how things are made

Showing 177 posts tagged how things are made

Creative studio Nice and Serious collaborated with the Rainforest Alliance and Adrien Koffi Kouadio, “a cocoa farmer, family man, a community leader and football lover” in the village of Paul Kru, Côte d’Ivoire, to answer the question: Who grows the cocoa in your chocolate bar?

Related reading: How Did That Get In My Lunchbox? Related watching: Coconut: Nose to Tail, Cider Farm, China’s organic farm to table movement, and how cheese is made. (Hint: sometimes robots assist).

From The New York Times, Olympics 2014: The Science of Snowmaking

Machines make snow the same way nature does, by freezing water droplets. But they do it a few feet above the ground, rather than in the much colder conditions high in the atmosphere. Snowmaking machines employ a few thermodynamic tricks to help, but at times there is a limit to what physics can do…

…a droplet may not freeze entirely during the few seconds it takes to fall to the ground — what snowmakers call hang time.

“We’re basically making eggs,” Mr. Moulton said — icy shells around still-liquid centers.

Related snow videos: when nature handles it, How Is Snow Made?

From KQED Science, find out how San Francisco’s 600 tons of compostable waste can be transformed into a dark, nutrient-rich material that will not only feed plants to improve the quality of what we eat and drink, but that also has the potential to offset America’s carbon emissions by over 20%. Above, agronomist Bob Shaffer takes us Inside the Compost Cycle.

Food scraps, mostly compostable, are over 30% of everyone’s garbage, and could instead help turn poor dirt into nutrient-rich soil where you live. If you’re interested in learning how to compost, check out these excellent links:

Watch more videos about sustainability, including the Moser Lamp, shaggy lawnmowers, Pierre’s high school greenhouse, Brooklyn’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, and how to use a paper towel.

The next time that you’re in your local natural history museum, don’t just look at the large animals in the dioramas — really look for those hidden small animals, too: a brown-headed cowbird near a bison, a Botta’s pocket gopher peeking from a burrow, or a Blue Echo Butterfly on a flower. These smaller details in scenes get as much attention from museum staff as the central figures. 

Above, the American Museum of Natural History's Conservation Fellow Bethany Palumbo describes how she studied museum specimens of the Blue Echo to recreate it using a mix of photocopying, hand painting, and sculpting with layers of glue.

New York’s AMNH made a series of excellent videos about their dioramas from their 2012 restoration efforts

Every detail was studied for accuracy, down to the cougar’s whisker texture:

Even the shadows, background paintings, and native grasses demand proper attention to detail. After new, energy-efficient lights were installed, museum artist Stephen C. Quinn even altered the slight color variations of the crushed marble dust “snow” to better represent the moon shadows in the Wolf Diorama

Related watching: Ancient Ancestors Come to Life, How to Make a Large Crocodile Sculpture, Anatomy of Preservation, and Paleontology 101.

h/t Sagan Sense.