Awesomeness Science & Technology

Hamster Power!

For his masters degree in industrial design, Tom Ballhatchet, 29, has developed an environmentally-friendly paper shredder that runs on hamster power. The rodent has to run flat out for 45 minutes to shred one sheet of A4 paper, but the rewards are great – the the shredded paper that falls onto the base of the cage provides fresh bedding.

The London-based design consultant said:

I wanted to come up with a product that would capture people’s imagination while addressing issues of topical concern such as climate change, recycling, and identity fraud.

Several companies have apparently expressed an interest in turning the working prototype into a full scale production.

Read the full article at the Daily Mail – via Bits & Pieces.

Lists Science & Technology

Top 10 Self Surgeries

I hate the sight of blood. Even if I get the slightest nick on my finger, I’ll be lathering it with lavender gel (it’s my security blanket). So it must take balls of steel (vajayjays of steel if you’re a lady) to perform a self surgery in extreme conditions.

Amanda Feilding obviously had such a vajayjay when she decided to perform trepanation on herself:

Amanda Feilding is a British artist and scientific director. Feilding suffered from a condition that left her feeling exhausted and spent years looking for a reputable surgeon who would perform a technique known as trepanning. This is a procedure where a tiny portion of the skull is drilled into to allow blood to flow more easily around the brain. Eventually she gave up and at age 27 she decided to do the surgery herself. She was equipped with a dentist’s electric drill operated by a foot pedal she then taped dark glasses to her face to stop the blood running into her eyes. She first made an incision with a scalpel and then drilled, dipping the drill bit in water every so often to cool it down. She lost almost a liter of blood but she was pleased with her surgery. Over the next four hours she noticed herself rising up with a feeling of elation and relaxation. Feilding says, “I went out and had steak for supper, and then I went to a party.”

Read about 9 other individuals who operated on themselves in the Top 10 Incredible Self Surgeries.

Awesomeness Lists Photoworthy Science & Technology

Best Photomicrographs from Nikon Small World

A photomicrograph (or micrograph, or microphotograph) is an image taken through a microscope, and Nikon have been sponsoring the International Small World Competition since 1974, as a means to recognize the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. The competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography through the microscope, professionals and hobbyists alike.

Here are some shots from the 2008 competition.

1st Place – Michael Stringer, Pleurosigma (marine diatoms)

Nikon Small World Competition Winner 2008

This image was one of a series Mr. Stringer created to illustrate a talk to a camera club on “Photography through the microscope.” His objective was to display diatoms in a modern way using super contrast and careful application of color. Rather than showing all the details, or warts and wrinkles as Mr. Stringer likes to call them, he dressed up the diatoms by manipulating the image and creating this beautiful photomicrograph.

2nd Place – Paul Marshall,  Carbon nanotubes

Nikon Small World Competition 2008 - 2nd Place

Marshall’s image was taken as part of the study of an atypical Carbon Nanotube growth run. Carbon Nanotubes are the latest material of interest and show great promise for the next generation of devices in the field of optical, medical and electronic research. He chose to submit this image to convey the hidden microscopic beauty of science and technology.

The image was created using a Nikon CoolPix E995 and a Nikon SMZ-10 Stereo Microscope. Marshall used this image as the cover of a Christmas card to his students.

3rd Place – Albert Tousson, Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)

Nikon Small World Competition 2008 - 3rd Place

Tousson has been involved in photomicrography for 25 years. As a cell biologist, Tousson works to understand the complex processes that allow cells to metabolize and perpetuate.

Tousson chose to submit this image showing the plant’s tissue organization because the red cell walls and green and yellow starch granules were striking. This image was acquired using laser confocal microscopy with 3D projection as part of a test of a confocal imaging system for optical sectioning and 3D rendering. Tousson hoped the result of the test would be of a quality for submission to the Nikon Small World Competition.

See more spectacular photomicrographs at Nikon Small World.

Awesomeness Science & Technology Video Clips

Every Flight on Earth in 72 Seconds

The sex-starved boffins from the the Zurich School of Applied Sciences have compiled a 72-second video simulation showing the flight path of every commercial flight in the world over a 24-hour period. Compiling the data was surprisingly simple as it was readily available on the Internet.

See the video below or go to Youtube.


See more videos and read how the simulation was created at the Wired Blog.