Vantablack, Garden Glow and Some New Music

Happy Friday friends! Hope you all had a great week. Cold and darkness has enveloped Spy Garden as of late and we’re a bit behind in the raking, garlic planting and other fall garden to-dos…But one highlight of our week was watching Disney’s The Humpback of Notre Dame. Makes me want to read the original by Victor Hugo. As we watched it, the Spy (he’s 9), remarked,

“This is a little dark for Disney.”


Speaking of darkness, here is an excerpt from an interesting article about a new invention called Vantablack…

…the blackest black ever seen, or, actually, not seen….

Vantablack, for Vertically Aligned NanoTube Array, is made by “growing” carbon nanotubes on a metal surface. (A nanotube is a billionth of a meter thick, or about the width of three gold atoms.) Light is trapped between the tubes and bounces around until it’s absorbed, so almost no light gets out.

Vantablack has enthralled not just the tech world but also artists and architects. Ben Jensen, 48, a founder and the chief technology officer of Surrey NanoSystems, spoke by telephone from his laboratory in Newhaven, England, about the material’s applications and why it might not be quite right for your home. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)

Q. Why are people so excited about Vantablack?

A test sample of Vantablack Credit Surrey NanoSystems

A. The coating reflects so little light, three dimensions seem to disappear. When you look at Vantablack on some wrinkled aluminum foil, it looks like a black, flat, featureless void, even with your eyes right up to it. That and the fact that it’s the darkest material ever created.

How did all this start?

­Growing carbon nanotubes isn’t new. But typically they’ve been grown at a very high temperature: 750 degrees centigrade. That would destroy most underlying materials, so they grew them on things like silicon, diamond and sapphire, which can stand high temperatures. We’re building on work to grow nanotubes at a lower temperature for microelectronics.

What’s special about carbon nanotubes?

­It’s almost like an alien material from “Star Trek.” Imagine a drinking straw, closed at one end, with a wall one-atom thick. This straw is one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair, but it is 10 times stronger than steel, and 10 times better at conducting heat than copper. It’s been known to exhibit what is called “ballistic transport”; electrons travel through it with almost no resistance. Vantablack packs billions of these straws together. (to read the full article in the NY Times click here)

Fascinating concept; and imagine the possibilities for artistic application of vantablack! In other color and light news…We are excited to visit Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden next week. Garden Glow is expected to sell out, so get your tickets soon!

I hope I can get some cool shots at Garden Glow; I always struggle trying to take decent photos at night. I’d also like to make a Spy Garden Garden Glow one day!

It's a start! hahahaha

It’s a start! hahahah

I’ve also been doing a little crocheting this week. Crocheting is such a great thing to do when it is frigid out!

Hat for our friends' newborn!

Hat for our friends’ newborn!

I do love a good pom pom

I do love a good pom pom

I made the same shaped hat for myself in black wool. I’m making some leg warmers for Baby out of the same purple (super soft!) yarn. Baby demanded the leg warmers. Then she demanded I unravel them (a request I did not accommodate) Hahah She also demanded this morning…

“I want to listen to Taylor Swift RIGHT NOW!”

What Baby wants, Baby gets!

What Baby wants, Baby gets! hahahhaha

And some “new” music for the Spy too…

Notice the similar aesthetic in the album insert.

Notice the similar aesthetic in the album insert.

And some Led Zeppelin, one of the Spy's faves.

And some Led Zeppelin, one of the Spy’s faves.

A few more random shots from the week…

Choo Choo

Choo Choo

24-Karat Carrot Cake Cupcake at Jilly's

24-Karat Carrot Cake Cupcake at Jilly’s

Missouri River Sunrise

Missouri River Sunrise

A Cold Road

A Cold Road

Have a great weekend!

6 thoughts on “Vantablack, Garden Glow and Some New Music

  1. Eliza Waters

    Gold-topped cupcakes? Now that is extravagance – I can’t even imagine what they cost! Are they for show or do folks really buy and eat them? I love the purple hat – can’t wait to see Baby in the purple leg warmers! Gearing up for Thursday… are you cooking turkey or going elsewhere? We’re headed to a friend’s – no turkey cooking chores for me! ;-)

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      The gold cupcakes are only $5 a piece (and they are pretty big!) Most of the other cupcakes averaged around the same price. I didn’t actually try any, was just there with a friend picking up some for a birthday. Jilly’s is also a cafe so will definitely have to go back for lunch (and dessert!) My parents are in town (from FL) and we are cooking here! Have a great holiday!

  2. narf77

    Imagine the heat collection possibilities of using vantablack for solar collection? It just looks like “black” to me but if it can heat sink, I am all for it! Adding lights to a nighttime adventure in a magnificent garden would be amazing. How about making The Spy a glowstick exoskeleton for the event? Oh Baby…not Taylor Swift! That’s more like it Spy, you take back Pelham 123! The Spy and Stevie-boy are cut of the same jib only Stevie-boy lived through it all in it’s first incarnation ;).

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Surely the blackest black can “heat sink”! Yes…Taylor Swift. I have to admit the new album is quite catchy; and for the record she writes all the music and plays piano/guitar which is more that most pop musicians of the day can do! Smoochie also lived through the good music in it’s first incarnation;) Hopefully Baby will come around in broadening her musical interests, though she does love to “rock out” to Thin Lizzy, so that’s something!


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