Hey, I'm an undergraduate chemistry major at SUNY Albany in New York. This blog is for anything I find interesting. I have many interests: chemistry, math, philosophy, poetry, libertarianism, etc. I have some hero's who I hope to find on tumblr more often who include: Buckminster Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Carl Jung, Marshall Mcluhan, Kurt Godel, John Muir and more. Any questions about anything, just ask.
The link below is to my other blog, it's less serious, and is for posting things that wouldn't fit on this one. It's more of an indulgence blog, so check it out.
Synopsis:“Emerson: The Ideal in America” is the first video biography of the man who is still America’s most quoted author. Spanning most of the turbulent 19th century, Emerson’s life took him from a financially poor but intellectually rich childhood through an education at Harvard to early success as pastor of a prominent Boston Unitarian Church. But personal tragedy and his own doubts about organized religion set him on a journey of discovery that took him to Europe and deep into the philosophical traditions of the East as well as the West. Through his writings and lectures, he became one of the most influential figures of his time, inspiring presidents, other philosophers, and writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Walt Whitman. His central message of “the infinitude of the private man” opened the eyes of countless men and women to their own unlimited potential.
An 85-minute documentary on one of the twentieth century’s Renaissance man, Buckminster Fuller who was an architect, inventor, scientist, teacher, writer and philosopher. He’s known for his inventions, like the geodesic domes, or the dymaxion car.
Geosmin is an organic compound with the formula C12H22O. It’s produced by several classes of microbes, including cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and actinobacteria (especially Streptomyces), and released when these microbes die. The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosmin and is able to detect it at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion.
Sometimes something really cute can be really destructive. See what porcupines can do to wooden infrastructure if you don’t believe me. However, in this instance, I’m referring to the emerald ash borer beetle (Agrilus planipennis). The larvae of this beetle carve out tunnels in ash trees (as shown above) and the species ultimately ends up killing the entire tree. Since its introduction to the upper Midwest in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed over 30 million ash trees. Almost all species of ash are susceptible to the emerald ash borer and once these beetles start their damage, there’s hardly any controlling it.
Dyskograf is a graphic disk reader the affectively allows you to draw music on vinyl. Each disk is scribbled on by users with a felt tip pen and then the resulting drawing is translated into a musical sequence once detected by the camera located above the turntable. The turntable has a really nice aesthetic and it cleverly bridges the gap between the virtual instruments used in computer software and the tactile way of hand writing music with pen on paper. A video demonstration is embedded below and it is truly fascinating.
One of the greatest paeans to recursion occurs in T.S. Eliot’s monumental Four Quartets where at the end of this long, challenging group of poems, wherein he has created a veritable universe of ideas and images, and throughout which the end becomes the beginning and things constantly repeat, Eliot summarily states - - - with the utmost conviction but no finality - - -
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flames are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one.
The entire Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot can be found online here.
Carl von Rokitansky founded the Second Vienna School of Medicine and eventually befriended Klimt. Rokitansky was a huge influence in the early days of modern science-based medicine, and allowed Klimt to view some of the tissue and bacterial slides from the medical school. It’s a fascinating story, check out more in this interview between Eric Kandel and Jonah Lehrer.
We can talk at length about the similarities of science and art, but this is one of the finest examples of where each feeds from the other. To quote Eric Kandel again, in a note to paste on your wall:
“…[artists] have insight into the human mind that often precedes the insight that scientists have, because scientists need to design experiments, and then carry them out in order to do it. They cannot do it by intuition, alone, as can writers and painters.”