May 29th, 2012

on another note

Excellent portrait of a fascinating character and her environment.

May 29th, 2012

fuck art

A portrait of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, found in the series before/after on the blog If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats.

May 29th, 2012

Tim Knowles, Tree Drawings

Stonethwaite Beck, Smithymire Island, Borrowdale, Cumbria. 1/07/2005

Here’s a video in which Knowles explains his process. (Via Myrvatje.)

May 29th, 2012

astronaut photoblog

Urenlang Dragon in de gaten houden tijdens de nadering is geen straf. Hier over Namibie.

Hours on end monitoring Dragon’s approach is no punishment. Here over Namibia.

The FlickR photostream of Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers is a unique and visually beautiful insight into life in space…

See here.

May 29th, 2012

ray network

Found by Myrvatje. I don’t know where she found it or who took it.

May 27th, 2012

love involves work!

Love, says France’s greatest living philosopher [Alain Baidiou], “is not a contract between two narcissists. It’s more than that. It’s a construction that compels the participants to go beyond narcissism. In order that love lasts one has to reinvent oneself.”

Alain Badiou, venerable Maoist, 75-year-old soixante-huitard, vituperative excoriator of Sarkozy and Hollande and such a controversial figure in France that when he was profiled in Marianne magazine they used the headline “Badiou: is the star of philosophy a bastard?”, smiles at me sweetly across the living room of his Paris flat. “Everybody says love is about finding the person who is right for me and then everything will be fine. But it’s not like that. It involves work. An old man tells you this!”

But, he argues, avoiding love’s problems is just what we do in our risk-averse, commitment-phobic society. Badiou was struck by publicity slogans for French online dating site Méetic such as “Get perfect love without suffering” or “Be in love without falling in love”. “For me these posters destroy the poetry of existence. They try to suppress the adventure of love. Their idea is you calculate who has the same tastes, the same fantasies, the same holidays, wants the same number of children. Méetic try to go back to organised marriages – not by parents but by the lovers themselves.” Aren’t they meeting a demand? “Sure. Everybody wants a contract that guarantees them against risk. Love isn’t like that. You can’t buy a lover. Sex, yes, but not a lover.”

For Badiou, love is becoming a consumer product like everything else. The French anti-globalisation campaigner José Bové once wrote a book entitled Le Monde n’est pas une Marchandise (The World Isn’t a Commodity). Badiou’s book is, in a sense, its sequel and could have been entitled L’Amour n’est pas une Marchandise non plus (Love Isn’t a Commodity Either).

It’s a shame a lot of what he argues here is not already commonly accepted wisdom.

Read further at The Guardian

May 21st, 2012

caution, slippery roads

Wonderful example of biomimicry… The use of slime mould to plan out an optimal motorway infrastructure for Canada (and other countries), via boingboing.

May 21st, 2012

make good art

Neil Gaiman offers advice to aspiring artists during his commencement address to Philadelphia’s University of the Arts via boingboing.

May 15th, 2012


Demonstration of the human voice box. Via the blog Machinatorium by Henning Lederer.

May 15th, 2012

how it’s made, 1945

The making of a bicycle. Via kottke.

May 13th, 2012

SOLITUDE is out of fashion.

An interesting article from a few months ago on introversion in the (creative) workplace..

SOLITUDE is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.

But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They’re extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature.

One explanation for these findings is that introverts are comfortable working alone — and solitude is a catalyst to innovation. As the influential psychologist Hans Eysenck observed, introversion fosters creativity by “concentrating the mind on the tasks in hand, and preventing the dissipation of energy on social and sexual matters unrelated to work.” In other words, a person sitting quietly under a tree in the backyard, while everyone else is clinking glasses on the patio, is more likely to have an apple land on his head. (Newton was one of the world’s great introverts: William Wordsworth described him as “A mind for ever/ Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.”)

Read further at NY Times

May 9th, 2012

isn’t it nice to see something you’ve never seen before?

via boingboing

Apparently it’s deepstaria enigmatica.

May 7th, 2012

the bacterium Magnetospirillum magneticum

These naturally magnetic microorganisms usually live in aquatic environments such as ponds and lakes, below the surface where oxygen is scarce.

They swim following the Earth’s magnetic field lines, aligning in the magnetic field like compass needles, in search of preferred oxygen concentrations.

When the bacteria ingest iron, proteins inside their bodies interact with it to produce tiny crystals of the mineral magnetite, the most magnetic mineral on Earth.

Having studied the way the microbes collect, shape and position these nano-magnets inside themselves, the researchers copied the method and applied it outside the bacteria, effectively “growing” magnets that could in future help to build hard drives.

“We are quickly reaching the limits of traditional electronic manufacturing as computer components get smaller,” said lead researcher Dr Sarah Staniland of the University of Leeds.

“The machines we’ve traditionally used to build them are clumsy at such small scales.

“Nature has provided us with the perfect tool to [deal with] this problem.”

More: BBC Technology

May 7th, 2012

dismantled by ants

via 3QD

May 4th, 2012

coal searcher going home to jarrow

Bill Brandt, Coal Searcher Going Home to Jarrow, 1937.

Photo via the blog hazel & wren.

May 3rd, 2012

narrative drugs us

Interesting BBC Future article about DARPA research into the effect of narrative in delivering information, on how empathy works (including across in-group/out-group boundaries), and how to predict and prevent violence..

The idea is straightforward: scientists have long known that narratives exert a powerful force on the human mind, helping to shape people’s concept of individual and group identities, even motivating them to conduct violent acts. Some bloggers and people posting on Twitter have suggested the Pentagon is seeking to elevate brainwashing to a science. “Darpa looking to master propaganda via Narrative Networks,'” read the headline of a report on the science news website, for example, alongside countless similar blog posts and tweets.

Those involved in the research disagree. “None of the work we are doing, nor anyone else I know in the Narrative Networks group, is about increasing the ability of soldiers or sailors to kill people or to brainwash people,” says Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, who specializes in neuroeconomics, and whose work has been funded by the Darpa program.

Zak and others see this type of research being used in the shaping of messages that shows the US military in the best possible light, such as by highlighting its humanitarian work abroad. “Is there a way to hold events that might publicise things like healthcare, public health factors, [or] tooth brushing for children and you could give away half a million toothbrushes,” he says. “There could be things that help countries understand that most of the time what we want to do is get along with everybody.”

Zak’s work involves trying to understand how listening to stories affects the brain’s natural release of oxytocin, sometimes called the trust hormone. “Why are we grabbed by some stories and not others?’ he says. “It just seems like a great question to ask.”

BBC Future: Building the Pentagon’s “like me” weapon.

May 1st, 2012

patterned by nature

Patterned by Nature was commissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for the newly built Nature Research Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The artwork, a collaboration between Hypersonic Engineering & Design, Plebian Design, and Sosolimited, celebrates our abstraction of nature’s infinite complexity into patterns through the scientific process, and through our perceptions. It brings to light the similarity of patterns in our universe, across all scales of space and time.

10 feet wide and 90 feet in length, this sculptural ribbon winds through the five story atrium of the museum and is made of 3,600 tiles of LCD glass. It runs on roughly 75 watts, less power than a laptop computer. Animations are created by independently varying the transparency of each piece of glass.

The content cycles through twenty programs, ranging from clouds to rain drops to colonies of bacteria to flocking birds to geese to cuttlefish skin to pulsating black holes. The animations were created through a combination of algorithmic software modeling of natural phenomena and compositing of actual footage.

An eight channel soundtrack accompanies the animations on the ribbon, giving visitors clues to the identity of the pixelated movements. In addition, two screens show high resolution imagery and text revealing the content on the ribbon at any moment.

Calming, wonderous LCD installation by multimedia artist Jeff Lieberman. Vimeo via BoingBoing

May 1st, 2012

twelfth night in colour

Graphic designer Konstantinos Mouzakis has created a representation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in coloured liquid. An Arduino processor operates a series of syringes containing coloured, emulsified water representing each character in the play.

Each character has a unique color that is poured in a tank according to the act, scene and time spent on speaking. The relations of the colors in the tanks represent the relations of the characters in the play. The 5 acts are demonstrated simultaneously in order to offer an overview of the play. The spread, the amount and the speed of every color is based on the emotional axis and the whole process can be controlled by the liquids’ chemical composition.

Regarding the technical part of the installation, there is a system of motorized syringes, controlled by a processor, so colors can be released with high precision. The transparent liquid in the tanks is consisted of water, alcohol and emulsifiers. Colors are a combination of acrylics, water and gelatine.

From MyShakespeare

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