The art of science: Stunning, psychedelic images from Fabian Oefner

Science and art make for a stunning combination… this TED talk blog post displays the work of the amazing Fabian Oefner, a photographer who shares “breathtaking images at the nexus of art and science.” Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of science, the pictures are still breathtaking; after all, who says you need to understand something to enjoy it? And if you place yourself on the other side of the fence (scientific mind, artistically disinclined), the process behind each photograph may be what fascinates you most. Oefner’s work is certainly worth a quick look, dear readers… who knows what could happen? You very well may find yourself itching to create some interdisciplinary mediums of your own.

TED Blog

In today’s TED Talk, Fabian Oefner shares breathtaking images at the nexus of art and science, which beautifully capture unique moments of physical and chemical drama.

[ted_talkteaser id=1834]Formally trained in art and design, Oefner says that he has always been interested in science. Though he can’t pinpoint the exact moment when he became interested in pairing his two loves, he views both pursuits as inextricably linked by a crucial bond: “The most important quality of science or art is curiosity,” Oefner tells the TED Blog. “That’s what keeps me going and always finding something new.”

On the TED stage, Oefner demonstrates the science at work behind three of his photographs. As he explains his process, the mystical quality of the images gives way to understanding. But how important to him is it that the casual viewer of his artwork know the underlying scientific principles? Actually, not very. “I’m…

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Addicted to Breaking Bad

Hello again, dear readers – this is Scott checking in from the back of the bandwagon, and have I had quite the ride. What’s that you say? Has our beloved, unique blogger become just another one of the millions? A sheep in a sea of wool? A fish in a sea of… fish? However you put it, I have relented to the endless cries put forth by my friends and family. I have started watching Breaking Bad. And I am loving every second of it.

It all started a couple of weeks ago with the pilot episode. It couldn’t hurt. Just one easily digestable forty-five minute chunk of precious time. I’m a music major, right? I take on things I don’t have the time or capacity for thirty-times a day. What’s one more thing stacked on top of my things to do going to do to my list of prioritized things? Fast-forward two weeks, and I’m already deep into season two. Without giving much away, let me just say that this show is not what I had expected. I went into this mess unsure and naive, an innocent scoop of vanilla ice-cream before a freezer full of drugs and chaos. But what I love most about Breaking Bad is not the drugs or seedy characters, but how Walter White manages to handle his double-life with both a family and drug-runners calling him every five minutes (for those not in the know, Breaking Bad is about a high-school chemistry teacher who “breaks bad” by cooking and selling crystal meth in Albuquerque, New Mexico). The drama and tension here is top-notch, and I find myself wanting to watch just one more episode every time (and this is coming from a person who shuns television and avoids most modern programming as if it was glowing with nuclear radiation). I know the show’s finale took place two nights ago, and that I am far behind the times. But it is never too late to enjoy a good story, and I encourage any readers out there dying for such a thing to give it a try. Go ahead. It won’t hurt. And if you find Heisenberg calls to you like the sirens of old (as I surely do), feel free to leave a comment in the space below.

It’s the Little Things

Good morning, dear readers – I just wanted to share the latest and greatest findings in my internet travels with you all (and, my goodness, may I add that this is big news. Relatively speaking, of course). Growing up in the digital age with a somewhat comical, somewhat tragic, undiagnosed organizational disorder has certainly been interesting; for the borderline obsessive neat freaks hearing these words now, I empathize with and salute you (don’t you have something to clean?). It only gets more “interesting” as time progresses; technology improves, digital storage becomes cheaper with every passing day, and you are left with a veritable mountain of files (various forms of compressed and uncompressed music, movies, photos, papers, scores, television shows, e-books… the list goes on) on your computer that seems to have taken exponential growth to a whole new level.

How do you make sense of this gross mess? Slowly sift through it all by hand (mouse? Trackpad? New-wave USB hair curler/mouse hybrid devices?), re-label every filename, double and triple-check metadata until your eyes are red and the letters in your name have lost all meaning? Of course not. I’d rather eat five pints of Ben & Jerry’s. But a nice, clean iTunes looks so nice! And how dare we dishonor music, that greatest, most ancient of mysterious magics, with a cluttered and messy collection!? Technology was invented so we wouldn’t have to do this! What is the purpose of owning a digital library when upkeep and sorting can take upwards of ten times the hours required to clean a decent-sized vinyl collection?! Fear not, dear readers, for there are ways.

I used to suffer in my younger, more vulnerable days. I had no idea there were tools available; I was unaware, unaware that there were others out there like myself who had risen above the menial days of twentieth-century, soul-consuming sorting, unaware that audiophiles much smarter and more learned than I had discovered how to combat the beast without losing their life to the abyss. Enter Doug Adams’ “AppleScripts for iTunes.” I would love to explain its beauty in my own words, but I cannot capture it nearly as well as Doug’s (possibly a digital saint of some long-lost dead sea scrolls Somebody alert the Pope. Looks like my nest egg will never see that cross-country RV. There is a new canonization campaign in desperate need of funding):

“AppleScript is a simple Macintosh-only programming language that can control and automate actions on your Mac. AppleScript is already available on your computer as part of the Mac OS and many popular applications can be automated using AppleScript scripts. Scripts written for iTunes can manage files and track information, create playlists, interact with other applications, perform innovative tasks, and handle many kinds of chores which otherwise would be repetitive, laborious, and/or time-consuming.”

This handy little tool makes re-tagging files and ordering things within iTunes a breeze; to date, there are 446 and counting AppleScripts available on Adams’ website, and I have yet to find one that hasn’t made me squeal with delight, especially upon remembering the time wasted doing the work myself. While the apps may not be free (although they very much merit looking at, and are well worth the price), every single AppleScript is open-source and available for download. While I’ve found a good many other applications and programs designed to help sort through this messy business of tagging (my favorites available for OS X being “MusicBrainz Picard” and “Tagr;” check them out!), nothing I have discovered thus far has offered the option of working within iTunes via OS X friendly AppleScripts.

It is well worth your while to at least take a trip over to the site for a quick look (Doug’s “AppleScripts for iTunes” can be found at the following link: http://dougscripts.com/itunes/). While I usually avoid paying for software as much as possible, I plan on donating some money to Adams when I can afford it simply out of gratitude for future time saved and for making it easily available to those who may be temporarily without means… who knows, you may soon find yourself very much enamored with a clean, easily negotiable digital music library. Enjoy, and if you feel you must comment for fear of bursting with excitement (oh Scott! This is incredible! As always, you have changed my life in a matter of minutes), please do so in the comments below.

Tuesday’s Tech. for Teachers (Yay or Nay?)

I felt that today’s class was fun and somewhat necessary. I felt rushed and uncomfortable trying to meet all of the required WordPress assignments last night (my own fault, of course); with all new software/hardware, there is that omnipresent learning curve. Updating my WordPress blog today became easier with time, however, as I became more and more familiar with its formatting. I’m glad we paid extra attention to WordPress in class, because it forced me to really sit down and become comfortable with it. Looking forward to Thursday’s class!