Posts tagged ‘science and technology’

Artists are the interface between revolutions and life. Artists bring in the human factor to revolutions that get their start in technology and science. We’re used to thinking that progress comes from the technology, science, and financial sectors. Culture brings, in truth, a slower, more sustainable, more holistic and trustworthy kind of progress.

Paola Antonelli on her new role as MoMA’s first director of R&D. Also see Antonelli on design as the interface between progress and humanity and the communication between people and objects.

( Thought You Should See This)

A – This is why it’s important to establish a culture of scientific acceptance and education. Because otherwise, it’s going to be pretty slow going.


Famous scientist trading cards, the best thing since those literary action figures and cultural icon finger puppets

( jtotheizzoe)


A sense of scale is an important thing to keep in mind, to serve as a reminder of the stunning grandeur in this view of life. Although it should be noted that it’s an elephant bird femur (now extinct), not an elephant femur.

Sort of like this bacteria-diatom-amphipod infinite zoom GIF.


Hummingbird and elephant’s femur, 1951, from LIFE magazine’s archival photos of bones by the great Andrewas Feininger.

Also see Patrick Gries and Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu’s stunning black-and-white images of animal skeletons


Mockup diagram drawings of the interior of the Space Shuttle, 1981

Here’s a really nice picture of the actual flight deck of the shuttle Endeavor:


I know it doesn’t look that “giant” here, but I highly recommend checking out the larger version and getting your evolutionary trace on.

This isn’t my favorite Tree of Life diagram, though. That title goes to the Hillis Plot, which is just beautiful.


The Great Tree of Life – giant infographic lets you trace any branch back through time to see how it connects to any other of life’s major branches. More on the history of using tree-like diagrams to depict evolution.

( chartporn)

Always a bit humbling to realize how insignificant we are on graphs like this. Short of actually destroying the planet, it will adapt regardless of what we do, and we will probably end up as another dead end. On the other hand, do we want to be the ones to finally mess it all up?

Also, I suppose it’s common sense that mass extinctions would be easily distinguishable. But the clarity across all domains of each extinction (especially 250-, 200-, and 65-million-years ago) is amazing. According to the Shiva hypothesis, we may be due for another one soon…besides the one we’re causing ourselves.


Chemistry shot glass set – the best thing since that literary shot glass set.

( It’s Okay To Be Smart)

There’s been several science kitchenware posts lately, and I won’t apologize for a single one. 

My kids are going to visit a friend’s house one day and ask why their utensils are so boring.

To reflect the ongoing structural changes in the adolescent and twenty-something brain, many journalists and scientists use words and phrases like “unfinished,” “work in progress,” “under construction” and “half-baked.” Such language implies that the brain eventually reaches a kind of ideal state when it is “done.” But there is no final, optimal state. The human brain is not a soufflé that gradually expands over time and finally finishes baking at age 30. Yes, we can identify and label periods of dramatic development—or windows of heightened plasticity—but that should not eclipse the fact that brain changes throughout life.


Whether we can, at this moment in time, meaningfully link this life stage to neuroscience seems a tenuous proposition at best. By itself, brain biology does not dictate who we are. The members of any one age group are not reducible to a few distinguishing structural changes in the brain. Ultimately, the fact that a twenty-something has weaker bridges between various brain regions than someone in their thirties is not hugely important—it’s just one aspect of a far more complex identity.

The Neuroscience of 20-Somethings by Scientific American’s Ferris Jabr (via explore-blog)

As with most things related to the human condition, it is nearly impossible to describe it with one or two words. The brain, an incredibly complex organic computer, can certainly not be summed up by “half baked” at any stage.

A scientist is never certain. … We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning.

Richard Feynman (via explore-blog)

A key difference between knowing and believing.


“Because of what you have done,” the President told the astronauts, “the heavens have become a part of man’s world. And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility it required us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to earth.”

Men Walk On Moon – the original New York Times moon landing front page story, July 21, 1969.

Lions and gerbils sleep about thirteen hours a day. Tigers and squirrels nod off for about fifteen hours. At the other end of the spectrum, elephants typically sleep three and a half hours at a time, which seems lavish compared to the hour and a half of shut-eye that the average giraffe gets each night.


Humans need roughly one hour of sleep for every two hours they are awake, and the body innately knows when this ratio becomes out of whack. Each hour of missed sleep one night will result in deeper sleep the next, until the body’s sleep debt is wiped clean.

The science of sleep. Also, whoa giraffes.  (via explore-blog)

How I wish to have a giraffe’s sleeping pattern