Forget stardust—you are iron. Your blood is nothing but ferrous liquid. When you bleed, you reek of rust. It is iron that fills your heart and sits in your veins. And what is iron, really, unless it’s forged?
You are iron.
And you are strong.
Physicist is both to my mouth and ears so awkward that I think I shall never use it. The equivalent of three separate sounds of “i” in one word is too much.
Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was not fond of that new-fangled word “physicist”.
Instead, he was an “experimentalist”, a “natural philosopher”, or simply a “scientist”. It seems a modern trend, this need to hyper-specialize both our questions and our means of answering them. Fight it.
I am no poet, but if you think for yourselves, as I proceed, the facts will form a poem in your minds.
I throw my plumes up into space sometimes, sayin’ Io…
This has to be the most breathtakingly awesome eruption since Eddie Van Halen dipped the whammy bar down back in 1978.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this blast spewing up from Jupiter’s moon Io back in 2007, as it passed by on its way to Pluto (which it will reach next summer … it’s really far away). That plume rises more than 330 kilometers (200+ miles) into space, nearly the altitude that the International Space Station orbits above Earth!
Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. So many eruptions take place on Io that no impact craters survive, they are constantly filled in by fresh material from the moon’s interior. In fact, Io holds the title for “most powerful eruption ever recorded in the solar system”, back in 2001.
So … Y-IO U SO MAD?
Next to the sun, Jupiter is the most massive object in the solar system. Jupiter’s gravity, combined with the gravitational influence of Io’s fellow moons Europa and Ganymede, tugs and pulls on Io, causing it to be squished and squeezed to the extreme during an orbit around its home planet.
This massive tidal force causes Io’s crust to distort by as much as 100 meters in either direction. Imagine a 100 meter-high tide! Made of land! This causes an extreme amount of friction and tidal heating beneath the crust, essentially cooking Io via squeezing and tugging. As a result, it regularly blows its top in spectacular fashion.
Just another day in the continuing evolution of our solar system!
A visual study/exploration of the body in motion with a focus on yoga poses.
Think about this animation the next time you drop into downward dog.
In addition to star stuff, it appears we are also made of a fair amount of rubber stuff and stretchy stuff.
The composition of a water molecule explained in “Beyond the Microscope,” a GE science film from 1922.
This is great! New YouTube channel idea: Vintage science films. I call dibs.
I guess it’s worth noting that this is not at all what electrons actually “look” like or how bonding works, but I don’t really mind for some reason.
A Form of Happiness: Dopamine
We have all felt the rush and experienced the feeling of happiness, and Speculative Design artist Jessica Charlesworth, along with her husband, Product Designer Tim Parsons, has made it tangible. The couples’ A Form of Happiness project has masterfully resulted in their creation of a wood and magnetic representation of the neurotransmitter responsible for releasing the chemical that fuels our desire for happiness. The effects of the organic chemical, dopamine, are likened to the euphoric feeling and pleasurable physical reaction to things such as searching through sale racks while shopping, enjoying a delicious meal, or the pleasure received from engaging in sexual activity.
A Form of Happiness, displayed as the physical model of dopamine, is part of a kit that allows user to assemble the wooden pieces into the chemical compound strand. Each part is held together by embedded neodymium magnets. The kit includes examples of the various roles that the physical piece could take on and provides a more vivid display of what occurs during moments when dopamine is released. Charlesworth and Parsons pose the question, ‘What makes you happy?’ and while the answers will vary by person, as their model and kit prove, the feeling is the same for everyone. Happiness is a simple chemical reaction we seek it throughout life; a chemical bit of magic.
- Lee Jones
Art like this makes me happy.
David Attenborough, a man who lives and breathes nature.
Lovely illustration by Elda The (Thousand Skies).
Here, in a video from BBC Earth, Sir David is hanging out with an amazing tool-using orangutan, paddling a canoe (the orangutan is paddling, that is) and washing some socks (again, the orangutan, not Dave):
If the moon were only 1 pixel on your screen, how big would the rest of the solar system be?
Just click this link, I beg you, and prepare to have your mind blown.
Absolutely amazing. Fantastic work by designer Josh Worth.
For a a different look at the problem of cosmic distance, check out my video “How Big is the Solar System?”:
And for lots more fun ways to look at the scale of the universe maybe watch this one called (naturally) "The Scale of the Universe":