Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
Mercury, the innermost planet of our humble little solar system, is getting itself an orbital friend. The MESSENGER space probe (known as MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging to his nearest and dearest) is concluding a six-year sojourn through the dark void of space with an elliptical orbit around the tiny and otherwise inhospitable planet. Systems are about to get turned on and fully checked next week, before the data-gathering phase kicks off in earnest on April 4th. Science, isn’t it beautiful?
Ever known somebody who makes things more complicated than they have to be?
Did I miss a good one? Let me know, below!
For a few years now, I’ve had this hare-brained idea to try to separate the layers of polarizing film from a scrap LCD panel and make a polariscope out of them. So whenever I come across a dead one I tear it apart and do some experimenting. Probably been into half a dozen by now. But I’ve probably learned as much, or more, about how they actually work by watching Bill Hammack’s video this week. As always, Bill’s work has something to offer novices, experts, and those, like myself, who know just enough to be dangerous. [Thanks, Bill!]
Chemical and Bio-engineering student Britt Michelsen writes in about her Kryptonite candy, which uses vitamin B2 to make this homemade confection glow.
For some time now, I’ve been playing around with Fluorescein, which is a dark red powder soluble in water and alcohol. It is commonly used as a fluorescent tracer. Though it is used e.g. in eye drops and biochemical research, it can cause adverse reactions (like nausea or vomiting). Because of this, even though only very small amount are needed I don’t think it is safe enough for candy (and it is not easy to get).
Sadly most phosphorescent substances aren’t classified as “food grade” (even though they are not toxic). In most “glow under a black light” food Quinine is being used, which is in Tonic Water (in very small quantities). In my opinion for candy it is not suitable thought, because of two major reasons: 1. the bitter taste and more importantly 2. it’s melting point is very close to the temperature you will need to make the candy.
So I had to find an other easy to get food grade chemical with a high melting point. My solution: Riboflavin, better known as vitamin B2 or additive E101. It can be found in most vitamin pills, is not toxic and fluorescents yellow under UV light (and even under direct light). The only set back is, that it is destroyed by exposure to light, but in our case it should matter because the process is pretty slow. Tthat is the reason why you should buy your milk rather in opaque containers and not in glass bottles.
The mathematics of modular textiles allows you to take many small pieces of slotted fabric and interconnect them into a do-it-yourself garment. There is no sewing as the textile and the garment are created simultaneously. The parts can later be rearranged if perhaps you want to make a color accent, remove a stain, or just show a little more skin. Designers in the fashion world have taken this idea in various directions, using various underlying tessellations.
This dress design by Fioen van Balgooi and Berber Soepboer is based on squares with tabs in two opposite corners and slots in the other two corners. Notice how each square is rotated 90 degrees relative to its four neighbors. (Model: Marjolein Heij; photography: Savale.nl; make-up: Annelies van Oosterum)
Galya Rosenfeld makes outfits based on more complex modules that can be divided into small squares. (Model: Cory Hillman; photography: Yael Dahan)
And Eunsuk Hur has created designs based on circles with an underlying triangular connection grid. Pieces with tabs alternate with pieces with slots. (photography: SeungMo Hong; makeup: Kanako Yoshida)