New ‘Urban Geode’ Faux Crystal Street Art Installations by Paige Smith

Urban Geode Street Art by Paige Smith

Back in 2012 we first posted about Urban Geode, charming faux crystal street art installations created by artist Paige Smith in Los Angeles. In the intervening years Smith has taken her crystals–crafted mainly from paper or resin–to other locales, including Istanbul and San Francisco. She has also invited artists, from as afar afield as Amman, Jordan and Seoul, South Korea, to install geodes in their cities. Some of Smith’s most recent installations can be viewed on her Instagram account.

Urban Geode Street Art by Paige Smith

Urban Geode Street Art by Paige Smith

Urban Geode Street Art by Paige Smith

Urban Geode Street Art by Paige Smith

photos via Paige Smith

via Colossal

Technology Company Plans to Combat Deforestation by Planting Trees With Aerial Drones

In an effort to combat deforestation, technology company BioCarbon Engineering is developing an automated system for rapidly planting trees with aerial drones. The system has three phases: first, mapping drones are dispatched to collect 3D terrain data of a target area. Then planting drones plant seed pods from the air using pneumatic launchers. Finally mapping drones periodically monitor the seedlings’ progress. According to the company’s founder, former NASA engineer Lauren Fletcher, two drone operators should be able to plant up to 36,000 trees per day with the system. The company hopes to plant up to one billion trees per year.

via The Indepedent

The Science Behind the Different Methods of Crafting a Good Gin (and Tonic)

Chemistry of Gin and Tonic

In the fifth graphic of their “Alcohol Chemistry” series, Compound Chemistry explores the science behind the different methods of crafting the wonderful and essential spirit of gin and its natural companion, tonic.

Before compounds from the botanical ingredients are extracted into the gin, the spirit is essentially flavourless. The flavour that’s imparted depends on the exact ingredients added, the specifics of which, for most gin makers, are a closely guarded secret. However, in the EU at least, the dominant flavour must be that of juniper berries. These contribute a wide range of terpene compounds to the gin: alpha-pinene, beta-myrcene, limonene, gamma-terpinene, p-cymene, sabinene, and beta-pinene. Some of these are also contributed by other additions; for example, limonene is extracted from dried citrus fruit peels that may also be added during the redistillation process. Generally, they tend to confer woody and herbaceous tones to the flavour of the gin. Oxygenated terpenes also play a part, and these too come from juniper berries.

Inspiring Portraits of Afghanistan’s Pioneering Skateboarding Girls

Skate Girls of Kabul by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

In her remarkable photo series Skate Girls of Kabul, photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson documents Afghan girls who have enthusiastically taken up the sport of skateboarding. Skateboarding is one of a limited number of sports available to Afghanistan’s girls–cultural taboos and restrictive clothing limit the activities they can engage in (bicycling is forbidden, for instance).

The girls in Fulford-Dobson’s photos are students at Skateistan, a non-governmental organization that empowers marginalized children–many of whom are streetworkers–through a combination of skateboarding and educational programs. Skateistan was founded in Kabul in 2007 by Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich. The organization opened its first skateboard park in 2009 and has since expanded to Cambodia and South Africa. Skateistan accepts online donations.

Skate Girls of Kabul is on exhibition at Saatchi Gallery in London through April 28, 2015.

Skate Girls of Kabul by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skate Girls of Kabul by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skate Girls of Kabul by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skate Girls of Kabul by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

photos by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

via Feature Shoot

A Clever Animation Explaining How Geckos Are Able to Defy Gravity

In a recent animated TED-Ed lesson, educator Eleanor Nelsen explains how geckos seem to absolutely defy gravity due to the governing principles behind the van der Waals force.

Electrons are always on the move, and sometimes they pile up temporarily in one spot. That flicker of charge is enough to attract molecules to each other. Such interactions between uncharged molecules are called van der Waals forces. They’re not as strong as the interactions between charged particles, but if you have enough of them, they can really add up. That’s the gecko’s secret. Gecko toes are padded with flexible ridges. Those ridges are covered in tiny hair-like structures, much thinner than human hair, called setae. And each of the setae is covered in even tinier bristles called spatulae. Their tiny spatula-like shape is perfect for what the gecko needs them to do: stick and release on command. When the gecko unfurls its flexible toes onto the ceiling, the spatulae hit at the perfect angle for the van der Waals force to engage.