Dec 182014
 

neural_spiderwebsI keep bumping into ideas about the combination of science and art recently. I wonder if that’s because scientists are, at heart, deeply creative people?

The NHMRC 2015 Science to Art Award is now taking submissions. The Award recognises outstanding examples of the art that has arisen from research funded by NHMRC.

The idea of science and pictures does scratch at the surface of the deeper question of what makes art. The recent announcement of Peter Lik selling a photograph of a canyon for $6.5 million gave rise to some discussion about the difference between something that is art and something that is a recording of nature. Even if that is a valid differentiation, most scientists who show their work do so to simply demonstrate the wonder of nature and what they are studying – and making people think has always been a core part of any artistic endevour.

The 2013 Award was won by this intriguing picture: Neural spiderwebs – unlocking the secrets of laser irradiation for pain therapy by Dr Michael Lovelace and colleagues, The University of Sydney.

For more information on the NHMRC 2015 Science to Art Award see the less than artistic website.

Google Code-in gives teens the chance to code something real

Google Code-in gives teens the chance to code something real

The Google Code-in is a contest to introduce students aged 13-17 to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible. The contest runs from December 1, 2014 to January 19, 2015. For many students the Google Code-in contest will be their first introduction to open source development. Google Code-in works with open source organizations, […]

New robots for teaching and learning

New robots for teaching and learning

Dash & Dot are pretty fundamentally adorable. But more to the point, they have sensors and can be programmed using Blockly, and that makes them proper robots in my view. They can also be programmed by younger kids and have an open API that lets older students, and even adults, really take control. In a […]

PostRope: Social shopping and shipping

PostRope: Social shopping and shipping

PostRope is a crowd-sourced shipping service with the aim of getting goods to you even when online stores won’t cooperate with international deliveries. “With PostRope, you can put up a listing for an item to get it shipped from anywhere in the world, either from an online or a physical store. You then select the […]

Ractiv Touch+: How to turn a funding crowd into a lynch mob

Ractiv Touch+: How to turn a funding crowd into a lynch mob

A while ago I backed an interesting Kickstarter project that promised a device that would turn any surface into a sophisticated 3D multitouch surface to control your computer. The project had some sensible people involved and looked legitimate so I joined up. Communication was good and, pretty much when promised, I got the hardware delivered to me […]

Engibear: Childrens books about engineering (with free offer)

Engibear: Childrens books about engineering (with free offer)

Engibear is a series of books about an engineering bear and his Bearbots written and illustrated in Australia by Andrew King and Benjamin Johnston: They are wonderful, just wonderful. The first book is Engibear’s Dream: “It is a counting book that introduces Engibear and his Bearbots while illustrating, in a humorous way, that things don’t […]

Lightning map of Sydney

Lightning map of Sydney

With all the storms battering Sydney over the last few days, I’ve been tracking down a lightning map. There are a number of maps that cover the whole of NSW. The two that leap out are Blitzortung.org – which appeals because of its open source nature; and weatherzone – which you can find reproduced all over the […]