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Dungeons & Drawings

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If you're a geek of a certain age and inclination, you remember the Monster Manual -- a compendium of monsters for Dungeons & Dragons, including vital statistics (does the monster breathe fire, resist acid, turn you into stone with its gaze, etc.) and creative illustrations. Depending on your age, you probably have a single edition of the Manual that "seems right" -- for me it's the 1983 Monster Manual II, though I also had the Fiend Folio. In any case, two enterprising illustrators going by "Blanca M." and "Joe S." have created a blog in which they re-imagine the monsters. Their work is called Dungeons and Drawings (though for the record, I think they're really missing out by not using an ampersand). Pictured above, a few Kobolds, which Blanca describe, in part, like so:

Kobolds are a pretty common early-level encounter. They're small and have a very low challenge rating, which means you can throw a whole pack of them at the players without worrying too much about murdering them too early in the game. Even the Monster Manual goes to some lengths to describe how pathetic they are. "Kobolds speak Draconic with a voice that sounds like that of a yapping dog," says the Manual. They're the chihuahuas of the D&D world.

The pair describe their blog as follows:

Two crazy young illustrators take it upon themselves to bring some new creative juice to the multiplicitous monsters of Dungeons and Dragons.

Each Sunday we'll be taking it upon ourselves to create and post an image of a monster of our choice, with a brief description of the creature in question. All the monsters are taken from any one of the so-called Monster Manuals, with a particular emphasis on everyone's favourite 3.5 Edition.

As such all content is technically the intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast, but it's all done in good fun and I don't really see how you can copyright a dragon, anyway.

Well, maybe your favorite 3.5 Edition, ya whippersnappers! Enjoy the illustrations at Dungeons and Drawings -- the latest entry even includes a brief video!

(Via @brainpicker.)

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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Weird
Take a Peek Inside One of Berlin's Strangest Museums
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Thomas Quine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Vlad Korneev is a man with an obsession. He's spent years collecting technical and industrial objects from the last century—think iron lungs, World War II gas masks, 1930s fans, and vintage medical prostheses. At his Designpanoptikum in Berlin, which bills itself (accurately) as a "surreal museum of industrial objects," Korneev arranges his collection in fascinating, if disturbing, assemblages. (Atlas Obscura warns that it's "half design museum, half horror house of imagination.") Recently, the Midnight Archive caught up with Vlad for a special tour and some insight into the question visitors inevitably ask—"but what is it, really?" You can watch the full video below.

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Courtesy of Nikon
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science
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
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Courtesy of Nikon

Nature’s wonders aren’t always visible to the naked eye. To celebrate the miniature realm, Nikon’s Small World in Motion digital video competition awards prizes to the most stunning microscopic moving images, as filmed and submitted by photographers and scientists. The winners of the seventh annual competition were just announced on September 21—and you can check out the top submissions below.

FIRST PRIZE

Daniel von Wangenheim, a biologist at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, took first place with a time-lapse video of thale cress root growth. For the uninitiated, thale cress—known to scientists as Arabidopsis thalianais a small flowering plant, considered by many to be a weed. Plant and genetics researchers like thale cress because of its fast growth cycle, abundant seed production, ability to pollinate itself, and wild genes, which haven’t been subjected to breeding and artificial selection.

Von Wangenheim’s footage condenses 17 hours of root tip growth into just 10 seconds. Magnified with a confocal microscope, the root appears neon green and pink—but von Wangenheim’s work shouldn’t be appreciated only for its aesthetics, he explains in a Nikon news release.

"Once we have a better understanding of the behavior of plant roots and its underlying mechanisms, we can help them grow deeper into the soil to reach water, or defy gravity in upper areas of the soil to adjust their root branching angle to areas with richer nutrients," said von Wangenheim, who studies how plants perceive and respond to gravity. "One step further, this could finally help to successfully grow plants under microgravity conditions in outer space—to provide food for astronauts in long-lasting missions."

SECOND PRIZE

Second place went to Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki, both seasoned micro-photographers. They used a stereomicroscope to create a time-lapse video of a sweating fingertip, resulting in footage that’s both mesmerizing and gross.

To prompt the scene, "Tomita created tension amongst the subjects by showing them a video of daredevils climbing to the top of a skyscraper," according to Nikon. "Sweating is a common part of daily life, but being able to see it at a microscopic level is equal parts enlightening and cringe-worthy."

THIRD PRIZE

Third prize was awarded to Satoshi Nishimura, a professor from Japan’s Jichi Medical University who’s also a photography hobbyist. He filmed leukocyte accumulations and platelet aggregations in injured mouse cells. The rainbow-hued video "provides a rare look at how the body reacts to a puncture wound and begins the healing process by creating a blood clot," Nikon said.

To view the complete list of winners, visit Nikon’s website.

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