Musically Gifted & Geeky
Apr24

Musically Gifted & Geeky

Each year around the holidays, we here at Newscripts post a list of potential gifts for all the science geeks out there. We cull our picks from the Internetz as well as from fans who write in. But one gift just came across the Newscripts desk that we thought merited an early mention because we’d never considered scientifically decorated musical instruments before. Behold, the Atom Ukelele! This custom-made string instrument is available on Etsy from artist celentanowoodworks. More important, the website says: “If you can dream it, let’s build it. The possibilities are endless when it comes to instrument building. Why shouldn't your instrument be as personal as the music you play?” Crown ether ukelele, anyone? And because everyone loves Tom Lehrer’s song, “The Elements,” here’s a version sung by a 3 year old named Rose. Cute overload in a good way, or cute overload in a bad way? It’s not for us to say. But we do know that if this little virtuoso learned to play the Atom Ukelele, she’d be an unstoppable...

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Why The iPad Rocks For Chemistry
Apr02

Why The iPad Rocks For Chemistry

Apple and Theodore Gray are at it again. In the past, both have made us rethink how we view technology and the elements, respectively. But now, the two have joined forces. Tomorrow, Apple releases it's much-anticipated iPad. Tomorrow, Gray releases an iPad version of his book The Elements. This movie requires Flash Player 9 Early adopters of the iPad absolutely must download Gray's book. The page previews alone are stunning and almost enough incentive to go stand in line at an Apple store Saturday morning. It is that amazing. Xeni Jardin at boingboing has a great review of both the iPad and Gray's latest creation. But briefly, you can not only spin the crisp images of the samples with your fingertips, but you can also view them in stereo 3D. You can rotate multiple objects at the same time. Reading about gold? Tap on the WolframAlpha button to get the current market price. According to Gray, "The Elements is the closest thing youʼre going to find to a magic book: if Harry Potter checked out a book about the periodic table from the Hogwarts library, this would be it." He tells C&EN that "this is the best, most fun, most magical piece of software/book that I've ever been involved with.  I can't wait to see how people like it when they can finally get their hands on it Saturday morning.  Based on the comments I have gotten from the hardcover edition, I think it's going to get a lot of people excited about a topic they don't normally find exciting." "This is so much more than what it's possible to do on paper," he adds. And that's why the iPad will rock for chemistry. Imagine what the future of chemistry textbooks holds. Everything The Elements can do is impressive given it's incredibly short development time. Like any new release, there are a few cosmetic tweaks coming in the near future (for example, the ability to change font size or view pages in portrait rather than landscape orientation).  "But," Gray says, "people should not get the idea that the current version is in any way incomplete: We concentrated on creating a polished, complete experience, a pure vision if you will.  Now we can go back and dot a few i's and cross a few t's." The iPad version of The Elements is available at the Apple Apps Store for...

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