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  • Good design can be defined different ways, but it almost always means organizing and presenting information in an engaging and/or innovative manner. The Weather Wheel created by Bard Edlund is an outstanding example of this, and I dare you to not stare at it for at least 10 minutes. (Hint: the size of the blue dots changes to represent how much rain the given city recieves, the orange circle’s intensity represents temperature, and the speed at which the arrow passes by the city represents how much wind it gets.) Via Kottke.org
  • Cinemagraphs are photographs in which one small part of the image is animated to create continuous motion. This new technique creates surreal and sometimes slightly creepy images the blur the line between video and still photography. The technique is being pioneered by photographers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. Fascinating.

 

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Bad news for NASA from the Augustine Commission. Under the current budget through 2015, we can’t even get out of Low-Earth Orbit. What that means is we can only go to the ISS. We can’t even get back to the moon, let alone send people to Mars or beyond. The commission’s recommendations are best summarized in a cool graphic that I found on Universe Today yesterday. See below.

Image via Universe Today

Image via Universe Today

Obviously Obama has to allocate more money to NASA if we are to even think about achieving the current set of goals. (Those being: retiring the space shuttle, developing the new Ares rockets, Orion Crew Module, and Antares Moon Lander, and getting back to the Moon around 2020.) In these times that will be tough, and sadly NASA could get put on the backburner for a few years until we have more economic stability. Let’s hope for the best, though.

In some much better NASA news, the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope is working like a charm and is taking better pictures than ever before. Check out some of the gorgeous new images at NASA’s website. You can even download super hi-res versions. Eye. Gasm.

Who knew that we’d be able to build an actual, real-life antigravity device so soon? Scientists have found a way to levitate small creatures as big as mice. We’ve all seen the classroom science experiment where they use a superconductor in liquid nitrogen to levitate a tiny disc. But you can actually do that with almost anything. They key is getting the magnetic field to the right strength. AND there’s a practical goal of this research other than “Holy Shit! We made a mouse float in mid-air! Cool!” The practical goal is to study long-term effects of microgravity on the mice’s bodies, the results of which can be applied to astronauts in space and help NASA plan for missions to Mars and beyond. (Via LiveScience)

Here’s one of those awesome Hubble images:

Image via NASA

Image via NASA

This has got to be one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. Cincinnati has a group of real-life superheroes. These dudes/dudettes walk around in a mask and cape, just looking for people who need help. They carry tazers, pepper spray, and handcuffs. I don’t really know what to say about this… I guess it’s good, but as the CNN video says, they could face lawsuits if they taze/pepper spray/citizens’ arrest the wrong person. File this one under WTF?!?!? Via io9 and CNN.com.

I just discovered that the White House has a flickr. You’ll find it has a nice variety of fun photos and serious ones from inside meetings/briefings/etc… Most of them are by the official White House photographer Pete Souza.

Speaking of photography, I just stumbled across this amazing archive of NASA images. All of the images are considered public domain and free for any kind of usage. They also have some great video clips. You could spend hours and probably even days going through this massive archive. We’re talking basically every image NASA has ever released. Each photo has a cool flash application which allows your mouse wheel to zoom in and out on the photo.

WARNING: THIS GAME COULD CONSUME YOUR ENTIRE DAY IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL!

I present to you- Effing Hail. This flash game is perfect for weather nerds like myself. The goal is to move your mouse around to control where the updraft is located, and the updraft lifts the hailstones over and over until they get so huge they fall and crush the buildings below. Simply destroy/crush as many buildings as possible. Via Kottke.org.

I know I’ve been rather dry on music-related posts these past few days but tomorrow I promise to include more!

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