Category Archives: The Art of Science

There is enough room in this rabbit hole for all of us


From p305 of “The British Miscellany: or, coloured figures of new, rare, or little known animal subjects, etc. vol. I., vol. II” by James Sowerby

The British Library’s Flickr account is a bloody rabbit hole of lovely. And, all the images are being released for free without copyright restrictions*. I won’t guarantee that there is something there for every flavor of nerdery, but, if you don’t find your interests represented by something here, I think you need to seriously question your life choices.

*The British Library does offer you the option to purchase higher-than-screen quality images, which seems like a workable model to me.

The technology to receive HBO in 1989 was predicted a hundred years earlier…from p134 of the “The Conquest of the Moon: a story of the Bayouda” by André Laurie – pseud. [i.e. Paschal Grousset.]

The Art of Science: Stylish Sci Tattoos, Minus Pain

DNA temporary tattoo by the Vexed Muddler

DNA temporary tattoo by the Vexed Muddler

The Science Tribe are a proud people, many of whom display their allegiances on their skin in a dazzling variety of geeky tattoos. Science writers @Scicurious and @Laelaps, for example, both have cool tats designed by @FlyingTrilobite – a caffeine molecule and some dino bones. But there are those who fear the needle, or the commitment, of permanent ink. For them, The Vexed Muddler has created a new series of temporary science tattoos, available in her etsy shop. The Vexed Muddler (aka Peggy Muddles) is a biology lab tech by day, and she knows her microbes. You can chose from a variety of bacteria, a spiky virus and a classic DNA double helix. So be a trendsetter, wear your gut flora on the outside for a change. While you’re at it, you might want to accessorize with one of the Muddler’s lovely ceramic necklaces, in styles ranging from mitochondria to whipworms.

F is for Ferrolic

Ferrolic uses magnets, “Ferro Fluid1“, and the unpredictability/non-intuitive behavior of fluid dynamics2 to tell you the present things like the time in hynoptically beautiful ways.

Because the fluid behaves in an unpredictable way, it is possible to give the bodies, perceived in the Ferrolic display, a strong reference to living creatures. It is this livelihood that enables Ferrolic to show a meaningful narrative such as having the creatures play tag. In addition the natural flow of the material, Ferrolic can be used to form recognisable shapes and written characters. – Ferrolic

1From the Latin words for “iron” and “ewww, that’s damp”.
2Depending on whom you ask.

HT: Rob Beschizza at BoingBoing

Black Rock Observatory

Unlike most observatories, Black Rock Observatory has no fixed location. It’s not permanently fixed on top of a hill or on an island. Instead, it is about to make its way from Los Angeles to the Nevada desert, where it will be installed for the Burning Man festival that starts at the end of this month. In September, it will all be packed up again and removed.


Black Rock City, the location of Burning Man, is a place that only exists for one week every year. It runs entirely on a sharing economy, and it’s out of range of mobile phone providers and internet. For the entire week, the participants of Burning Man are part of a community with no ties to the outside world.

BlackRockObservatoryIt’s the perfect place to look up at the stars together, so last year a group of scientists, artists and engineers created the first Black Rock Observatory. The domes, designed by Gregg Fleishman, are relatively easy to transport and the creators have since visited several other events with the mobile observatory, bringing astronomy to an even wider audience. Besides looking through the telescopes, visitors can hold a meteor, and learn more about space.

This year Black Rock Observatory will be back at Burning Man with a second telescope, to give even more people a chance to visit the impromptu observatory.

telescopeThe theme of Burning Man this year is “Carnival of Mirrors”, which is a very fitting theme! As the creators, the “Desert Wizards of Mars”, said on their (successfully funded) Kickstarter page: “There will be a lot of mirrors at Burning Man this year, but our very special mirror will show you wonders that are light years away in perfect focus from the comfort of our Macro Dome. (…) Our telescope’s precision, hand-crafted, parabolic mirror cradles light to allow you to see through space and time. It has a silicon dioxide coating and will transmit millions of travel-wary photons into your pupils every minute.”

All images from the Black Rock Observatory website. Many more on there!

Vote Jill

Not only was the Kickstarter campaign for JILL TRENT, SCIENCE SLEUTH #1 successful, just as your favorite deity intended…Not only was D.M. Higgins, the generalissimo of JILL TRENT, SCIENCE SLEUTH #1, kind enough to include The Frogger and Punkface MacGruder in the book’s dedication…Not only is the comic fantastic and inspiring to my daughters (see illustrations below). Not only was JILL TRENT, SCIENCE SLEUTH #1 so successful that they are making JILL TRENT, SCIENCE SLEUTH #2

But JILL TRENT, SCIENCE SLEUTH #1 is also in the running for a Geekie Award in the Comics & Graphic Novels division. You can vote for them once per day until the voting closes on 31 August. You could choose to vote for another contender, but we cannot promise that Daisy Smythe won’t find you…

IT Witten (All Rights Reserved)

ET Witten (All Rights Reserved)

Jill Trent Inspired

IT Witten (All Rights Reserved)