Pink Flamingos in full color and as depicted by reflected infrared light.

(above) Pink Flamingos at the Maryland Zoo, as depicted by reflected infrared light.


(above) Pink Flamingos at the Maryland Zoo (full color version)

Larger views of the images are available here

There is a similar reason for the flamingo’s pink appearance and also the high reflectivity of infrared light by their feathers as shown in the B&W version: the presence in their feathers of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is present in both the algae and in the shrimp that are part of the flamingos’ diet. Beta carotene is an organic chemical that contains a reddish-orange pigment and is also highly reflective of IR radiation, explaining the light color of the flamingos’ feathers in the B&W image.

The equipment was a Nikon D100, Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens, Hoya R72 IR filter. Exposure under bright sunlight of 1/30 sec at f2.8, ISO of 200.



Richard Feynman metaphorically describes the quest for scientific understanding (video)

What Feynman is presenting in the video is an atheist’s version of the story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. Feynman’s banana is analogous to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which is more typically depicted as an apple.

And as an atheist, Feynman rejects the version of man’s origins presented in Genesis, but rather considers man to be a close relative and a descendant of the apes. Plucking a banana from its tree is like obtaining one additional bit of understanding of “the ultimate laws of physics”.

Feynman asserted that science is imagination constrained by a tight straitjacket

“The game I play is a very interesting one. It’s imagination, in a tight straitjacket.” — Richard P. Feynman

“Feynman once said, ‘Science is imagination in a straitjacket.’ It is ironic that in the case of quantum mechanics, the people without the straitjackets are generally the nuts.”
–Lawrence M. Krauss

Here is link to a video clip where Feynman makes his science as imagination in a tight straitjacket assertion:

Here are two shots I took of a street performer entertaining spectators by struggling to get out of a straitjacket while balancing on a large ball. It’s interesting that some of the spectators watching him have their arms crossed as if they themselves were wearing straitjackets:

A quote by Feynman on flowers, illustrated with photos by me.

Richard P. Feynman
“I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.”

Introducing Mr Magnet, man with a body which radiates a special energy

Muhibija Buljubasic, 56, poses for photo with cutlery and a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone on his body and head in Srebrenik, February 23, 2014. Buljubasic discovered five years ago that he had the unusual ability to attach items to his body by radiating a special energy. Without making any special preparation, he was able to hold on to spoons, forks, knives and other kitchen appliances, as well as non-metal objects like remote controls and cell phones. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic This fellow’s portrait (above) seems to bear a resemblance to the decorations that are attached to a manniquin outside of a resturant in Baltimore (below). Perhaps this fellow (above) simply sprays a little adhesive on the backs of the spoons and cellphone to get them to stick to his body.

Perhaps this fellow has a “magnetic personality”? Some Chinese fortune cookies contain slips of paper that make such assertions about people: 😉

Will a global shortage in Helium develop, and if so what will its impact be on society?

Man Carrying a Child and Helium Filled Balloons on Mother's Day 2012
A Man Carrying a Child and Helium Filled Balloons on Mother’s Day 2012

The use of helium to fill inexpensive balloons, such as those shown above honoring Mother’s Day, could cease as the result of the elimination of cheap sources for this gas.

An interesting article on the availability of Helium can be found at:

A different kind of gas shortage

Depictions of the Operation of Dyson Fans

Dyson fans are intriguing to watch. The inventor Sir James Dyson gave an interesting interview where he talks about his fan’s design and also about his political agenda.

I created a short video that illustrates how the fans were being showcased at an art festival that I attended

I also used a bit of that video to create a depiction of the fan’s operation, shown in slow motion ( 1/4 normal speed ). I added a music track to enhance the video’s entertainment value. 🙂

Does Dark Matter Reside in Another Universe?

I would like to inject a speculative idea. There is a form of matter that would only interact with visible matter gravitationally, i.e. only through the exchange of gravitons. This would be matter that existed IN ANOTHER UNIVERSE. The idea that matter in our universe could be interacting with matter in another universe is an idea taken seriously by string theorists. For example, the idea is discussed in the book “The Hidden Reality, Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos” by Brian Greene There is also a tie in between what I suggested and the so called Ekpyrotic Universe, which is based on the idea that our hot big bang universe was created from the collision of two three-dimensional worlds moving along a hidden, extra dimension. The tie in is that the Ekpyrotic model posits as I do the gravitational interaction between two “branes“ that are situated close to each other. See

Here is an animation by Neil Turok showing the interaction between two “brane” universes, which illustrate his Ekpyrotic Universe model. His animation could also serve to illustrate the gravitational interaction between two “branes” corresponding to different universes. From the perspective of our universe, the matter in the other universe would be “dark matter” whose presence is felt only via gravitational attraction  i. e. the exchange of gravitons.

Interaction of two branes

Superstitious Pigeons – Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss (video) and Mr Hug and Luv and the Pigeons

In this video  Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss  discuss experiments with pigeons that Richard Dawkins believes shed light on superstitious behavior in humans.

Depiction of “Mr Hug and Luv” as a God of the Pigeons
(photography by me)

I think that these pigeons were frightened by “Mr Hug and Luv”. I put some food close by him, and the pigeons were initially reluctant to go after it. Most of the time pigeons and sparrows will voraciously go after whatever food one throws on the ground. But after a time they had coaxed the food far enough away from “Mr Hug and Luv” for the pigeons to be comfortable consuming it.

This image (below) of pigeons being fed baloney that has a humorous/ satirical tie in to the post, as “baloney” is slang for foolishness or nonsense, “pigeon” is slang for one who is easily swindled or a dupe, and “it’s for the birds” is slang for something that is considered worthless.

Feeding Baloney  to the Pigeons