Kinect 3D camera used to create realtime water simulation (by BizarBin)
In this amazing video you see a sandbox equipped with a Kinect 3D camera and a projector used to create a real-time colored topographic map with contour lines onto the sand surface. The sandbox lets virtual water flow over the surface using a GPU-based simulation of the Saint-Venant set of shallow water equations.
The UC Davis W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences built this for an NSF-funded project on informal science education. These AR sandboxes will be set up as hands-on exhibits in science museums, such as the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) or Lawrence Hall of Science.
Project home page: http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/ResDev/SARndbox
The sandbox is based on the original idea shown in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7YVqyudiE
The water flow simulation is based on the work of Kurganov and Petrova, “a second-order well-balanced positivity preserving central-upwind scheme for the Saint-Venant system.” (via POPSCI)
Perpetual Ocean (by djxatlanta)
Ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through Decmeber 2007. This visualization was produced using NASA/JPL’s computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2. ECCO2 is high resolution model of the global ocean and sea-ice. ECCO2 attempts to model the oceans and sea ice to increasingly accurate resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow-current systems which transport heat and carbon in the oceans.The ECCO2 model simulates ocean flows at all depths, but only surface flows are used in this visualization. The dark patterns under the ocean represent the undersea bathymetry. Topographic land exaggeration is 20x and bathymetric exaggeration is 40x. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.
How long-running is the longest-running lab experiment? Eighty-five years so far. The pitch-drop experiment—really more of a demonstration—began in 1927 when Thomas Parnell, a physics professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, set out to show his students that tar pitch, a derivative of coal so brittle that it can be smashed to pieces with a hammer, is in fact a highly viscous fluid. It flows at room temperature, albeit extremely slowly. Today the experiment is broadcast on a live webcam. (via Popular Science)
In 1859, Richard Carrington observed a large group of sunspots, and two solar flares. The flares’ path is marked A-C and B-D. This was one of the first observations of solar flares, which Carrington suspected were the cause of the disruption on Earth. Credit: Science Museum. (via Stories from the stores)
What Can a Toy Teach Us about Seismic Waves?
On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake emanated from the little-known Central Virginia Seismic Zone. The epicenter was near Mineral, VA, but the tremor shook homes, schools, and office buildings in Washington, DC, including Smithsonian Institution buildings, and beyond.
Diamagnetic Levitation 2 - Bismuth (by PaulsLab)
The first shot shows the setup of this experiment. One big cylindrical magnet, made from neodymium (NdFeB), is hung at the top, above two plates of bismuth. Bismuth is element nr. 83; a highly diamagnetic metal. Diamagnetic means that it creates an opposing magnetic field if there is a magnetic field close to it. That means that it will repel a magnet. The small cube between the two plates of bismuth is also made of neodymium (NdFeB) and measures 5x5x5 mm. The two plates of bismuth repel the magnet, but they are not strong enough to overcome gravity. This is solved by the big cylindrical magnet on top of it all attracting the small magnet. If all elements are aligned carefully, the small magnet will float stably between the two bismuth plates. You can easily push the magnet and it will go back to the center. It can spin for hours!
How To Study A Volcano
One of the most dangerous jobs in science has to be a volcanologist. When you watch the video above you can see why (although trying to get that close to a bubbling cauldron of lava is not just dangerous; it’s stupid enough that even your fellow volcanologists will yell at you). But collecting and analyzing samples of lava and deadly gases are just a couple tools in the volcanologist’s box; here are some of the other—safer—ways they study volcanoes:
Measure seismic activity: Earthquakes are an early warning sign that something is going on underground with a volcano. The rumblings can be difficult to interpret, but an increase in activity often presages an eruption.
Measure ground movements: Scientists often set up sensitive tiltmeters that can detect the tiniest changes in the shape of a volcano’s surface. Before an eruption, the volcano may start to bulge as magma accumulates closer to the surface. Before Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, the north side of the volcano visible bulged, but more often this deformation is detectable only with sophisticated equipment.
Take the volcano’s temperature: If a volcanologist wants to see how hot a volcano has become and which lava flows are newer (and hotter), there’s no need to get up close. A thermal imaging camera on an airplane or satellite can take a picture and identify the hot spots.
Check on its geophysical properties: Minute changes in the electrical conductivity, magnetic field and even gravity around a volcano can indicate that something is brewing beneath the surface.
Map it in three dimensions: A 3-D map of all the nooks and crannies on the surface of a volcano can help scientists make predictions about where the lava will flow and who is most in danger in the event of an eruption.
Study the volcano’s past: Scientists examine geologic deposits to learn about past eruptions, which can give important clues to what a volcano may do in the future.
Proposed Thermal Planetary Habitability Classification (T-PHC) for exoplanets. The classification suggests the use of the terms mesoplanets or M-planets to refer to “Earth-like exoplanets,” or those terrestrial planets with mean global surface temperatures between 0°C and 50°C, conditions known to be necessary for complex terrestrial life. P-planets (cold) and T-planets (hot) may only be habitable for microbial life. Even an extension of the classification as hP-planets or hT-planets might still be habitable, but these conditions are in the limits of our understanding of carbon-based life in aqueous environments. (via Planetary Habitability Laboratory)
Hurricane Irene August 23-29, 2011 (zoom) (por NASAEarthObservatory)
This animation shows Hurricane Irene’s path starting on August 23, 2011 as it passes over Hispaniola and begins its northward journey over the Bahamas. Reaching the Carolinas on August 27, the hurricane proceeds up the eastern seaboard of the U.S. before moving inland and dissipating on the 29th. NASA Earth Observatory animation by Robert Simmon using imagery by the NASA GSFC GOES Project.
Extremely Rare Volcano Smoke Rings Only Documented Thrice
Mount Etna is now erupting in Italy, spewing hot lava everywhere. Back in 2000, Etna was much calmer. She spent her days chilling out, blowing pretty smoke rings, which is apparently is a extremely rare occurrence for volcanoes.
So strange, in fact, that only three have been documented: Two from Etna in 1970 and 2000, and another from Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland, in May 2010.
By Jesus Diaz