Monday, January 09, 2006

Answering some requests and questions

Thanks to everyone for your great comments, questions and suggestions. I will try to get to all of them, although some things you suggested simply don't look very interesting under my microscope.

First, some answers to your questions that have been e-mailed and posted here:

Q: What photoshop techniques are you using?
A: Auto-Levels (ctrl-shift-L) and Auto-Color Balance (ctrl-shift-B) and it seems to make a difference depending on which I do first sometimes. I will also go in and manually correct it if I don't like what it's done. When a single color predominates, the final result is sometimes not very good. I am also using a freeware program called Noiseware Community Edition mostly because it's free. I am still experimenting with the denoising.

Q: Do you take requests?
A: Yes! See below! However, as I said, sometimes things do not look very good under the microscope even if you think they will. The outside of an orange peel is a great example because it just didn't look like much of anything. I try to only select things I think will either be interesting or beautiful (preferably both) and before you ask, yes I think the dog booger is beautiful in its own way. I am also looking for ideas for theme days.

Q: What sort of things should I request?
Anything that I can break down small enough to fit under the microscope. Most liquids will not work because they have no structure. Soon I'll be experimenting with a blacklight to see if I can get any interesting results with flourescent materials (although I can't make any promises). If it works, I'll be asking for ideas for things which might flouresce under the microscope which wouldn't normally do so when viewed with our eyes.

Q: Are you a scientist?
A: Nope, I was way too much of a slacker, but I love science. I try to keep up with current science as much as I can because the universe is a source of never-ending wonder to me and I want to know how it all works. Professionally, I'm a (sadly currently unemployed) audio engineer, writer and voice-over actor. Here's my professional website:

Q: Why haven't you shown any microorganisms yet?
A: Because I haven't found any good ones to show you yet. So far I haven't ventured much past the block I live on (although that will change today!) and being in the San Fernando Valley, there's just not much standing water to be found. Many of the ponds and streams here are fenced off, I guess to stop homeless people from bathing in them or drinking the water so finding some is going to be a challenge but I have not given up yet! I also plan on taking a trip to the ocean and bring back lots of samples. Probably just a couple of hours of sample collecting will provide a week's worth of images.

Q: Was that really your booger?
A: Yes.

Q: Are you going to do sperm?
A: They would be too small for the microscope to see but I would definitely do so if I had the ability. There is no science without sacrifice!

For Tomorrow: The Big Lots Challenge
Wherein I go to the Big Lots discount store and see how many different things I can buy to put under the scope for $10. Check back for more!

Now, on to today's pictures, mostly requests:

Someone suggested one of my nails. Here is a toenail at 200x

And Lucy graciously donated a piece of her claw as well. Her mouth may be cleaner than a human's but her nails certainly aren't! Shown at 200x

My electric toothbrush at 200x

An eggshell blue styrofoam packing peanut at 200x

Someone requested a potato chip. I don't keep any in the house, but I might try to get some today at Big Lots. In the mean time, here is a Wheat Thin cracker at 60x.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is real cool, thanks for the eyecandy. Here are things that I think might be neat-o: various kinds of wood; fabrics; printed things; knife edges & points; hairs; and especially, the sticky side of a few pieces of tape pressed repeatedly against various surfaces. For example, "The sticky side of a piece of duct tape pressed three times against a clean pair of flannel jammy pants."

Best wishes.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Amy Stewart said...

How about worms? Earthworms have tiny bristles called setea that help anchor them to the earth (and also to each other during mating); it would be interesting to try to see them. Also, along their belly, just below the thick lumpy band of flesh called the clitellum, you will see the sexual organs--tiny pores, really, nothing to get very worked up about.

Dirt? Springtails? Mites? The roots of plants?

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the groove of a record?

8:32 AM  
Blogger eyal said...

You're a freak!

Keep up the good work!!


9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very cool site. how about toothpaste (something with sparkling crystals perhaps), your tap water, other household liquids or health and beauty items.

also you did nails, finger pads/prints are pretty cool too under a good scope

2:25 PM  
Blogger Carnival said...

Hello, Just wandering the blogosphere and happened on your blog. I like the way how you have put it all together. I'll be coming back again.


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3:55 AM  

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