Five rare and awe-inspiring mountain and river maps

Five rare and awe-inspiring mountain and river maps

When it comes to design - the Victorians did it better. Nothing quite matches these 19th Century comparative river and mountain maps for exquisite hand-drawn detail, meticulous scale and luminous beauty. It makes me wonder, how can anyone not love old maps? A New Cartographic Convention One of the forerunners for this kind of map…

Summer in Melbourne Part 1: Mushroom Reef Sanctuary, Flinders.

Secrets of the Mornington Peninsula: Mushroom Reef Sanctuary, Flinders.

Following on from my previous post about Tyabb Packing Centre, here is another little known wonder from the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne where I return to whenever I get the chance.  The Mushroom Reef Sanctuary is home to a gigantic mushroom shaped basalt reef near Flinders in Westernport Bay. Located 86 km from central Melbourne,…

The Most Beautiful Maps on Earth

Map Porn Part 2: The Most Beautiful Geological Maps on Earth

Where Art Meets Science Scientific visualisations often can look just like objects of visual art. A few weeks ago in Part 1, we looked at how topographical surveys are visualised on both our moon and Jupiter's moon. This time, we are focusing on our own Pale Blue Dot. Both as art and scientific visualisation these…

Exquisite Marine Invertebrates of the 19th Century http://wp.me/p41CQf-rWG

Exquisite Marine Invertebrates of the 19th Century

In this blog in previous years, I've talked about how humans and cephalopods are oddly similar, explored the underwater realm of Sydney Harbour in great detail, and the invisible realm of microscopic creatures rendered by Ernest Haeckel. But in terms of delicate creatures, the Blaschkas were the 19th Century heavy-weights. I originally posted this post…

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal… — H.P. Lovecraft, The Tomb (1917) During the Belle Époque, or the Beautiful Age, men and women of science and rationality sought comfort from new spheres of influence in technology, art and spirituality. Suddenly no ideas were out of bounds…

David Bowie’s Top 100 Favourite Books http://wp.me/p41CQf-3R

Starman, Bowie and the symbolism of SpaceX’s new world

Bowie needs no introduction in his ability to induce wonder, awe and beauty in anyone he touches. And now even after death, his legacy lives on in the form of a mannequin Star Man set to take a silence-filled orbit around our dark solar system and towards its final destination of Mars. The poetry and…

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

This is a riveting read from one of the leading lights of modern psychology, Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol. The book’s main premise is that 20,000 years ago our brains were 10% larger than what they are today. And that the reason for this is primarily the influence of social practices, culture and…

Book Review: The Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review: The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her world-wide best-selling autobiography Eat Pray Love which was about her own journey of self-discovery, spirituality and travel. This girl’s own adventure was  music to the ears of many young women who were already embarking on the same path as Gilbert. This is Gilbert’s first fictional novel and one…

How slow-growing lichen opens up the vast universe

How slow-growing lichen opens up the vast universe

The Lichenologist from Matthew Killip on Vimeo. Hidden within this remarkable short film The Lichenologist is the slowly-growing story of the unassuming and vividly beautiful botanical wonder of lichen. Kerry Knudsen has the auspicious title of  Curator of Lichens at the University of California. He dispels common misconception between lichens and mosses. The latter being…

<3 The Internet: eSkeletons of primates, monkeys and homo sapiens

eSkeletons is an ingenious online resource that compares the skeletons of primates and including the most notorious of the bipeds homo sapiens. Created by the Department of Anthropology at the Univrsity of Texas in Austin, eSkeletons provides an interactive environment where visitors can examine skeletal anatomy through an osteology database. It's a very engaging and…

Microscopic treasures: Abstract art discovered under the microscope

Microscopic treasures: Abstract art discovered under the microscope

Sometimes the most unimaginable beauty comes from the world cannot be seen with the human eye, but yet still exists in the invisible netherworld of the microscope. Here are some artistic treasures, spied on the Reddit Microporn page, have a look and you will become hooked. Crystalline acetylsalicylic acid viewed under polarised light at 10X…

https://www.planetfour.org/?_ga=1.54777707.1175820507.1460107316#/home

Explore and classify galaxies and planets for real scientific studies

Nowadays, it's possible to become not just a participant in scientific studies, but one of the researchers. The internet and crowd-sharing knowledge has made this possible. We are now swimming in data, so rather than wade through everything themselves, scientists are asking the ''hive mind'' of the internet to help them to resolve challenges, and…

Dürer, Replicants and Flying Cars: Exploring Impressive Imaginary Cities with @Oniropolis

Dürer, Replicants and Flying Cars: Exploring Impressive Imaginary Cities with @Oniropolis

If you haven't already followed Imaginary Cities on Twitter @Oniropolis then you should right away! This is a curated treasure trove of architectural meanderings and inspiring cityscapes which have never existed other than in creative people's minds. Imaginary Cities are where the imagined possibilities of tech, science fiction, futurism and 80's pop culture are smashed…

Oxidised metal films photographed using a microscope and an Amazon Fire phone by Reddit user Friz Face.

One person’s trash is another’s treasure: oxidised metal film under the microscope

They could be a collection of post-apocalyptic planets viewed from space. However these pieces of enchanting art were not made by humans but by natural phenomena. Science is beautiful. The excellent Reddit page MicroPorn features close up microscopic images of materials. This collection of oxidised metal films were photographed using a microscope and an Amazon Fire…

Fritz Khan's painting Der Menschen als Industriepalast in dreamy animation

Fritz Khan’s painting Der Menschen als Industriepalast in dreamy animation

Fritz Kahn's Der Menschen als Industriepalast by Henning Lederer. Physician. Popular science writer. Creative Director. Educator. Humanist. Visionary. Polymath. Fritz Kahn combined industrial and mechanical functionality with the working wonders of the human body. Fritz Kahn was a genius who's work laid undiscovered for many years. Until a curious curator Uta Von Debschnitz unearthed them.…

Intricate paper cross sections of human bodies by Lisa Nilsson

Intricate paper cross sections of human bodies by Lisa Nillson

These true-to-life, anatomical cross-sections are entitled the Tissue Series by artist Lisa Nilsson. She uses a technique called paper 'quilling' that turns MRI and CT scans into something altogether more artistic and strangely pleasing to the eye. Nilsson painstakingly quills using narrow pieces of paper that are coiled together to fill up space. Quilling has…

What does the Mighty Boosh, last night's blood moon, insomnia and neurotransmitters have in common?

The Mighty Boosh, last night’s blood moon, insomnia and neurotransmitters are all essentially connected

So...the Blood Moon last night:   I'm sure that this is the perfect time to segway into The Moon from the Mighty Boosh. This white and marshmallowy looking bastard did annoy me last night during the biggest harvest/blood moon in the past few decades. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWTd3oW-HOE I swear it would have been far more enjoyable to…

An operatic journey through our solar system at the speed of light

Join me for an operatic journey at the speed of light

If you're like me and tend to gaze up at the night sky and wonder about life and the meaning of it all then you can't help but be swept up in the events of the past few weeks. NASA estimates that 1 billion earth-like planets in our galaxy alone NASA New Horizons Crew find…

What's Your Favourite Smell? Mine Is Petrichor

What’s Your Favourite Smell? Mine Is Petrichor

So basically, the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) in Australia have invented a truckload of good things. Insect repellent was one - out of necessity in  Australia no doubt. Polymer banknotes was another, and so was WiFi. But probably their most esoteric and weird invention was a word to describe a smell. Petrichor.…

Geological Marvel, Art or Book? You Be The Judge!

Ancient Mineral, Art or Book?

San Fran based artist Alexis Arnold has managed to reimagine National Geographic magazines with the use of Borax crystals for a strange geological marvel of colourful striations. Glittering crystals are alive and growing on the gradients of colour, turning them from mere functional books to something akin to living art and also uncannily like a…