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Posts Tagged ‘x-ray

“Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable”*…

 

Everything looks cooler when you blast it with X-rays. The photography of Roy Livingston makes electromagnetic radiation his muse; in his colorful series, X-Ray Visions, the skins of alarm clocks, toy robots, old Crosley radios, and more bubble away to reveal their candy-colored X-Ray cross-sections.

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Livingston… didn’t always take such colorful X-ray photographs, but after experimenting with digitally adding color to his work as part of a study called “36 Robots,” “the flood gates opened.” Each of his photos begins on the analogue side by taking an X-ray and developing it. He then scans it into his computer in ultra high-resolution, manually cleaning the image as he goes. After cleaning, he creates hundreds of color variations in Photoshop—”I learned about saving large documents in Photoshop the hard way,” Livingston notes—then, after giving the project a few weeks to simmer, goes back to figure out which color paths he likes best.

When it comes to deciding what to X-ray, Livingston says its all about design. “I’m a big fan of all kinds of industrial design whether it’s new or old,” Livingston tells me. “It’s incredible when you see the thinking, craftsmanship and machining that goes into creating some of these objects. They are works of art by themselves.” If there’s anything he’s trying to get across with his work, Livingston says, “it’s that the simplest things can be beautiful.”…

More at “Colorful X-Ray Photos Illuminate The Beauty Of Vintage Industrial Design.”

[Special summertime bonus:  The Best Water Guns of All Time and The History of the Squirt Gun…]

* Buckminster Fuller (the inspiration for the title of Roman Mars’ wonderful design podcast, 99% Invisible)

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As we delight in design, we might recall that it was on this date in 1617 that the first one-way streets were established in London. An Act of Common Council was passed to regulate the “disorder and rude behaviour of Carmen, Draymen and others using Cartes,” specifying seventeen narrow and congested lanes running into Thames Street, including Pudding Lane (where the Great Fire of London began in 1667).

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Written by LW

August 23, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Eight years involved with the nuclear industry have taught me that when nothing can possibly go wrong and every avenue has been covered, then is the time to buy a house on the next continent”*…

 

 

The Yucca Mountain Waste Depository sits empty.  Starting 1983, our electricity bills contained a tiny charge (a tenth of a penny per kilowatt-hour) meant to pay for the storage of nuclear waste until it’s safe– an estimated 10,000 years– at Yucca Mountain.  In 2014, after collecting $30 billion, the Department of Energy stopped the fee.  Five miles of tunnels—out of the intended 40—had already been carved into the rock, but there was no radioactive waste stored there.  Having missed its planned opening date of January 31, 1998 by an embarrassing margin, the Obama administration in 2010 abandoned the languishing plans to build Yucca Mountain.  Three-and-a-half years later, a court ruled the federal government couldn’t keep collecting fees for a site it had no intention of building.

That’s one way to see Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository’s continued nonexistence, as yet another political boondoggle: thirty billion dollars of taxpayer money collected to build a mythical mountain.

But Yucca Mountain is more than that. The ambition behind it far exceeds the two- or four- or even six-year terms of any politician. Here we were trying to build a structure that would last longer than the Great Pyramids of Egypt, longer than any man-made structure, longer than any language. When forced to adopt a long view of human existence—when looking back on today from 10,000 years into the future—it’s hard not to view Yucca Mountain in near-mythical terms. We can imagine future earthlings pondering it the way we ponder the Parthenon or Stonehenge today—massive structures imbued with an alien spirituality.

Ten thousand years may be the time scale of legends, but nuclear waste storage is a very real and practical problem for humans. It is a problem where incomprehensibly long time scales clash with human ones, where grand visions run up against forces utterly mundane and petty…

In 1981, the Department of Energy convened a task force on how to communicate with the future.

The panel of consulted experts included engineers, but also an archeologist, a linguist, and an expert in nonverbal communication. Dubbed the Human Interference Task Force, they were tasked with figuring out how to keep future humans away from a deep geological repository of nuclear waste—like Yucca Mountain…

Read more about HITF’s attempts to communicate with our far future selves at “The Cat Went Over Radioactive Mountain” in the terrific new Method Quarterly.

* The late, lamented Terry Pratchett

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As we reach for the kitty litter, we might send penetrating birthday greetings to Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen; he was born on this date in 1845.  As a physicist working at the University of Würzburg in 1895, Röntgen became the first to discover– to produce and detect– electromagnetic radiation in the range we now know as x-ray (originally called “Röntgen ray”).  Two weeks after his discovery, he became the first person to create an image with x-rays, when he took a “picture” of his wife Anna Bertha’s hand.  For his discovery, Röntgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.  And in 2004, element number 111 roentgenium (Rg) was named in his honor.

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Written by LW

March 27, 2015 at 1:01 am

I’m looking through you…

It is perhaps a sign of the times?  In any case, Eizo (more specifically, the German medical imaging subsidiary of the Japanese company) has issued a pin-up calendar that cuts right to the bone:

Miss September

See them all at Advertolog.  (TotH to UFUNK)

As we think again about responding to the X-Ray Specs ad in the back of that comic book, we might recall that on this date in 1768, the first commencement of a U.S. medical college was held at the College of Philadelphia (now, The University of Pennsylvania.)  With the establishment of a the Department of Medicine in 1765, CoP had become the first medical school in the U.S.

The institution granted ten Bachelor of Medicine degrees at this first commencement. Being alphabetically at the head of the list, John Archer became the  first doctor in the U.S. to receive such a degree. Four of these ten also received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the college three years later, in 1771. (The first Doctor of Medicine degree was granted in 1770 at King’s College– now Columbia University– in New York.)

The University of Pennsylvania Medical School (Originally, instruction took place in a wooden building, Surgeon’s Hall)

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