Watchful eyes, thoughtful mind

Earth and us ….. past, present and future ….. connected?

9 types of intelligence November 5, 2009

Filed under: art,linguistics,mathematics,nature,spiritual — Radiance @ 10:00 AM

[Image source]

When we talk about someone intelligent, we usually mean it in a way that the person has done well in studies, academics or some such intellectual faculty. Would you call someone who has great sense of direction and never needs a GPS, intelligent? Would you call someone with a great ear for music and composition, intelligent? Or how about a hiker with incredible stamina? I’m sure most of you would go, “What? No! These things have got nothing to do with intelligence.” Well, think again. 

Melissa Breyer writes in Care2‘s ‘Healthy and green living’ section about 9 types of intelligence. Dr. Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has developed the theory of multiple intelligences, going beyond the IQ test to discover the many ways humans are smart. He identified intelligent abilities including language, music, spatial reference, kinesthesia, naturalistic, and possibly existential intelligence.

Once you read this article and Dr. Gardner’s theory (and may be even more depending on how interested you get) I am sure you’re way of judging someone as ‘not intelligent’ will change. I also think knowing that we possess different kind of intelligences which are not necessarily reflected on our marksheets is important. So many people would realise that they have at least one, if not more, kind of intelligence in them. You would think yourself much more worthy than you did till now. And more importantly, I hope, you will stop making your kids slog insane hours to get that A grade in academic subjects. And would appriciate their A grade in sports equally.

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TED Tuesday: Origami using maths September 29, 2009

Filed under: art,mathematics,technology,TED,unconventional — Radiance @ 10:00 AM
Robert Lang is a pioneer of the newest kind of origami — using math and engineering principles to fold mind-blowingly intricate designs that are beautiful and, sometimes, very useful.


TED Tuesday: Art that looks back at you September 1, 2009

Filed under: art,computer,optics,TED,unconventional — Radiance @ 10:00 AM
Golan Levin, an artist and engineer, uses modern tools — robotics, new software, cognitive research — to make artworks that surprise and delight. Watch as sounds become shapes, bodies create paintings, and a curious eye looks back at the curious viewer.


Sci-tech goes arty June 11, 2009

Filed under: art,science,technology — Radiance @ 12:00 AM

I have written quite a few posts before which showcase the merger of science/technology and art. The endeavours have ranged from fascinating micro-photography to Frizions to high-speed captures of shattering objects. Today I’m sharing with you one more spectacular example of science/technology and artistic inspiration combining. The source of this art-work is the ‘Glowing animals: Pictures of Beasts Shining for Science’ photogallery.

How does it glow?

Multiple colors of fluorescent protein, introduced into its DNA (2008)

What can we learn?

One of the team of scientists that won a 2008 Nobel Prize for green fluorescent protein–Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, and Roger Y. Tsien–couldn’t resist showing off their creation a bit. From Tsien’s lab comes this artful plate with selectively swabbed fluorescent bacteria. The discovery of green fluorescent protein by Shimomura in 1956 was the result of crushing countless jellyfish. After publishing his findings in 1962, Shimomura studied GFP in detail and realized that no extra fuel was needed to make it glow–other glowing substances need chemical additives to shine. GFP, by contrast, just needed to be exposed to ultraviolet light.Chalfie, the third of the GFP Nobel winners, realized the maintenance-free protein could be used to literally watch how creatures work. He proved with the intestinal bacterium E.
coli that GFP alone–with no fuel–glowed, and promptly started putting it into roundworms.Roger Tsien kicked it up a notch by reengineering GFP to be cyan, blue, and yellow. Yet more colors were found in fluorescent coral. He remixed these materials into glowing proteins such as “mPlum,” “mStrawberry,” and “mOrange.”Though their inventions may have revolutionized the fields of medicine, biology, and chemistry, the fluorescent proteins also have creative applications, as shown above. Fluorescent proteins have also been used in the name of art to make sculptures out of glowing beakers and live glowing rabbits.
— Photograph courtesy UC San Diego via AP


Sunday Spotlight: Earthlings June 7, 2009

Filed under: animals,art,earth,forest,sunday spotlight — Radiance @ 12:00 AM
Nature, animals, humankind … make the connection. That is the tagline of this award-winning documentary film (@EarthlingsMovie on Twitter) about the suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and medical research. I would like to share a few lines from their homepage that describe the documentary, its impact and its making.

“Considered the most persuasive documentary ever made, EARTHLINGS is nicknamed “the Vegan maker” for its sensitive footage shot at animal shelters, pet stores, puppy mills, factory farms, slaughterhouses, the leather and fur trades, sporting events, circuses and research labs. The film is narrated by Academy Award® nominee Joaquin Phoenix and features music by platinum-selling recording artist Moby. Initially ignored by distributors, today EARTHLINGS is considered the definitive animal rights film by organizations around the world. ….. Nation Earth was established to produce documentary films on socially urgent issues. EARTHLINGS, released in 2005, was the company’s first feature film and is the first of a documentary trilogy. The company is currently at work on the second instalment, UNITY, which will explore the unifying force of consciousness found in nature, animals and humankind. UNITY is scheduled to be completed in 2009.”

Now I must warn my readers, as does the trailer of the documentary at the start, the footage in the documentary is very graphic. I had to stop watching the trailer half way through. But that is exactly the kind of “shock treatment” impact needed to get anything past our thick skulls. I’d say it is appropriately named “the Vegan maker” as it will not be surprising if you feel squeamish eating any kind of meat after you’ve watched this documentary. However, my view about this whole issue is very different from most people (as it is on many other topics like human history).
If we look around, we see that food chains exist on our planet, one species being dependent on the other for their dietary needs. Plants don’t consume any other species but simply CO2 and use sunlight. But from there upwards, someone consumes someone else, be it the herbivores, carnivores or omnivores. Nature has designed us all to consume one or the other of our fellow earthlings. So then how are us humans different? We should not feel bad about eating other earthlings for our nutrition. However, there IS a difference between us and all the other species that we have morals. The lion doesn’t think of the deer’s suffering before digging his sharp teeth into its tender flesh. But nature has given the ability to understand other earthlings’ suffering. Shouldn’t we be using that ability when dealing with other earthlings?
I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking, “So you’re telling me, it is OK to kill the animals only if we do it in a way that they don’t suffer?” Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying. One species killing and consuming the other is a law of nature. Because if you say I don’t want any killing to be done at all for my needs, then you’d have to stop eating! Now you’ll say, “I’ll turn vegan/vegetarian/herbivore.” So my question is, just because you don’t see blood pouring out of a tomato or a banana doesn’t scream and protest when you detach them from the plant, you categorise that as “not killing” them? Think about it. Aren’t we being biased in our definition of violence and killing? So I don’t get this whole point of being Vegan. You are still eating someone … they’re just not as animate as some others whom us omnivores eat. Being herbivore or carnivore or omnivore is everyone’s choice. But no one should fool themselves in thinking they’re helping the planet by choosing to be herbivores. You’re still using plants and animals for other purposes than food. If you really want to help the planet, strike a balance. Us humans have made this mistake too many times. We go all out in doing something and then when the ecosystem is out of balance due to it, we chose to completely stop doing it and feel proud of ourselves for stopping. No, that’s not how the Earth works. She wants a balance of everything. And all we’ve given here over and over again are extremes.
Because of our inherent intelligence, we have worked out ways of using our fellow earthlings for more than just nutrition. We make everything, from all sorts of basic commodities to absolutely unnecessary embellishments out of these species, plants and animals. So using these earthlings for food is only a part of our reckless consumption. What needs to stop is being reckless, not the consumption. What needs to stop is cramming of cows and pigs and chickens into “inhumanly” small spaces because we just need more of them. What needs to stop is making their life hell when they’re alive even if we are eventually going to kill them. What needs to stop is killing of snakes and seals and whales and tigers for the use of their respective body parts till only the last few of them remain on this planet. What needs to stop is capturing of animals from the wild and their confinement into cages for our entertainment, their abuse while being trained to do “acts” that nature never intended them to do. We need to acknowledge the right of other species to flourish on this planet and be able to live a good life. There are 6 billion of us on this planet. That’s a big number when it comes to making a difference … only if we chose the right direction.

Update (12 Jun ’09): Two of my blogger friends, Linda MB Hughes and Sandip Sen, got inspired by my blog post and have written their own posts about the movie and their feelings after watching it. Must reads!


Susan Boyle, my hero!!! April 19, 2009

Filed under: art — Radiance @ 10:46 AM

This woman is fabulous! I love her because she has shattered all the the preconceptions we modern humans hold about who should make to the top ….. which have nothing to do with the real talent of the person but their appearence! GO SUSAN!!!


Facial touch-up Egyptian style? April 18, 2009

Filed under: ancient knowledge,art,egyptology,mystery — Radiance @ 2:54 AM
[Image source: USA Today On Deadline blog]
As if the tonnes of make up the models wear for photoshoots are not enough, the pictures are then digitally touched up to make the faces and bodies even more (unrealistically) perfect before they go onto the glossy pages of glam mags or billboards. But, looks like our obsession with perfect looks is not so modern after all. German scientists that used CT scan to study a 3,300 year old bust of queen Nefertiti have found a hidden face beneath the one visible to the observer. The findings are reported in the Radiology journal. They are not sure at this point about why the original face was not left untouched and why some changes were made in the angles of the eyelids, creases around the corners of the mouth and a slight bump on the ridge of the nose.
From the few books I have read about Egypt, Egyptology and archaeology, I seem to remember that Nefertiti was one of the few queens renowned for their looks. So then, was this a case of ancient touch-up sculpting? Was Nefertiti’s face “modified” to conform to her reputation? Who knows, but its an interesting food for thought.