenna, tuner, amplifier, AND demodulator of a radio. It captures signal by mehanical vibration instead of the usual method since its so damn small. Whats very cool is that its got perfectly acceptable quality sound. To demo this, they attached the nanotube onto an electrode. Somehow, through the magic that is carbon nanotube, it transmits the sound as an electric current. There are some awesome pictures and videos of the nanotube in action, along with some audio samplings. Check it out: Nanotube Radio


Posted on July 1st, 2008 in Science!, Tech News, Time Wasters | Comments Off on Hyperwall-2

NAS (NASA Advanced Supercomputing) are developing the Hyperwall-2, a 23 by 10 foot liquid display wall, 128 screens, 128 GPUs, 1024 cores, 74 teraflop processing power, and half a petabyte of storage.
Impressing, though, to be completely honest…i don’t fully comprehend the true use of such a gigantic display…as long as the supercomputer crunches it, it should be easily seen on normal screens, its not like the zoom function doesn’t exist.
But heh, if NASA wants to make a giant screen with ridiculous backend, I won’t say no…heck, let me at it 😛
Thanks NASA for all the fun 😛

The Cardboard Bike

Posted on June 27th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Science!, Site of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of | 1 Comment »

“Phil Bridge, 21, of Sheffield Hallam
University, said the bike was strong enough for a rider weighing up to 12
stones and would not go soft in the rain, although it has a life expectancy
of only about six months.”

One one hand, I want to really applaud this design for being very affordable, and I could easily see this as a means of transportation for people who don’t have the resources to afford standard metal bikes, but need a means of getting around other then walking. I’m thinking along the lines of One Laptop per Child, or the person-powered water pump we blogged about a few months ago. I mean, whats better then a bike thats made of cardboard, could be easily shipped and stored, or carried on a bus, boat, by hand through non-bikeable conditions? And its cardboard. Who’d really want to steal it? Its not like you could sell it for scrap.

On the other hand, I’m ready to say that this is just another embodiment of our use-for-a-while-and-throw-away society. I mean, who buys a bike they know will last them only 6 months? Granted, it IS only cardboard, so it will decompose in landfills, and the metal parts are supposed to be recyclable.

What I think would be a really interesting design would be to make metal parts as well as cardboard parts – this way, people in poor countries could buy the cardboard bike to get around, and buy the rest of the bike in metal form piece by piece – you could litterall buy it wheel by wheel, then get a real metal frame, a real seat, real handlebars, and then you’ve worked your way up to a real bike. It couldn’t be that hard to break the design down into four or five individual parts that places could stock in metal.

Read the rest of the article here

Magic Sand

Posted on June 21st, 2008 in Hands On/Build This!, How To's, Science!, Time Wasters | Comments Off on Magic Sand

Do-it-Yourself Magic Sand.
You know the magic sand that used to be on TV ads, its dry sand that you can make underwater sculptures from, and when you take it out of the water, it’s still dry!
Well…..its rather easy to make apparently.
Just take some normal sand from a beach. Clean it abit so its contaminated 😛
Stick in oven and dry for an hour to make sure its perfectly dry.
Take Scotch Guard Spray and spray liberally, mix, spray again. Let dry, then….spray again. Once its dry again, try it out!
Thank to Bewerten at Google Video

Travel from any point on the Earth to any other point in only 42 minutes!

Posted on June 19th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Science!, Site of the Day, Things we should do more of | Comments Off on Travel from any point on the Earth to any other point in only 42 minutes!

So, what happens if you dig a tunnel straight through the center of the Earth, and jump in?
How long will it take you to come out the other side?

Turns out its 42 minutes.
No matter if the tunnel goes straight through the center of the Earth, or goes at an angle between New York and Seattle.

ISS and Earth from Space

Posted on June 18th, 2008 in Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Science!, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

(click for super-larger version)

Not really sure what the source is for this photo, got it from

Earth from Mars

Posted on June 14th, 2008 in Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Science! | 3 Comments »

“The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera would
make a great backyard telescope for viewing Mars, and we can also use
it at Mars to view other planets. This is an image of Earth and the
moon, acquired on October 3, 2007, by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter.

At the time the image was taken, Earth
was 142 million kilometers (88 million miles) from Mars, giving the
HiRISE image a scale of 142 kilometers (88 miles) per pixel, an Earth
diameter of about 90 pixels and a moon diameter of 24 pixels. The phase
angle is 98 degrees, which means that less than half of the disk of the
Earth and the disk of the moon have direct illumination. We could image
Earth and moon at full disk illumination only when they are on the
opposite side of the sun from Mars, but then the range would be much
greater and the image would show less detail.

. . .

the Earth image we can make out the west coast outline of South America
at lower right, although the clouds are the dominant features. These
clouds are so bright, compared with the moon, that they are saturated
in the HiRISE images. In fact the red-filter image was almost
completely saturated, the Blue-Green image had significant saturation,
and the brightest clouds were saturated in the infrared image. This
color image required a fair amount of processing to make a nice-looking
release. The moon image is unsaturated but brightened relative to Earth
for this composite. The lunar images are useful for calibration of the

It may not look like much, but on that one tiny
blue and green orb exists all six billion or so of us – and has
existed, as far as we know, every human being ever
made/created/evolved/whatevered. Everything that we know, and
everything that we ever have known is contained on that little sphere.

even more amazing is that twelve people from that little blue-green orb
in the bottom left have actually managed to travel through space and
walk on the surface of the moon, all the way on the other side of the
picture. If that isn’t amazing, then I don’t know what is.

Image, caption, and full-size photo from

New paper is stronger then cast iron

Posted on June 13th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Science! | 1 Comment »

Scientists are working on a new type of paper that takes better mechanical advantage of the cellulose fibers in plant material that are used to make paper.

“In plant cell walls individual cellulose molecules bind together to
produce fibres around 20 nanometres in diameter, 5000 times thinner
than a human hair. These fibres form tough networks that provide the
cell walls with structural support.

nanofibres are the main reinforcement in all plant structures and are
characterised by nanoscale dimensions, high strength and toughness,”
Berglund told New Scientist.

Cellulose is extracted from wood to make paper. . .however the mechanical processes used to pulp wood and process it into paper
damage the individual cellulose fibres, greatly reducing their strength.”

Lars Berglund from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, came up with a new method to more gently break down the wood pulp used to make paper.

“The new method involves breaking down wood pulp with enzymes and
then fragmenting it using a mechanical beater. The shear forces
produced cause the cellulose to gently disintegrate into its component

end result is undamaged cellulose fibres suspended in water. When the
water is drained away Berglund found that the fibres join together into
networks held by hydrogen bonds, forming flat sheets of “nanopaper.”

testing shows it has a tensile strength of 214 megapascals, making it
stronger than cast iron (130 MPa) and almost as strong as structural
steel (250 MPa).

paper has a tensile strength less than 1 MPa. The tests used strips 40
millimetres long by 5mm wide and about 50 micrometres thick.”

Read the full article (quoted here) here :

Sunset on Mars

Posted on June 6th, 2008 in Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Science! | Comments Off on Sunset on Mars

This one has been making the rounds on a few blogs, and it IS pretty cool.

“On May 19, 2005, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this
stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars.
This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of
the rover’s 489th Martian day, or sol.

Sunset and twilight
images are occasionally acquired by the science team to determine how
high into the atmosphere the Martian dust extends, and to look for dust
or ice clouds. Other images have shown that the twilight glow remains
visible, but increasingly fainter, for up to two hours before sunrise
or after sunset. The long Martian twilight (compared to Earth’s) is
caused by sunlight scattered around to the night side of the planet by
abundant high altitude dust. Similar long twilights or extra-colorful
sunrises and sunsets sometimes occur on Earth when tiny dust grains
that are erupted from powerful volcanoes scatter light high in the

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell”