The Plastic Brain

Leave a comment

Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment

I recently read that the element Tantalum was named for Tantulus (no kidding, you say), by Anders Ekeberg, the Swede who discovered it.

The name tantalum was derived from the name of the mythological Tantalus, the father of Niobe in Greek mythology. In the story, he had been punished after death by being condemned to stand knee-deep in water with perfect fruit growing above his head, both of which eternally tantalized him. (If he bent to drink the water, it drained below the level he could reach, and if he reached for the fruit, the branches moved out of his grasp.)[14] Ekeberg wrote “This metal I call tantalum … partly in allusion to its incapacity, when immersed in acid, to absorb any and be saturated.”[15]” (Wikipedia)

Perhaps more interestingly, tantalum holds a charge well, and is a major component of coltan, known industrially as tantalite. Coltan is infamous for being required to make modern mobile phones, and for being at the centre of lethal disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment

From the maker of The Artist Is Present – Marina Abramovic – The Game, Pippen Barr continues to merge retro gaming with culture with the latest offering about Ancient Greek figures who were punished for their deeds:

You can do it Sisyphus! Be the boulder! Keep on rollin’! Don’t stop! Never give up! No retreat! No surrender! No end in sight! Just delicious Greek torment as far as the eye can see and as fast as the fingers can type!

Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment was written in ActionScript 3 using Adobe’s FlashBuilder 4.5 and the excellent Flixel library. It uses sound effects made in bfxr. The font in Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment is Commodore 64 Pixilized by Devin Cook 

Prepare for button-bashing … you can play the game here

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Leave a comment

I like to search ‘recursion’ on Tumblr.

Most of the time it’s the ironically repetitive pain of a thousand posts of people ‘discovering’ Google’s recursion trick.

But occasionally there is a gem – like this. 

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Leave a comment

The processes behind perfecting a pretty image of a galaxy from Hubble.

Remarkably similar to the image processing I used to do – only for me it was looking at the tiniest subcellular organelles with a laser scanning confocal microscope. Just a matter of scale really.

Gives me a sense of oneness with my fellow scientists…


The next time you want to put a poem on your iffy Photoshop job of a galaxy or nebula, remember it took someone hours of editing just like this to make the original. It’s like salting your food at a Michelin restaurant.

So, I dunno, at least make it some T.S. Eliot or something worth all that effort.

Leave a comment

My proposed introduction to the topic of similar triangles…

This gallery contains 2 photos