bioephemera

Archives for March, 2011

Hellz yeah!

This is the biologist googly-eyed dazzled-with-biological-complexity effect that my friends and I used to describe as “because little fishes have eyes!” Be warned: once infected with the appreciation for biological beauty, there is no cure. 🙂 This is why I love xkcd. How is it possible I still run into people all the time who…

Deborah Blum: the Radium Girls

A really interesting post from Deborah Blum on the “radium girls” who painted wristwatches in the 1920s – to fatal effect: At the factory, the dial painters were taught to shape their brushes to a fine point with their lips, producing the sharp tip needed to paint the tiny numbers and lines of watch dials,…

Christopher Reiger has a great post at Hungry Hyaena about public communication strategies used by scientific advocacy groups, and where artists should adopt similar strategies: Most Americans see science as extraneous esoterica crafted by white-coated wonks. Similarly, contemporary art is seen as the province of effete Onanists devoid of “family values.” But the respective responses…

Reader Laura alerted me to a self-described “weird art & style blog” that many of you may enjoy – it’s called Synesthesia Garden. A recent topic was custom lab-grown bone wedding rings (above): Harriet Harriss, one of the participants, says: “I love the idea that it’s precious only to us because it is, literally, us.…

“You’d think that art is based more on intuition and science is based more on knowledge and fact, but what I think happens is that as you get more proficient in either of those fields, the intuitive knowledge base and the factual knowledge base become equally important. In this sense, Einstein may have been an…

This week is zombiefest! Why? Because I finally had a chance to finish my reviews of two zombie-themed books. Up today is the third in the series spawned by the mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (P&P&Z), the new Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After. The original P&P&Z was perfectly absurd – a…

NIDA acts out addiction

The federal government, including NIH, isn’t exactly seen as a hotbed of artsy drama types. (“Faceless gray mega-bureaucracy” might be a more typical descriptor.) So I was tickled to learn that the National Institute on Drug Abuse is framing a series of continuing medical education (CME) courses about addiction around dramatic readings of Eugene O’Neill’s…

Louis Vuitton, the high-end accessory company, is suing a Dutch artist, Nadia Plesner, for painting a likeness of one of their handbags in a work of art publicizing the conflict in Darfur. According to the artist’s attorneys, the painting, “Darfurnica,” is modeled after Picasso’s Guernica and expresses the artist’s surprise at the attention that is…

One week later. . .

. . . I know we are all thinking of the victims of last week’s earthquake and tsunami, and of the ongoing nuclear plant crisis. The Japanese Embassy directs would-be donors to the Red Cross, and asks that donors give to their local chapters. In the US, one can donate to the Red Cross here,…

I guess it’s not surprising, my dopamine is rising And my glutamate receptors are all shot I’d surely be bemoaning all the extra serotonin But my judgement is impaired and my confidence is not Allosteric modulation No Long Term Potentiation Hastens my inebriation Give me a beer. . . Physiology professors, I trust you know…