bioephemera

Archives for May, 2011

Amy Stewart’s new book Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects takes a fairly trivial concept – a collection of historical anecdotes and icky factoids about dangerous insects – and executes it remarkably well. The book is well-written and has a non-cloying sense of humor (“she’s just not that into…

This 1967 IBM propaganda film, “Paperwork Explosion,” couples an eerily deadpan refrain of “more time on paperwork,” with a creepy pseudo-country neighbor* urging us to embrace Progress. The film’s frenetic soundtrack and abrupt transitions embody the familiar hysterical nervousness of an increasingly automated era, while striving the whole time to convince us that technology will…

. . . they could have. Or pretty darn close, at least – they just needed to visit one of the many European cabinets of anatomical curiosities, to see the work of anatomists like Honore Fragonard. Fragonard’s eighteenth-century ecorches were the clear precursors to Gunther von Hagens’ “Body Worlds” exhibits: preserved, injected, partially dissected bodies…

Why I no longer trust Yelp

One of the much-hyped benefits of social networking is that it provides a way to get personalized recommendations about businesses from a wider network. If I want to tell the world that the coffee place in my neighborhood has the best cappuccino this side of Seattle, I can do that (and it does)! That’s what…

Via Alexis Madrigal’s Mississippi explainer at the Atlantic, this beautiful map of the Mississippi’s historic meanderings is like a carelessly draped cluster of silk ribbons. Madrigal says, If the Mississippi were allowed to do what it wanted, what is now the Atchafalaya River would become the new ending of the Mississippi. Again, in a purely…

Cell Division IV Michele Banks DC area artist Michele Banks has donated one of her cell division watercolors to raise funds for art outreach. Check out the online auction – the painting is matted and framed and currently going for only $52. Michele is not a biologist, but she’s been on a sci-art kick for…

A CSPO webcast entitled “New Tools for Science Policy” asks an interesting, if somewhat odd, question about science and art: “Can art and religion serve as methods for governing emerging science and technology?” More details: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 5:30 p.m. EDT (webcast will be here) Participants: Dr. Greg Graffin, Recent author of Anarchy Evolution,…

A confluence of influences

minouette of magpie & whiskeyjack has posted an interesting meditation on the resemblances between Katie Scott‘s whimsical faux-botanical/biological atlas pages (above), the illustrations of Ernst Haeckel (whose portrait minouette just finished), and the Codex Seraphinianous. It’s a harmonious grouping of artistic influences – check it out.

The making of an hourglass: The Hourglass from Ikepod on Vimeo. “Director Philip Andelman traveled to Basel, Switzerland, to document the designer’s modern take of the classic hourglass inside the Glaskeller factory. Each hand made hourglass comprises highly durable borosilicate glass and millions of stainless steel nanoballs, and is available in a 10 or 60…

Former Scibling Sheril Kirshenbaum, late of the Intersection, has moved to a new blog: Convergence. Let’s be honest: most of us are about intersections, convergences, confluences and whatnot; I’ve often described BioE as “the intersection of art & science.” But Sheril’s kicking the metaphor up a notch: Convergence is a forum to explore all sorts…