bioephemera

Archives for March, 2008

Breadcrumbs and wings

histoire(s) naturelle(s) Petra Werle Petra Werle’s sculptures are fantasy, not science – nevertheless, she pins them in display cases like a butterfly collection. Their faces are molded breadcrumbs, and their bodies are made of feathers, beetles, moths, butterflies, shells, and moss. histoire(s) naturelle(s) Petra Werle

Wellcome Image Winners 2008

Vitamin C crystals Spike Walker Crystals of oxidised vitamin C (dehydroascorbic acid). Vitamin C itself (ascorbic acid) is a good antioxidant as it is reacts easily with oxygen to form the stable and unreactive dehydroascorbic acid seen here. Of the 2008 Wellcome Image Award winners, I like this one best. It shows that even prosaic…

I am normally the last person to find the wanton demolition of art amusing. But I just discovered that early this year, when a windstorm hit my alma mater, Whitman College, a falling tree broke this large metal sculpture by Ed Humpherys, known to generations of Whitties as “The Giant Paper Clip” (or some variation…

Darwin’s Natural Heir

from Darwin’s Natural Heir Directed by David Dugan; produced by Neil Patterson I am a specialized advocate: an advocate for the rest of life. I hope that doesn’t sound pompous, but all of us should be advocates for the rest of life. -E.O. Wilson Last Tuesday I visited the National Geographic Society for the premiere…

Have you heard the song about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle? Check out Jonny Berliner on yesterday’s Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Everett said that there are infinite realities The Copenhagen explanations sound like insanity With consciousness affecting wavy-particle dualities The actualities are rather mysterious

Ele-vision!

Photo: John Downer Trunk-cams and tusk-cams – apparently when they’re not painting portraits of each other, elephants are film auteurs: One carried a “trunk-cam” – a device resembling a huge log concealing a camera which could be held in its trunk and dangled close to the ground. Another had a “tusk-cam” hooked over its tusk.…

An unstable contest of minds

I was reading last week’s New Yorker, and this passage by Adam Gopnik – part of a long piece about professional magicians – caught my attention. I really agree with this: Whatever the context, the empathetic interchange between minds is satisfying only when it is “dynamic,” unfinished, unresolved. Friendships, flirtations, even love affairs depend, like…

Random Art of Sea-Tac

Landing, 2005 Ralph Helmic and Stuart Schechter Me + iPhone + 3 hour layover = tour of the random art of SeaTac! I was stranded in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for three hours Friday with nothing to do, so I went on a little treasure hunt and catalogued as many of SeaTac’s random art pieces…

Dodo, Mauritius, last seen in the wild 1690 33″ X 16″ X 27″ mixed media and chicken bones Christy Rupp One of my favorite art blogs, Hungry Hyaena, recently reviewed the work of Christy Rupp. Her last show at Frederieke Taylor, “Extinct Birds Previously Consumed by Humans (From the Brink of Extinction to the Supermarket)”,…

NIH-ural selection

Eric Hand had an article on Nature.com yesterday about trends in post-doubling NIH grants. I don’t agree that giving prominent PIs disproportionately large numbers of grants is automatically a bad thing – it depends on the size of the lab’s staff and how productive/important their research strategy, among other concerns. But I was interested by…