Galactic Booze: Interstellar Landscapes Drawn in Scotch

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[ By Steph in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

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Whisky enthusiast and hobbyist photographer Ernie Button was about to wash a glass when he noticed that the scotch residue at the bottom had dried into a series of chalky, delicate lines. This chance discovery eight years ago led to a series of experiments that have used booze as an art medium, with different brands and varieties of scotch producing different effects calling to mind imagery of outer space.

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“It’s a little like snowflakes in that every time the Scotch dries, the glass yields different patterns and results,” says Button. “I have used different color lights to add ‘life’ to the bottom of the glass, creating the illusion of landscape, terrestrial or extraterrestrial.”

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“Some of the images reference the celestial, as if the image was taken of space; something that the Hubble tellscope may have taken or an image taken from space looking down on Earth.”

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Any aged scotch will make the rings, Button reports, but what seems to effect the patterns most is where the spirits are produced. Scotches with smoky flavors made on the islands of Islay and Skye in western Scotland were inconsistent, while those from the valley around the River Sprey in northeastern Scotland produced more predictable results.

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The series, entitled ‘Vanishing Spirits: The Dried Remains of Single Malt Scotch’ includes dozens of images combining science with art. If you’re interested in learning more about the physics behind this unusual art form, check out this feature at The New York Times.


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Intangible Data in Physical Form: 12 Scientific Sculptures

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[ By Steph in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

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Mathematical theorems, the physics of an object moving through space, and intangible scientific data are visualized three-dimensionally and made into works of art in these 12 sculptures and installations.

Kinetic Sculptures Based on Mechanical Waves

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http://ted.com/talks/view/id/1435

“Inspired in equal parts by math and nature,” Reuben Margolin’s kinetic sculptures use pulleys and motors to recreate the complex movements seen in nature. These mechanical installations capture the crawl of a caterpillar, the movement of waves and other physical phenomena in a way that’s entirely unexpected and beautiful to take in.

‘Cosmos’ Sphere Made of Scientific Data

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If you were to happen upon this sphere while walking in the forest, you couldn’t be blamed for wondering whether you’d discovered an alien spaceship of some sort. But the reality of ‘Cosmos’ is just as interesting: it’s scientific data in three-dimensional form, a record of a year’s worth of carbon dioxide patterns and measurements from the trees of Alice Holt forest in Surrey, England. The grooves on the exterior of the sculpture contain the data, which was collected from a nearby tower.

Interactive Sound Tapestries

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A series of capacitive sensors were applied to suspended fabric using conductive paint for ‘Contours,’ an interactive tapestry installation by creative laboratory Bare Conductive and designers Fabio Antinori and Alicja Pytlewska. As people pass nearby, the sensors gather data about their movements and translate it into ambient sounds, making reference to the relationship between science and the body.

Cell-Inspired Sculpture Made of 1200 Mirrors

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An egg-like sculpture made of 1,200 mirrors hovered in a tree in the city center of Nantes, France, visually representing the creators’ research into cells. French studio Collectif Timée based the sculpture on the Voronoi Diagram in which a mathematical formula creates cells from halfway lines around random space points. As the cells converge, a kaleidoscopic effect is produced.

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This Robot Disguised as a Penguin is the Cutest Thing You’ll See All Day

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This Robot Disguised as a Penguin is the Cutest Thing You'll See All Day

A group of scientists have been trying to study penguins without disturbing them, and they may have found the cutest way possible of doing it: rovers disguised as baby penguins. These penguin-bots are able to get close to the penguins without raising the alarm or stressing out the penguins, which will allow scientists to collect data about them in their most natural state.

Tagged: penguins , cute , robots , science , squee

Cracked Mirrors: 12 More Eerie Abandoned Observatories

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

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These twelve abandoned observatories tell no universal tales; their heavenly visions now fatally fogged as their expansive domes lie locked and shuttered.

Odorheiu Secuiesc Observatory, Romania

Odorheiu Secuiesc Romania abandoned observatory(images via: Jakab Aron Csaba)

Vlad the Observer? The abandoned observatory in Odorheiu Secuiesc, Transylvania, Romania was abandoned before it was even operational. Construction began in 1889… make that 1989 (images can deceive) under the auspices of the autocratic Ceausescu regime which was rapidly nearing a violent end. By 1990, Romania had shrugged off communism and pre-approved projects like the observatory at Odorheiu Secuiesc found their funding cut off.

Truro Observatory, Cornwall, UK

abandoned observatory Truro Cornwall(images via: Belief In Ruins and UER)

Considering the reputation England has for inclement weather, was building an observatory in Cornwall really such a great idea? A group of amateur astronomers thought so, and in 2000 they demonstrated their confidence by volunteering time, materials and skills to build two domes with plans on paper for a third. The group was also confident local and regional governments would contribute funding to support the project, which in hindsight (and even foresight) was a huge mistake. By 2002 the project was deep in debt, all work stopped and vandalism began. A pity these so-called observers weren’t more, er, observant.

Lamont–Hussey Observatory, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Lamont-Hussey abandoned observatory  Bloemfontein South Africa(images via: U-M Astronomy and Joe Mynhardt)

The stately Lamont–Hussey Observatory located on naval Hill in the city of Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa, opened in 1928 and featured a 27-inch (0.69 m) refracting telescope. Conceived, built, owned and operated by the University of Michigan, the Lamont–Hussey Observatory closed in 1972 after its usefulness as an astronomical instrument had been superseded by numerous other such facilities.

Daniel S. Schanck Observatory, New Jersey, USA

Daniel S. Schanck Rutgers abandoned observatory(images via: Wikipedia/Tomwsulcer, AFAR and Rutgers Rarities Investigations)

Few abandoned buildings look as good as the Greek Revival-style Daniel S. Schanck Observatory, located on the Queens Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Architect Willard Smith took inspiration from the Tower of the Winds in Athens, Greece when designing the octagonal observatory building, which opened in 1865. After the observatory closed in the 1960s, the building suffered from neglect and occasional vandalism before being cosmetically renovated by Wu & Associates, Inc in 2012.

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Augmented Sandbox: Realtime 3D Topographic Landscaping

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[ By WebUrbanist in Gaming & Computing & Technology. ]

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Simulating an amazing array of natural environments and phenomena, this dynamic playspace turns ordinary hand-sculpted sand into vividly colorful landscapes in the blink of an eye.

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A real and working augmented reality sandbox, the system is designed to help educate students about earth sciences with a uniquely responsive and intuitive interface.

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A team of data visualization and earth sciences experts, mainly from the University of California, created the setup using a Microsoft Kinect camera coupled with topographic visualization software and a 3D data projector.

From rough prototypes to its present state, the project has come a long way in terms of the level of rendering detail and response speed.

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Tapping into a familiar form of childhood play, the project “allows users to create topography models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The system teaches geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts such as how to read a topography map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees [and more].”

Of course, one can imagine an array of applications of this technology beyond classrooms and science museums, from Minecraft-style, construction-centric games to simulators and modeling tools for landscape architects and urban designers.

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More about this amazing project: UC Davis’ W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES), together with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research CenterLawrence Hall of Science, and ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, is involved in an NSF-funded project on informal science education for freshwater lake and watershed science. The sandbox hardware was built by project specialist Peter Gold of the UC Davis Department of Geology. The driving software is based on the Vrui VR development toolkit and the Kinect 3D video processing framework, and is available for download under the GNU General Public License.”


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