NEON FLAMES

“Neon flames” lets you design your own nebulae. Choose a color from the palette on the left and start moving your mouse cursor across a black sky. The color deepens if you move over and over the same section. The effect looks remarkably like a real star cluster. This is also available as an Android app.

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CITIZEN SCIENCE

We recently watched a NOVA science show about a guy who created a game that lets people from all over the world help find solutions to cancerous growths and viral infections. The solutions were tested in the lab, and when they didn’t work, people went back to their computers and found others that did work.

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HELP

While you’re up, how about solving a problem or two? “World Community Grid” is a free program that harnesses the power of linking thousands of computers to solve problems. (We are proud to say we first suggested doing this in a column written more than thirty years ago.)

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SCIENCE STUDIO

ScienceStudio.org is a collection of science videos, radio programs, animations and photos on the web. They range from well-known programs like National PublicRadio’s “RadioLab” to bloggers at NASA. We especially liked the subject “Why Is It Dark At Night.” (Remember: No matter how silly the research, somebody got a grant for it.)

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SCIENCE BOOKS

“Survive! Inside the Human Body,” by Suk Young Song, is a series of three 180-page comic books, each of which is $18 from NoStarch.com. The books were originally published in Korea and have now been translated for the American market. They sold more than 20 million copies in Korea and they are terrific.

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AN ELEMENTAL APP

“Nova Elements,” a free iPad app, takes the periodic table off the wall into an atomic sandbox, where you can play with particles to create your own copper, gold or any one of the other 118 elements. You can then combine them to make molecules. It’s been downloaded over 570,000 times.

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DEAD ZONE THE SIZE OF CONNECTICUT

Science.Time.com has science articles from Time Magazine. We read about the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, an oxygen-deprived area of water. It was predicted that this year’s dead zone would be the size of New Jersey. Now it’s only the size of Connecticut.  

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BOOKS: ADD LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

“Good Math,” by Mark Chu-Carroll; $34, from Pragmatic Bookshelf, tells the story of math from imaginary numbers to Egyptian fractions and Roman Numerals.

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THE INCREDIBLE BIONIC MAN

The first-ever bionic man, a 6.5-foot cyborg, is the subject of a Smithsonian Channel documentary October 20 at 9 pm Eastern time. The man has a million dollars worth of state-of-the-art limbs and organs.

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FINDING GOOD APPS

Our favorite neighbor, who visits us a lot, is five years old and likes bugs. So naturally, we went looking for bug apps. Which leads us to today’s topic: How do you find a good app for your iPad or iPhone?

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