All tagged december 2016

While it's true that cephalopods use their ink to escape potential predators, so too do humans use their voices to elude danger when they scream; such behavior does not preclude the fluid's use for more complex communication.

It has become common knowledge that, when an observer gazes up at the stars from Earth, they see them as they were at some point in the distant past. Furthermore, [...] the observer is looking upon those stars as they were at a time when the universe was significantly smaller. Were anyone to build a telescope which could see the furthest edge of the universe, they would see it as it existed at the moment time began: a moment when it was so small that, paradoxically, its edge was closer to the point occupied by the observer’s eye than their own telescope's lens.

Sometime during the Hadean Eon, long before the formation of life as we know it, a comet fell to Earth in the most gentle manner astrophysically possible. It ended its approach at nearly the same relative velocity as the planet's own orbit, then sank into the sea of molten iron below, in which it cooked over the course of several centuries like a colossal Baked Alaska.

Shortly after the arrival of the twentieth century, natural selection replaced the homing pigeon with the radio wave. This evolutionary leap resulted in the emergence of electrobiology as an academic field. Other members of the animal kingdom underwent a similar metamorphosis, though there is little agreement about what became of the barber’s hummingbird.

Single-use paths through the city are produced in the following manner: a map of its streets, ideally eleven inches across by seventeen inches tall, is laid out on a level surface. Next, a single shell is loaded into the cartographic apparatus, filled with a mixture of cuttlefish ink, magnetic gel, and iron shavings. Finally, the trigger is pulled, allowing the electrically-charged cocktail to splatter across the entire breadth of the page.

The hornet's feathers were beautiful under a microscope. In each vane, he could see its stripes unfolding into sharply-defined fractals, interlocking Sierpinski triangles of black-and-yellow contrast. The further he increased the degree of magnification, the more intricate the patterns became.