It's Friday, and I *know* you didn't see a Science Friday video coming because, well, I haven't posted one in ages.
Courtesy Science Friday
But it's Memorial Day weekend (officially, as it's after 5pm on the Friday before), and Memorial Day weekend opens the tomato season, so here goes...
"Tim Stark, tomato farmer and proprietor of Eckerton Hill Farm in Lobachsville, PA, describes his battle with late blight during the summer of 2009."
"Bubbles can do computations, says Stanford professor Manu Prakash. Just like electrons running through wires in your computer, Prakash and Neil Gershenfeld, of MIT, directed bubbles through tiny etched tubes and showed basic computations were possible. Because the presence of a bubble can influence the behavior of another bubble, Prakash was able to build "and," "or" and "not" gates. Bubbles are bigger and slower than electrons, but they can carry things--meaning you could create as you compute, Prakash says."
"Visit Robert Sabin's pumpkin patch: he has been growing giant pumpkins for over ten years. But these pumpkins just aren't meant for the pie pan: Sabin says they're more like children than fruit to him. He raises his pumpkins for competition--the heavier, the better. Does his top pumpkin have the heft to win the Long Island Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off at Hicks Nurseries? We'll find out."
"With the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade less than a week away, it's crunch time for the 'balloonatics' at Macy's Parade Studio. The balloons themselves, which are designed and fabricated in a warehouse in New Jersey, are getting their final checkup before the show. John Piper and Jim Artle take us around the studio and spill the secrets of inflation, explain how to calculate whether your balloon will float, and explain why the balloons look better after a little time in the sun."
Here's the White Salmon River returning to it's natural course after about 100 years (thanks to an exploding dam!):
Preeeetttty neat. The idea is to restore the river and its surroundings to a more natural state for the wildlife. And also, I hope, for the sake of exploding something.
(io9 via National Geographic.)
"Carve first, scoop later--that's just one of the tips from Maniac Pumpkin Carvers Marc and Chris. Based in Brooklyn, these professional illustrators switch to the medium of pumpkin during October. Their pumpkins, which go for between $150 - $400, rarely end up on stoops. You are more likely to find them in Tiffany’s ads and in window displays. They gave us some tips for how to bring our pumpkins to the next level this Halloween."
Fact: I love British comedy (like this). I also love British accents, red telephone booths, tea, and I was indeed one of the crazies who woke up at 3am to watch The Royal Wedding this past Spring.
I mention all of this to explain why this headline caught my attention: "Myrionecta rubra Video Earns Telly Award." Telly. Telly, telly, telly! What a remarkably British word, right?
I didn't have a clue what Myrionecta rubra was, but it turns out it wasn't British. It was better! It was science!! It was red water, or rather enormous masses of microscopic red critters that give the appearance of turning the water red.
Researchers at the Center for Coastal Margin Observation & Predictions teamed up to produce a 5 minute long video that
"follows [scientists] as they study the genetics of Myrionecta rubra and its ability to form massive red water patches in the Columbia River estuary. The research team is searching for clues to determine if it could be used as an early warning signal for changes in the environment."
It was so fabulous, it won a Telly Award! You can check out the award-winning video yourself below:
This story has been making the rounds in the news lately,
Courtesy Wikimedia Commonsdescribing a study in which a computer reconstructed video clips that subjects viewed. Participants in the experiment watched video clips while their brain activity was monitored by fMRI. Then the computer selected from millions of YouTube clips it had "seen" to make a composite video clip, some of which look eerily similar to the original videos that the participants watched.
No need to break out the tin foil hat just yet. Volunteers for this study had to lie motionless for hours for their brain activity to be scanned. But this technology could easily lead to systems of communication that aid patients whose normal channels of communication have broken down because they are paralyzed or even comatose. If you're interested, you can see the original paper here (subscription required). Take a look at some sample video from the study:
If you have six minutes of your day to spare, watching this video clip is a great way to spend it:
"The New York Department of Environmental Protection installed a prototype "algal turf scrubber" at once of its wastewater treatment plants in Queens. The scrubber--two 350-foot metal ramps coated with algae that grows naturally--is designed to use algae to remove nutrients and boost dissolved oxygen in the water that passes through it. John McLaughlin, Director of Ecological Services for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Peter May, restoration ecologist for Biohabitats, explain how the scrubber works, and where the harvested algae goes."