Thursday, March 29, 2007

My best friend's nuke strikes back

To absolutely no one's surprise, early Emmy buzz is building for Jarrod's nuke shot for 24 (contrary to what I originally posted, the actual noms won't be in until much later this year). Also, there's a long-ish video interview with him here in which he explains how he did it. If hypervoxels, point clouds, and combustion effects light your fire, you'll love it.

That's not Jarrod's nuke above. That's the 13.7 kiloton Redwing Seminole shot at Eniwetak Atoll in 1956. I just put it in cuz it rocks.

Also, I just realized that the word "shot" as used above has two very different meanings. "Jarrod's nuke shot" means camera shot; "shot" is also used in nuclear testing to mean the detonation of a single bomb, as in "Redwing Seminole shot". So the photo above is a camera shot of a test shot. I guess if the photo had been made as a preview or to check settings, it would have been a test shot of a test shot.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that nukes are awesome. Scary, yes, terrible, yes, but as long as they are used infrequently in uninhabited areas, and as long as I get to watch, I've got no problems with them.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dr Vector's Science Challenge - SOLVED

As Darren postulated, it is a distal caudal (back end of tail) vertebra from a whale. Gray, in this case.

I thought the string and the writing visible on the bottom side (in the original photo; posterior face in real life) would give away the scale, and once you know that... The thing is almost exactly 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter.

The big holes are vascular foramina for the passage of blood vessels. As you can see in the CT image, they go right through the vert.

Sigh. Next time I'll pick something harder. Thanks all for playing. Darren, I have no idea what your prize will be, but it will probably be or involve a lot of beer.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dr. Vector's Science Challenge

Identify this object. First one to get it right gets a nifty prize.* Sarah and Ashley are inelligible, and they know why.

*To be determined later.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Science: the poster

We often hear about the unity of the sciences, but it's nice to see it.

From Seed:

This map was constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 published papers into 776 different scientific paradigms (shown as pale circular nodes) based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. Links (curved black lines) were made between the paradigms that shared papers, then treated as rubber bands, holding similar paradigms nearer one another when a physical simulation forced every paradigm to repel every other; thus the layout derives directly from the data. Larger paradigms have more papers; node proximity and darker links indicate how many papers are shared between two paradigms. Flowing labels list common words unique to each paradigm, large labels general areas of scientific inquiry.
Information Esthetics is giving away free posters. You just pay the shipping. And it's cheaper to order several at once (I'm talkin' to you, Berkeleyites).

Somebody put this on a t-shirt, stat!

IMMEDIATE UPDATE: no t-shirt (yet), but if you like this there is a lot more at this page, where the guy who came up with this explains why and how. In particular, there is a big comparative diagram that compares the science strengths of ten nations (US, UK, Germany, Japan, China, etc.). Very cool stuff.

Labels: , ,