Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Future of Reading

So I have yet to read the Newsweek article on the revolution of paper and ink, but I heard so much buzz on the media that I understand the jist: Amazon has created a digital "book" that contains many books. While I'm not an enemy of change and regularly read stories from purely online resources, I can't help but agree with this reaction.

My parents have a natural aversion to change, but they also can't always reference Orwell for what they resist.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Meet A New Dinosaur


Nigersaurus, a dinosaur I frequently worked with at Project Exploration, has been officially unveiled by National Geographic today. He's quite bizarre - the media is calling him the "Hoover cow of the Mesozoic."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bosses, Art, and Neuroscience

Today will be a good day. First, my task list has grown greatly at work. Typically this is viewed as a negative and only brings on stress. However, I'm actually looking forward to banging through a number of these projects. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that I receive regular positive reinforcement and appreciation for my good work from superiors. It's amazing how this can affect motivation levels, as I nearly had forgotten what it feels like after so many months of the exact opposite.

Another highlight of this young day is the arrival of a book I ordered: Johan Lehrer's Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Despite staying busy with Newsweek and Eggers' The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007, this book looks particularly interesting (I also follow his blogging here). It argues that, "artists...discovered an essential truth about the mind that science is only now rediscovering." Pretty exciting, huh?

My favorite quote thus far...and just from the preface...is, "Take the the human mind. Scientists describe our brain in terms of its physical details; they say we are nothing but a loom of electrical cells and synaptic spaces. What science forgets is that this isn't how we experience the world (We feel like the ghost, not like the machine.) It is ironic but true: the one reality science cannot reduce is the only reality we will ever know."

Clearly, I'm in for an awesome ride. Perhaps caused by long, isolated periods on a rural farm, I've always felt like the most amateur of artist and scientist. What I feel right now is a desire to have longer commutes to spend with Lehrer.

Once again, art and information collide.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nostalgia

Most often, I view memorabilia as dangerous. While sometimes it's okay to let your mind wander in reverse, an eternal pessimist doesn't always find it a smooth ride. A legal pad from a previous job you miss desperately, a cute note from a spurned lover buried in a wallet. These sorts of things simply open old wounds and I honestly hate them. With my extremely biological view of society, I believe our minds were meant to retain important survival skills and forget those events which will serve us little in the future.

Anniversaries are odd in that, being calendar-powered constructs, they are unavoidable. You can easily forget that it has been exactly one year since you made a move to Chicago on the anniversary DAY, however a stunning realization a few days later can feel like a flesh-eating virus on the brain. What am I doing here? Why do I feel five years older when it's only been one? Have I even fully made the transition back to living in the city? It's all very complicated

I Can Taste It

Eerie - this would have been a great post for Halloween. I've been lucky (lucky?) to have little experience with death and dying, so this is fascinating.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Festival of Maps

Despite being the hobby/obsession of one very wealthy group of people* who financed and seemingly pushed his interest on an already over-extended group of cultural institutions, I can't help but plug the Festival of Maps, which premiered in Chicago at the beginning of November. They have impressive collateral, ads, and an interesting website. Full disclosure: the MCA is a participant, but I see plenty of other venues throughout the city that look to have incredibly interesting seminars, exhibitions, and events on cartography...all while facing the digital age of Google Maps and GPS.

*It's well-known that one of the board members employees a full time curator for his private collection of maps.