Friday, 28 June 2013

Send Me On My Way

Arrivederci, Australia! Right now, I'm sitting in a hotel room trying to use mobile internet to get this post out - and in just 6 hours from now, I am meant to be getting up and hopping on a plane (ugh, 6am flights!).

Anyway, here is my outfit from the other day! I'm really loving stripey things right now, and thigh-high socks! (And I'll have a stripey shirt DIY up in a couple of days, ooh!) I've brought a few pairs of thigh-highs to Italy with me, too, but I don't know if I'll be able to wear them in the summer heat. It's going to be a shock going from winter (and constant rain) to the middle of a heatwave-summer.

shirt - Cotton On
overalls - Thrifted
necklace - c/o MartofChina
socks - c/o OASAP
shoes - c/o Yeswalker
hat - c/o Wholesale

Anyway, wish me luck for my flight - I'll be doing some more blogging from Rome, I hope! (I don't have time for a science post right now, but you can read my post about the physics of air-flight, if you missed it the other day!)

Oh, and one more thing - everytime I go travelling, I make sure that this song is on my phone: Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root (it's the Matilda song!)
Even though I'm a super sciencey scientist and all, and try not to be superstitious... that song is the best for good travelling vibes ;)

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Neapolitan Feet & 30,000 Ft Microbes

Today I aimed for my feet to look like melting ice creams! Do you think I succeeded? 

These neapolitan-coloured brogues sent to me by MartofChina are only $15 - and they have sizes which fit my big feet, too! I really like them - although I think I will swap the laces for something a little nicer (the ones that came with them are a bit like pieces of string). Otherwise, I'm very happy with them!

Also - this overall-style skirt is from a physical store in Haymarket, Sydney, that is actually called "Internet Shop". So if you're getting confused as to why there is no link below, and going "but it's called Internet Shop!?!", that is why.

blouse - c/o Romwe
skirt - Internet Shop
shoes - c/o Mart of China
necklace - c/o Les Folles Marquises
socks - Tutuanna
hat - c/o Wholesale

Bacteria rule the world. For every human, Not only is there about 10 times more bacterial cells on and in your body than your own body cells, but there are probably about 5 million trillion trillion (5 with 30 zeros after it) bacteria on Earth. They are also extremely adaptable - bacteria can live inside hot springs and volcanoes, deep underneath the ocean and also, apparently, 9 km (or 30,000 ft) up in the atmosphere. 
(Image Source)
Very recently, scientists at Georgia Tech hitched a ride on some NASA airplanes, took samples of clouds and searched them for bacteria. They found about 100 different types of bacteria living in the clouds. And the bacteria might even affect how clouds form - at 30,000 feet, ice crystals which form the clouds need a particle to grow around - and that position could possibly be filled by bacteria. That means that bacteria not only rule our bodies and our land, they could also be controlling the weather.

Read more about it here, it's super fascinating (I've been reading about it all morning).

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bambi and Mind Control

I've been stuck inside the house for far too long. It has not stopped raining in Sydney. I can't wait to trade it in for summer in a couple of days! I'm a very excited (and lucky) lady to be travelling again this year. But hey, look at this Les Folles Marquises necklace above - it reminds me of an Adventure Time character! It's sooooo cute, plus it's handmade. What do you think?

shirt - Thrifted
skirt - c/o Sheinside
necklace - c/o Les Folles Marquises
socks - c/o OASAP
shoes - c/o Yeswalker
beanie - Stolen from boyfriend

Here's a bit of incredible science news from Italy. Giving mobility back to paralysed people using science! The man in the video below has not been able to walk, move or feel his legs for two years. This exoskeleton is now under his control, and has helped him to walk for the first time since he was in a car accident that severed his spinal cord. The exoskeleton is part of a project that aims to eventually give people movement by correlating brain-patterns to the exoskeleton, train them using virtual reality, and then allowing them to control it through thought alone. How cool it that? Check out the the Mindwalker website here and the video of it in action below!

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Monday, 24 June 2013

Rainy Day & Silkworms

The rain has been relentless for the past few days in Sydney, and isn't forecast to stop for a sizeable chunk of the week. It's good in a way, because going from winter to summer in Italy next week will be made even lovelier after coming from such awful weather, but it's also very frustrating because I had about 50 different outfits to post here before I left!

I have been wanting some kitty shoes for such a long time now, though I'm glad I held out for these ones because they actually fit me (unlike all the pairs I tried to squeeze my feet into while I was in Tokyo earlier this year). These ones are awesome - they are both suede and creeper-style with a slight heel, and, well, they have cat faces on them. And anything with a cat face is basically instantly fantastic.

dress - c/o Sheinside
belt - Vintage
cardigan - Forever 21 (old)
socks - c/o OASAP
hat - c/o Wholesale
shoes - c/o Sammydress

I always wanted to design my own wedding dress, if I were to one day get married. I always thought that I'd just design the structure of the dress, but now that I'm going into molecular biology, maybe I'll be able to help make the fabric too - and own the geekiest dress ever.
This dress was made out of silk from transgenic silkworms, who can produce glowing silk.
Image source
These glowing silkworms are created by inserting a sequence of DNA that encodes a glowing fluorescent protein into the same region of the DNA that encode the instructions for making silk proteins. So the silkworms are exactly the same as ordinary silkworms, and still make silk in the same way, except that their silk comes out glowing.

The medical applications of silk are vast, and it is now commonly used in medicine and surgery. Because the body's immune system doesn't reject silk, it can be used to make artificial arteries and other tissues. But being able to work with a glowing material, that is clearly distinguishable from human flesh, could potentially make things are lot easier for surgeons! Although making a glowing dress out of the glowing silk maybe isn't as necessary an advance as making glowing arteries, it was a good way to draw attention to the research, and well, it's also pretty damn cool.

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Follow The Pineneedle Collective on Bloglovin'

If you have been living under a rock in blog-land, google reader will be shutting down on the 1st of July. But don't stress, there are plenty of other ways that you can keep up with my blog (if you are so inclined). You can either follow me through Bloglovin' (and you can also import all the blogs you are following on google reader by clicking here), Facebook (here) and Twitter (here)! Each new post will appear on all three of these platforms.

I hope you're all having a nice day!

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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Hot Air Balloons and Aeroplanes

Les Folles Marquises, a gorgeous little etsy store, sent me some of the cutest ever necklaces! I can't even tell you how in love I am with this handmade doll necklace. I wore it to my exam as my good-luck charm (not that I'm at all superstitious nor believe she bestowed good luck upon me, but being able to look at the necklace during my exam did make me smile! Which has gotta help, right?)

As a side note, Les Folles Marquises, according to google translate, is "The Crazy Canopies" in English - any French speakers want to tell me if that is at all correct? What a cute name for a cute store, though! And although you'll all know me as an advocate of cheap clothes, if something is handmade this well, it's definitely worth paying more for.

I've been making some pretty great thrift-shop finds lately, like this pink cardigan and velvet fitted blazer. Every winter I only ever seem to have one cardigan and one coat which I end up wearing every day, which just makes winter even more depressing, so this year I am making an effort to own quite a few different coats, sweaters and cardigans so I can mix and match them (almost) as frequently as my dresses! Op-shops are definitely the best place to get coats and cardigans from, especially as they are usually under $10 - I don't think I've owned many "new" ones in quite a number of years.

dress - c/o Sheinside
necklace - c/o Les Folles Marquises
cardigan - Thrifted
blazer - Thrifted
hat - c/o Wholesale
socks - c/o OASAP
shoes - Yeswalker

And isn't this balloon-print Sheinside dress super cute, and just the perfect amount of quirky? Speaking of Sheinside, I have the winner of the Sheinside giveaway to announce. Is this you below? If so... congratulations! You have won a $100 gift voucher to spend at Sheinside. And I highly recommend the dress I am currently wearing ;)

So I'm going on an plane to Italy in just a week's time from now. Whenever I go on an aeroplane, at at least one point in the flight I will freak out and go "HOW ARE WE POSSIBLY DOING THIS?!" Knowing really nothing about physics, I am as ignorant as caveman trying to comprehend a smartphone (in fact... I don't really know much about that one, either). I just think that the fact that something as big and heavy as a plane full of people hanging around apparently weightless in the air is insane. And if anyone asked me how planes stayed in the air, I probably wouldn't be able to give them a very good answer, either, apart from mumbling something vague about thrust and lift. And I like to know how things work, rather than just blindly accepting them as fact.

So flight is actually kind of simple on the surface. There are four main forces all vying for dominance of your aircraft. You have thrust, which is what the engines provide - propelling you forward - drag, which pulls you backwards, weight, which drags you back down towards the earth, and lift, which is the one that holds you up in the air and is provided by the wings.

Lift is the one that helps hold a super heavy object up in the air, and is the cause of my freaking-out.
(Image source)
Aeroplane wings give you lift, because of the relative differences in speed between a solid object (the wings) and a fluid object (the air). The wing deflects the air above and below the wing, splitting it into two directions. The shape of the wing makes sure that the air that goes over the top moves faster than the air on the bottom. And when air speeds up, its pressure drops, so there is more pressure pushing up from the bottom of the wing, than from the top of the wing. That's how you get lifted up into the air!

The speed of sound is what is known as "Mach 1", and commercial planes don't fly this fast, however, the plane I am going on travels at Mach 0.85. That is 85% of the speed of sound, or about 280 metres per second. That is just a little over 1000 kilometres an hour (621 mph). That's... really, really fast. And a good way to segue into this XKCD comic. Speculative physics is even more fun than actual physics.

If you could make a stereo fly past someone at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2), then would it sound like it was playing backwards to someone who was sitting by?

The answer is yes, the song would sound like it was playing backwards. The stereo is flying faster than the sound it is playing can travel (sound travels at the speed of... well... sound), so the stereo would reach you first, followed by the sound it emitted one second ago, then two seconds ago, then three seconds ago, etc.

I can hardly wrap my head around it, but I think that it is one of the coolest thought experiments ever (plus, it's an awesome fact to tell people at parties). Read the whole comic here (especially if you've never seen XKCD's 'What If?' site before.)

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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Rose Gardens and Space Telescopes

I am a very happy lady tonight, because I have finished my exams! I think my weeks of non-stop studying really paid off as well, which makes finishing them all the sweeter. Nonetheless, I am going to be doing some mad blogging for the next week or so before I head off overseas, so if you visit here daily you'll almost certainly see something new each time ;)

Isn't this dress Sheinside sent me gorgeous? It just makes me want to have a picnic in a rose garden. Unfortunately I couldn't find any roses to take photos among - it being the middle of winter in Sydney and all. This pretty park did a good job serving as the backdrop, though.

I was so happy with the shoes that Yeswalker sent me as part of a sponsored post a few months ago (these ones) that I went and bought a couple of pairs with my own money, these red ones included. They're soooo cute and comfortable, and were also sent with free postage. I got two pairs for $15 each which is seriously good. These are going to be my Italy-trip walking-shoes! (I will never ever wear practical walking shoes, not even for travelling. Sorry, feet, but runners are just too ugly.)

dress - c/o Sheinside
cardigan - Thrifted
tights - c/o OASAP
necklace - c/o Merrin & Gussy
hat - c/o Wholesale
shoes - Yeswalker

You guys. This is the power of crowd-funding. 12,000 people (at the time I write this) have pledged money to a kickstarter project to fund an educational Space Telescope called ARKYD. There's 10 days left if you want to get yourself a "space selfie" (in fact, I think that's probably half the reason why the project has done so well. I am considering getting a space selfie of my favourite outfit just so I can put it on the blog in a science segment. If enough of you tell me that I should...).
Right now though, I'm completely exhausted (and vaguely aware that I might be writing nonsense) so I will leave it at that. Good night from Sydney, and I hope you're all having/have had a super good day!

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