Original image

7 Visions of the Future Sculpted in Play-Doh

Original image

Play-Doh, the wallpaper cleaning material-turned-sculpting compound, turns 60 today. To celebrate, the brand asked parents from around the world to share their kids’ predictions for what the future holds via social media. Some kids predicted dinosaurs would make a comeback; others thought we’d take a rocket to Mars; and still others thought the future would be rife with robots. The brand's official sculptor then brought those visions to life using nothing but Play-Doh, a process which took more than 40 hours to complete and required 200-plus cans of the compound. You can see the sculpts—and timelapse video of them being created—exclusively below, then share your own predictions for the future on social media using #PLAYDOH60 and #WORLDPLAYDOHDAY.


With the discovery of new Goldilocks planets—so named because they're "just right" for hosting life—happening all the time, this prediction seems likely to become a reality. As for what our future alien besties might look like, scientists have a few theories of their own (green tentacled monster sadly isn't one of them). Check out all the detail that went into creating this sculpt:


Pretty much everyone—from The Strand magazine in 1893 to the British Pathé in 1939—has gotten in on the fashion prediction game. Thanks to the rise of wearables (which can track your fitness, measure your emotions like a mood ring, analyze your carbon footprint, and maybe one day even fly), it's safe to say future fashion will be more high-tech than ever before—so we'll probably be seeing something like this sculpt on tomorrow's hover-runways.


Probably predicted by a kid wearing Heelys. (May we suggest said kid enroll in this sneaker design academy to make this a reality?) In the timelapse video of this sculpt, you can see how Play-Doh's artist painstakingly feathered layers of the compound to create those incredible wings:


Scientists recently announced that unicorns were real, and roamed the earth 29,000 years ago. Sadly, that animal was not as adorable as this sculpt—it was actually more of a furry rhino than what we typically think of as a unicorn. But we're holding out hope that scientists can make this prediction happen.


Any talk of stoves that cook so you don't have to inevitably brings to mind Ray Bradbury. Of course, this stove is much cuter than anything Bradbury wrote about.


We can only guess that this prediction was made by a kid obsessed with Back to the Future. (Ever wonder how Doc Brown and Marty got to be such good friends? We have the answer.)


We're constructing taller buildings every year, and we could have self-driving flying cars by 2018. What we're saying is, this vision of the future is happening sooner rather than later—and we're ready to live like the Jetsons.

All images and videos courtesy of Play-Doh and Hasbro.

Original image
Courtesy of Nikon
Microscopic Videos Provide a Rare Close-Up Glimpse of the Natural World
Original image
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.


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 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 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.

Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
‘American Gothic’ Became Famous Because Many People Saw It as a Joke
Original image
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1930, Iowan artist Grant Wood painted a simple portrait of a farmer and his wife (really his dentist and sister) standing solemnly in front of an all-American farmhouse. American Gothic has since inspired endless parodies and is regarded as one of the country’s most iconic works of art. But when it first came out, few people would have guessed it would become the classic it is today. Vox explains the painting’s unexpected path to fame in the latest installment of the new video series Overrated.

According to host Phil Edwards, American Gothic made a muted splash when it first hit the art scene. The work was awarded a third-place bronze medal in a contest at the Chicago Art Institute. When Wood sold the painting to the museum later on, he received just $300 for it. But the piece’s momentum didn’t stop there. It turned out that American Gothic’s debut at a time when urban and rural ideals were clashing helped it become the defining image of the era. The painting had something for everyone: Metropolitans like Gertrude Stein saw it as a satire of simple farm life in Middle America. Actual farmers and their families, on the other hand, welcomed it as celebration of their lifestyle and work ethic at a time when the Great Depression made it hard to take pride in anything.

Wood didn’t do much to clear up the work’s true meaning. He stated, "There is satire in it, but only as there is satire in any realistic statement. These are types of people I have known all my life. I tried to characterize them truthfully—to make them more like themselves than they were in actual life."

Rather than suffering from its ambiguity, American Gothic has been immortalized by it. The country has changed a lot in the past century, but the painting’s dual roles as a straight masterpiece and a format for skewering American culture still endure today.

Get the full story from Vox below.

[h/t Vox]


More from mental floss studios