Sunday, December 11, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

Whoa, Fractals!

A section of a Mandelbrot Set
Fractals are sets of information that exhibit self-similar patterns at many scales. They've become rather famous because they can be expressed as beautiful geometric designs which are quite appealing to explore.

With our current era of digital video and graphic design, there's a lot that can be done with fractal visuals these days. I've recently been following artist Julius Horsthuis who renders some gorgeous fractal visualizations. Here's one of them, called Fractalicious 4:  

If you enjoyed the video, then definitely jump over to Horsthuis' website and watch some of the others there. There's definitely some awesome stuff that can be done with fractal designs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Leland Melvin's Space Love Story

Leland Melvin is a NASA astronaut and one of those people who loves to give back through education and outreach just as much as living on the edge of exploration and research. In this episode of Space Love Story from The Planetary Society, Melvin shares his "ah ha" moment from when he was in space:

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Drunk History of the Discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Justin Long and Jason Ritter as Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in the Drunk History episode "New Jersey"  

Drunk History is an absolutely hilarious show. Each episode features three pieces of historical account, all related by some theme or location, and all acted out by a mix of fantastic actors and comedians. The best part: the historical accounts are delivered by people who are ridiculously drunk, and the actors who portray historical figures all lip sync with the spoken words of the drunk story tellers. It's an incredibly fun way to learn about history!

One of my favorite pieces so far from Drunk History was when Jenny Slate tells the story of the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1964. The parts of Penzias and Wilson are played by Justin Long and Jason Ritter, respectively. This discovery, which showed that there is a remnant thermal radiation throughout the universe which derived from a time not too long after the Big Bang, when protons and electrons where combining to form atoms of hydrogen. This radiation, now often referred to as Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, was an important piece to our understanding of modern cosmology and the history of the known universe. 

Definitely check out the Drunk History piece on this discovery. It's called A Sound in Space:

Not only is it informative (though not totally correct), but Jenny Slate is absolutely awesome in this episode.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the Pumpkin Pi

For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it's a very merry day for you (and that you get to eat some pumpkin pie!). Everyone else, I hope your year's harvests have been grand. Be they in foods that you worked through the year to cultivate, or maybe if your harvest this year comes in a bounty of happiness, health, and life, I hope you have some time to reflect on what life has provided for you and what you've managed to provide for yourself and others. Cheers all!