Microscopic Images Of Seeds [via Nina Reznick]

The diversity and intricacy of shapes and sizes of seeds is extraordinary. Even more amazing is that within even the tiniest of seeds lies the complete genetic information required to birth and structure such organisms as the complex passion flower, or a 360 foot tall sequoia. Seeds are also amazing travelers, either with the help of the wind or by hitching rides with neighboring wildlife. If stored in ideal conditions, seeds can also spring to life, after hundreds of years of lying dormant.

Read more

Ray Kurzweil singularity prediction supported by prominent AI scientists [via Nina Reznick]

According to an article in web magazine Futurism today, two prominent artificial intelligence (AI) experts have agreed with inventor, author and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s prediction of singularity — a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed — to happen in about 30 years: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Patrick Winston, Ph.D., Ford Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, and Jurgen Schmidhuber, Ph.D., Chief Scientist of the company NNAISENSE, which aims at building the first practical general purpose AI.

Schmidhuber is confident that the singularity “is just 30 years away, if the trend doesn’t break, and there will be rather cheap computational devices that have as many connections as your brain, but are much faster. There is no doubt in my mind that AIs are going to become super smart.”

Read more

Heracleion: INCREDIBLE FIND [via Cacciatore]

Off the coast of Egypt  divers have discovered something  that was thought to be lost a long time ago. It was said that the ancient city of Heracleion was lost under the sea for good. Well 1200 years later, off the bay of Aboukir, this ancient city has finally been discovered. The city dates back to the 6th century B.C. and holds some of the most beautiful artifacts you could imagine. Things like grand statues of gods and goddesses standing well over 15 feet tall and carved out of red granite, treasures of gold and rare stones, elaborate temples and enormous tablets. This find is enormous in the historical preservation community and has been commissioned by museums around the world. Take a look at this incredible city found underwater.

This is an absolutely epic underwater find that has researchers scrambling to this part of the globe to learn about this incredibly beautiful Egyptian city. The fact that this city found underwater has been left untouched underwater for so many years is an amazing factor on its own let alone being a find as big as it truly is. These statues and artifacts are massive and nearly perfectly preserved. The attention to detail in these pieces is truly beautiful and I’m happy to see it being preserved with great care.


Flash Flood Something to Behold! [via Pat Francke]

Reed Timmer - MAJOR flash flood and debris flow in Johnson Canyon, Utah earlier this afternoon just east of Kanab. 

I’m always secretly happy when Ryan fucks up his meat pies.— KC, 7/30/18

60 Years of NASA, Celebrating Where Art and Science Meet

To celebrate NASA’s 60th anniversary this year, the agency partnered with the National Symphony Orchestra to present a concert in Washington entitled “NSO Pops: Space, the Next Frontier.” NASA mission images complemented performances of space-inspired music in the Kennedy Center’s concert hall, including Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (“Moonlight”), with a video of the Moon created by NASA science visualizer Ernie Wright. 

At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Wright works in the Scientific Visualization Studio, using NASA data to create accurate visuals of celestial bodies. Wright made the lunar imagery accompanying “Clair de Lune” with data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). 

Since its 2009 launch, LRO has harvested data on the Moon’s radiation, chemistry, temperature and topography. The shape of the lunar terrain is measured by LRO's laser altimeter, LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter). “The principle behind measuring the topography of the Moon is fairly straightforward,” said Noah Petro, LRO project scientist. “We fire a laser from the spacecraft to the surface of the Moon, and measure the time it takes that pulse to go from spacecraft to surface and back.” 

The longer the laser takes to bounce back to LRO, the farther away the lunar surface. Over many years, a topographic map of the entire Moon is built up, creating the most accurate map of a celestial body’s topography ever created. Wright then uses this map and images of the Moon in the same 3D visualization software preferred by animators such as those at Pixar to make digital models. “What Ernie has done is that he drapes the images on top of the topography,” Petro said. 

Topography was Wright’s biggest challenge. “The thing about the Moon is that the shadows are everything. If you don't do that well, you've pretty much lost the game — there aren't vibrant colors like on the Earth or Jupiter or Saturn,” Wright said. 

Wright’s video displays breathtaking views of lunar landmarks, beginning with a sunrise dragging shadows across the surface and ending with sunsets lengthening the darkness along the same geography. The music, Wright said, is “melancholy, solitary and contemplative, as if you’re alone, walking through a garden in the moonlight.” The result, with serene music that breathes in time with crisp visuals, is a perspective on our Moon that Debussy could have only dreamed of when he tried to capture the essence of the body that dominates the night sky. 

Read more 

2018 European Stone-Stacking Championship – in pictures

The competition taking place in Dunbar, Scotland is one of Europe’s largest championships for stone stacking and balancing artists

Andy Buchanan/ AFP/ Getty Images