SciencePunk

Google Time View

There’s been quite a lot of coverage in the press about Google’s street-mapping of the tsunami-damaged Fukushima district in Japan, still derelict two years since the disaster. I think this is interesting for a couple of reasons, The first is the use of Google’s Street View as a journalism. The mayor of Namie invited the cameras…

Moscow police officers have detained a schoolteacher after 14 kg of radioactive material was discovered in his garage. The police cited the man as saying that he had used the substances to “irradiate” a friend who wanted to become immortal. He reportedly said the friend had even traveled to the site of the 1986 Chernobyl…

A couple of surprising images from the medical literature – two patients with chopsticks buried deep in their skulls.  The first belongs to a 38-year-old woman who was dancing at a wedding while eating with chopsticks. Someone accidentally pushed into her from behind, causing the woman to fall forward onto one of the chopsticks. The wooden…

Leave nothing to the imagination

Last month I visited Amsterdam to take part in Sonic Acts, an art festival with a keen love of the scientific. Amid music woven out of the electromagnetic ether and artists painting geomagnetic storms, I took part in a panel convened by Arc editor Simon Ings to discuss the ‘futures of science and science fiction’.…

Written over a year ago, but only just coming to my attention, is Google engineer Jean-Baptiste Quéru‘s wonderful essay describing how no single person alive understands entirely what’s going on in the machines we use daily. You just pressed a key on your keyboard. Simple, isn’t it? What just actually happened? Well, when you know about…

From the annals of dystopian architecture: the New York Times reports on a trend in US communities to build nominal parks to drive out sex offenders. The parks are often too small to be of any use to local children – instead, they exist to force out nearby paroled sex offenders, who are  required to…

This is an adaptation of my shortlisted entry to the 2013 Future of Money Design Award. The brief was to design a crime that would exist in a cashless economy. The judging took place at the Consult Hyperion  Tomorrow’s Transaction conference. I didn’t win, but I enjoyed working on the idea and it was nice…

A while back I chanced across a post by Carla Sinclair at BoingBoing, recounting a recent TED talk that proposed reviving extinct species: Stewart Brand began his TED talk today with the statement, “Biotechnology is about to liberate conservation.” Before I had a chance to process what that meant, he went on to list a…

Festival fan art of Brian Cox

So last summer I ran a quiz at the Secret Garden Party festival in Cambridgeshire. For the picture round, teams had to submit their best drawing of  hearthrob scientist Professor Brian Cox. Here are some of the entries.            

A whimsical thing: the Oxford Electric Bell, pictured here, is a battery-powered device that has been running (almost!) continuously since it was built in 1840. A clapper on a pendulum rocks from side to side between two metal spheres, driven by electrostatic forces. The bell is powered by a pair of mysterious batteries, the composition of…