Archive for the science Category

RIP Neil Armstrong! a Tribute Star View from the International Space Station

Posted in astronomy, celebrities, science, video with tags , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by Sunshine Superboy

Rest in Magnificent Desolation…

Neil Armstrong was the spiritual repository of spacefaring dreams & ambitions. In death, a little bit of us all dies with him

– Neil de Grasse Tyson

The Stars as Viewed from the International Space Station. from AJRCLIPS on Vimeo.

<p><a href=”″>The Stars as Viewed from the International Space Station.</a> from <a href=””>AJRCLIPS</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Nobody born since 1935 has stepped on another world. Neil Armstrong’s death is a reminder that we have been screwing about for too long now – it’s time to go to Mars.

Martin Robbins/ UK Guardian


Its a Small World After All…Relative Sizes of Planets & Stars

Posted in astronomy, science with tags , , , , , on July 26, 2012 by Sunshine Superboy

an exercise in orders of magnitude…Based on relative sizes of plants and stars by Dave Jarvis

size of planets and stars

In the images above, the largest planet or star (meaning the big buddy hanging out on the far right) becomes the starting point for the next chart. Its quite impressive to imagine that which is SO big in one line-up being itsy bitsy at the start of the next.

Here’s what you’re looking at:

1) the Inner Planets by Size

  • Mercury
  • Mars
  • Venus
  • Earth (home)

2) Earth vs the Gas Giants

  • Earth-Home
  • Neptune
  • Uranus
  • Saturn
  • Jupiter

3) the shift from big planet to little star

  • Jupiter
  • some other guy
  • our Sun (a medium sized star)
  • Sirius (the brightest star in our night sky its in the dog constellation accompanying Orion)

the list goes on…

Betelgeuse, in addition to being Tim Burton’s greatest film, is the name of this super red giant (a pretty big category of star, also the final stages of a star’s life when they get huge and then go nova) featured in charts 5 & 6. If you are looking at the constellation of Orion (in the Northern Hemisphere you can find it in the Winter sky), Betelgeuse is Orion the Hunter’s shoulder– to the observer its the top left. You’ll notice its a little reddish.

The fact that Super Red Giants get even bigger than that blow my mind…

kinda puts things in perspective.

Indulge Yr inner Outer-Space Cadet,

Sunshine Superboy

Astronomical Connections… so sayeth Neil.

Posted in celebrities, science, Uncategorized with tags , on June 15, 2012 by Sunshine Superboy

This, is an actual photo taken on the planet Mars (by robots, obvies) of three planets aligned:

Earth, Jupiter, and Venus.




Rad Men & Madmen: Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

Posted in anthropology, science with tags , , , , on March 2, 2012 by Sunshine Superboy

mental health comicAn interesting bit on the social processes of mental health and the the disproportionate diagnoses of anarchist types and anti-authoritarians:

Bruce Levine, a clinical psychologist, has written on Mad in America about his colleagues’ propensity for diagnosing anti-authoritarians with mental illness. Levine says diagnoses like oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder and anxiety disorder are applied to people who question authority’s legitimacy by mental health practitioners who are, themselves, unconsciously deferential to authority.

Gaining acceptance into graduate school or medical school and achieving a PhD or MD and becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist means jumping through many hoops, all of which require much behavioral and attentional compliance to authorities, even to those authorities that one lacks respect for. The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one.

I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. And it also has become clear to me that the anti-authoritarianism of their patients creates enormous anxiety for these professionals, and their anxiety fuels diagnoses and treatments.

beauty mask skull

In graduate school, I discovered that all it took to be labeled as having “issues with authority” was to not kiss up to a director of clinical training whose personality was a combination of Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Howard Cosell. When I was told by some faculty that I had “issues with authority,” I had mixed feelings about being so labeled. On the one hand, I found it quite amusing, because among the working-class kids whom I had grown up with, I was considered relatively compliant with authorities. After all, I had done my homework, studied, and received good grades. However, while my new “issues with authority” label made me grin because I was now being seen as a “bad boy,” it also very much concerned me about just what kind of a profession that I had entered. Specifically, if somebody such as myself was being labeled with “issues with authority,” what were they calling the kids I grew up with who paid attention to many things that they cared about but didn’t care enough about school to comply there? Well, the answer soon became clear.

I mean, its sort of like “duh” to hear it on my end, but its important to have this internally recognized and published within the Psych field.

The idea that queers, anarchists, non-conformists, and other anti-authoritarians might give their shrinks “anxiety” is not breaking news to most of you I imagine…

Up Up and Away,
Sunshine Superbad

Breaking Bright! D-I-Y Glowsticks for Science Nerds

Posted in science with tags , , on January 17, 2012 by Sunshine Superboy

Chemist Nerds, use your powers for good and fabulousity!

breaking bad

Reposted from nerds far more diligent than I am, who say:

I stumbled across this randomly on YouTube today and had to share. The first 3/4 of the video are a chemistry experiment breakdown of what goes into a glow stick and what each of those ingredients is meant to do. But what makes me LOVE it is that, at the end, all of this coalesces into a fine explanation of the difference between light-absorbing dyes and fluorescent dyes. Come for the glow-stick “how to”, stay for the better understanding of how light works and how it influences what you see!

We show how to make glow sticks and go through all the chemicals needed as well as how to make different colors. We also talk about the chemistry and scientifically research a proposed mechanism.

To make the glow stick mix together the following:

10mL Diethyl Phthalate (solvent)
3mg of fluorescent dye (see below)
50mg TCPO (see below)
100mg sodium acetate
3mL 30% hydrogen peroxide (add last to start reaction)

The fluorescent dye can be 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene for green, Rubrene for yellow, 9,10-diphenylanthracene for blue, and rhodamine B for red.

TCPO is expensive to buy but can be made for much cheaper by following the directions in our previous video:

The chemicals, including the ones to make TCPO were purchased from alfa aesar:

The Rhodamine B and Rubrene dyes were instead purchased from sigma Aldrich:

The dyes and TCPO are carcinogenic and gloves should be worn when handling them.

The TCPO and sodium acetate amounts can be varied considerably and still obtain good light. Smaller quantities tend to be dimmer and decay faster, while larger quantities last longer.

So there you glow- I mean GO! Homeschoolers knock yourselves out (just not literally).

Up up and Away,
Sunshine Superboy

Magnetic Fields… and the Lower East Side

Posted in art & music, maps, maps & mapping, science, video with tags , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

today I saw this drawing of magnetic fields in the north…

which made me think of this gay band from new york

…and then I just had to share this Horizonless Projection of Manhattan from the Lower East Side (looking north)
Lower East Side- horizonless projection

…which is reposted from Here & There

Here & There is a project by BERG exploring speculative projections of dense cities. These maps of Manhattan look uptown from 3rd and 7th, and downtown from 3rd and 35th. They’re intended to be seen at those same places, putting the viewer simultaneously above the city and in it where she stands, both looking down and looking forward.

…cuz some days are just like that, you know?

Up & Up Cuz I Got Wheels, and You Wanna Go for a Ride,
Sunshine Supermagnet

Beasts without Borders // Bêtes San Frontières

Posted in anthropology, maps, maps & mapping, science with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

In our bustling world of global commodities, scant are the animals, minerals, and vegetables, that have escaped the reach of capitalism, and its drive to commodify, distribute, and sell sell sell!

Rare, charismatic, or otherwise lucrative critters are no exception. Though illegal in most countries, animal trafficking weaves its own world wide web of trade- borders be damned!

The gray are the importing countries, and the countries of origin (by region) are color coded.

Most of the trade follows typical patters of destination Wealthy Nations and raw materials coming from what is politically called “the Global South” (its not quite the same as the geographical south). The major outlier is Russia, which both imports and exports birds, bugs, and beasts.

There is some amazing research being done on illicit trafficking- like that of Nancy Scheper-Hughes who write about trafficking of human organs, and a recent article in the Nation, which focused on the trafficking of human babies through both legal and extra-legal adoption among fundamentalist American christian congregations.

For now, I’ll leave you with this map of the illicit animal trade. Plenty to ponder.

Up up and Away,
Sunshine Superboy