Caleb Charland is an awesome/badass photographer who takes a bunch of totally unrelated stuff like: a camera, some nails, string, and a magnet to create excellent illustrations of otherwise-invisible magnetic fields. Here’s a smattering of examples.

The enigmatically-named Wooden Box with Horseshoe Magnet.

A slight twist on the lemon battery. This is a pile of limes.

This illustration of soap bubble formation is excellent. The image is mid action, but looks at first glance like a still set up.

Here’s another simple illustration of magnetism or as we prefer to call it: THE INSANELY HIDDEN FORCES OF MAGNETISM! Also featured in Discover Magazine.

Like oil and water, the saying goes, and nearly as equally clichéd is the usual image of oil droplets floating atop a container of water. Here instead, are drops of water sinking steadily to the bottom of a full jar of oil.

A simple illustration of why dry ice is dry. The balloon fills with carbon dioxide gas, evaporated directly from the frozen solid chunk of it in the jar. In going directly from a solid to a gas, skipping the liquid phase of matter, carbon dioxide proves itself once again to be the insufferable miscreant we all know it is.

Water on the other hand, plays by the rules.

Here Caleb has captured spacetime. In addition to the three spatial dimensions of a cube that we usually see in photographs, this image has captured the fourth dimension – time. Each edge of the cube we see IS the length of time required to move a single light source through space. It’s a very elegant way of capturing a fourth dimensional object in a two dimensional image.

The World cup has ended and so too has the annoying drone of the Vuvuzela. Now the question is what to do with all these spittle encrusted instruments? Some ideas can be found here. But really who cares? What’s really important is that the real Vuvuzelas only play one note: B-Flat.  And that makes them special. B-Flat is the MOST special note because male alligators think it sounds like other male alligators, there’s at least ONE star (a pulsar) that vibrates at the same frequency, and there’s a stairwell somewhere near Cape Cod that resonates in B-Flat (no other note is THAT universal). Here’s the piece we did for NPR that celebrates this phantastic phenomenon.

DNA is the answer

Yes, it’s the 199th birthday of Franz Liszt today BUT it was Craig Venter‘s birthday 8 days ago and he’s only 64 (which is 8 squared). Since 8 is good luck in China and to commemorate the birth of a guy who spends all day playing around with DNA we’re revisiting a piece we did for Radiolab’s show on the possibilities and perils of artificially creating life. If messing with DNA really IS the answer to all our problems then bio-engineers deserve as much fanfare as we can give them. So here’s our salute to all of you genetic modifiers out there!

Featured this time around are members of the Friends-of-Higher-Mammals Master Chorale (they are: Kendra May, Kysa Christie, Maura Reilly, Tove Finnestad, Wendy Roderweiss, Nicholas Longobardi, JonPaul Burkhart, Frank Hayn III, Reid Swanson, Kate Ivanjack, D.J. Pick, Jason Major). I’d rather be swapping genes!

To help our friends at Radiolab out with their episode about stochasticity, we put together this catchy song (trust me, you’ll think that’s less funny when you’re humming it later), then went completely nuts and made a video for it. What is stochasticity, you ask? Click away.

When you have some more time check out Radiolab’s archived show for a few head-scratching stories of stochasticity at work.


The brand spanking new site is officially up and running, so to celebrate, here’s a brand spanking new higher mammal! Cute, huh? Just think…in just a few brief months he’ll be eating his own vomit. We, on the other hand, have much grander plans.

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