Black leather jacket, Eerie black, Outer space, Licorice, Onyx and plain old Black. These are the names of Crayola’s blackest of black crayons. Sure, they’re all jet black, but none of them have anything on “Vantablack,” an extraordinary new nanofiber believed to be the darkest black on Earth, even darker than NASA’s “super-black.”
Not to beat this unusually dark horse dead, but Vantablack is actually so deeply black that your eyes can’t really see it at all, only the area surrounding it. And we’re not kidding when we say looking at this “strange, alien” stuff is like gazing into a black hole. Not a deep, dark cave kind of hole. Think darker. The kind of black hole found in outer space. Continue reading…
Sheer crazy coolness.
MIT project page. Continue reading…
Using a high-speed camera, scientists at MIT have been able to passively recover audio by analyzing minute vibrations, effectively turning everyday objects into ‘Visual Microphones’. You can read more about this fascinating work by Abe Davis, Michael Rubinstein, Neal Wadhwa, Gautham J. Mysore, Fredo Durand and William T. Freeman at the
The biggest casualty of everyone being so connected is productivity. No one is getting much done at the office. A few ways you can maintain a healthy brain at work.
FORTUNE — When cars first became popular 100 years ago, there were no road rules or speed limits to begin with. Inspired by the freedom of their speedy new toys, drivers zoomed around as fast as they could. Crashes were a constant.
Today’s speedy new toys, the smartphone and tablet, help people work when, where, and how they want. Excited by their newfound freedom, people are staying connected 24/7, working as fast as they can. The crashes this time are less obvious but still producing pain.
A creative team that used to debrief with their client by video once a week from the office is now on video daily from their tablets. A software project that took six people a few months to complete is now broken into hundreds of parts for micro developers to finish in a week. While these ideas may sound enticing, there are implications to moving this fast, as HP HPQ -0.87% discovered with tablets and Apple aapl 0.10% with maps. Continue reading…
A 30-second video of a newborn baby shows the infant silently snoozing in its crib, his breathing barely perceptible. But when the video is run through an algorithm that can amplify both movement and color, the baby’s face blinks crimson with each tiny heartbeat.
The amplification process is called Eulerian Video Magnification, and is the brainchild of a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Continue reading…
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
Scientists have known for some time that the human brain’s ability to stay calm and focused is limited and can be overwhelmed by the constant noise and hectic, jangling demands of city living, sometimes resulting in a condition informally known as brain fatigue.
With brain fatigue, you are easily distracted, forgetful and mentally flighty — or, in other words, me.
But an innovative new study from Scotland suggests that you can ease brain fatigue simply by strolling through a leafy park. Continue reading…
The ability to see the world in a broad spectrum of colors is more than just a wonderful gift—it’s a survival mechanism that humans evolved in order to identify both threats and food. But color vision also helps us read each other. Research by evolutionary neurobiologist Dr. Mark Changizi’s traces the development of color vision to the need among primates to understand changes in skin hue associated with different states of emotion or health. Flushed cheeks, for example, correspond to embarassment, exhaustion, illness, or anger associated with different levels of oxygenation in the blood. The ability to detect those states makes you more likely to survive. It’s an evolutionary advantage. Continue reading…
On diving head-first into the unknown.
Since 2004, Radiolab has been sparking a singular kind of magic at the intersection of science and storytelling, redefining not only public radio but also the “role of scientific culture in modern society,” to borrow Richard Feynman’s words.
In this fantastic talk from The 99% Conference, Radiolab mastermind and MacArthur genius Jad Abumrad takes us behind the scenes to explore the tribulations and triumphs of building a novel paradigm from the ground up. Continue reading…