SciencePunk

Skull by Tim Biskup

I’m rather taken by Tim Biskup’s work, especially his skulls. I think this design appeared on a limited edition Poketo wallet (the only type I buy) some years back, but I missed out on getting one. For shame. For more of his latest work, see the Design Collector blog.

Delineating journalism

During the First World War, an enterprising British field medic named Sgt James Shearer unveiled a machine that promised to revolutionise medicine. Shearer’s “Delineator” was a small wooden box that had an aperture at one end and a crank on the side. Clicking the shutter and winding the arm produced a small drawing of a…

Researchers  at the Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the University of Tübingen have restored vision in blind patients using tiny retinal implants embedded in the eye. Nine patients were chosen because they had all suffered hereditary diseases where the retina had degenerated to the point of blindness, but left the remainder of the visual pathway intact.…

Recently, I noticed something strange about the postage stamps on my mail. They have a glossy coat that can only be seen at certain angles. Written in this glossy ink are the words ROYAL MAIL over and over again, like a watermark. But there’s something wrong. Can you spot it? Look at the second line…

Pretty wild news this morning – a meteor shower over the Central Russian cities of Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk has caused hundreds of injuries and damaged buildings. It is not connected with tonight’s (very!) near-pass of asteroid 2012 DA14. Thanks to the prevalence of dashboard cams in Russia, there’s some amazing footage already circulating. The web’s resident…

Following some conversations with fellow writers over the weekend, I’ve been thinking critically about writing – both my own and that of others. When I first started writing about science, it naturally stemmed from reading the work of very good science writers, and true to form my first steps were wholesale imitations of these people.…

Super-hydrophobic coating is super-weird

Witchcraft! It reminds me of the “plasma polymer” coating developed some years ago by DSTL, Britain’s defence research organisation. I wonder if the technologies are  related?

On outreach

“The problem with the London sci-comm crowd,” a friend once smiled to me, “is that they can’t invite their mates to the pub without giving it a title and calling it outreach”. That jest has been on my mind lately, as many among us fret over the future of the UK’s oldest science outreach organisation,…

So, as I’ve said before, my mind is often occupied with how I might develop writing in new ways. For a while I’ve been working on an anti-blog that specifically contravenes all supposed user-interface rules (no comments, no archives, no title), which should hopefully launch soon. I’ve also started a new subject-specific blog that lives…

Director Jilli Rose has made a short animated documentary about everyone’s favourite back-from-the-dead, hiding-on-an-impenetrable-Pacific-island-fortress tree lobster. Jilli says: So many conservation stories are grim and worrying, it’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of them. I want to drop a good story into the mix, to uplift and hopefully energise viewers, particularly kids, and to…