bioephemera

Archives for September, 2008

io9’s maddest scientists of 2008

Blue Forest Kevin O’Neill io9.com posed its readers a challenge a few months back: design a synthetic lifeform using BioBricks. They didn’t want another Spore creature – it had to be something biologically plausible, and preferably, functional. The question: would those readers voluntarily do the equivalent of biochem lab homework?

An Iconography of Contagion

Vernon Grant, 1944 If you enjoyed the vintage public health posters I wrote about a while ago, you might want to stop in and see the National Academies’ new exhibition, “An Iconography of Contagion.” (Such a great title!) Over twenty public health posters from 1920-1990 will be on display until December 19. Michael Sappol of…

Pottery Bwahahahaharn

Skeleton appetizer plates Pottery Barn I usually just toss my Pottery Barn catalogs, because I no longer have a house to decorate. But the Halloween edition just arrived and there’s some good medical-specimen stuff in there. In addition to the skeleton appetizer plates above, which I totally covet, they have a skull tray, vampire teeth…

(1) John McCain, photographed for the Atlantic Monthly, 2008; (2) inset: Atlantic Monthly cover, October 2008; (3) monkey portrait. Photographer: Jill Greenberg All of these portraits are by Jill Greenberg, but one of them is getting a bit more attention than the others. Guess which!

Don’t do what on a seesaw?

John, the self-appointed ‘Neurosigntist,’ turned up this Korean paragon of inscrutably bizarre signage: I can’t possibly ask the obvious questions any better than John does: Are women as a group prohibited from using the teeter-totter, or is the sign only prohibiting women dressed in Victorian clothing? Perhaps, the cartoon depicts two witches disguised as 1850’s…

(Virtual) Sciencedebate 2008

Today, Sciencedebate 2008 got as close as it’s likely to come to its original goals: John McCain released his answers to the “14 top science questions facing America.” Barack Obama released his two weeks ago, so you can now compare the candidates’ positions on those 14 science questions side-by-side. It seems that everyone has an…

Wonderkammertourists unite!

Pam at Phantasmaphile has just written an MSN travel guide for the incorrigibly curious, called “An Old-World Sense of Wonder.” Pam kicks off her list of wonder cabinet destinations with three NYC shops I plan to visit next month: Obscura Antiques and Oddities (280 East 10th Street), de Vera (1 Crosby Street), and Evolution (120…

DIY for mad scientists

19th century anatomical study cabinet #1 Alex cf, 2008 The undisputed modern master of the horrifying cryptozoological specimen is Alex cf, bane of vampires and cthulhu spawn. Unfortunately, there’s an immense demand for his work, and he isn’t very prolific. So how’s a girl to fill her curiosity cabinet – especially with Halloween right around…

Madonna and Horsefly

Madonna and Horsefly John Brophy, 2008 Pam over at Phantasmaphile never fails to discover wonderful, quirky new art. Her latest find: John Brophy. His “Madonna and Horsefly” kind of freaks me out, not in a bad way, but because I’ve been planning some paintings along this exact theme! But Brophy’s are better than mine would…

Yesterday the large hadron collider started up successfully, and the world did not end. But it will still be months before we have exciting collision data, so don’t hold your breath waiting for that Higgs boson – unless you want to buy a stuffed one at Particle Zoo: Wait – a Higgs boson costs just…