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Dr. Nanochick
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From User: noteworthy

"...the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like the fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..." - Jack Kerouac

Starry, Starry, Starry Night
Topic: Science 11:52 am EDT, Apr 28, 2013


The Orb:

What were the skies like when you were young?

They went on forever
and they,
when I,
we lived in Arizona
And the skies always had little fluffy clouds
And they moved down,
they were long and clear
And there were lots of stars at night

Julie Bosman:

What would New York or Shanghai look like with a full sky of brilliant stars? Thierry Cohen, a French photographer, thinks he can show us by blending city scenes -- shot and altered to eliminate lights and other distractions -- and the night skies from less populated locations that fall on the same latitudes. The result is what city dwellers might see in the absence of light pollution. So Paris gets the stars of northern Montana, New York those of the Nevada desert. As Cohen, whose work will be exhibited at the Danziger Gallery in New York in March, sees it, the loss of the starry skies, accelerated by worldwide population growth in cities, has created an urbanite who "forgets and no longer understands nature." He adds, "To show him stars is to help him dream again."

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

Starry, Starry, Starry Night

Gödel, Escher, Bach: A Mental Space Odyssey
Topic: Science 12:00 pm EDT, Jun  7, 2009

Ooo...can't wait to check these video lectures out! Thanks Noteworthy!

Navigate the mind-expanding universe of Gödel, Escher, Bach with MIT OpenCourseWare:

What do one mathematician, one artist, and one musician all have in common? Are you interested in zen Buddhism, math, fractals, logic, paradoxes, infinities, art, language, computer science, physics, music, intelligence, consciousness and unified theories? Get ready to chase me down a rabbit hole into Douglas Hofstadter's Pulitzer Prize winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach. Lectures will be a place for crazy ideas to bounce around as we try to pace our way through this enlightening tome. You will be responsible for most of the reading as lectures will consist primarily of motivating the material and encouraging discussion. I advise everyone seriously interested to buy the book, grab on and get ready for a mind-expanding voyage into higher dimensions of recursive thinking.

Check out the video lectures.

From the archive, on Hofstadter:

What do we mean when we say "I"?

Freeman Dyson:

After Gödel, mathematics was no longer a single structure tied together with a unique concept of truth, but an archipelago of structures with diverse sets of axioms and diverse notions of truth. Gödel showed that mathematics is inexhaustible. No matter which set of axioms is chosen as the foundation, birds can always find questions that those axioms cannot answer.

Dr. Nanochick on the Geek Test:

I feel truly geeky because I can think of something that should have gotten me geek points that wasn't on the list -- owning the "Real Genius" DVD and reading "Gödel, Escher, Bach."

Gödel, Escher, Bach: A Mental Space Odyssey

Our Biotech Future, by Freeman Dyson
Topic: Biotechnology 11:37 am EDT, Jul  3, 2007

Al Gore is such a wonk! Dyson rocks.

The question I am asking is, how long will it take us to grow plants with silicon leaves?

Dyson has been honing this piece for a few years now, and it just keeps getting better. If the US had a Scientist Laureate, it would be Dyson.

Will the domestication of high technology, which we have seen marching from triumph to triumph with the advent of personal computers and GPS receivers and digital cameras, soon be extended from physical technology to biotechnology?

I believe that the answer to this question is yes.

Here I am bold enough to make a definite prediction.

I predict that the domestication of biotechnology will dominate our lives during the next fifty years at least as much as the domestication of computers has dominated our lives during the previous fifty years.

Join the Homebrew Cloner Club, which meets every first Friday in the mall food court next to Chick Fil A. Please, no chimeras over 36 inches, or the mall police will hassle us. Unless, of course, you are the chimera. Also: plants that make loud noises have to be left outside, unless they have a headphone jack or a mute button.

I wait in eager anticipation of Grey Goo Graffiti.

Meanwhile, Dyson plows right into Joyland:

First, can it be stopped? Second, ought it to be stopped? Third, if stopping it is either impossible or undesirable, what are the appropriate limits that our society must impose on it? Fourth, how should the limits be decided? Fifth, how should the limits be enforced, nationally and internationally?

It's time to reinvigorate the hacker ethic:

Whatever Carl Woese writes, even in a speculative vein, needs to be taken seriously. In his "New Biology" article, he is postulating a golden age of pre-Darwinian life, when horizontal gene transfer was universal and separate species did not yet exist. Life was then a community of cells of various kinds, sharing their genetic information so that clever chemical tricks and catalytic processes invented by one creature could be inherited by all of them. Evolution was a communal affair, the whole community advancing in metabolic and reproductive efficiency as the genes of the most efficient cells were shared. Evolution could be rapid, as new chemical devices could be evolved simultaneously by cells of different kinds working in parallel and then reassembled in a single cell by horizontal gene transfer.

"You shared your code, you shared your genes, ..."

Thanks for the link Jeremy!

Our Biotech Future, by Freeman Dyson

In the New Dating Scene, the Attraction Is a Beautiful Mind
Topic: Society 5:47 pm EDT, Apr 23, 2007

Gray matter is the new black of the hip social scene.

In the New Dating Scene, the Attraction Is a Beautiful Mind

Barbara Kruger
Topic: Arts 9:41 pm EDT, Jun 14, 2005

[I especially liked "Your manias become science"....anyone know where I can get a print of that? It would go wonderfully in the lab:) - Nano]

If you liked PostSecret, you may also like Barbara Kruger. Here's a description from a gallery of Barbara Kruger's work:

The juxtaposition of word and image in Barbara Kruger's highly recognizable work is derived from twelve years as a designer and photo editor for Conde Nast publications. Short, pithy caption-like copy is scattered over fragmented and enlarged photographs appropriated from various media. Usually declarative or accusatory in tone, these phrases posit an opposition between the pronouns "you" and "we," which satirically refer to "men" and "women." These humorous works suspend the viewer between the fascination of the image and the indictment of the text while reminding us that language and its use within culture to construct and maintina proverbs, jobs, jokes, myths, and history reinforce the interests and perspective of those who control it.

There's another gallery:

Barbara Kruger's on going project is to provoke questions about power and its effect on the human condition: to investigate the way power is constructed, used and abused. In her works, which have become the demonstrative visual icons of the 1980s and 1990s, power is interrogated and interpreted through the social, economic and political arrangements which motor the life impulses of love, hate, sex and death.

Kruger was also featured in the PBS documentary art:21.

It's our pleasure to disgust you is in the permanent collection at MOCA in Los Angeles.

In 2000, some of her art was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Here are some prints from the gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum:

We, Longer, Heard, Seen, And, No, Not, Be

A Slate article from July 2000 begins:

Barbara Kruger comes as close as anybody can to being the official artist of American consumerism.

An interview with Barbara Kruger:

By using familiar images and text from modern advertising, Kruger forcefully exposes the misleading and aggressive lies of pop media. Her works involve humor and irony, though they are often disturbing at the same time. Kruger gained her "fluency and comfort with pictures and words" from working as a graphic designer for magazines before she became an artist in the mid-'80s.

Barbara Kruger

Katamari Damacy
Topic: Games 6:10 pm EDT, May 15, 2005

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

Katamari Damacy

In Battling Cancer, a Genome Project Is Proposed
Topic: Science 7:12 pm EST, Mar 28, 2005

It's the 21st century version of "guns or butter?"

The project would determine the sequence of the DNA in at least 12,500 tumor samples, 250 samples from each of 50 major types of cancer. By comparing the order of the letters of the genetic code in the tumor samples with one another and with sequences in healthy tissue, it should be possible to pinpoint mutations responsible for cancer.

But the proposition is extremely daunting. In general, each tumor cell holds a full panoply of human DNA, a string of three billion letters of the genetic code. So determining the full sequence of all the tumors would be the equivalent of 12,500 human genome projects. At a cost of many millions of dollars for one genome, the full project would be out of the question for now.

So the cancer proposal for now is to sequence only the active genes in tumors, which make up 1 percent to 2 percent of the DNA. Even that would require at least 100 times as much sequencing as the Human Genome Project.

In Battling Cancer, a Genome Project Is Proposed

Startling Scientists, Plant Fixes Its Flawed Gene
Topic: Science 9:56 pm EST, Mar 23, 2005

In a startling discovery, geneticists at Purdue University say they have found plants that possess a corrected version of a defective gene inherited from both their parents, as if some handy backup copy with the right version had been made in the grandparents' generation or earlier.

The finding implies that some organisms may contain a cryptic backup copy of their genome that bypasses the usual mechanisms of heredity. If confirmed, it would represent an unprecedented exception to the laws of inheritance discovered by Gregor Mendel in the 19th century. Equally surprising, the cryptic genome appears not to be made of DNA, the standard hereditary material.

The discovery also raises interesting biological questions -- including whether it gets in the way of evolution, which depends on mutations changing an organism rather than being put right by a backup system.

Startling Scientists, Plant Fixes Its Flawed Gene

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