Blue leaves help plants get extra energy from sun

Nearly all life on Earth depends on the ability of plants to convert light into chemical energy. Chloroplasts, the little factories that carry out this conversion, are widely considered passive in this work: They just sit there and absorb whatever light hits them. But it turns out that’s not always the case. A team of researchers from the United Kingdom reports today in Nature Plants that it has discovered a species of shade-dwelling begonia called Begonia pavonina (above) that arranges light absorbing components in its leaves to boost their light absorption. Typical chloroplasts contain membrane-bound compartments called thylakoids that stack atop one another in a somewhat haphazard arrangement. In B. pavonina, however, this stacking is far more regular, creating what are known as photonic crystals. These crystalline arrays strongly reflect blue light, giving the leaves an iridescent glow. But more importantly, they concentrate the more abundant green and red wavelengths of light on the leaves’ energy absorbing apparatus.

B. pavonina  Matthew Jacobs

awkward photo is awkward, my boot covers aren’t properly attached and I’m trying to cover my face since I’m not wearing any makeup, BUT I got my Yuri wig the other day (wonderfully styled by the amazing D.G. Wigs) and I wanted to try everything on and see how it looked. 

There’s a few minor fixes I need to make, but overall I’m pretty pleased with how this came out! 

Also that’s totally a Galaxy Eyes Photon Dragon card…….

see more updates and stuff at Shifting Beans Cosplay

It turns out sapphire is a very useful high-tech material, due to its hardness, insulating properties, optical transparency, and thermal conductivity. By starting with a tiny seed crystal, a huge column of highly pure crystal can be slowly drawn out of a molten vat, producing big honking specimens like the one here. The color of sapphire is produced by impurities - this very pure example is colorless.

Seen at the Nikon booth at Photonics West 2015

Matter will be created from light within a year, claim scientists

In a neat demonstration of E=mc2, physicists believe they can create electrons and positrons from colliding photons

Researchers have worked out how to make matter from pure light and are drawing up plans to demonstrate the feat within the next 12 months.

The theory underpinning the idea was first described 80 years ago by two physicists who later worked on the first atomic bomb. At the time they considered the conversion of light into matter impossible in a laboratory.

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