bioephemera

Archives for July, 2008

I’d never bowdlerize any author’s work, but wordlerizing is a lot of fun. Jonathan Feinberg’s Wordle is an easy way to create pretty frequency-based word clouds from plain text. I entered the text of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, and this is what I got. No surprise, “species” is…

Today FAS put up an online public archive of documents produced by the Office of Technology Assessment. As you may know, the OTA was a legislative office authorized in 1972 to produce comprehensive nonpartisan reports for Congress on a variety of scientific topics. It was defunded and closed in 1995, and the bulky paper reports…

Athanasius Kircher, MIA?

Can anyone out there fill me in on what happened to the Athanasius Kircher Society website? It went down, then promised to be back up, and now seems permananently down . . . which is a tragedy, because it was one of the best wonderkammers on the web.

Eppendorf’s new ad campaign features this inexcusable yet mesmerizingly cheesy boy-band ode to something called “epMotion.” Even though they are individually reminiscent of various best-forgotten members of N’Sync and Color Me Badd, the crooners satisfy the needs of a lab-coated blonde graduate student with too many 96-well plates. Girl, it’s time to automate! (Ringtones, mp3s,…

This octopus has 96 arms. That’s just not right! See PinkTentacle for more on this bizarre critter, and another 85-armed specimen. Euw! via Ectoplasmosis and lots of places.

Vintage public health posters like this one are remarkable not only for their skilled design, but also for the varied ways they remain remarkably timely or seem bizarrely dated. For example, compare the playful-yet-kinda-creepy “keep your teeth clean” poster above, as opposed to the very different meaning of “clean” in the anti-VD poster below. I…

If you think that one inanimate shark is as good as another, your understanding of the art market is, as they say, dead in the water. Mr. Saunders’s piece just didn’t have the same quality or cache. (Although Mr. Saunders did claim his shark was more handsome.) Most important, it’s not just about the work…

The Goracle speaks!

“We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet.” — Al Gore We all knew what he’d say, but we still stood in line for an hour to hear him say it. Today Al Gore issued his “Generational Challenge to Repower America” to…

As I sit here waiting for Al Gore to start speaking, I’d like to note that Scibling Chris Mooney over at the Intersection has really annoyed me. Apparently the fact that I didn’t like the film Sizzle is evidence that I, too, am likely a terrible communicator of science who lacks self-awareness. (Since there is…

Fantastic Contraption

The brand-new Device Gallery is hosting a group show called “Fantastic Contraption” featuring artists like H.R. Giger and Christopher Conte. The show opens this Saturday, July 19, from 6-9 pm – check it out if you’re in La Jolla! Steam Insect Christopher Conte Via dark roasted blend.