In 1955, Thomas Harvey stole Albert Einstein’s brain. Luckily, the great physicist was dead at the time, having just passed away. What made this caper so odd was that Dr. Harvey was there to do an autopsy, not to take home souvenirs.
After slicing the organ into hundreds of pieces and preserving them in formaldehyde, Harvey stored them away, hoping to decode the genius that lay within. He ended up losing his job over the burgled brain.
Those brain slices are now available to tour via an iPad app. Some basic staining and classification has been done, but in the days before MRI and other technologies, not much was gleaned from analysis of Al’s grey matter.
That’s probably still the case today. Touring such an eminent brain on an iPad sounds like a fun experience, but I don’t know if it’s worth $10. How much can gross anatomy tell us about the source of Einstein’s inspiration, his creativity, his knowledge? Probably not much.
There will be another Einstein one day. Heck, they might already be born. Perhaps studying genius brains in coming decades will give some hints as to how they are able to do what they do. For now, we’ll have to make do with a digital neural time capsule, because it’s the closest most of us will get to what was under that white mess of hair.
(via Wired Science)
Cassini HD - Explore Saturn Via iPad
Our very own science/art Tumblrer stacythinx has been hard at work designing the Cassini HD iPad app, available Sept. 15 in the iTunes store (that’s tomorrow!). It will be free for the first day, by the way (I’ll add the link when it goes live).
I’ve had a chance to play with the app, and it’s really something special. NASA’s Cassini mission has provided us with what I think is the greatest catalogue of planetary images from our solar system. Saturn is such a visually striking celestial body, and exploring its moons and rings via photography gives us the ability to take a digital rocket tour with just a single click.
The Cassini HD app delivers more than just pretty pictures, of course. Tap an image to find out a little bit of the context behind each photo, and any of them can be shared on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc. right in the app. My only complaint about the app is that there isn’t more written, but the pictures are informative on their own, and still serve to inspire further study. The philosophy behind this project, and Stacey’s Tumblr, is making knowledge beautiful. Mission accomplished!
I give it a rating of 10 rings out of 10. Go get it tomorrow!
Many people maintain that one of the benefits of social networking is that you can interact with people from the safety of your own pajamas, never having to actually touch them or share germs or remove the cat hair from your clothes. Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard … they’re all sterile, ordered and relatively harmless to your long-term health. I mean just look at Google+! I’ve seen hospital operating rooms that weren’t that sterile looking!
That’s true no more. A new iPad app called Biologic seeks to turn your social networking experience into microbial warfare. Your friends are cells, and their content exists inside of them. As that “cell” shares content, a sort of natural selection takes over, with popularity and influence letting that cell take over the screen.
The company behind it hopes to keep adapting their algorithms to bring a constantly evolved and curated feed of what’s important to you just by letting you open up the digital petri dish on your iPad. Unlike Flipboard or other “skin” readers that just polish up your feeds into attractive packages, this could truly change the way you interact with and discover content.
If anyone plays with it, let me know what you think.
The hugely popular YouTube educational series from Khan Academy will be available on the iPad any minute now. Best part? Offline learning!
The major benefit of the app is offline learning, “If you’re going on a road trip or if you’re taking mass transit and you don’t have cell service, or whatever, you can get the content,” says Khan Academy Lead Designer, Jason Rosoff. The iPad frees Khan Academy from the constraints of a laptop and Internet connection.
There will also be an interactive transcript of the lectures within the app to aid students in following along at their own pace. When integrated with a more complete data-tracking system in classrooms, this iPad system could allow teachers to track progress of students by the minute and focus on human interactions.
It will be interesting to see how the adoption of iPads in classrooms works in cash-strapped districts when weighed against textbooks.
Here’s the trailer for Inside the World of Dinosaurs (by InsideDinosaurs), an educational app with animated dinosaurs and narration by Stephen Fry. What’s not to love about that?
Looks like yet another dose to get me closer to full-on device addiction.
Love where these rich-media apps are taking science education.
In addition to hurtling people and expensive equipment into space, NASA does a ton of basic scientific research to help us learn more about this rock we call Earth. And much of that research gets turned into amazing visualizations, because stuff is always easier to learn when you make it look cool.
Now you can explore them via an iPad app. For free! Check out the NASA iPad Visualization Explorer for a constantly updated collection of interactive imagery beamed straight from their fleet of research spacecraft right to your hands.
(via Chart Porn, image at top is of ocean surface currents off the East Coast of the U.S. as captured by NASA satellites)
Clinic studying iPad app to screen for concussions … very appropriate with football right around the corner.