This week’s challenge is all about things you admire, so I decided on something a little less..conventional. Do not adjust your set; that is a real human brain, preserved in epoxy and currently on display at the Exploratorium. Take step back and consider all that a human brain does. Controlling your body’s functions, from the senses and sleep to memories and sheer, raw emotion. Keeping you breathing and balanced. Reading this sentence and processing the little squiggles into letters and words, and thus their meaning. A complex organic machine connected via trillions of synapses. For all the dangers out there, it’s allowed us to become the dominant species on the planet. We survive, thrive, create, accomplish, and it’s all because these little clumps of matter are developed just enough to make it happen. Yeah, it’s worth admiration. A larger version is viewable here.
The Asmat are an ethnic group of New Guinea, residing in the Papua province of Indonesia. This skull of one of their ancestors is on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. While some might find it creepy, I think it’s a beautiful artifact of a culture we know so little about. Larger version can be seen here.
This week’s challenge calls for some close-ups, and I immediately thought of this shot. Meet phyllorhiza punctata, more easily pronounced as a white-spotted jellyfish. According to the display, “These jellies can grow up to 60 cm (24 in) in diameter. The stinging cells in their tentacles capture food and provide protection. Each large jelly can collect food from 50 m³ (65 cu yd) of water a day. Diet: small zooplankton. Distribution: coastal areas and estuaries in the Southwestern Pacific, invasive in Hawaii and the Gulf of Mexico.” I photographed this little one, however, at the aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
This week’s challenge is all about forces of nature, so I thought I’d post something about light and its effects of animals. Here’s another Exploratorium exhibit. Basically, zooplankton can distinguish different colors of light. In the ocean, it helps them swim toward the surface, where their food is located. Blue and green lights shine deeper in the water than the other colors, hence why the plankton are attracted to these ones; they think the sun is shining through the water, and that they’re entering the photic zone for a meal. Large version available here.
This week’s challenge calls for something intricate, and I immediately thought of this wall at the Exploratorium.This is part of the “Simply Smashing” exhibit by Rebecca Cummins: A 20-foot wall of about 900 glasses, all filled with water to create optical effects with the reflections. Large version available here. Another angle can be seen here.
This week’s photo challenge calls for something blurry. I recalled something I saw at the Exploratorium on Pi Day: People could take large metal rings and spin them on a curved table. As a result of the altered surface (thus influencing the balance and center of mass), the spinning ring maintained its energy for much longer than it would have on a flat surface. Having a bright light made this physics exhibit a little more stylish. Since this is for a photo challenge, here’s a single shot of the ring in motion:
A little something I came across during Pi Day. One of the optical effects exhibits at the Exploratorium features toy robots, mirrors, and a spinning table. You wish your old flip books were this cool.