Author Archives: cicada

Weekend Mappy Links: Ancient Landscapes, A Map Library Speakeasy, Forensic Topology, Mapping Disasters, Cymatics

An expert on mapping ancient landscapes explains why Big Oil is his biggest customer, among other things. (interview at BLDGBLOG) For bibliophiles: a ton of photos from a visit to the Prelinger Library (AKA the “speakeasy of [map] libraries”). (by … Continue reading

Posted in Blogs and Blogging, Data Visualization, Ephemera, Film, Video & Music, Maps, Neuroscience | Comments Off

The evolutionary history of feathers

If you haven’t already read Brian Switek’s My Beloved Brontosaurus (the New York Times called it “a delight,” and said “[t]his may be the one book for catching up on what has become of the dinosaurs you thought you knew … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Books, Education, Museum Lust, Science, Science Journalism | Comments Off

Friday Frivolity: Concepts in Ant Farm Design

Jeff Schwarting didn’t like the pre-fab plastic look of commercial ant farms, so he designed a farm of his own and put it on Kickstarter. His farm uses “space gel,” which serves as food source, water source, and tunneling medium. I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Conspicuous consumption, Education, Ephemera, Frivolity | Comments Off

Michelle Schaefer: Encaustic Nebulae

Michelle Schaefer The Constant Observer Michelle Schaefer‘s booth caught my eye at a recent art festival. From across the street, I was immediately drawn to the strong contrast between deep darks and fiery reds and yellows in her work — contrasts that … Continue reading

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A few design links: curvilinear copper bird feeder, spiny vodka, and type hunting

This gorgeous copper birdfeeder, which is hands-down the most elegant bird feeder I’ve ever seen, was designed “by a Swiss-trained metal craftsman. Together with his wife, he developed the piece’s unique curvilinear form by using cardboard paper.” (seen at Better … Continue reading

Posted in Artists & Art, Blogs and Blogging, Conspicuous consumption, Design, Medical Illustration and History, Photography | Comments Off

Jewelled skeletons: how Damien Hirst was scooped 500 years ago

Remember when bad-boy artist Damien Hirst got all that press for covering a human skull in diamonds? According to a new book by Paul Koudounaris, Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, he was about 500 years … Continue reading

Posted in Artists & Art, Books, Medical Illustration and History, Museum Lust | Comments Off

A Chemical Imbalance: Gender equity in STEM education

A Chemical Imbalance is a documentary project about gender inequities in STEM and academia. It explores the reasons for gender disparities and the “leaky pipeline” – i.e., the gradual attrition of female scientists as their scientific careers progress. Today, only … Continue reading

Posted in Blogs and Blogging, Education, Film, Video & Music, Gender Issues, History of Science, Science, Science in culture & policy | Comments Off

Goodbye, Google Reader; Goodbye, Missing Friends

You probably know that Google Reader is shutting down. It makes me grumpy; I don’t find Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flipboard, or anything else to be an adequate substitute (I’m trying Feedly at my fiance’s behest). Even worse, this unwelcome development … Continue reading

Posted in Blogs and Blogging, Department of the Drama, Ephemera, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Should fictional narrators stop to explain basic science?

Full disclosure: I like the New Yorker. I’m always up for vocabulary-stretching escapism, even if I have to wade through irrelevant front matter (newsflash: the Goings on About Town are mostly useless to readers in the flyover states) bordered by … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Book reviews, Science in culture & policy | Comments Off

Murmurations are so hot right now

Murmurations are so hot right now, they’re showing up in federal economic working papers. Which is probably more than you can say for steampunk. More links on the ever-fascinating murmuration phenomenon: Pop culture: How hot were murmurations in, say, 1936? … Continue reading

Posted in Ephemera, Science, Science in culture & policy | Comments Off