Category Archives: Beauty

Poi Performance Art

 

Bull’s Eye (from Space)

Source: NASA, Mar 2008

This prominent circular feature in the Sahara desert of Mauritania has attracted attention since the earliest space missions because it forms a conspicuous bull’s-eye in the otherwise rather featureless expanse of the desert.

Described by some as looking like an outsized fossil in the desert, the structure, which has a diameter of almost 30 miles, has become a landmark for shuttle crews.

The World Visualized by Air Traffic

Source: Martin Grandjean website, Jun 2016

People travel not just more frequently, but increasingly far and quickly. Mapping the connections between all the airports worldwide is a fascinating network visualization exercise.

… an attempt to make explicit the network behind air transport.

 

Crochet of a Hyperbolic Structure

Source: The Institute for Figuring, Winter 2004

a physical model of the hyperbolic plane – a feat many mathematicians had believed was impossible – using, of all things, crochet. Taimina and her husband David Henderson, a geometer at Cornell, are the co-authors of “Experiencing Geometry,” a classic textbook on Euclidean and non-Euclidean space.

One way of understanding it is that it’s the geometric opposite of the sphere. On a sphere, the surface curves in on itself and is closed. A hyperbolic plane is a surface in which the space curves away from itself at every point.

One of the things that’s changing now is the advent of computers, which can help us to visualize mathematical objects.

Inspiration

Source: NYTimes, Apr 2016

… moments of inspiration don’t quite make sense by normal logic. They feel transcendent, uncontrollable and irresistible. When one is inspired, time disappears or alters its pace. The senses are amplified. There may be goose bumps or shivers down the spine, or a sense of being overawed by some beauty.

Inspiration is always more active than mere appreciation. There’s a thrilling feeling of elevation, a burst of energy, an awareness of enlarged possibilities. The person in the grip of inspiration has received, as if by magic, some new perception, some holistic understanding, along with the feeling that she is capable of more than she thought.

Inspired work stands apart from normal life. In the first place it’s not about self-interest as normally understood. It’s not driven by a desire for money or grades or status. The inspired person is driven intrinsically by the work itself. The work takes hold of a person.

Inspiration is not earned. Your investment of time and effort prepares you for inspiration, but inspiration is a gift that goes beyond anything you could have deserved.

It’s a beautiful contagion that passes through individuals. The word itself comes from the Latin inspirare, meaning “to breath into.” One inspiring achievement — say, the space program — has a tendency to raise the sense of possibility in others — say, a little boy who dreams of being an astronomer. Then the one who is inspired performs his own feats and inspires others, and so on down the line.

Most important, inspiration demands a certain posture, the sort of posture people feel when they are overawed by something large and mysterious. They are both humbled and self-confident, surrendering and also powerful. When people are inspired they are willing to take a daring lark toward something truly great. They’re brave enough to embrace the craggy fierceness of the truth and to try to express it in some new way.

Chinese Girlfriends: North vs South

Peter Rabbit Appears on A British Coin

Source: Sky News, Feb 2016

Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit is to become the first children’s literary character to feature on a British coin.

Beauty Expressed through Structures

Source: MIT Admissions blog, Feb 2016

 

 

Lego Building Blocks for Girls

Source: Yahoo, Dec 2015

Lego set up a research team to understand what had gone wrong, observing as girls tried to assemble firetrucks, cocktail bars, spaceships and discothèques.

The company found that—unlike what it had long thought—girls enjoy building as much as boys. The nuance is that they enjoy building different things, Ms. Costa said. Lego also tried gender-neutral packaging but found that girls, as well as parents, would more often pick sets for girls when they came in pink or purple.

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After five years of work, Ms. Costa’s team was enthusiastic about launching Lego Friends. The new sets, however, immediately unleashed a torrent of criticism from feminist groups. A U.S. activist organization, the Spark Movement, gathered 50,000 signatures with an online petition in 2012 and requested a meeting with Lego executives. Another group, Feminist Frequency, also complained.

“We were so disappointed,” said Dana Edell, executive director of the Spark Movement. “Lego was sending a message that girls get to play with hair dryers while boys get to build airplanes and skyscrapers.”

Lego officials said they met with the Spark Movement and decided to adjust some marketing material. At the same time, Lego Friends proved a bigger hit than the company had anticipated.

Aside from slightly different mini-figures, Lego Friends is built using the same palette of some 2,000 bricks as regular Lego bricks. The bricks are more pink and purple, as is the packaging, and construction projects include cupcake cafes, pop star houses, and a supermarket.

“We just had to wait for the controversy to die out,” said Ms. Schinkel Stamp, the senior design manager.

Magic Lantern Festival (London) for Chinese New Year 2016

Source: Mashable, Feb 2016
<see source for more pictures>