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special snowflakes....
December 30, 2010 12:42 PM   Subscribe


 
God's paper mache is really half-assed isn't it?
posted by oddman at 12:44 PM on December 30, 2010


Amazing. I didn't except them to look so much like the big fake Christmas light ones I bought a few years back. At that magnification they seem like they're made of metal or plastic.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:49 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


They look like primitive shapes attached together and then cast out of latex paint.

Which, for some reason, I find oddly pleasing in a cyberpunk sort of way.
posted by quin at 12:49 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


They think they're so fucking special.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:50 PM on December 30, 2010 [33 favorites]


I feel like these have been posted all over the internet, although I hadn't seen the 3d pictures or the comparison of electron vs. optical shot.
posted by delmoi at 12:51 PM on December 30, 2010


They look like primitive shapes attached together and then cast out of latex paint.

Well the latex-paint look comes from the fact that electron microscopes, not using "light", don't pick up that snowflakes may be shiny and reflective. It's all just matte. Of course, since they're done using an electron microscope, there's a good chance these are 24 CARAT GOLD PLATED SNOWFLAKES.
posted by Jimbob at 12:54 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those trying to see the three-d ones, you literally have to cross your eyes then focus on the middle image. The usual technique I use for stereoptical pics won't work.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:56 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love the one that looks like a fuzzy barbell. Fantastic pictures!
posted by amicamentis at 12:59 PM on December 30, 2010


The technical challenge of looking at solid water in a vacuum is pretty intense, especially if you like your microscope
posted by Blasdelb at 12:59 PM on December 30, 2010


They look like they were cut out of Delrin® on a CNC turret mill programmed by someone who really likes hexagons and recursive g-code programming.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:00 PM on December 30, 2010


chia-table underwater.
posted by clavdivs at 1:03 PM on December 30, 2010


I just can not do the 3D trick with the blue-tinted one. Is it just me?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:04 PM on December 30, 2010


I wish I was special.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:05 PM on December 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean, I bet no one else has my particular problem with it...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:05 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Having flashbacks to The Andromeda Strain movie now.
posted by Gator at 1:05 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "The usual technique I use for stereoptical pics won't work."

On the flipside, I was monumentally gratified that the pics were cross-eyed. I'm a cross-eyed boy in a world of wall-eyes.
posted by Rat Spatula at 1:06 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you look closely, you can see General Zod peeking out from the background in the third image.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:08 PM on December 30, 2010


This looks like a page from my nephew's Star Wars - Complete Vehicles & Vessels book.
posted by longsleeves at 1:16 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


And Wilson A. Bentley (aka The Snowflake Man) of Jericho, VT was a pioneer in the photographing of snowflakes. Previous FPP: 'Snow Obsessions.'
posted by ericb at 1:16 PM on December 30, 2010


Indeed. I'm interested to know how exactly they managed to sputter-coat a snowflake, and prevent it from sublimating under the vacuum.

Their website says that they collect the snowflakes in a cellulose solution on a copper substrate, but doesn't mention any of the challenges associated with obtaining the images themselves.

Maybe it's not as hard as it sounds, but their method just doesn't sound like it should work...
posted by schmod at 1:25 PM on December 30, 2010


If it's from Wired, it probably isn't snow at all. More likely flakes of cocaine from their last office party.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:27 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beautiful. Thanks for the link.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:29 PM on December 30, 2010


Lovely.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2010


I have a special freezer in my basement that is full of not one, not two -- but fourteen pairs of identical snowflakes. To fully preserve their shape and identity, one must wear aluminum mittens and otherwise be completely nude.

And my neighbors all told me I was mad! Mad, I say!
posted by flarbuse at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "For those trying to see the three-d ones, you literally have to cross your eyes then focus on the middle image. The usual technique I use for stereoptical pics won't work."

I've decided, after trying and failing to see anything in those pictures many times, that the whole thing is a charade not unlike the emperor with no clothes.
posted by double block and bleed at 1:49 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snowflakes under an electron microscope

Fixed link
.
posted by cmoj at 1:51 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everything looks better under an electron microscope. I never get sick of these things.
posted by theredpen at 1:52 PM on December 30, 2010



I just can not do the 3D trick with the blue-tinted one. Is it just me?


It's not 3d, the next 2 are though.
posted by Max Power at 1:54 PM on December 30, 2010


I love seeing snowflakes that are missing an arm. I've always figured that if I were a special snowflake, I'd be a five-armed one.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:02 PM on December 30, 2010


Keep an eye out for "Five-armed Snowflake" as a user name. It'll be Metroid Baby's sockpuppet.
posted by hippybear at 2:15 PM on December 30, 2010


Looks like it's snowflakes all the way down.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:22 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snowflakes not under an electron microscope. Warning: Contains awesome Starn Twins art that might make you spend money.
posted by The Bellman at 3:02 PM on December 30, 2010


OK, how many of us secretly hoped to find his/her own picture?
posted by Cranberry at 3:44 PM on December 30, 2010


OK, how many of us secretly hoped to find his/her own picture?

Hmm, I may be more 3D than I wish (that's not so special...) but I'm not made of plaster. So: not me.

(Otherwise awesome. Tanks!)
posted by Namlit at 3:58 PM on December 30, 2010


add "h"
posted by Namlit at 3:59 PM on December 30, 2010


For a near-instant, all-natural 3-D snowflake, cross your eyes and relax your vision until you can see three images. Then focus on the central image. Voila!

It's a sailboat!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:35 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nature is so amazing at every level.
posted by caddis at 7:18 PM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm almost certain the 3D images are being displayed with the left and right images swapped over from what they should be. Either that or my brain is wired the wrong way around. When I do the cross-eyed thing I get a 3D effect, but the snowflakes look like they are embossed into the background, rather than appearing in front of it. When I take a screen-shot of the page and swap the left and right images over in MS Paint, it works fine.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:34 PM on December 30, 2010


Wow. Just like at Disneyland!
So cool.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:20 PM on December 30, 2010


Weird. Those pictures were almost disturbing. I felt like I was in some kind of mechanized hell. Maybe Nine Inch Nails "Broken" playing in the background while I am marched toward my execution surrounded by towering, matte, snowflakes made of clay and metal and sharp.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:18 PM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Their website says that they collect the snowflakes in a cellulose solution on a copper substrate, but doesn't mention any of the challenges associated with obtaining the images themselves.

It looks like they do everything in cryo: sputtering at -196 ºC and microscopy at -170 ºC. That's probably cold enough to prevent sublimation.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:30 PM on December 30, 2010


Nature: it is beauty all the way down AND all the way up.

(Pictures of molecules.)


I just can not do the 3D trick with the blue-tinted one. Is it just me?

The blue one isn't 3D.

The trick is: look at the images and the space between them. Then cross your eyes to make three images with the same distance between them. If you have a dominant eye, look at the inside edge of the image on the dominant side as you are crossing them until it meets up with the edge of the other one. Once you have them pretty well lined up, start to "notice" the middle image and the depth in it. Once you can catch that, your eyes can "move" over and start to see the image in the middle one.

It can help to hold something in front of your eyes and focus on it, with these images behind it, and move it around until the "three image" effect gets about right. Then sort of start to notice the middle image and change the focus of your eyeballs to it, without changing the crossedness of your eyes.
posted by gjc at 7:38 AM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]




beyond the limits of normal limits of normal Mag-ni-fi-ca-tion

Mag-ni-fi-ca-tion

Mag-ni-fi-ca-tion

Mag-ni-fi-ca-tion
posted by SPrintF at 5:41 PM on December 31, 2010


God bless Paul Frees.
posted by SPrintF at 5:44 PM on December 31, 2010


God bless St. Alia of the Bunnies and all Mefites in 2011.
posted by caddis at 4:40 AM on January 1, 2011


Very cool. Thanks for posting.
posted by monichacha at 2:58 PM on January 1, 2011


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