I’ve noticed that my posts here all seem to conform to one of the following: science geek, sci-fi nerd, art and design, sustainability, and cute/Japanese/weird. I can’t help it. These are all my favorite things. On a good day I can bridge several of these into one post. Today is one such day. Today I found Labware Lamps by Benjamin Hubert!
So this would be science geek/art and design. It’s a series of hand blown white glass lamps of three shapes inspired by traditional laboratory beakers. They are necessarily a little heftier than real ones and are plugged with Portuguese cork (not sure how necessary it is that the cork is Portuguese but it sounds real nice, don’t it?).
These beaker lamps led me to another excellent site (one which I immediately bookmarked for later investigation) called mocoloco.com, a site dedicated to design, interiors, art and architecture. Cool stuff, check it out!
So I’ve started to design my ideal office, in my head. One of each of the beaker lamps on 3 levels of bracketless shelving that jut out of the brick walls, the Steamer Trunk mobile office, walnut colored bamboo flooring, and giant windows overlooking the bustling concrete city of Trantor. Either that or the view from Rick Deckard’s apartment.
Now let’s see who can guess, without looking, which two famous sci-fi authors I have referenced in this post;-)
You Star Trek geeks out there should appreciate this one.
Today my friend sent me this:
Scientists at Oxford have developed TRANSPARENT ALUMINUM (or as they probably say over there “aluminium”).
Using a FLASH laser (no idea what that is, btw) they knocked out an electron from every aluminum atom in a lab sample.
“What we have created is a completely new state of matter nobody has seen before,” said Professor Justin Wark.
That’s pretty cool, I have to say! Granted, the sample was less than a 20th the width of a human hair and the amount of energy required to create this “new state of matter” was equal to that of a power plant providing electricity to an entire city (though what size city is never made clear). But they say this technology may be able to help in the quest for generating power using nuclear fusion.
I, however, like it mostly for it’s nerd factor. About 9.5 out of 10.
Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned the distinct lack of chemistry sets on our shelves in the last few decades. Well I was shopping at Book People the other day (one of Austin’s very cool local bookstores) and I came across National Geographic’s Elements of Science kit.
For $74.95 you can do 100 experiments in biology, chemistry and physics. It includes 112 page book that covers optics, light, electricity, chemical reactions and much much more. It’s a pretty basic kit for ages 10 and up.
But then I found this on the DiscoverThis website:
The Chem3000 kit is a comprehensive chemistry set for ages 12 and up that covers over fifty topics relating specifically to chemistry.
The kit includes dozens of actual chemicals along with all the supplies needed to do 360 different experiments (including ones covering fuels and combustion… the most fun part of chemistry in my opinion).
Obviously these experiments need to be done with adult supervision. But I’m willing to bet that any parent that gets this kind of kit for their kid will have just as much fun helping with these experiments as their kid will have doing them. I know I would (now I just have to get around to having kids and raising them to age twelve… dang!).
There are dozens more kits on the DiscoverThis website covering everything from Astronomy to Zoology. They have Robot Kits (!!!) and Genetics and DNA kits too. Hopefully if more kids learn to have fun in science early on the US of A won’t be so woefully behind in producing the worlds leading scientists anymore.
Part four in what is turning into my five part Star Trek inspired blogs relates to some super high tech stuff at MIT. Again not so much “for consumer use” but the science nerd in me wants to share this with the world at large. It’s like that old PSA “The More You Know”, right?
Anyway, some smarty pants professor and graduate student at MIT have figured out a way to use a “tractor beam” of light to pick up, hold and move around individual cells and other objects on the surface of a microchip.
Yes, that’s right. I said tractor beam!
Here’s an image of 16 E.coli cells on a microchip that the tractor beam manipulated into spelling MIT:
They are calling this technology Optical Tweezers (which I think is a totally cute name, btw). They can be used to push around and control tiny objects (we’re talking nano to micrometer sizes)
Mostly this technology benefits engineering and biology research. Don’t expect to see new science kits on the shelves of your local Target or Toys R Us that include optical tweezer technology (come to think of it, I haven’t seen any science kits on any shelves in a real long time… what’s up with that? Do kids not think science is cool anymore? But I digress…)
Just think, if they can use this to make microchips even smaller then the iPhone will be even more awesome!
via MIT Develops ‘Tractor Beam’