The Astronomical Particle Colliders That Put Our Own to Shame
When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) began operations, a small but noisy group of people tried to stop it out of fear. Their reasoning: The energies produced as protons slammed into each other at close to the speed of light would be sufficiently high to create miniature black holes or other exotic, destructive things. The fruits of human curiosity would be the literal end of the world.
Those fears were unwarranted for a simple reason: Earth is bombarded by much higher-energy particles all the time, and we haven’t been eaten by a planet-munching black hole yet. In fact, the universe has many naturally-occurring particle accelerators that are far more powerful than the LHC, exceeding even anything we could build in the foreseeable future. Anything exotic we can create in our labs, the cosmos has beaten us to it.
This animation is about one of the most significant problems in the history of mathematics: the brachistochrone challenge.
If a ball is to roll down a ramp which connects two points, what must be the shape of the ramp’s curve be, such that the descent time is a minimum?
Intuition says that it should be a straight line. That would minimize the distance, but the minimum time happens when the ramp curve is the one shown: a cycloid.
Johann Bernoulli posed the problem to the mathematicians of Europe in 1696, and ultimately, several found the solution. However, a new branch of mathematics, calculus of variations, had to be invented to deal with such problems. Today, calculus of variations is vital in quantum mechanics and other fields.
Gold Plated Cow Heart
Gunther von Hagens
Humans Already Use Way, Way More Than 10 Percent of Their Brains
It’s a complex, constantly multi-tasking network of tissue—but the myth persists.
By now, perhaps you’ve seen the trailer for the new sci-fi thriller Lucy. It starts with a flurry of stylized special effects and Scarlett Johansson serving up a barrage of bad-guy beatings. Then comes Morgan Freeman, playing a professorial neuroscientist with the obligatory brown blazer, to deliver the film’s familiar premise to a full lecture hall: “It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of the brain’s capacity. Imagine if we could access 100 percent. Interesting things begin to happen.” Johansson as Lucy, who has been kidnapped and implanted with mysterious drugs, becomes a test case for those interesting things, which seem to include even more impressive beatings and apparently some kind of Matrix-esque time-warping skills. Of course, the idea that “you only use 10 percent of your brain” is, indeed, 100 hundred percent bogus. Why has this myth persisted for so long, and when is it finally going to die? (via Humans Already Use Way, Way More Than 10 Percent of Their Brains - Sam McDougle - The Atlantic)
Sketch of the Moon, 1614, by Christoph Scheiner. (via)
Lorenzo Nanni born in Italy, is a 34 years old textile artist living and working in Paris. He specialized in embroidery.
I use natural minerals and materials: felt, silks, cotton fabrics & threads, wools & fibers, glass and precious stones (Quartz, jade…). I use bones too, along with woods, metals and rhodoïds. It was spontaneous for me to choose these types of materials because my pieces are inspired by flora, fauna and anatomy. I have a lot of respect for nature and animals.On my production method, I always begin with a sketch. Then I move to pattern-construction, dying then assembling fibers and finally embroidery. The time of the process can vary from 10 days up to 9 months of work, depending on the objects. Some pieces require 100 hours of embroidering. They are all unique pieces.The use of fiber has never been lost; the textile has always accompanied the painting as a form of decorative art, and has undergone the changes of time and civilization; suffered the influence of shapes, volumes and materials.