Art Science

Paintball Painting

The Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie, demonstrate the difference between serial and parallel processing with a little live art demonstration.

[Adam & Jamie draw a MONA LISA in 80 milliseconds! – YouTube]

games physics

Fantastic Contraption

Warning: The following link leads to an extremely addicting flash game. Luckily there are only 20 levels and then you can go to sleep. At least, that’s what I did.

Fantastic Contraption.


Astro-09 High Altitude Photos

Balloon and payloads just after launchThe following photos are from a set taken with a Pentax k10d from a high-altitude sounding balloon during an experiment conducted by Oklahoma State University while testing a new cosmic radiation detector.

According to the original poster, the k10d performed flawlessly in the harsh vacuum of space at temperatures below -60F.

Balloon and payloads just after launchPentax k10d in impact protection box prior to flight104,000 feet above earth

“The payloads are attached to a sounding balloon which climbs to over 100,000 ft. The balloon is tracked with GPS telemetry systems. When the balloon is launched, it is about 12 ft. in diameter. At peak altitude it is between 40-50 ft. in diameter before burst (or commanded cut-down).”



What will the LHC find?

Check out Cosmic Variance’s list of possible discoveries and the probability of each discovery being made in the next five years at the Large Hadron Collider.

Also, be sure to check out The Big Picture photos of the LHC.

backmasking psychology

Teaching of Psychology

Tom Stafford, a member of the Adaptive Behaviour Research Group in the Department of Psychology at University of Sheffield, recently presented the keynote speech at the annual conference of the Association for the Teaching of Psychology at Lincoln in the UK. He talked a little bit about the priming that can occur when you load up my backmasking site. He was kind to present the topic using this slide.

Thanks Tom! you made my day.

Research Digest wrote up an interesting summary of Tom’s keynote talk.


Milgram’s Experiment on Obedience

Stanley Milgram’s famously unethical but ever so interesting experiment on obedience:

The Milgram experiment was a seminal series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. Milgram first described his research in 1963 in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.

The experiments began in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised the experiments to answer this question: “Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?”

[Milgram Study of Obedience 1/5 – YouTube]

I didn’t have time to watch the whole thing, but apparently magician/hypnotist Derren Brown reproduced Milgram’s obedience experiment (watch on YouTube). At first I felt confused as to how he got around the ethical violations intrinsic to proceeding with such an experiment in this day and age—but then I realized scientific researchers have ethics boards to get passed; TV producers don’t.

Music psychology

Amazing Audio Illusion

Play this audio clip again after it finishes and hear it continue to “creep up”.

See Wikipedia’s entry on Shepard Tone for the full scoop.

A Shepard tone, named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the base pitch of the tone moving upwards or downwards, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.

magic psychology

Psychological Card Trick

Those of you that enjoyed the colour changing card trick, may also enjoy this psychological card trick.

[Psychological Card Trick – YouTube]

magic psychology

The Amazing Colour Changing Card Trick

As a former magician myself, I don’t believe in telling how the trick is done, but in this particular case the spoiler doesn’t just reveal how it’s done but is the actual trick.

Watch carefully.

[Colour Changing Card Trick – YouTube]

Art article biology

MoMA Kills Art

One of the senior curators at the MoMA had to end the life of a tiny coat built out of living mouse stem cells after it grew so fast that the cells began to clog the incubator.

From the New York Times article:

One of the strangest exhibits at the opening of “Design and the Elastic Mind,” the very strange show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that explores the territory where design meets science, was a teeny coat made out of living mouse stem cells. The “victimless leather” was kept alive in an incubator with nutrients, unsettlingly alive. Until recently, that is.

Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at the museum, had to kill the coat. “It was growing too much,” she said in an interview from a conference in Belgrade. The cells were multiplying so fast that the incubator was beginning to clog. Also, a sleeve was falling off. So after checking with the coat’s creators, a group known as SymbioticA, at the School of Anatomy & Human Biology at the University of Western Australia in Perth, she had the nutrients to the cells stopped.

This is just a taste of the interesting kinds of developments we’re going to see from biological science in the near future.