Black and Pink

Wired has written an absolutely amazing article about the surprisingly cut-throat scene of art supplies. It all started when scientists created a material, Vantablack, so black, any structure made of it appears featureless to eye.

The alignment and density of the nanotubes captures photons from the wee wavelengths of ultraviolet to wide, hot infrared—and all the wavelengths of visible light in between. Then they push that energy out the back as heat. With just the barest fraction of photons that hit the stuff bouncing off, even at a glancing angle, practically none reach a human eye and trigger a human brain. So when you look at something coated in Vantablack, you see a blank. A void. “It’s a nuts material,” Jensen says.

Immediately the art community was intrigued, but prominent artist Anish Kapoor managed to acquire its exclusive rights. The ensuing battle is pretty hilarious and a must read, and has brought us several new colors including a whole new level of pink.

Is this narcissism as the mother of invention?

A Vicious Cycle

I wrote recently about the need for improved support for those suffering from mental disorders in our society. In this discussion it came up how we are now imprisoning these people rather than supporting them. We often think of this as people who commit minor crimes that are likely a symptom of gaps in the individuals thought process.

An adopted son of Jerry Sandusky faces multiple charges of sex crimes involving children, court papers revealed Monday, more than five years after the former Penn State assistant football coach was himself first arrested in a case that sent shock waves across the university and NCAA.

Happy Birthday Stephen Hawking

What a remarkable man, he was told he had a few months left on our planet back in 1963. 54 years later we lucky enough that he has stuck around and completely revolutionized our understanding of astrophysics and the limits of gravity. Here's a longer video which is more educational. Enjoy!

Hidden Figures

I’m a huge nerd for anything about space programs and the movie Hidden Figures coming out this week was sure to catch my attention. I decided to take some time and see what I could learn about the three woman whose stories are told in the film.

Well before Sputnik launched and the US got serious about space, NASA was known the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). In the early 1940s, the US was working hard to understand how you break the sound barrier and the necessary math was increasing at what can only reasonably be called an astronomical rate. Facing the same availability crisis of white men as everyone else with WWII going on and with some gentle prodding by Franklin Roosevelt who signed Executive Order 8802  in 1941; the first federal action to promote equal opportunity in the US by prohibiting racial discrimination in the defense industry; the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory finally started opening up positions for black women in 1943.

A Little Red Cup

Speaking of using consistency to dominate a market for something everyone needs and no one wants to think about, this could be one of the best examples of that strategy in the U.S. It worked so well, its become an international identifier of the country itself.

Thank goodness 2016 is finally coming to an end, by the way.