"A boy and his atom" is officially the tiniest stop motion film.

IBM made this film by manipulating single carbon atoms on a copper surface. The size of this is unimaginable, as each frame is 45 X 25 nanometres and would take 1000 of these frames laid end on end to span the width of a hair. 

The images were taken using a scanning tunnelling microscope which picks up images based on the concept of quantum tunnelling. The images are not of atom’s themselves as they are impossible to see, but is an interpreted image based on the current picked up by the microscope when a voltage difference is applied.



The Simplest Solution to Rising CO2

"Regardless of how you feel about our chances of reducing carbon emissions quickly and significantly, even that alone isn’t going to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

But doing something as simple as planting trees will.”

Yes, carbon levels in our atmosphere are rising, it’s causing the Earth to warm and the climate to change, and our dependence on fossil fuels isn’t going away anytime soon. Yet even if we ceased all carbon emissions today, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is already high enough that it is likely to result in long-term catastrophic effects. But getting that carbon that’s already in the atmosphere out of it isn’t a pie-in-the-sky dream, it’s a solvable problem that’s as easy as planting a tree, something every one of us can help do with very little time, money and effort.

Regenerative agriculture represents more than a shift of practices. It is also a shift in paradigm and in our basic relationship to nature – as a comparison with geoengineering highlights.

First, regenerative agriculture seeks to mimic nature, not dominate it. As Ray Archuleta, a soil-health specialist at the USDA, puts it, “We want to go away from control and command agriculture. We should farm in nature’s image.” In contrast, geoengineering seeks to take our centuries-long domination of nature to a new extreme, making the entire planet an object of manipulation.

Second, regenerative agriculture is a departure from linear thinking and its control of variables through mechanical and chemical means. It values the diversity of polycultures, in which animals and plants form a complex, symbiotic, robust system. Geoengineering, on the other hand, ignores the law of unintended consequences that plagues any attempt to engineer a highly nonlinear system. It exemplifies linear thinking: if the atmosphere is too warm, add a cooling factor. But who knows what will happen?

Third, regenerative agriculture seeks to address the deep basis of ecological health: the soil. It sees low fertility, runoff and other problems as symptoms, not the root problem. Geoengineering, on the other hand, addresses the symptom – global warming – while leaving the cause untouched.


Yesterday, this convo on Twitter went from tweet to t-shirt in record time. 

Molecular biologist and tweeter extraordinaire, Upulie Divisekera, capped off a discussion about the awesomeness of molecules with the best summation of carbon-based life I’ve ever seen: “Life is carbon with issues.” 

Naturally, I had to demand it be put on a t-shirt immediately so Alex Parker magically made one appear, as he seems to have the power to do. 

Now you can demonstrate your understanding of complex life with the best of them with this fabulous tee via redbubble. Multiple colors and cuts available!

Oh and if you don’t follow both Upuile and Alex on Twitter already, best get to it. Your brain and your wardrobe will thank you. 

- Summer