Trashswag is a crowdsourced map for people to share and post reusable materials that they spot left outside. It is a resource for creative hobbyists, artists and people conducting renovation works to find unique, salvageable old wood, windows, doors, metal, glass and furniture. So far I think it's mostly Toronto and Montreal but is expanding to other areas.
"We live in a world where digital information is exploding. Some 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years. The obvious question is: how can we store it all? In Nature Communications today, we, along with Richard Evans from CSIRO, show how we developed a new technique to enable the data capacity of a single DVD to increase from 4.7 gigabytes up to one petabyte (1,000 terabytes). This is equivalent of 10.6 years of compressed high-definition video or 50,000 full high-definition movies."
What do 3D printing, jelly, liver transplants, chainmail, dental fillings, ferrofluids, and the Six Million Dollar man have to tell us about our future? Materials scientist and engineer Mark Miodownik lets us know in this Royal Institution lecture.
Jimmyjane (NSFW) makes luxury, design-oriented vibrators and other sex toys and accessories. ("Design inspired by Apple, not Hustler.") They'd like to change the way Americans think about them: instead of as 'dirty little secrets,' they're hoping for mainstream acceptance and to usher in an "Age of Great American Sex." (Via) [more inside]
A treasure trove of Disney animation artifacts. Things like Scar Pencil Tests, a Bambi wire model, and character doodles from the Aristocats.
Ever made an indie action film and needed something for that epic glass-break scene? How about the blackest black you can find? Want to adjust your boots so that they are mud repellant? Inventables has everything you need - for the budding inventor, busy set designer, or Q in training.
A team of scientists from Yale University and the up-and-coming Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have managed to fabricate intricate electrical contacts to produce a transistor from a benzene molecule. [more inside]
Bikes: Steel? Aluminum? Carbon Fiber? Wood, and nothing but wood.
Walking on liquids, corn starch rocking out to the beat of a subwoofer and materials that expand as they stretch are just some of the cool videos mentioned in The Stuff of Dreams (plenty more links in the last link).
The (Mostly Improbable) Materials Science and Engineering of the Star Wars Universe; The Reel Thing: One Editor’s List of Great Material Moments in the Movies; Toy Story: Materials Engineering at Play, featuring an MPEG of Fluffy the three headed dog from Harry Potter barking thanks to Nanomuscle; Things that Go Boom in the Night: The Art and Science of Fireworks; Built to Battle, Robots Test Designers’ Mettle; Fabricating the Weapons and Armor of The Lord of the Rings; and, finally, Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation. All articles from the surprisingly interesting JOM: The Member Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.
Made from a nickel-titanium alloy, and highly processed for electrical activation and long life, the thin black thread-like BioMetal acts as an artificial muscle. When powered, the BioMetal contracts. When power turns off, the BioMetal quickly cools and the wire extends again to its longer, starting length.
Aerogel - it holds six world records for physical properties and is nicknamed 'blue smoke' for its appearance; unsurprising since it is 99.8% air. Despite being used in the NASA Stardust and Mars Pathfinder missions, aerogels are not a recent invention and they were first prepared in 1931. It's also a great insulator - here are some wonderful photos of it in action.
Today at work I noticed we were running a little low on stickers, and mentioned that we didn't have enough of Mr. Yuk around. My poor, freakish coworkers had never seen or heard of the funny face from Pennsylvania. Although I seem to have doubts about how effective it is at steering young ones away from potentially deadly everyday items and other dangerous materials.