Underground Railway Station by Spora Architects. Budapest.
Today is the birthday of Jean Foucault, born in 1821 to a publisher in Paris. In addition to defining and inventing the Foucault pendulum, Foucault is credited with naming the gyroscope. But first, the pendulum. Since the time of Galileo who defined the laws governing the motion of pendulums, but Foucault was the first to use the pendulum to show the rotation of the earth independent of celestial observation. Before he was thirty he devised an experiment to measure the speed of light. Today he is known more for the pendulum that bears his name than any of his other achievements. The word pendulum is a New Latin neuter of the noun pendulus meaning hanging down from the verb pendere meaning to hang.
Image of a Foucault pendulum at the Pantheon in Paris.
Dog prints in medieval chained library
I made this image in the chained library “De Librije” in the Dutch city of Zutphen. Established in 1564, everything about this place is still precisely as it was, including the tiles on the floor. Remarkably, throughout the library there are tiles with a dog’s paw prints. These 450-year-old traces of a large dog come with a local legend. One night, a monk called Jaromir was reading in the library while enjoying a meal of chicken, delivered to him by some nuns. He was not supposed to do this: not only does one not eat in a library, but he was also going through a period of fasting. Then suddenly the devil appeared in the form of a dog, scaring the living daylights out of the monk. The devil ate the chicken and locked the monk inside as a punishment - as devils do. Knowing the story, it’s hard to ignore the prints when admiring the books.
Pics (top my own): Zutphen, Librije Chained Library. More on the legend on the library’s website, also source for lower pic, here (in Dutch).
The Great Pyramids of Giza, as you’ve never seen them before — at the edge of a sprawling metropolis and the vast desert.
the cool thing about cairo is that when we were drving through it you could always see them poking out above the buildings haha
// Landscape design
Photography by Giovanni De Sandre
Bee hives on a mountain slope in the mountains of Shennongjia Nature Reserve in central China’s Hubei province. The wooden boxes are balanced on the karstic mountains of the reserve and the beekeeper has to clamber on top of them to get to the next one. To work his bees, the beekeeper has to stand on top of one hive to get to the one above. China, where beekeeping has been carried out since the second century, produces half of the world’s supply of honey.
Photo credit: Xinhua Landov/Barcroft Media
Hubble Helps Astronomers Find Smallest Known Galaxy With Supermassive Black Hole
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a monster lurking in a very unlikely place.
New observations of the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 have revealed a supermassive black hole at its heart, making this tiny galaxy the smallest ever found to host a supermassive black hole.
This suggests that there may be many more supermassive black holes that we have missed, and tells us more about the formation of these incredibly dense galaxies. The results will be published in the journal Nature on 18 September 2014.
Lying about 50 million light-years away, M60-UCD1 is a tiny galaxy with a diameter of 300 light-years — just 1/500th of the diameter of the Milky Way. Despite its size it is pretty crowded, containing some 140 million stars. While this is characteristic of an ultracompact dwarf galaxy (UCD) like M60-UCD1, this particular UCD happens to be the densest ever seen.
Despite their huge numbers of stars, UCDs always seem to be heavier than they should be. Now, an international team of astronomers has made a new discovery that may explain why — at the heart of M60-UCD1 lurks a supermassive black hole with the mass of 20 million Suns.
"We’ve known for some time that many UCDs are a bit overweight. They just appear to be too heavy for the luminosity of their stars," says co-author Steffen Mieske of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. "We had already published a study that suggested this additional weight could come from the presence of supermassive black holes, but it was only a theory. Now, by studying the movement of the stars within M60-UCD1, we have detected the effects of such a black hole at its centre. This is a very exciting result and we want to know how many more UCDs may harbour such extremely massive objects."
The supermassive black hole at the centre of M60-UCD1 makes up a huge 15 percent of the galaxy’s total mass, and weighs five times that of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. “That is pretty amazing, given that the Milky Way is 500 times larger and more than 1000 times heavier than M60-UCD1,” explains Anil Seth of the University of Utah, USA, lead author of the international study. “In fact, even though the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy has the mass of 4 million Suns it is still less than 0.01 percent of the Milky Way’s total mass, which makes you realise how significant M60-UCD1’s black hole really is.”
The Renaissance garden was seen as paradise on Earth. A place to get away, a place to meet, to tell stories, to hold secrets, to enjoy nature and more. Conveniently Gardens of the Renaissance is the perfect book to hideaway with in any garden, even at the Getty Center.
#NowReading is a series with @gettypubs that celebrates books, reading everywhere, and art.
'Antares' colchicum - an early bloomer
Sundew Catapults Prey into Trap
Drosera glanduligera is a species of sundew, a group of carnivorous plants that use sticky tentacles to ensnare their prey. This is species is unique in that it has extremely fast ‘snap tentacles’ which literally fling their prey into their sticky traps.
Sundews have evolved the ability to digest insects as an adaptation to their nutrient poor habitats. Once a prey is caught in the glue-like secretions, it either dies from exhaustion or asphyxiates from being smothered in dew. The plant then secretes enzymes which break down the insect, allowing the plant to absorb its nutrients.
All species of sundew are able to move their inner tentacles to pass prey towards the center of the leaf, where digestion is most efficient. Many species are able to fold the surface of the leaf around the prey to ensure contact with a larger digestive surface.
Drosera glanduligera is the fastest moving sundew, with ‘snap tentacles’ which fold inwards within 75 milliseconds. This action is triggered when an insect makes contact with them, and are powerful enough to catapult the insect into the center of the leaf, where it becomes glued down.
Gif from video: Poppinga, S. Et al. via Wikimedia Commons