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Combo pack

My internet was full of remarkably cool things today.

  • This is a wonderful illustration of the “bush of life” (a tree is far too tidy). I love depictions of aspects of science that are both beautiful and meaningful.
  • Somewhat related: the history of scientific illustration (15th – 17th centuries).
  • Using graphics to convey relations: the size of Africa in relation to other regions or countries.
  • The HMS Stubbington; or, the origins of my (fake) tattoo.

And moving on from graphic design, this made me laugh.

Serendipity shows the way

I was stuck on writing fiction this weekend, so I went to the library to look at some books. I found the architectural and city photographs I was looking for. They sparked the desired ideas and motivation. But I also found something else, and it resolved for me a much trickier plot point that I hadn’t been able to get a handle on.

(via this blog; unable to track down actual photo credit)

Isn’t that a lovely photograph?

But look closely: that’s marble. It’s a closeup of a statue of Pluto abducting Proserpine, carved by Bernini in the early 17th century.

The lighting in the photo makes it look like flesh at first, but the original is entirely white.

(via this blog; unable to track down actual photo credit)

Look at the hands. Look at the way the Proserpine’s soft flesh dents where the god has grabbed it. Think of the skill in the sculptor’s hands as he formed and shaped and polished, of the skill in his brain that let him see the result before ever touching chisel to stone.

That’s what I needed.

Rube Goldberg

Band OK Go wins the Internet.

(via Topless Robot)

Edit: Wired has an article on the making of this video, with videos of its own. It really was done in a single shot!

New Year’s

I rarely cross-post material from my other blog to here – that’s cheating, isn’t it? But rather than rewrite essentially the same material, I’ll copy over the last paragraph of the original post to share with you.

My major goal for the year is twofold: make more art; support more artists. I’d like to encourage everyone who reads this blog to adopt the same goal. Bring something into the world that is new, that never would have existed had I not laid hand to it. The second one is crucial. There would be no art if there were no support for artists. If you can, try to buy more books, or jewelry, or prints. Visit a museum, gallery, see a play, hear live music. If you have no money to spare, like so many right now, there are other things you can do. Request your local public library to buy a book by an author you like, so that lots of people can read her work. Write a book review for your blog, or Amazon, or GoodReads. Tell a friend about something beautiful you saw, or read, or heard. Support doesn’t require money, though that’s the easiest approach. Your time is valuable too – word of mouth is a powerful tool. Tell someone that their work inspired you. Most authors, musicians, painters, photographers have web pages or blogs or LJ accounts, and would love being told that their work touched you.

Then go out and make something of your own.

Postscript: I honestly did plan the larger part of this post before I saw Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s wish. He says much the same thing, only more elegantly.