Beautiful ‘flowers’ self-assemble in a beaker
Fields of carnations and marigolds seem to bloom from the surface of a submerged glass slide, assembling themselves a molecule at a time.
“For at least 200 years, people have been intrigued by how complex shapes could have evolved in nature. This work helps to demonstrate what’s possible just through environmental, chemical changes,” says Noorduin.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first close-up, visible-light views of a behemoth hurricane swirling around Saturn’s north pole.
These are no ordinary fossils (if there is such a thing): these incredible relics are made of solid opal, sometimes with rainbows of shimmering color. Australia is the only place on Earth where opalized animal fossils are found. These fossils are of global scientific interest and are among the most beautiful and valuable in the world.
How do opalized fossils form?
Opal forms in cavities within rocks. If a cavity has formed because a bone, shell or pine cone was buried in the sand or clay that later became the rock, and conditions are right for opal formation, then the opal forms a fossil replica of the original object that was buried. We get opalized fossils of two kinds:
i. Internal details not preserved: Opal starts as a solution of silica in water. If the silica solution fills an empty space left by a shell, bone etc that has rotted away - like jelly poured into a mould - it may harden to form an opalized cast of the original object. Most opalized shell fossils are ‘jelly mould’ fossils - the outside shape is beautifully preserved, but the opal inside doesn’t record any of the creature’s internal structure.
ii. Internal details preserved: If the buried organic material hasn’t rotted away and a silica solution soaks into it, when the silica hardens it may form an opal replica of the internal structure of the object. This happens sometimes with wood or bone.
Images in this order: Opalized Dinosaur tooth, Ammonite,Shell x2, Dinosaur bone, Wood, Pineapple, Mussel shell, Belemnite. Click on each to view in more detail.
Needle playing a record | Victrola Coffee Roasters
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the needle (stylus) of a record player in a groove on a record. A record is used to store sound. It is produced by a machine with a head which vibrates in time to the sound being recorded. This cuts a groove in the record which varies according to the vibrations. A needle can then reproduce these vibrations as it runs along the groove and these, when amplified, produce the original sound.
Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. What is the other text, the original? I have no answer. I suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim, and one catches them in nets of words and swings them shining into the boat…where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches.
Ursula K. Le Guin, “Reciprocity of Prose and Poetry,” address, 1983 in Poetry Series, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. (via asymptotejournal)