A place of mostly science, art, writing and occasionally Chewbacca, all lovingly archived by Dave Ng. For recent highlights just scroll down, but also note the handy tag system (for finding that piece of media for your next science talk) just below. Enjoy!


anatomy, astronomy, biochemistry, biodiversity, biology, botany, cell biology, chemistry, chewbacca, climate change, data, dinosaurs, energy, entomology, environment, evolution, food, fossil fuels, genetics, geography, geology, graphs, laboratory, marine life, math, medicine, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, ornithology, paleontology, physics, planetary science, quantum physics, science careers, science history, science literacy, scientific method, scientist, solar system, space, strange paper, sustainability, technology, zoology

“Science is awesome, that is all”.

Surfboards via biomimicry. What if you design a board based on aquatic life shapes?

It might look like this…






Otherwise known as the Surfph-o-Morph. There’s three designs by Giulio Iacchetti which you can check out here.

Beautiful large scale chalkboard renditions of biodiversity art




By Philippe Baudelocque, via Colossal.

Planet Earth during hurricane Sandy, as depicted with a globe made from thousands of matchsticks.

That would be a literal description…




By Andy Yoder, via Visual News.

So… just in case you’re in the market for a tricycle shaped like the infinity symbol…



By Sergio Garcia, and also available for sale ($2500) – click here (until May 3rd)

Gorgeous botanical cellular drawings by Vivien Martineau. I could stare at these for days…

leaf structure better



plant cell tweaked 600

By Vivien Martineau.

Beautiful animation short about the epic adventures of a boy filled with helium

Helium Harvey from Something Savage on Vimeo.

By Daniel Savage

The most bitter chemical compound in the world? That would be denatonium. Try not to throw up…


To quote from wikipedia:

Denatonium, usually available as denatonium benzoate (under trade names such as BITTER+PLUSBitrex or Aversion) and as denatonium saccharide, is the most bitter chemical compound known, with bitterness thresholds of 0.05 ppm for the benzoate and 0.01 ppm for the saccharide.[2] It was discovered in 1958 during research on local anesthetics by MacFarlan Smith of EdinburghScotland, and registered under the trademark Bitrex.[3] Dilutions of as little as 10 ppm are unbearably bitter to most humans. Denatonium salts are usually colorless and odorless solids but are often traded as solutions. They are used as aversive agents (bitterants) to prevent accidental ingestion. Denatonium is used in denatured alcohol,[4] antifreezenail biting preventions, respirator mask fit-testing, animal repellentsliquid soaps, and shampoos. It is not known to pose any long-term health risks.[5]

File under botanical artillery…

The best kind of firearm. That is, the plantae kind…



By Sonia Rentsch, via Sweet Station.

The sad sad tale of parallel and non-parallel lines.


By Sanjay Kulkarni (at least that is how it traces)

Check this out. Cyborg creepy crawlies: Machine and entomological or arachnid forms merged as intricate art pieces.

This is breathtaking in a steam punk kind of way…






“Using the bodies of tarantulas, crabs, winged insects, and more, she adds gears, springs, and other mechanics to their fragile forms.”

By Gaby Wormann, text and h/t via My Modern Met.

Beautiful artistic and 3D predator images by Maxim Shkret





By Maxim Shkret, via Joe’s Daily.

I heard that oxygen and magnesium were going out and… #funny #chemistrypun


From all over the internet.

WHOA… Slow Life: Who needs timelapse sunsets and night skies when you have timelapse invertebrate awesomeness?!

I recommend watching this on full screen in HD mode, preferably in a dark place with head phones. It’ll feel so intimate, you’ll blush…

Slow Life from Daniel Stoupin on Vimeo.

By Daniel Stoupin, via Colossal

Joke paper on effect of real versus placebo parachute use whilst jumping out an airplane

To quote:

“As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.”


Download the pdf here.

Who wants to design a genetics themed card game? Summer positions for UBC students available at my lab.


So, first things first – you have to be a UBC student (undergrad or grad) to be eligible for these (two) positions. As well, I’d be keen to extend the positions beyond the 20 hours per week to a more full time scenario if that works for the successful candidates.

Anyway, the link you need (and you’ll also need to enter via UBC’s CWL system) is:


Full details are as follows:

Title: WL (Work Learn) S14 Science Literacy Lab Assistant

Salary/Wage: $16.10 per hour. Minimum 20 hours per week. Approximately 15 weeks during summer months.

Anticipated Start Date: May 5th, 2014

Contact Details/Employer: Dr. David Ng, Michael Smith Labs – more details about his lab at http://bioteach.ubc.ca

Apply by: Appointment paperwork needs to go in by April 19th, and I’ll definitely want to be interviewing the best candidates – so maybe by around April 11th is best.

Description: The AMBL science education facility within the Michael Smith Laboratories is looking to hire a senior undergraduate student or junior graduate student who is both passionate about biodiversity research and science education. In short, this student will be part of a team tasked to design an educational card game that focuses on a variety of learning objectives aimed to explore the science and genetics of model organisms (i.e. e. coli, yeast, drosophila, xenopus, zebrafish ,mouse).

This will be built around existing trading card culture mechanics from the PHYLO project (http://phylogame.org), and slated to be offered as both a freely accessible online resource, as well as stand alone product for physical printing and distribution within educational contexts.

For this stage of the project, the student hired will have a significant role in both the design, and the play testing of the final card game, which is slated for a late 2015/early 2016 launch.

Qualifications: Life science background (particularly in molecular genetics) is a plus, though not necessary. Interest in societal and historical issues that encompass science and technology topics is beneficial. Given that the project uses a variety of digital avenues for card design and production, comfort around various blogging platforms and graphic design software is also beneficial. Interest in game development, and general engagement with “games” is also a plus.

Learning Outcomes: Students will receive a variety of training on science literacy advocacy, game development, science pedagogy, as well as skills related to use of online tools, and some graphic design.

Students will be asked to work in both collaborative and independent contexts, with frequent meetings to assess needs and progress. Mentorship would likely involve contact with relevant experts in both the science education sector, as well as those in model organism research (many of which can be found at the Michael Smith Laboratories). One of the learning objectives examined in the project, will be to see if these cards can be used in both public school setting (high school in particular), but also whether this resource can play a role in undergraduate teaching as well.

In terms of expanding networks, the Phylo card game project has a number of collaborations in the mix (including those with major natural history museums, such as the American Museum of Natural History, and London’s Natural History Museum). This particular model organism deck will be aligned with the Genetics Society of America.

For further details, please feel free to email me at db at mail dot ubc dot ca. You can also apply via this route (I’ll need your CV and a cover letter).

Game on!


Brilliant cartoon commentary on climate change issues by Kudelka

The top one, in particular, is brilliant.





By Jon Kuldelka (you can also buy prints of these at the link).

Excellent TED talk by @edyong209 on the wonder that is the parasite host relationship (yes, I used the word “wonder.”)

I think this explains the weird relationship we have with LOL cats… (just watch the video)

By Ed Yong, via TED.

Smiley face technology: It’s starting…



By Yuma Kano, via My Modern Met.

Microscopic view of butterfly and moth wings. So insanely beautiful.






By Linden Gledhill, via Colossal

Enamored with this lovely drawing of a “scientist.”


By Ben Marriott.


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