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Tag Archives: Science

Awesome Map Shows Visualization Of 56 Years’ Worth Of Tornadoes Across The USA

By David Ponce

The fun thing about data is that it can be displayed in a ton of different ways, and sometimes the results are very pretty. Seen above (click it to enlarge) is a map of the United States showing every tornado on record since 1950 going up to 2006. One John Nelson pulled all the relevant data from the website (representing almost 60 years of NOAA information), and color-coded F0 storms a dark purple, while neon blue was used to represent the most powerful category — F5 storms. The result is the above and if anything, it makes us wonder why anyone in their right mind would live in the Eastern part of the country.

[ John Nelson ] VIA [ Geekosystem ] AND [ Full Size Resolution Here ]

This Is How Last Weekend’s Eclipse Looked From Space

By David Ponce

The top photo was taken with NASA’s Terra satellite with its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. No points for guessing in which part of that shadow was the eclipse most complete. The second photo is taken from the International Space Station by noted shutterbug Don Pettit. This shadow is a little bit harder to discern, but it does give you a better idea of the scale of it against the globe.

Last weekend’s eclipse was the annular kind, which leaves about 6% of the sun exposed as a fiery ring around the moon. If you just look around the inter tubes a little bit, you’ll be sure to find pictures of that. But we just thought it was interesting that while most pictures involved cameras pointed up, these two above involves cameras pointed down.

VIA [ Geekosystem ]

A New Coating Could Change The Ketchup Bottle Forever

By David Ponce

Getting Ketchup out of a bottle that isn’t the plastic squeezable type is an exercise in patience. Countless ads for the product have pointed this out, and have almost romanticized the process to the point where it’s almost become part of its charm. But hey, there are those of us who just like to eat without having to hit the bottom of anything made of glass. So MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith and his crew have developed a super non-stick coating they call LiquiGlide which makes anything coated with it, well, super non-stick. Ketchup, as you can see in the video below, simply slides right off the bottle’s inside and on to a plate. It’s easy enough to apply to bottles, as you just have to spray them once while they’re being made. If adopted by manufacturers, the chemical could save billions in wasted food by ensuring everything comes out of the bottle and doesn’t just get thrown out. Each chemical component that makes up LiquiGlide is individually already approved by the FDA, so it shouldn’t take too long for the product itself to receive the seal of approval. What happens at that point remains to be see, but do hit the jump to see another video of this in action.

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Man Build Gun That Shoots Lightning Rays

By David Ponce

Nikola Tesla was a genius. Any geek worth his salt knows this. He was also certifiably insane, which is probably why he was denied credit for much of his inventions. But most of you have probably heard of the Tesla Coil, that device TV shows are very fond of for its ability to produce some fantastic electric discharges. Well, a man by the name of Rob Flickenger has put the device to good use and made a gun out of it. That’s right, Rob’s device is a gun that shoots lighting rays; he calls it The Tesla Gun. There’s no thunder of course, because it’s not actual lightning, but man, that thing shoots some mean electric arcs and can be pointed at stuff. When it doesn’t find ground, it just kind of shoots stuff all over. The gun housing is made from melted down aluminum cans, which was poured into a mold made from a Nerf gun.

The final working Tesla Gun is a portable spark gap Tesla coil that is powered by an 18V drill battery. The electrical system is composed of the aforementioned drill battery along with a flyback transformer that steps the 18V to around 20,000V. A bank of capacitors stores the charge that is then used to strobe the coil itself. The primary and secondary coils are made of ABS plastic wrapped with copper wire, and are used to direct the charge outward through an aluminum toroid (the “barrel” of the gun).

We gotta say, Rob channels the mad scientist look quite well. And he’s done a good job of detailing a step by step of how he made this. So head on over to the links below and watch science in the making.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ ]

Magnifi Case Lets You Use Your iPhone With Almost Any Optical Instrument

By David Ponce

We’re not going to launch into a sales pitch about the iPhone’s camera. It’s nice, ok, but whatever. It’s nice enough to carry around in your pocket and happens to have a smartphone attached to it. So it stands to reason that you’re going to start looking for ways to use it in more situations than it was originally intended for. The Magnifi case lets you position your phone right over the eyepiece of almost any optical instrument, and lock it in place for easy photographing/recording. It has a detachable eyepiece adapter that locks onto the rest of the case through a “bayonet mount”, meaning a twist-to-lock mechanism that not only secures it in place, but makes it simple to upgrade later to different types of adapters should you need to. It’s not a full case in the sense that you won’t be toting your phone around in it; it’s more of a slide-in affair, with a safety latch to prevent the iPhone from sliding out.

Magnifi was designed to work with eyepieces that are 1in – 1.5in in diameter (25mm – 38mm). If your eyepiece has large eye seals, they must be removable. In order to align you phone’s camera with the eyepiece, Magnifi must be able to slide down over the eyepiece at least 1in (25mm) without obstruction.

Currently a fully funded project on Kickstarter, Magnifi is $60 with an eventual retail price of $80.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Wired ]

Shuttle Pr0n: Fascinating Video On Board The Shuttle’s Booster Rockets

By David Ponce

We’re all sad that the shuttle program is over. Space exploration is just no longer the cool thing it was; government dollars for NASA have been dwindling for years. This shifting of priorities is due to the fact that we’re no longer “at war” with the USSR. The cold war meant that each power had to constantly outdo the other and the race into space was as good a way as any to try and one-up your adversary. But all that’s a distant past. So, to relive some of the memories, maybe you could watch the above video. It’s a fascinating 400 second journey of a couple of cameras strapped to the side of the booster rockets on Atlantis and Endeavour. They reach speeds of 3,000pmh and 41 miles of height before noisily re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down in the ocean. It’s all caught in multiple angles and is well worth the watch.

VIA [ GeeksAreSexy ]

Ferrite, The Interactive Liquid Sculpture

By David Ponce

“Ferrofluids are colloidal liquids made of nanoscale ferromagnetic, or ferrimagnetic, particles suspended in a carrier fluid (usually an organic solvent or water). Each tiny particle is thoroughly coated with a surfactant to inhibit clumping.” You’ve probably seen it before in impressive videos of it being manipulated by moving magnets around, looking somewhat like an alien substance. It’s an impressive effect and it’s one that you can now reproduce at will on your desk through this Kickstarter project. Coming in two sizes called Ferrite and Ferro, the desk toys are made from a high quality glass tube and an aluminum base. The larger vessel Ferrite stands 8.5″ tall with a 5″ diameter base. The smaller vessel Ferro is 4.25″ tall and 2″ in diameter. You’re provided with a neodymium stylus so you can play around with the material.

Currently 30% funded, $100 will get you the Ferro while $125 the Ferrite. $175 will get you both.

[ Kickstarter Project ]

DIY Magnetic Levitating Sculpture Kit

By David Ponce

This is a contraption whose sole purpose is to suspend a magnet cube in midair. But if you’re anything like us, you don’t need any more justification to start wanting this. Think of this item as a cross between a toy, a puzzle and a work of art. It’s a puzzle because you’ll be sure to have some fun assembling the 20 laser-cut pieces of MDF. It’s a toy because, let’s face it, it’s more fun than assembling IKEA furniture so the process itself… screw it, alright, it’s not a toy. But it is somewhat of a work of art in that if you like science at all, you can keep this on display to show the world just how much of a geek you are.

Place the cube magnet in between the specially-cast bismuth cones, and let the forces fight. See, gravity will be pulling the magnet cube down, but the super powerful magnet on top of the sculpture will be pulling the magnet cube up. Slowly turn the wheel of your DIY Magnetic Levitating Sculpture Kit (which adjusts the powerful magnet’s distance from the cube). Once you get the forces balanced (so to speak), the magnet cube will hover in mid air!

It’s $50.

[ Product Page ]

Freaking Magnets, How DO They Work?

By David Ponce

Insane Clown Posse might have had a point all along. Check out the above video and have fun picking up your jaw off the floor. It shows what the science types are calling quantum levitation, and is allegedly taking place in Tel Aviv, at an ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) event. Now folks, this stuff is nothing new. It involves superconducting magnets, liquid nitrogen and supposedly an effect called flux pinning. It’s now apparently being called quantum levitation because frankly, it’s attention grabbing. But to be honest, no one is really thinking about the science behind this. It’s the video, guys. Just check out the video. And we know what you’re thinking.



Well, we’re not quite there yet but holy crap this looks amazing.

VIA [ Geekologie ]