THE LONG VIEW
Background. This week we published a paper that maps our home supercluster of galaxies, named Laniakea (from the Hawaiian words lani, meaning heaven, and akea, meaning spacious or immeasurable). The paper essentially describes a new way to define where one supercluster ends and another begins, and maps our home supercluster.
(For an excellent animated explanation, see this fab video.)
Design challenge. We decided this would make an excellent cover, based on their extended data Fig 3 (second image). There are several key elements to the figure: the rainbow colour scale indicates density (with high density regions in green and red, and low density in blue); velocity flow streams are indicated by the blue and white lines; and the orange band indicates the border of the Laniakea supercluster.
While these visual elements combine to make a very informative figure, I felt that we should create something fresh for the cover that would appeal to a wider audience. Working closely with authors Brent Tully and Daniel Pomarede, we requested a few modifications from which we could build a striking artist conception based on their data.
We initially requested an image from Pomarede that shifted the rainbow density scale to a single dark gradient (bottom image), to more clearly put the scene in space. We took that information and gave it to artist Mark A. Garlick, who polished the image and changed the Laniakea velocity flow streams to a warm glowing colour that would be instantly recognised as light from the many galaxies in the cluster. We also removed the orange line that indicated the Laniakea border and replaced it with a more subtle approach, giving the supercluster a clear shape and with a visible border but in a layered, translucent style.
And finally, we decided to locate ourselves on the map with some fun language (‘you are here’) to draw readers in and inspire a bit of awe.
About the project:
Breaking Wave tells the story of the search for patterns, and the surprising results that come by changing our point of view. 804 suspended spheres move in a wave-like formation. When the wave crests and breaks, the balls hover momentarily in a cloud. From almost anywhere in the room, this cloud is purely chaotic, but step into one of two hidden spots, and this apparent chaos shows a hidden pattern. From the first, a labyrinth hints at the search for knowledge, and from the second, a Fibonacci spiral inspired flower reminds us of the natural order and patterns found in nature.
Scientists search through billions of experimental data points in order to find patterns to develop new drugs, to treat Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, and other diseases. Without a particular framework or perspective, these are just 0’s and 1’s, with no form or information. But with the perspective of an understanding of molecular dynamics, these data points create a clear picture about the hidden dynamics within the body, and allow scientists to craft drugs to successfully treat these diseases.
Above the sculpture lies the mechanism that drives its motion. A motor drives a large rotating stainless steel cam. 36 rollers follow the contour of the cam, which traces out the overall waveform. Each roller slides on a linear track, pulling a cable that spins one of the 36 output shafts. Distributed along each shaft are different sized drums from which the wooden sphere (coated in zinc and steel, and then rusted chemically) are hung. As the shafts rotate, the drums pull the balls up and down – larger drums pull balls higher. In this way, the size of the 804 drums mechanically programs the images hidden in the cloud of balls.
See it in motion in this video:
Students burn Mexican govt. building in protest over police corruption
Hundreds of residents in a southern-Mexican city smashed up the state capital building in a furious protest over the continued lack of information about 43 local college students, believed to have been abducted by corrupt police. The local police are allegedly working with a powerful drug cartel and it’s feared that 10 newly discovered mass graves my contain the bodies of the students taken on September 26. “Up to 20” charred remains were discovered on Saturday. As an investigation is underway, 26 police officers have so far been arrested, a number of which admitted to working with the Guerreros Unidos - an infamous drug cartel. Arrest warrants have also been issued for the mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Albarca, his wife and his security chief, but they have gone into hiding.
holy fucking shit this is huge
fun statistics for adults!
“when I was a kid, I had no help with college tuition, I was hardworking and paid it all myself”
-Annual tuition for Yale, 1970: $2,550
-Annual tuition for Yale, 2014: $45,800
-Minimum Wage, 1970: $1.45
-Minimum Wage, 2014: $7.25
-Daily hours at minimum wage needed to pay for tuition in 1970: 4.8
-Daily hours at minimum wage needed to pay for tuition in 2014: 17.3