e. e. cummings

“The Symbol of all Art is the Prism.

The goal is unrealism. The method destructive.

To break up the white light of objective realism into the secret glories which it contains.”


e.e. cummings



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Freakin’ sweet flying robots #2

This freakin’ sweet flying robot comes from MIT. The video demonstrates a few of the problems involoved in programming such a device. The agility is really quite impressive as is the mapping and positioning.


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Makers gonna make.

I found this on the blogzine MAKE. This happily fits the exact purpose of why I collect things on S?HY!

I love people because they do things like this. With all the free time that it took to make a fully functioning skeeball machine, one could easily do a PhD. Hell, you could probably get a PhD for a fully functioning skeeball machine! The attention to detail is beautiful. The coin slot, the ball return, the score board. Genius.

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Perseid meteor shower!!!!!!!

Where you should be looking this weekend! The Perseid meteor shower is very regular and I have seen some really bright ones. The point to look for is just below the easily recognisable “W” of Cassiopeia.

Perseid meteors! Lots of them coming from the constellation of Perseus. This weekend is the maxima of the meteor shower. ‘Nuff said.

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Eric’s aquaponics

I came across this video recently and I thought it was such a good story I would share. This is the work of Eric and his company Kijani Grows. I love Eric’s attitude; he definitely deserves to have his cause spread and appreciated. This gardening system is almost totally autonomous and powered by the cheap and available microprocessor, the Arduino (I am documenting my own efforts with using the Arduino under the Electronics tab above).

What’s more, Eric’s garden talks back. As described in the video, it has its own URL and is capable of communicating its needs and errors. You can actually follow his garden on Twitter as it reports @kijanigrows. Ok, it’s not the most thrilling of tweets but I would love to get more people to directly support Eric.


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Curiosity lands!

Image today taken of the Mars Curiosity rover mid descent. The parachute used to reduce the speed of the rover from over 8000 meters per second to a safe landing speed of 0.7m/s. This was captured by another stunning piece of NASA, the Mars recon orbiter.

Today at approximately 6.30AM I looked at my alarm clock and went back to sleep. What I almost did was get up to watch the final tense moments in what has been months of waiting. This morning, Curiosity successfully landed in the Gale crater on Mars.

Above is one of the most incredible images I have seen for a long time. This was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of Curiosity descending to the surface. This successful event led to this from the NASA team:

High-fives and big tens all round. (Can you imagine how annoying it is having the press in your face at a time like this?)

When I finally woke up the first images were coming from Curiosity and I was treated to a wonderful view!

The first image beamed back from Curiosity after the successful landing.

Possibly the least inspiring image of a wheel and some rocks, but I guess it can only get better. It still amazes and baffles me that we have delivered tonnes of equipment to a planet months away from us.

Can’t wait for the data to come back, even a slightly spicier image would be nice! Well done NASA, goes to show what you can do with the best brains and freckin’ loads of money.

The Phoenix lander taken from MRO in 2008. Never forget what we have achieved as a species.

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Things I never knew spiders could do #3

Deinopis ravida waiting for prey with its net in place! The spider waits until it feels one of the near by threads vibrate and then pounces, engulfing the prey and wrapping it in web. (Found on findaspider.org.au courtesy of Nick Monaghan.)

…..Catch stuff with its web-net! Recently featured in the BBC program “The Dark: Nature’s Nighttime World”, a beautiful slow motion capture was filmed. The speed is so fast; the insect is wrapped and ready for eating within a few seconds. It is only when the motion is slowed that you can see the spider stretches the net before forcing it onto, and around the wandering little cricket.

This is the beautiful Deinopis ravida, from the net-casting genus Deinopidae. Here is a lovely Deinopis longpipesready to cast out.

Deinopis longpipes. The detail in the net is quite clear here; you can see the spider using 6 legs to cast and hanging by its posterior most two. You can also see at the corner of the net fine threads which might be used as “triggers” to detect prey. (Attributed to Joseph Warfel, found at http://www.americanarachnology.org)


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