Tag Archive: simulation

World Aids Day

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For World Aids Day, we thought we would feature this visualisation of the HIV virus, created by a team of scientists, designers and animators known as VisualScience. It is based on dozens of recent scientific publications – from fields such as virology, X-ray analysis and NMR spectroscopy – in order to produce this beautiful portrait of a pathogen that produces such an ugly disease. The HIV virus is roughly 120nm across (one thousand times smaller than the thickness of a piece of paper) and covered in a viral envelope made of cell membranes and projecting glycoproteins which allow the virus to attach to and invade cells). Once inside, it forces the cell’s own machinery to create more copies of itself. Internally, there are layers of structural protein, which cover the capsid – a conical structure containing the virus’s DNA. Mouseover the image to see the capsid shown in pale orange. FYI You can donate to World Aids Day by visiting …

Aerosol map of the world

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Greenhouse gases are not the only thing in the atmosphere to causes changes to our climate. This computer simulation from NASA (officially known as Goddard Earth Observing System Model, Version 5) shows aerosols spiralling through the atmosphere. While greenhouses gases tend to have a warming effect, aerosols cool the planet by reflecting more solar radiation back into space. Dominating the picture is an orange streak of sand, blown off the Saharan and Arabian deserts. Light blues in the northern and southern oceans are sea salt particles swirling around cyclones. In the north, gray smoke from fires, and white sulphates from industry emissions and volcanoes complete the picture. Over the years, a number of calls have been made to use aerosols to fight the increasing threat of global warming. It might seem sensible to release agents that causes cooling to balance the greenhouse gases that are causing warming. But as the picture above demonstrates, the atmosphere is an incredibly complex thing. Hundreds of factors determine what our climate …

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