Wednesday, June 30, 2010

sixty symbols: testing the jabulani

there has been a bit of fuss about the official world cup ball, the jabulani, developed by adidas especially for the world cup. so for sixty symbols, brady decided to let scientists tackle the controversy behind the jabulani in a couple fun videos.

WARNING: these videos show scientists playing football! we actually play five-a-side once a week, but that might not be evident from the highlights shown here ;)

i was pretty excited to play with the jabulani and overall i was impressed by the quality. i lack the ability to purposely spin the ball in all sorts of directions so i cant comment about that aspect of the jabulani's performance, but one thing i noticed is that it bounces a lot higher than the one i'm used to playing with. maybe its a similar thing to tennis - when you use new balls they are really bouncy! brady got annoyed that we kept asking him about the air pressure and whether he filled the ball too much! ha!

the jabulani also makes an incredibly awesome echo sound when you strike it!

in addition to the fabulous football footage shown in the video above, brady put together a bonus video of our highly-competitive penalty shoot-out! i missed my penalty, but got to try out a vuvuzela!! i have no idea how people can blow those things for 90 minutes. previous experience playing brass instruments is a big plus!

a pet AT-AT

too cute! my favorite part is around 00:40 after he has to go outside!

AT-AT day afternoon from Patrick Boivin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

playful astrophotography

today's APOD features a wonderfully playful image taken by luc perrot.

inspect the full-size image to find many unexpected subtleties!

Friday, June 25, 2010

an underwater star

divaholic on flickr shares some amazing photos of underwater creatures. the colors and patterns of this starfish are fascinating!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


via married to the sea.

i've also always thought that "lisp" is the worst possible word to describe what it means.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

skydivers view shuttle launch

saw this image via twitter, but dont know the original source. it's a great view of skydivers falling over a shuttle launch!

einstein autostereogram

yes, people are still making autostereograms:

spotted this one at fresh photons.

Monday, June 21, 2010

SciLapse: Science Hack Day Video

thanks to carolina, here is the science hack day timelapse video... including our venture into human-letter-forming near the end ;)

SciLapse from carolune on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

london calling

even though i'll miss several world cup matches, i'm heading to london for the weekend to see what exciting things develop at science hack day. i'll also be visiting with some friends who happen to be in town, and attempting to see the hubble IMAX 3D movie and the grace kelly exhibit at the V&A museum that i missed out on during my last trip.

in the meantime, enjoy this satellite tour of the 32 nations competing in the world cup care of ian o'neill.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

lightning strikes jesus in ohio

a couple years ago, i told you about the bizarre 6-story "touchdown jesus" statue that lived near my hometown in ohio, USA.

well, in a hilarious twist of fate, early yesterday morning a bolt of lightning struck "quicksand jesus" and it completely burned! after the estimated $700,000 damage fire finished burning, only the wire frame structure remains.

"big butter jesus" has been such an embarrassing fixture next to the interstate highway for so long that it will be a strange relief not to see it on the regular drive between my mother's house and my sister's small town home.

recently, some friends decided to make a promotional video for their soul fire tribe by spinning fire next to "i cant believe its not jesus." their caption describes it all:

Jesus never looked so HOT... until he burned to the ground. RIP 6-14-2010.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a modern starry night

today's APOD features a modern twist on an old and much-loved painting by vincent van gogh: the starry night.

inside the image above, ronnie walker has included a comet, a spiral galaxy, an open star cluster, and a supernova remnant. can you find them? can you also identify the rings of Supernova 1987A, the Eskimo Nebula, the Crab Nebula, Thor's Helmut, the Carhwheel Galaxy, and the Ant Nebula? there are also several other additions when you inspect a large version of the image.

did anyone see the recent episode of doctor who that featured vincent, called "vincent and the doctor"? it was clever, but not the first incident when someone has mashed vincent and the doctor!

overall, i much prefer the original painting, but i think the idea of adding modern images and creating a treasure hunt is interesting.

guide for vuvuzela use

via the daily

yes, they get a bit jarring when you actually listen to them, but they easily fit into the background hum enough that they dont really annoy me. what's more annoying is the low quality of football played so far in this tournament! i imagine the play will improve as the players settle into the tournament, get used to the altitude, the uber-round and light jabulani ball, and the loud vuvuzela horns droning during the games. i hope so, anyway.

one other thing - do the replays shown during the world cup matches seem ridiculously slow to anyone else? almost any expression a person can make looks impossibly hilarious when played really sllooooowwwlly!! i've laughed out loud several times when they show frustrated coaches or players. one memorable look came from david beckham on the sideline during the USA vs. england match. the image below is obviously photoshopped (see tv reflection in table), but i still think its funny!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

world cup 2010: finally!

the world cup 2010 is finally upon us!!

i've been looking forward to today's match between the USA and England for a loooong time! my flag is flying high and my red cowboy boots are all shined up and ready for victory - YEEHAW! i think which ever of these two teams manages to win the group will have a relatively easy time making it thru to the late stages! you never know though, we'll see...

so who do you have placed to win the whole shuh-bang?? i'm going for spain this time because i like a lot of individual players (torres, of course) and i'm hoping for a big win by a team that has never won la copa mundial before. i know the USA surprised us all last summer by defeating spain and making it to their first ever FIFA international tournament final, but my statement still stands.

in other world cup new, i think the official world cup anthem by shakira is so bad that i wont even post a link to it, but i will share this video by the great angelique kidjo and famous musical crew:

during the build up to this world cup, i learned about the phenomenon of the world cup sticker book, which many people fill up during their childhood world cups, but i never knew about it growing up in the US... so i've decided to collect now! i've filled up about half the book so far, but i have a lot of repeat player stickers. as i do not know very many young people here to trade with, please let me know if you have extras that you might like to swap!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

how scientists see the world

all i see are equations: a funny little comic by abstruse goose.

this is funny, but not entirely true (hopefully)! i tend to look at things on more of an intuition level - not always attaching equations to simple events. if something confuses me or doesnt make sense at first glance, then i'll think about it a bit more in depth in order to try to understand it.

the comic above is posted with a cool link to found functions and a quote from the late great carl sagan: science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.

this reminded me of a little video clip i saw this week where neil degrasse tyson discusses how we should be trying to teach students and people how to ask questions about why things are the way they are instead of just trying to memorize some facts or believe anything people tell you.

and one more link... i read an interesting article this week that asks what is a "law of physics," anyway?


this picture is cool, but it also grosses me out a little bit.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

a june (photo) journey

the royal observatory greenwich has posted the new "astronomer's gallery" for the month of june. this month's astronomer is emma rigby who blogs about astronomy at we are all in the gutter and is a fellow post-doc here at the university of nottingham!

of the images in her gallery, i really like this photo of the aurora borealis by dave brosha:

and i'm partial to this photo of the space geodesy facility because it kinda looks like a giant lightsaber!

enjoy the rest of emma's june journey gallery!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

timelapse of shuttle launch preparation

ever wonder how the shuttle gets from the big storage locker to the upright launchpad position? this incredible ~4 min timelapse video from Scott Andrews, Stan Jirman and Philip Scott Andrews tells the six-week story of the preparation for launch.

[embedded video was a pain, so please CLICK HERE to view]

the video shows the discovery shuttle preparing for the STS-131 mission. make sure to watch there very end, when the shuttle returns to earth!

Monday, June 7, 2010

atheists don't have no songs

steve martin is apparently tired of making funny films and writing books and has decided to take his banjo-playing a little more seriously. he released a record last year and has been hitting several music festivals this year with the steep canyon boys. here they are singing a little song called "atheists don't have no songs."


i managed to cut myself while gardening, then burn myself across the cut in a perpendicular direction while cooking. it looks like a little dagger from zelda.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

chemistry of the world cup trophy

periodic videos has a timely discussion on what the world cup trophy might be made of.

i can imagine the green malachite stripe being a question in a pub quiz this week.... we'll see!

Friday, June 4, 2010

"the case for mars," a song

the youtube contributer melody sheep has created another interesting song and video using snippets from different scientists like carl sagan, robert zubrin, brian cox, and penelope boston.

more videos can be found at symphony of science.

guatemala sinkhole

it has certainly been a rough week for the central american country of guatemala. the big picture gives a rough idea of the aftermath of the volcanic ash from pacaya volcano eruption, landslides caused by tropical storm agatha, and this amazing photo of a sinkhole that swallowed an entire building in guatemala city!!

the sink hole is estimated to be 30 meters wide and over 60 meters deep. and looks like something straight out of science fiction. incredible.

these things have formed before, could easily occur again, and maybe shouldnt be called sinkholes.