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Tag Archives: Science

The Foldscope Is A Legit Paper Microsope That Fits In Your Pocket

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There exists and entire world at the microscopic level that we never get to see outside of pictures in textbooks and online. But there’s something really cool about being able to check out the inside of a cell you just scraped off the walls of your own mouth, or being able to examine the bulb of a hair you just plucked out of your own head. With the Foldscope, not only can you do that, but you can then unfold it and pack right back into your pocket. It provides 140X magnification, which is enough for “imaging live individual cells, cellular organelles, embryos, swimming bacteria and much more.”

The Foldscope has been around for 5 years, but started out as a project to provide third world countries affordable access to scientific instruments. So the company “built, designed and shipped (free of any cost) 50,000 Foldscopes to kids (and teachers, home-school moms, classrooms, naturalists, gem collectors, bee-keepers, tribal kids, camel herders, space scientists, parasitologists, scrap-metal collectors.. you get the point) around the world in 130+ countries.” Now it’s your turn to own one, and you’ll only have to pledge $20 to do so. Know that this money will get you more than just the Foldscope, but an entire scientific kit including slides, Petri dishes, strainers, pipettes, tweezers… If you’ve got even a passing interest in science, this could kick it into high gear.

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Plush Tardigrades Will Teach Your Kids About Nature’s Strangest Creature

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Tardigrades are fascinating microscopic creatures with some properties that baffle most scientists. Also known as ‘water bears’, “they can survive temperatures ranging from near absolute zero (?458 °F) up to 300 °F, withstand pressures 6 times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches or radiation hundreds of times higher than what’s lethal for humans, and even survive in the vacuum of outer space. They can also survive without food and water for over 30 years.” They even survive the vacuum of space. So it sort of makes sense that a creature as cool as these would be made into a plushie, because once you give it to your kid they’ll inevitably ask what the heck it is and you’ll have an opportunity to educate them on a bunch of sciencey topics. They’re as anatomically correct as can be, albeit 1,000 larger than their real life counterparts. They cost 4,104 Yen, or roughly $36USD.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ NoPuedoCreer ]

Gallium, The Melt-in-your-Hands Metal That You Can Buy

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It’s kind of safe too, or at the very least, it’s safer than playing with Mercury. Gallium is a metal whose melting point is at 29.76 °C (85.56 °F), below your skin temperature. That means that simply handling a little block in your hands will melt it and you’ll have liquid metal in the palm of your hand! We wouldn’t recommend ingesting it since it is metal, and it will temporarily stain your skin as it gets into the crevices on your epidermis, but it’s still safe enough to play around with and show your friends and even kids. You can get a 20g chunk of it on Amazon for $10, which is dirt cheap for anyone with a slight scientific inclination, or that just likes anything remotely cool.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ BoingBoing ]

Wear The Planets On Your Fingers

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There seems to be a tiny market for planet-themed items. We’ve written about Planetary Christmas tree ornaments and Planetary Glasses, and they’ve all been well received. Now we come across these Solar System Rings by Etsy seller JewelryThreeSnails. They feature each of our solar system’s planets, though we’re not sure about Pluto’s status anymore. It’s not really a planet, right? In any case, they’re not expensive, made from silver with an enamel, and will set you back $14 a piece or $129 for the set of 9.

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Archaeology Soap Will Get Your Kids Clean, Hopefully Thinking About Science

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Getting kids to take their showers, and getting them to pay attention to sciencey stuff can be two of most common challenges of raising them. At least, we think so… we have no idea about raising kids. But this Archaeology Soap can at least add a bit of a twist to a child’s normal bath time routine. It features three layers, the bottommost containing pumice stone, and the middle one bentonite. More importantly, each soap has two plastic dinosaurs embedded, for your child to discover as he gets clean. It might spark a conversation, which is all you should need to steer his young impressionable mind towards loftier interests than just playing Pokemon, or whatever it is kids play these days. It’s $17 from Thinkgeek.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Now This Is A Flustercuck: CERN Has To Untangle 9,000 Cables Before The Next LHC Upgrade

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If the sight of the spaghetti tangle of cables behind your desktop gives you anxiety, consider yourself lucky you’re not one of the CERN engineers tasked to remove old cabling at the Large Hadron Collider before its next big equipment upgrade. Over the years of upgrades and maintenance, the particle accelerator has grown in complexity, and has left colossal piles of cables crisscrossing in a surprisingly disorganized manner. Now a team of 60 engineers is being tasked with figuring out which cable does what before it can be unplugged, lest the entire system lose data or go into failsafe mode and stop working. All 9,000 of them. And these are only the ones associated with the Proton Synchrotron Booster (PS Booster), the Proton Synchrotron (PS), and the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS). So far the team has identified “2,700 of the 9,000 obsolete cables that are believed to exist in the three instruments. Evrard believes they will be able to find 8,000 of them before the LHC comes back online, which should make it feasible to get all the cables out of the way when the time comes for installing new cables in 2019 and 2020.”

It’s an interesting bit of news that might put our mundane hardware woes into perspective.

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VIA [ Geek.com ]

Tec Torch Will Punch a 5,000 Degree Hole Through Anything

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Thermite is awesome. It’s a powdered mixture of metals and metal oxides that, when ignited, will reach temperatures of 5,000 degrees Farenheit, hot enough to melt any metal. But it’s also potentially dangerous and hard to handle. The EMPI Tec Torch uses this reaction, and harnesses it into a handheld instrument that can be used to breach just about anything. A Thermite cartridge is inserted into a flashlight-like tool that also contains a battery and an ignition switch. When you press the button, the contents are lit and the front of the tool expels a metal vapour for 1 to 2 seconds, a vapour hot enough to melt any metal padlock, cable, rebar, or object that stands between you and where you want to go; it can cut a 0.35 inch diameter hole through a 0.50 inch steel plate, and even works under water! It’s marketed to military, law enforcement, and first-response personnel that would have legal reasons to use this tool, but we imagine if you have legitimate uses for it you could buy it too. Considering the starter kit (which comes with 4 cartridges) costs $995, miscreants with nefarious intentions will think twice before buying this to commit a crime.

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This Syringe Filled With Sponges Can Stop Bloodloss from A Gun Shot Wound in 15 Seconds

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It’s a little depressing to realize how timely news of this product is, given the events unfolding worldwide as a result of religiously-motivated hate. But in a search for a silver lining, we suppose it’s somewhat comforting to know that there exists a product that can dramatically increase chances of survival in the event of being injured by a gun shot. You’re looking at a sponge-filled syringe called the XSTAT 30, which has been approved by the FDA as a tool to stop blood catastrophic blood loss. When medics arrive on the scene, they can quickly inject the wound with 92 of these little sponges, which will expand, absorb blood and eventually block further loss, giving the patient time to reach a hospital before dying from exsanguination. Once in the ER, doctors can remove the sponges and give appropriate treatment. Each one is tagged with a radiopaque marker to insure none is accidentally left inside a patient. Initially reserved for military use, the FDA clearance now makes it available to the general public. And while it’s not something you would buy yourself, you can now move on with your life with the knowledge that if something tragic were to happen, there’s an extra tool in doctors’ arsenal to keep you alive.

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[ FDA Press Release ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

Planetary Paperweight For The Science Geek In Your Life

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Are we talking about paperweights on OhGizmo!? Yes, yes we are. It’s not any ordinary paperweight though, but a Planetary Paperweight, not unlike the Planetary Lollipops or Planetary Glass Set we wrote about a while back. It’s a fun reminder that our little planet is nothing but a speck of dust in our vast universe, and a cool visual nod to the tiny neighbourhood of our galaxy we happen to inhabit. It’ll look great on the desk of any science-minded loved one in your life, and at $38, it makes a great stocking stuffer for the upcoming Holidays.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ The Gadget Flow ]