Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nature By Numbers

A movie inspired on numbers, geometry and nature, by Cristóbal Vila. Go to for more info.

Paint by numbers

It is paint-by-numbers for neuroscientists. At the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, researchers have devised a faster way of computing the neural connections that make up the brain. Mapping out this intricate web previously depended on the human eye as no computer was powerful enough to handle the brain's complex network of 70 billion neurons and thousands of kilometres of circuits. For this gargantuan task, even the smallest sliver of neural tissue was painstaking, demanding an experienced team to make modest progress.
Now with the help of two computer programs, Moritz Helmstaedter, Kevin Briggman and Winfried Denk have developed a faster and more accurate way of completing this neural cartography.
The first program, KNOSSOS - named after an ancient palace labyrinth in Crete - lets untrained users visualise and annotate 3D image data while the second, RESCOP summarises their work. In a test of this method, a team of 70 students created a detailed rendering of the connections between more than 100 retinal neurons in a mouse. Pictured above, the reconstruction outlines the dense bundles their projections form to receive input from photoreceptors.
The new programs could make the difficult but vital task of plotting out the brain's neural circuitry possible.

Journal reference: Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn.2868

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Warning. Tiger Death in Indonesia

Greenpeace has released distressing footage about the death of a Sumatran tiger. The animal was trapped for six days in total without food or water. After a week of suffering forest officers arrived to evacuate the tiger – but it was too late. The tiger died during the rescue attempt.
I started watching the video, but had to stop. It is truly extremely upsetting.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

St. James' Infirmary (BBC Four Sessions)

Van Morrison and his full band, featuring Georgie Fame and Mick Green, treat a select few at St. Luke's Church in London to a memorable performance.

Harmonica Boogie (Montreux 1974)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Listen to your heart

Mike Rowland has a master's degree in electro acoustic composition and is the composer of The Fairy Ring, the most successful New Age album of all time. He has composed and released albums that inspire and heal and the qualities of his music are beneficial and relaxing. It is used in hospitals, healing centers, sensory environments and homes across the world. He enjoys using electronics, recordings of nature as well as live instruments to create his beautiful music.

Mike is currently compiling a book about the power of healing through music. Mike invites you to contribute by sending details of your experiences when you listen to his healing music. The details will aid in creating important research that goes into proving that music and healing are related.

Feature film: An Emperor Penguins documentary. I have the impression that to penguins, man is a different kind of penguin, unpredictable, occasionally violent, but tolerable company when he sits still and admires Nature and leaves it as he found it. ~Aetopus

Friday, July 22, 2011

20 things you need to know about Einstein

Time has published "20 things you need to know about Einstein". I am copying the first bit here:

Was Einstein a slow learner as a child?

Einstein was slow in learning how to speak. His parents even consulted a doctor. He also had a cheeky rebelliousness toward authority, which led one headmaster to expel him and another to amuse history by saying that he would never amount to much. But these traits helped make him a genius. His cocky contempt for authority led him to question conventional wisdom. His slow verbal development made him curious about ordinary things – such as space and time – that most adults take for granted. His father gave him a compass at age five, and he puzzled over the nature of a magnetic field for the rest of his life. And he tended to think in pictures rather than words.  
more here

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Do not watch!

How to cross a street in Vietnam...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saving Valentina

Michael Fishbach narrates his encounter with a humpback whale entangled in a fishing net. Gershon Cohen and he have founded The Great Whale Conservancy to help and protect whales.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Flashed Face Distortion Effect

Like many interesting scientific discoveries, this one was an accident. Sean Murphy, an undergraduate student, was working alone in the lab on a set of faces for one of his experiments. He aligned a set of faces at the eyes and started to skim through them. After a few seconds, he noticed that some of the faces began to appear highly deformed and grotesque. He looked at the especially ugly faces individually, but each of them appeared normal or even attractive. It was called the “Flashed Face Distortion Effect”.
The effect seems to depend on processing each face in light of the others. By aligning the faces at the eyes and presenting them quickly, it becomes much easier to compare them, so the differences between the faces are more extreme. If someone has a large jaw, it looks almost ogre-like. If they have an especially large forehead, then it looks particularly bulbous.

M B Thompson

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Germany versus Greece

One of the best games I have seen so far.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

H2Oh!: nice commercial

Linda McCartney: Life in photographs

The quest to know the private Beatles is catapulted into a whole other dimension in Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs — a remarkable retrospective volume of work by the late and great Linda McCartney, wife of Paul, passionate animal rights activist and, above all, formidable music photographer.

The lavish retrospective features the most compelling photographs culled from her archive of over 200,000 images. From her early portraits of the Swingin’ Sixties to her final years with The Beatles, McCartney’s work spans an incredible range of cultural history and energy, ranging from the quiet poetry of private moments to the palpable creative energy of studio sessions to the riveting exhilaration of life on and behind the stage.

Via Brain Pickings.

Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis from Per Byhring on Vimeo.

This video with animations explains how particles originating from deep inside the core of the sun create northern lights, also called aurora borealis, on our planet.

It was produced by in collaboration with the Department of Physics at the University of Oslo.