Archive for November 2009
Chemists at Oregon State University (OSU) unexpectedly discovered a new, highly-durable, blue pigment this month — what may, in fact, be the “perfect blue.” OSU issued a statement: “Through much of recorded human history, people around the world have sought inorganic compounds that could be used to paint things blue, often with limited success…Cobalt blue, developed in France in the early 1800s, can be carcinogenic. Prussian blue can release cyanide. Other blue pigments are not stable when exposed to heat or acidic conditions.”
The OSU chemists combined manganese oxide (which appears black), with novel electronic compounds at the temperature of around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, solid crystals formed which contained manganese ions that absorbed only red and green wavelengths, leaving a blue light reflection.
After the manganese containing oxide cooled, the new blue color remained. White yttrium oxide and pale yellow idium oxide were added to stabilize the crystal structure after cooling—if the yttrium oxide and pale yellow idium oxide were not added to stabilize the crystal structure after cooling, the blue color would disappear or fade. Collaborating on the work were researchers in the Materials Department at the University of California/Santa Barbara. To read more about the discovery that would have made artist Yves Klein jealous, see the OSU press announcement.
And, in tribute of this new blue tone, please enjoy this song, “Good Morning Blues” by the American Folk singer Huddle William Ledbetter, aka Lead Belly.
The image to the left was taken by Oregon State University Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science, Mas Subramanian.
Written by Angie Mah
Looking at the images above, can you make out a meaning?
In his TED talk lecture special for CNN, R. Beau Lotto explains why your mind seems to “fill in” the blank where the appropriate letters might be to make sense of an otherwise meaningless mix of words.
Humans understand and process what pertains to them. “If you remember anything in this next eighteen minutes, remember this: that the light that falls onto your eye, sensory information, is meaningless, because it could mean literally anything.” R. Beau Lotto uses visual examples to illustrate his point that what a person sees, finds patterns in and attributes importance to, is not based on a constant—a person is continually re-definining her/his perspective of normality in order to make sense of the world. Lotto concludes his lecture in the spirit of celebrating uncertainty which he believes is the potential for understanding.
Images above are screenshots from R. Beau Lotto’s TED Talk Tuesdays lecture for CNN.com
Written by Angie Mah
This evening Glimpse Journal invites you to join The Dynamic Media Institute (DMI), Boston Media Makers and MassArt Professional and Continuing Education in attending Media Tech Tonic Lecture #11: “What Art Can Tell Us About the Brain”, presented by Dr. Margaret Livingstone, Professor of Neurobiology at the Harvard Medical School and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University.
Dr. Margaret Livingstone is the eleventh guest speaker of the twelve part Fall 2009 Media Tech Tonic lecture series. Her work attempts to explain in scientific terms the sequence of events that occur between a persons’ brain and sensory motors when s/he views a beautiful (or grotesque) work of art. Providing popular masterpiece examples like Picasso, Mattise and DaVinci, Livingstone proposes to unravel the mystique of the “pull”—though you might call it “beauty”—that certain aesthetics have, “I will explore how the segregation of color and luminance processing are the basis for why some Impressionist paintings seem to shimmer, why some op art paintings seem to move, some principles of Matisse’s use of color, and how the Impressionists painted ‘air’”. Livinstone will also cover topics from her recently published work Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing.
Please register for this free lecture at: http://mediatechtonic.org/.
“What Art Can Tell Us About the Brain”
Dr. Margaret Linvingstone
Room 406, Kennedy Building
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
621 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Keep your eyelids open for Glimpse Journal’s reflections on the event afterwards.
Written by Angie Mah
The Language of Color curated by Hopi Hoekstra will be on exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History from now until May 2010. Be sure to check out Glimpse Journal’s conversation with Dr. Hoekstra in the Nov. 2009 Color Issue (to be released in the next week).
e-words by Angie Mah
e-image courtesy of Flickr member: brain_blogger
It’s no longer contestable, computers and handheld reading devices like smart-phones are altering the way that we read by the millisecond.
Last Saturday at the Boston Book Festival, New York Times technology columnist David Pogue hosted a talk titled, “The Future of Reading: Books Without Pages?” Guest speakers from Google, Sony, Interread, and Pixel Qi joined an auditorium packed with curious audience members at the Boston Public Library Rabb Lecture Hall to discuss with the public strategies these companies are undertaking to digitize essentially all of the world’s readable resources into one enormous database. Their collective hope for the future of reading: to make materials readily accessible to a large number of people at the fastest rate possible—at once an appealing and all-over frightening notion. But for a moment forget about productivity and usefulness, and dwell on this article published by the New York Times in early October which delves into the question of whether or not humans even like e-reading and the ways that e-reading is rapidly affecting and shaping the way people are remembering, learning, and understanding written material and visual representations.
Try this memory exercise out for size.
The image above is from Charles Bell (1774-1842): The Anatomy of the Brain, Explained in a Series of Engravings. London: T.N. Longman and O. Rees (etc.), 1802.
Be happy you learned this little ditty before a foray into the Southern woodland regions of North America. This saying originated in North America as a way to distinguish the venomous coral snake–recognizable by its red, yellow, and black banded skin–from nonvemonous look-a-likes. There are only two species of coral snake found in North America, the eastern coral snake, or harlequin snake (Micrurus Fulvius) and the Arizona coral snake (Micruroides euryxanthus). “Red on yellow” refers to the red and yellow striped bands that run down the the snake’s body. Variations of the phrase include, “Red on Yellow Kills a Fellow, Red on Black, Venom Lack,” and “Red on yellow kills a fellow; red on black, pat it on the back.” Unfortunately the saying’s usefulness wanes outside of North America, where in regions like India, the coral snakes have different color and band patterns on their skin. The image above is of the charlatan coral snake, the scarlet king snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum Elapsoides).
Image by Flickr Member: Pierson Hill