bioephemera

Archives for April, 2009

I promised you some updates on the Google Books Settlement, so here you go. Things are definitely getting interesting.

Wash your hands. . . with hands!

Let etsy seller foliage help you fight swine flu with this bagful of handmade soaps in “skin-ish colors”! I vascillate between finding them cute, and thinking they resemble a crowd of damned souls reaching out for help from my soap dish. Weird. Dedicated to John O., who truly appreciates disembodied hands. Via DailyArtMuse.

Mark Buchanan, quoting Lee Smolin, on how big science may be biased against innovative iconoclasts: Some scientists, he suggests, are what we might call “hill climbers”. They tend to be highly skilled in technical terms and their work mostly takes established lines of insight that pushes them further; they climb upward into the hills in…

Fossils in fine art

Check out Brian’s new review of A History of Paleontology Illustration (Life of the Past) by Jane Davidson, in Palaeontologia Electronica: It is rare for fossils to be featured in fine art, but in the 15th century painting A Goldsmith in His Shop, Possibly Saint Eligius by the Flemish master Petrus Christus there is, if…

I Can Haz Writin Skillz?

How much more successful would Gravity’s Rainbow have been if it were two paragraphs long and posted on a blog beneath a picture of scantily clad coeds? And why not add a Google search box? Want to become a high-profile Twitter superstar? McSweeney’s tells you exactly how. Maybe Google is making everyone stupid, but if…

Just as an FYI, Sheril at the Intersection has created this extremely helpful list of policy fellowships for scientists and engineers. It’s definitely worth bookmarking if you have any interest in exploring science policy. The fellowships on this list range from weeks to years, and placements are available throughout the federal government, in science agencies…

First Annual Save the Frogs Day

Birth of the Gastric Brooding Frog Photo Mike Tyler Unfortunately, species are the ultimate bioephemera. Amphibians in particular have been declining at an alarming rate over the past several decades; some estimates suggest that a third of amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. My latest essay for SEED’s website opens with the story…

It’s not obvious to me at all

I’m off to visit the Supreme Court tomorrow, so I thought I’d share some law news for a change. In a landmark patent decision, Federal Circuit Judge Richard Posner has ruled that the sex toy shown above is “obvious.” You can read the explanation at Patently-O, but suffice it to say that the gap between…

Liquid sculpture

Simple, but surprisingly charming – and somewhat reminiscent of an ant colony or other biological collective: Fluid Sculpture (click for larger video) from Charlie Bucket on Vimeo.

An interesting perspective from today’s WaPo: David Kessler, doctor, lawyer, and former FDA commissioner, argues that the food industry manipulates the neurological impacts of fats and sugars to program consumers to eat more than we need or want. “The food the industry is selling is much more powerful than we realized,” he said. “I used…