Heroes of Science Volume III, now +21

HeroesofScience_Fullsize_V3_tinyprev I've just posted the third edition of Heroes of Science, which features another 21 science heroes, including Brian Greene, Peter Higgs, Lawrence Krauss, Wolfgang Pauli, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Albert Michelson and Edward Morley, Andrei Sakharov, David Hilbert, Lord Kelvin, Emmy Noether, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Andrew Wiles, Norman Borlaug, Barbara McClintock, Tim Berners-Lee, Steven Pinker, B F Skinner, Konrad Lorenz and Edward O Wilson!

You can check it out at DeviantART, and there's an FAQ over here.

Thanks, everyone, for your support and comments on the various incarnations of the Heroes of Science figures. You can find more posts on colonpipe.com about them by clicking this linky thing here.

Heroes of Science: Norman Borlaug

We are the Borlaug: Resistance is....fertile? Click to enlarge. Continuing the Heroes of Science series, here's Norman Borlaug. An agronomist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate, Borlaug has been labelled the "father of the Green Revolution" and the "Man Who Saved A Billion Lives" for his work in developing high-yield and disease-resistant varieties of wheat. Borlaug took home the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

For more heroes, click here. For the original, click here. For frequently asked questions and answers, click here.

Heroes of Science: Konrad Lorenz

Konrad Lorenz: Geese not included. Click for bigger image. It's about time the Heroes of Science included an ornithologist. Here's Konrad Lorenz, ornithologist, zoologist and ethologist. He's the guy who (along with Douglas Spalding, a century beforehand) developed the idea of imprinting in birds, and was awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discoveries in social behaviours.

More heroes here, FAQ here, thanks for your support!

Twitter: Gibson & Atwood like Heroes, disagree about clothing choices

It's been a while since the Heroes of Science gathered any attention, so I was surprised to be informed that William Gibson and Margaret Atwood had a brief discussion about them over Twitter:

..I did say it was a brief discussion.

Extra love to the others who joined in on the conversation to point out the lack of women in the original image. Check out the FAQ for reasoning behind this, and also check out the sequel for more scientists (and more women!).

Thanks for your continuing support, folks!

(Thanks to Derek for the tip.)

Heroes of Science: Edward O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson: Click to make bigger-ish. Still continuing the Heroes of Science series: Here's Edward O. Wilson, biologist, sociobiologist, theorist, naturalist, myrmecologist and author. And probably the world's number one authority on ants. (No, he probably didn't wear a tie with ants on. Sorry. Artistic license.)

More about Heroes of Science on the FAQ. Thanks for your support!

Heroes of Science: Peter Higgs

Yet another continuation of the Heroes of Science series, here's a figure of Peter Higgs, the fellow at CERN after whom the Higgs Boson, Higgs Field, and Higgs Several-other-things are named.

Here're the first bunch of figures (well, first and second, really), and some FAQs. Enjoy!


Heroes of Science: Wolfgang Pauli

Wolfgang Pauli -- click to embiggen, cromulently. Continuing the Heroes of Science series, here's Wolfgang Pauli. Pauli was one of the pioneers of quantum physics, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945, and rocked the crap out of a pair of pinstriped trousers.

More Heroes of Science shenanigans can be found on DeviantART, here, here and here. You can find Frequently Asked Questions about the fake figure series here, and everything that I've posted about the damn things here. Information, if nothing else, is in abundance.

Thanks for your continuing support, you little supporter, you.

Heroes of Science: Lord Kelvin

William Thomson, First Baron Kelvin, aka Lord Kelvin. Click to enlargify. In continuation of the Heroes of Science fake action figure series, here's Lord Kelvin, the chap responsible for developing the absolute scale of temperature, which he aptly named the Kelvin temperature scale -- thus ensuring he'd live on eternally in the minds and memories of science geeks and anyone who's ever tried to set white balance on a digital camera.

You can also find this image over on DeviantART if you're not comfortable viewing or commenting on it here, or feel your action figure examining experience would be enhanced by the greenish grey viewing experience of a DeviantART window.

Heroes and Champions

I haven't given up on the Heroes of Science series, and I'm working on adding some new faces to the collection. Here's a nameless preview of the entire cast so far -- Click on the image for bigger, but not much bigger.

This is all part of a spreadsheet I've been using to visualise how the final poster-sized image will work out. So far I've completed two columns and almost one entire row! Please bear in mind that these little people take about 2 hours each to create.

On a similar note, here's an awesome piece of art along the same vein as Heroes of Science. This one's entitled "Champions of Reason", and is by graphic designer and comic artist Saejin Oh:

"Champions of Reason", by Saejin Oh.

You can view the full-sized image over at Art of Jin, and you can even download a humungous PSD version of the image, should you wish to non-profitly print one and hang it on your wall.

Ancient aliens, minus "That Dude With the Hair"

Here's some old artwork -- some aliens doing what they do best: terrorising a caravan and a small country town. These were painted with cheap acrylics on some vinyl tiles, and were meant to be part of a larger series, which would go on to include an adorable representation of cattle mutilation, a cute attempt at alien probing, and a cartoonish bunch of crop circles. Like most (if not all) of my projects, it remains - to this day - entirely unfinished.

Many years ago, I named this guy "Jeff".

I'm fairly pleased with how adequately I managed to achieve the look of a town, at night, from the air. As far as my relationship with paint stretches, this is fairly decent.

Feel free to comment, perhaps you'll encourage me to create some more. (Although the odds are against you, these guys fell on to their canvases circa 1999.

Prehistoric obsession

This is something I worked on a while ago, but it seemed appropriate with Jurassic Park: 3D being released this week. This is a mockup of a poster for a fourth Jurassic Park movie, which I created while I was entertaining the idea of writing a JP fan film (the idea hasn't completely dissipated, by the by). The byline is "Las Cinco Muertes", or "The Five Deaths", which was the eerily appropriate local name for the chain of islands that John Hammond bought up in the novels by Michael Crichton.

JP_LCM_PosterIt's one of those projects that I started, then couldn't stop until it was perfect. This happens, occasionally. Sometimes I don't get much sleep.

The logo and poster are entirely made in Photoshop. The credit text is the only thing I skipped out on: It's "borrowed" from the poster for the first Jurassic Park.

Enjoy! And if you're Steven Spielberg, Universal or Amblin Entertainment, don't be offended, it's just an image. If I've stolen your idea, then damn -- I'm better at this than I thought I was.

Colonpipe: Evolution

In case you've ever wondered, here's the history of colonpipe.com, in convenient image format. This should answer a bunch of questions you didn't know you wanted to ask, including: - Has Russ ever had good design abilities? (Hint: no) - Has the website ever contained good, quality content? (Hint: no) - How many php-based randomising scripts can one actually use to create the illusion of a dynamic, interesting website? (Hint: all of them)

Many of the images below are from archive.org's Wayback Machine, which seems intent on preserving every embarrassing thing the internet has ever done.

Hit the jump to explore the history of a website that probably shouldn't be recorded --

Dark Spark: 2001.


I'm afraid this is all that's left of my original website, from circa 2000-ish. I recall it had some kind of funky background behind it, and a banner/side menu combination that somehow fit together. It looks like archive.org didn't care to archive those images or files.

I believe the quote from Mark Twain, top right, obscured by white text on white thanks to the absent background images, was "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt".

Back then, my website was called "Datazoid's Reality", and was hosted on webspace provided by my dial-up internet provider. This was a big deal in 2000, though.

For some reason, I felt that my website needed an all-genre-encompassing science fiction introductory passage, it appears.

Design wise, I have noticed: - I haven't yet learned the value of CSS, particularly for taking the damned underlines away from links once in a while. - I've actually used "valign="middle"" on the little red triangle bullets to center them. Not bad. - I remember making the little "Made with Macintosh" .gif, and thinking that it looked cool all desaturated like that. - The little gold balls that bullet-point the articles are actually rendered images, I made them in some dodgy 3D program. This was a big deal in 2000.

Other things: - I had a Global Freeway e-mail address. Global Freeway was a "free" internet provider that served you with a little application that would pop banner ads up on your screen. They never claimed to provide service for Macintosh computers, but I was pretty delighted to get my installation CD in the mail and discover that just inputting the login details was enough to give a Mac user internet access. Really bad, unreliable internet access, at that. But internet access. And without the ads, to boot. - "See y'all around"? When did I move to Texas? - I believe Josh sent me the scan of the ant farm keyring. - Guestbooks. I remember those. Good lord. The dark ages. - The block of grey crap that looks like an un-loaded image in the top left corner is actually a bunch of letters that spell out "D A T A Z O I D" and would dangle beneath your mouse pointer, in a way that couldn't possibly annoy anyone, ever. Thanks to the cleansing power of the modern internet, they now do nothing. (Either that, or archive.org doesn't archive extremely questionable Javascripts.)

What The Hell Is This: 2002.


This one didn't last long. Unfortunately, the colour scheme must have stuck in my head, because it'll come back to bite me later on in this article.

Same website as above, ultimately, but with a spectacularly bland colour scheme and very little graphic elements. Maybe it was ahead of its time. (Maybe it wasn't.)

Dot Com Boom: 2003.


In 2003, I splurged on a domain name (or two). At this particular time, I was using data-zoid.com, after I was thwarted from "datazoid.com" by a legitimate business in California.

All good websites in the early noughties required a splash screen -- something we wouldn't dare think about anymore. This particular one, which I believe has had its html slightly cocked up as the giant "Z" should fill the white (blue?) space to the right of the various logos, resulting in a much shorter window, graced the entrance to the dot com.

The departments on the left were largely other people to whom I farmed out some webspace, in this case it was Mike, Chris, Derek and the old Rafters forum. Clicking the giant "Z" logo brought you to...


..the website proper. I believe that I either had a very badly calibrated monitor, or zero understanding of contrast. Possibly both. Some of the images have disappeared from this, resulting in the little end caps from the menu titles turning into white boxes. Oops.

Turquoise and gold was probably not the wisest of all colour choices.

Not sure why I included the standard HTML-include date and time at the top. Looks kinda cool, though, I suppose. Also, pageview counter. Who uses those anymore? Who cares about those anymore?


At some point in 2003, I changed the colours. In hindsight, it was for the best. In hindsight, it's still horrible, with a capital "HORR".

What we're looking at here, is the result of a man who just purchased Photoshop. The gradients, bevel-and-embosses, drop shadows and strokes on the title banner alone should be enough to make me take this image, snap it into quarters and flush it. Repeatedly.

Regardless, it's history, and I can't erase it from archive.org. It's essentially the same design as above, having gained a left column of information, no splash screen because the sub-site buttons are now below the banner, and a colour scheme that I cannot recall the inspiration for but suspect perhaps it started with "Tel" and ended in "stra".

It kind of grows on you.

The Prior Art-O-Matic still exists, by the by.

Now We're Getting Somewhere: 2003.


Finally, towards the end of 2003, I made something work. Contrast adjusted! Colours palatable! Overly complex use of tables to create a html layout, achieved!

This is probably my favourite "look" for colonpipe.com. At some point, I changed the link colours from green to blue, but all in all, it's workable. I've actually re-used the little graphics for "post" and "comment" from this layout (albeit enlarged to 200%).

The colonpipe graphic in the logo was designed by fraxyl, and has been used pretty extensively since this design.

This appears to be the point in time when I began my obsession with 88x31 web buttons, thus explaining the army of them in the right-hand column.

This was also when I began experimenting with using a php-based random generator. The quote in the top bar was generated from a file of some 1,800 short quotes I'd collected from specific people on internet forums. Primarily Chris. The one displayed here is most definitely one of his.

"The Random News" used a half-dozen randomisers to generate parts of each paragraph, creating a similarly-constructed but esoterically madlibbed news article each time the page was refreshed.

Also, 99% of my updates back then related to searchstrings and the site's statistics. I was either destined to bore the sweet bejeezus out of every single one of my visitors, or I'd accidentally stumbled upon creating the most meta website in existence.

It's Got Nothing To Do With Your Bumhole: 2010.


Prior to this design, there was another Wordpress-based appearance. Unfortunately, I've lost all record of it. It was white, and that's about where my memory of it chooses to erase itself. I can only imagine it was horrible, and the less we speak about it, the better. Even archive.org didn't care to record much about it, and doesn't have the CSS sheet saved. Oh, well.

This is the first colonpipe design since I actually started to take some pride in my work as a designer, and I believe it shows. The title graphic (still in use today, in some capacity) was properly rendered, and I put considerable effort into making the typography both appropriate and pretty sexy-looking. (Well, sexy for Arial Rounded, anyway. You can only expect so much.)

Content-wise, I'd boiled the entire site down to be a "best of" compilation of what had come before. This is about the point at which I realised that what had come before was largely filler, and that there was very little of colonpipe.com of which I was actually proud, and a stonkingly massive amount of it of which I was both embarrassed and terrified, to the point that I found myself retreating to a corner with the longest broom I could find, poking ineffectually at it when it drew near.

The Red Curtains: 2012.


Not a new design in itself, this one was just a swap-out of the background graphic. I decided -- for some reason -- to replace the stars and galaxy with a red curtain. Perhaps it lent an austere air of comedy club, suggesting wit of the calibre of Jerry Seinfeld or Larry the Cable Guy. Or perhaps it didn't. Either way, it was not to last long.

Pixelpipe: 2013.


There's every probablity that you're looking at this design right now. However, if it's in the future, maybe you're not. Or maybe you are. Or...who knows. At any rate, this is the design of the site at time of writing. You can see the graphics for "post" and "comments" borrowed from the earlier design. You can see the bars of social media share buttons that I loathe, but tolerate for their expected necessity. You can also see a tagline that I'm actually pretty happy with. (At least it doesn't use the word "bumhole", which has to make it better, right?)

Thanks for sticking around.

Map of the history of Sydney's railways

This is a project that I started -- and kind of abandoned -- several years ago. The story is this: Once, during a trip to Melbourne, I picked up a cool poster showing the entire railway network of the city, complete with all of the stations and lines that had closed down over the years. I quite liked it. I decided to make one for Sydney. I stupidly underestimated the magnitude of this task.

So, I edited it, on-again-off-again, until I ended up with the final version, which I display here. Is it 100% accurate? Probably not. Is it educational? Undoubtedly. Should you always do further research when presented with information on the internet? Of course you should.

Thanks to all the folks at railpage.com.au's forums who helped all those years ago, without your assistance, I would never have had the impetus to continue with this thing. Thanks also to nswrail.net for being such a ludicrously awesome resource for New South Wales railway history, and a fantastic tool for clarifying a lot of the details that went into this map.

If you find any glaring errors, by all means, let me know. I probably won't make any changes, though, because this project has very much been and gone, and it's a huge undertaking to edit it.

Click here for the full, high-res (but heavily compressed) version if you want to read the text. (Warning: is gigantic, won't work in full-resolution on an iPad or iPhone without special software.)

'tis but a preview image. Click for big. (Really big.)

Live, from the Noel Crichton Browne room...

Who's been dancing, lewdy-style, on the tiny stage, before the dimming footlights of your mind, this week, pal? Who'd have thought there'd be more fake action figures? This time, it's Roy & H.G, from "Club Buggery", "The Bughouse", "The Dream", "This Sporting Life", and a crudload of other things.

Based on the same Star Trek: DS9 action figures as last time. Click on the image below to embiggen, if that's the kind of thing you want to do.

Vintage Photo Extravaganza

I recently posted an article about smartphone apps like Hipstamatic and Instragram, and how they're ruining the originality of photography. I'm about to be spectacularly hypocritical and backtrack over a great deal of what I said. There's a caveat, though. All of the pictures I'm about to post are original, and deliberately edited. I have a huge collection of photographs. I take photos of crap constantly. I have a lot of photos that I like, but I just don't like enough to do anything with. Photos of things, photos of places, photos of the sky. Lots of photos of, just, stuff, really. On their own, none of them stand up to scrutiny. I've posted a few on DeviantART, and some of them have been successfully received. Balanced Barbs, Probably Unsafe and No Sense of Time are a few examples of images that aren't widely hated. Generally, if I post these pictures, they sink to the bottom of the pile, and I eventually delete them because they just end up as clutter.

I'm going to shamelessly self-indulge, now, and post a shit-ton of them all at once. They kind of function as a collection. Put them all together and they get a weird nostalgic feel to them, with their cross-processed filters and Hipstamatic flavour.

So, without further ado, here's a LOT of little pictures. Click "Read more" to, uh, read more. Although I suppose it's more looking at pictures than reading. Click on the images to embiggen. Enjoy!

Heroes of Science

In November, I created an image called "Heroes of Science Action Figures", in which I digitally altered some Star Trek action figures to resemble famous scientists. It went a little bit viral, and has (to date, Jan 2013) some 230,000 views on DeviantART. Click on the image (or here) to view the full-size image on DeviantART.

I've since created a "sequel" to this image, featuring all of the original scientists (with Neil deGrasse Tyson now sporting his famous Celestial Vest), plus an additional 26 new heroes. I managed to fulfil a few requests, included a few more female scientists to offset the alarmingly testosterone-laden original image, and squeeze in another couple of my own personal heroes of science.

I also created a FAQ page for the project, answering in tedious detail a bunch of questions and criticisms the graphic has received.

Click on the image (or here) to view the full-size image on DeviantART. It's massive.

As an added bonus, here's the 27th new figure. I created the image of a Yuri Gagarin action figure before I made the decision not to include anyone who was involved in the space race/space age/space program. The reasoning behind this was entirely practical: it opened a gigantic can of worms, and I would have no choice but to include another fifty figures to do the space era justice! Maybe one day I'll make another graphic specifically for that task. :D

Yuri Gagarin, the first human being to enter outer space. You can read about him here!

Thank you everyone who's supported this crazy infographic.

Science rocks.