Tag: energy

1973 analysis suggests that “person on bicycle” equals number one in efficiency for animals and/or machines.

“It is worth asking why such an apparently simple device as the bicycle should have had such a major effect on the acceleration of technology. The answer surely lies in the sheer humanity of the machine. Its purpose is to make it easier for an individual to move about, and this the bicycle achieves in a way that quite outdoes natural evolution.

When one compares the energy consumed in moving a certain distance as a function of body weight for a variety of animals and machines, one finds that an unaided walking man does fairly well (consuming about .75 calorie per gram per kilometer), but he is not as efficient as a horse, a salmon or a jet transport. With the aid of a bicycle, however, the man’s energy consumption for a given distance is reduced to about a fifth (roughly .15 calorie per gram per kilometer).

Therefore, apart from increasing his unaided speed by a factor of three or four, the cyclist improves his efficiency rating to No. 1 among moving creatures and machines.” (S.S. Wilson from Scientific American, March 1973)

(see this link, via futility closet)

Brilliant BRILLIANT Doonesbury on climate change.


By Garry Trudeau, via Washington Post

Han Solo and Chewbacca Weigh In On Their New Hybrid Millennium Falcon



– – –

HAN SOLO: Well, so far, it seems like it’s a pretty good thing. Me, I’m not too up on the technology, but Chewie is pretty good at that stuff. Right Chewie?

CHEWBACCA: Uuuhhhggg. Rrrrggghhh. Hhhgg-aaa. Rrrrn.

HAN SOLO: Yeah, that’s a good point. Chewie just reminded me that this new system has significantly increased our energy efficiency. This basically means less money spent at the pump, and more money in our pockets.

CHEWBACCA: Rrrrrr! Aaaa-Ghhhuuurr. Uuuuhggg.

HAN SOLO: Right. And lower emissions too. Although I don’t get why that would be such a big deal in deep space. Do greenhouse gases do anything out there anyway?

CHEWBACCA: Uuuuhhh-rrrr. Ghhhgggg. Uuugggg. Ggg. Rrrrr-uuuuaa. RRRR! NNHHHUUUR!

HAN SOLO: Alright, alright. Calm down. I’m not saying it’s not a problem. I know there’s science behind all this stuff. It’s not like you haven’t told me to be environmentally conscious like a hundred times already. Look, I’m sorry buddy. I didn’t mean to sound negative like those Empire bastards.


HAN SOLO: Yeah, I know. That would be pretty funny to watch you pull the arms off a one of those guys. Doing that would be carbon neutral too right?

CHEWBACCA: Gghhnn. Nnnnh.

HAN SOLO: Yeah, sure. But listen Chewie, seriously: How would lower emissions in deep space help? I just don’t get it, you know?

CHEWBACCA: Grrrrgh. Uuurhh. RRRggllhh. Hhuu-hhhuu. Auhhh-ghu-gh. RRRRR!. Ggg-rrr, uurrghh. HHGGU! Uuuuhh. Rrr, ggghhu. Huuhhhg. GGGrrr. Uhh?

HAN SOLO: Oh, O.K.. That makes sense. You say you still want fewer emissions because there’s still a lot of flying involved when the Falcon leaves or returns to a planet, or just when she does her cool maneuvers close to the surface. These things still directly contribute to increasing greenhouse gas amounts within the confines of the planet’s atmosphere. Hence, not helping with the global warming problem.

CHEWBACCA: Ggggrrr. Rrrrh. Uuuhhggr. RRRR! Uhhfuckinggghug.

HAN SOLO: Definitely. And you’re right, Tatooine is already too damn hot.

CHEWBACCA: Rrrrrhhg. RRRGGH! Hhhuurrg. Ggrrgh. Huurg. Grrhhg. Guuuaaauu. AAAURRGG! RRRRGGG!

HAN SOLO: Yeah, O.K. I mean I’m basically pretty happy with the modifications. Really, as long as we can still make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, I really don’t care. Plus, I still get to say stuff like “Punch it Chewie,” right? Chewie, you love that stuff.

CHEWBACCA: Ggrrrrgghhaarr.

Camera plus alcohol plus combustion equal whoa





By Fabian Oefner, via Colossal

Great info graphic on carbon footprints from various countries (total and per capita)

Click on image to enlarge.


From PS magazine, via Science Borealis

Wonderful and clever sciencegeek photos by Chema Madoz




By Chema Madoz, via Thinx

Still Life a la Renewable Energies






“Photographer Mitch Payne, Designer Kyle Bean and Art Director Gemma Fletcher collaborate on a playful still life project which visually represents different forms of renewable energy. Energy extracted from resources which are continually replenished such as Solar,Nuclear and Wind. Each image depicts a glass tank housing various setups acting as ‘energy sources’ which power a lightbulb. The series includes ‘Geothermal’ where coloured gravel is layered up to represent a cross section through earth and ‘Tidal’ where water is seen dramatically splashing like a giant wave within the glass tank.”

From Stem Agency, via Notcot.org

Paper cups, airplane cups, and plastic bottles: When you see the totality of it all, it might just overwhelm you.

I’ve been a fan of Chris Jordon for a while, and although I’ve written about him before in other places, I just realized I don’t actually have him tagged here at Popperfont.  Anyway, here’s a sampling for what he does:  that is, he takes statistical information and represents it photographically in very powerful ways.  I recommend clicking on the links for each image, where you’ll be treated to a zooming effect so that you can see his artwork as if from afar and then moving in.

Plastic Bottles, 2007 60×120″
Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

Paper Cups, 2008 60×96″
Depicts 410,000 paper cups, equal to the number of disposable hot-beverage paper cups used in the US every fifteen minutes.

Plastic Cups, 2008 60×90″
Depicts one million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours.

This animated gif of city lights turning on is pretty to look at.

By Hajin Bae, aka soulist-aurora, on Tumblr

An orange (as in the fruit) lamp.

By Caleb Charland, via Colossal.

This cloud is pretty, interactive and made from 6000 light bulbs #whoa

“The piece is made from 1,000 working lightbulbs on pullchains and an additional 5,000 made from donated burnt out lights donated by the public.”

Called CLOUD, and created by Caitlind r.c. Brown.

These charcoal artworks by Robert Longo on nuclear explosions are incredible.


By Robert Longo, from “Sickness of Reason” (2003). Via Stacey Thinx.

A Science Video Classic: Gummi Bear in Potassium Chlorate

CLEARLY worth repeating in my own lab (esp. for our school programs, assuming we’re cleared for safety issues). Perhaps also a segue for talking about alternative energy?

Originally from eBaum’s World.

Just wash the damn spoon.

By Max Temkin.

How much Force power can Yoda output?

See answer here. Besides, you know this is going to be good when the figures include the following:

By xkcd, via @tsira

Grant writers: On discussing the applied benefits of funding lightsaber research…

…Please watch this video. Note the research benefits are twofold. First, the obvious fact that lightsaber would be real; and second, the fact that that birdie must be damn near indestructible!

Inspired by the fact that we just bought one of those cheap badminton set-ups and the kids think it is an AWESOME way to spend your summer days in your backyard (especially when you make lightsaber and/or Kung Fu sounds whilst playing).

Also, what other applications would go into this grant?

Power transmission towers that look like giant human figures

“If we have to live with them, why not turn them into something both functional and artistic? This was the sentiment of American design firm Choi+Shine Architects, who submitted the concept to Iceland’s ‘High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition.” The concept, dubbed ‘The Land of Giants‘, sought to transform mundane transmission towers into statues on the Icelandic landscape by making only small alterations to existing pylon design.”

Via Twisted Sifter

I miss being a tree

From failblog.com

Photos of invisible bicycles.

No sign of Wonder Woman though…

“If you look closely, you’ll notice a pretty key element is missing from these photographs! China-born photographer Zhao Huasen created this fun collection of images where bicyclists float along city streets, pedaling and steering invisible bikes. For the project, entitled Floating, the artist captured hundreds of cyclists going about their every day lives and he then digitally removed the bicycles from the images. The bicycle seats, position of the riders, and the shadows on the streets remain intact, allowing viewers to easily fill in the gaps and understand the story.”

By Zhao Huasen, text from

This Snow Globe has a Coal Plant and Emits Smog.

Called No Globe and also for sale at a price of £2000:

No Globes
Mixed media snow globe
H20 x W20 x D20cm

The single greatest threat to the climate comes from burning coal but despite this a whole new fleet of dirty coal-fired power stations are on the verge of being built in the UK (the first for 30 years). The snow globe was designed for Ctrl.Alt.Shift in anticipation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

Limited edition of 2 – only 1 remains”

By Dorothy, via Colossal.

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