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Art and the changing environment

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Portrayal of an Inherited Cancer Syndrome in Jar City

One of my recent lunchtime treeware reads was Arnaldur Indriđason’s novel Jar City, the first of his Reykjavik thrillers featuring Inspector Erlendur. Overall I found it an excellent and gripping read, with sparse prose that nevertheless convincingly conveyed the oppressive grey and rainy atmosphere of a Reykjavik autumn, as well as the dismal, and...

Dynamite with a Laser Beam

Other NN fans of Queen, and those who love connections between science and music, might be interested in a recent National Public Radio article on, and interview with, guitarist Brian May. In 2007, he obtained his Ph.D. in astrophysics at Imperial College London, and is also the co-author of a book on stereoscopic photography, A Village Lost and Found....

Altered Books: Altered Gulf, Altered Lives

Brown Pelicans, 2010. Mixed media: collage, acrylic, PearlEx pigments, Prismacolor, permanent marker, and Caran d’AcheThis is the same book, William J. Long’s Fowls of the Air, that I’ve been altering for a few years. Now it might be subtitled “Fouls of the Sea”.

Flint, and Napping

Here in South Texas, we’ve entered the four-month stretch of 90F or above daytime temperatures, albeit without the worrying drought conditions of 2009. There is something about hot weather that makes me want to take afternoon naps, even though I’ve never really been the napping type, and seem to be incapable of napping more than 10 to 15 minutes. ...

Bluebonnet Banners Flag Bees

’Tis the season for bluebonnets across Central and South Texas, and this year there is a large patch of the flowers in a wood pasture near my house. Although there are at least six species of bluebonnets in Texas, and all are officially designated as state flowers, the one most commonly seen in the Hill Country is the Texas Bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis....

Sir Gawalmart and the Green Fight

Inspired by Corby Kummer’s article comparing produce at the “Ur-Whole Foods” and a Walmart Supercenter in Austin, Texas (see his Walmart produce department video here), I decided to survey the local and organic produce available at a nearby Walmart this morning. I rarely shop at this store, as there’s a very nice local grocery store much closer to...

The Skeleton Zoo

Skeleton is a relatively new addition to the Olympic program, and like many winter sports, is characterized by high speeds and a certain amount of risk of physical injury. Skeleton sleds lack both steering and braking mechanisms, and therefore the athlete must control the sled using body movements and balance, in a prone position. From a neurobiologist’s...

Spring Fever Seedling Quiz

OK, OK, I know it’s not spring yet, and even here in South Texas, we’ve had freezing temperatures overnight this week. Nevertheless, I’ve started seeds both indoors (in a light garden) and outdoors (in a raised bed), and most have sprouted. So I thought it might be fun to have a silly identification quiz. If you want serious advice on starting seeds,...

Home on the Range: Bovid Weaponry, and a Female Cernunnos

Serendipitously swearing like a sailor’s parrot stuck behind a truck in traffic this rainy evening, I snapped a photo that fits, albeit oddly, with an article I’ve been wanting to blog about, after reading its short summary in Natural History. More on the photo later in the post. First, the science. In a recent issue of the Proceedings of the Royal...

Every Breath You Take

Stranger, dreams are very curious and unaccountable things, and they do not by any means invariably come true. There are two gates through which these unsubstantial fancies proceed; the one is of horn, and the other ivory. Those that come through the gate of ivory are fatuous, but those from the gate of horn mean something to those that see them. ~...

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