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Stunning Underwater Sculptures Revive Coral Reefs

Every once in a while, a project comes along that, in addition to bridging the gap between art and science, also manages to leave you completely awestruck. Such is the case with the haunting and surreal underwater sculpture of Jason deCaires Taylor, a Mexico-based artist and scuba diver.

After spending much of his childhood in Malaysia near its famous coral reefs, Taylor developed a profound attachment to the ocean and its diverse inhabitants. He was later inspired to combine his love of the sub-aquatic world with his training in ceramics and stone carving, ultimately producing a series of stunning underwater installations across the globe.

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A Touchscreen On Ice

This brings a whole new meaning to “freeze frame”: a team of engineers in Finland has created the world’s first ice touchscreen.

The device was inspired by the Finnish tradition of building snow and ice sculptures during long winters and built by a team of Nokia researchers. In a New Scientist interview, a team member says of the inspiration for the project: “We decided to see if we could make an ice sculpture that was interactive.”

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Giant Mechanical Elephant Stomps Through France

If you’re planning to visit the western coast of France anytime soon, be sure to keep an eye out for a 40-foot-tall mechanical elephant. Perhaps taking inspiration from steampunk fiction and Jules Verne, French engineers, artists, and craftspeople have cobbled together a movable mammoth using 45 tons worth of reclaimed wood and steel.

The Great Elephant is part of the Machines of the Isle of Nantes project, and exhibit of fantastical creations, which aims to inspire the imaginations of citizens and tourists alike. And it’s not just for decoration, either: this robust creature can carry up to 49 passengers on a 45-minute walk around the city of Nantes.

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New Physics Simulator Makes Dirt Beautiful

Last year software engineers developed new ways for animators to mimic the movement of swaying trees, and this year another programmer has created a brilliant new physics engine.

The software, called Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0, was created by Thiago Costa, a programmer and technical director for Ubisoft games. Watch as it realistically simulates falling dirt, crumpling silks, and other animated marvels in the eye-popping demo above.

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Maker Faire 2010 in San Mateo, CA

A flaming lotus sculpture from Maker Faire 2009 (jurvetson/Flickr)

Whether you have a knack for inventing things or just want to see some really cool stuff people have made, you should definitely check out Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA this weekend (May 22-23, 2010).

Maker Faire is a two-day extravaganza that features a diverse collection of projects from garage inventors and tinkerers across the nation.

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