Behold: the iPad and the Kindle under a microscope.
I find the Kindle’s startling resemblance to real ink on real paper really appealing, and it makes me want to get my Kindle out again. I’ve been all-iPad for awhile now, but under the microscope, it’s revealed for what it is: a very, very clever imposter.
To be clear: that’s totally okay. Sometimes imposters turn out to be an improvement on the real thing. (There’s a fable about that, right? If not: there should be.) (Oh, right.)
I’m also quite moved—no exaggeration—by the images of real ink at 400X magnification. Ah, right: it’s tree-parts down there. It’s a sticky black substance slathered across the fissures of a flattened web of fiber. It’s stuff. The words are the soul; the book is the body.
(Via Avi Bryant.)
Love this post on photosynthesis and science fiction by Molly Young. Super short, super fun. Might be a big idea packed in there.
Oh wow. Photosynthesis depends on quantum effects for its amazing efficiency:
The quantum wizardry appears to occur in each of a photosynthetic cell’s millions of antenna proteins. These route energy from electrons spinning in photon-sensitive molecules to nearby reaction-center proteins, which convert it to cell-driving charges.
Almost no energy is lost in between. That’s because it exists in multiple places at once, and always finds the shortest path.
- The lead researcher “predicts the emergence of an entire field of quantum biology.” YES.
- The observations in this work were made with femtosecond lasers. Back in college, I worked in a femtosecond laser lab for a semester. These things are so insanely high-tech, and really one of the absolutely essential tools in modern chemistry. Think of a femtosecond laser as a camera with the fastest shutter speed ever. Events that would otherwise be bright smears are captured frame-by-frame, a quadrillionth of a second (!) at a time.
I find myself gazing at the vines on the cement wall outside the cafe here—now blowing in the wind and rain—with newfound awe. Quantum biology!
You can have your Clay Shirky women-and-self-promotion rant. I get my gender commentary from Kate Beaton.
Pretty awesome alien cyborg warrior here:
Oh hey guess what IT’S A WATER FLEA. (And winner of the Olympus BioScapes image competition in 2009. I would not know how to judge this contest; all of the entrants are so stunning.)
Twenty-ten, we are so ready for you.
I am a sucker for a sun-dappled sidewalk, and it occurs to me that dappling is actually a pretty specific effect. You’ve seen images like this before: here’s a good look (with bonus Impressionist rendition). Overlapping tree-branches become cameras; how weird and how cool.
Who knew it was such a saga? A rain drop hits a puddle. What happens? Apparently, Shakespeare happens: struggle, suspense, surprise. Multiple acts. And finally, of course… tragedy.
Wow—Wired Science has been absolutely dominating the astrophotography beat lately. Here’s a feature that’s kin to one of those “behind the scenes at a magazine cover shoot” posts… except instead of Beyonce, it’s a nebula:
Looking at the original snap, and then at the final product, I am stunned, as always, that all that stuff is up there. You just need electronic eyes to see it.
Related: I’m not the only one who’s been re-watching Cosmos autotuned every 15 minutes, right? 675,000 views, and 2,000 of them are mine.