02 April 2011


THE HUMAN LAKE. Carl Zimmer has written a comprehensive, compelling essay in which he retraces the development of human understanding of ecosystems, biological niches, and the resiliency to change which is conferred by biodiversity -- and draws a parallel between that complex ecology and the similar ecology which lives within each human body. The initial setting is a lake in Connecticut, a pristine natural laboratory for the study of organisms and how they are dependent upon each other. The ultimate setting is you, and me, and everyone we know, and how we too are dependent not only upon food and shelter and warmth, but also upon the thriving billions of microorganisms living symbiotically in our bodies. It is a fascinating and illuminating discussion, one which hopefully will leave the reader with insight (maybe even empathy) for all those wee critter which call our bodies home .... and in the process make our own lives possible.

SCIENCE BITES BACK. This made me smile. Conservative Republicans seeking to deny the existence of global warming called upon five "experts" to testify -- only one of whom was an actual scientist. In a delightful ambush, physicist Robert Muller remained true to his principles and asserted that yes, global warming is indeed real and well-documented (see graph below, click on any image to enlarge). Climate hawks of the world, unite -- and Luddites, beware.

BACH. My thanks to Andea Kuszewski for posting this link on Facebook -- a Rube Goldberg device set up deep in a forest, playing Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring. The sheer amount of work and planning -- cutting hundreds of blocks of material to produce the correct note, spacing them to produce rhythm and tempo -- is an astonishing feat of dedication to beauty. You can also hear a classical guitar version here. This is a perfect illustration of why classical music is my favorite genre -- it remains nuanced and timeless.

No comments:

Post a Comment