Dress to impress: Sexual selection and birds of paradise

Dress to impress: Sexual selection and birds of paradise

There are an estimated 42 species of bird of paradise in New Guinea, and they all look completely different. Females choose mates based on the condition and colour of the males’ plumage, so males puff their feathers, vibrate and buzz to attract their attention. Some even transform their bodies into strange, geometrical abstractions. If successful, these aesthetically ...
curiosity..

Squirrely squirrels

I love squirrels. They are cute, funny, playful. They are also quite adept at solving problems and will go to great length to get to the food that is the most nutritious. They collect food for the winter, hence the name of this blog. What I find endearing is that they collect and hide a ...
Source: Wikipedia (Agarose gel with UV illumination)

Visualizing DNA

When I was doing my Thesis (population genetics, migration), I spent a fair amount of time extracting DNA from blood samples. The process was fascinating, and a little demanding - precise pipette handling can leave your shoulders in misery! Anyhow, it took us two days to get 'pure' DNA from a blood sample, and day II was always my ...
Ruffen, my childhood sea dragon

Ruffen, my childhood sea dragon

Thore Hansen was one of my childhood heroes. His drawings were magic then, and they are still magic now. The best known of his children's books illustrations are the ones accompanying Thor Åge Bringsværd's stories about Ruffen. Ruffen is a "small" sea dragon, and the books tells the story of his adventures. This post was ...
J.H. Boot: master of stylisation

J.H. Boot: master of stylisation

I posted about stylisation before, and I'd like to show where I got my inspiration. So without further ado, some of the 'plates' from J.H. Boot's book on how to take some natural object and turn it into something of mathematically precise art. It still amazes me that Boot did not just take the time ...
There is grandeur in this view of life – visualising Darwin

There is grandeur in this view of life – visualising Darwin

If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone has ever had, I had to have to give it to Darwin, ahead of Newton and Einstein and everyone else. It is not just a wonderful scientific idea; it is a dangerous idea. it overthrows, or at least unsettles, some of the ...
Voynich manuscript – secret knowledge or brilliant hoax?

Voynich manuscript – secret knowledge or brilliant hoax?

Since we are on a roll with old books and manuscripts, I give you the 240-page Voynich manuscript. It is an unsolved enigma: a manuscript found in Italy; the paper has been dated to between 1404-1438. It contains text in an unknown script, unknown language, and illustrations of non-existing plants, constellations and humans apparently doing ...
Prehistoric Art: The Upper Paleolithic Revolution

Prehistoric Art: The Upper Paleolithic Revolution

Yisela The Upper Paleolithic or Late Stone Age begins and ends with a revolution. The first one is what can be considered the 'official' appearance of art, some 50,000 years ago. The second, the invention of agriculture, 40,000 years later. The earliest sample of Paleolithic art is the shells with holes and chipped edge modifications from Ksar Akil. These flakes show regular teeth distributed ...
Skulls and bones

Skulls and bones

I have a thing about drawing skulls and bones. Not of any morbid fascination (I think), but because they can really be a challenge. The texture and colour of bones are interesting, and the ultimate challenge is to draw a skull first with graphite on white paper, then with white pencil on black paper. This ...
Beatriz Aurora

Beatriz Aurora: The art of the resistance

Beatriz Aurora calls her drawings "painted stories", and her subjects definitely have a lot to tell. The Chilean artist had to exile to Spain during the 70s. She knew she couldn't go back to Chile, but there were other places in Latin America that could use her art, so from Spain she travelled to Nicaragua, then to El Salvador and finally ...
tracing of Tropaeolum majus -- Indian cress

Stylisation a la 1910

Both my father and his father have been interested in art and decoration. Apparently, things like those are in the blood. Recently, my father passed me along scans of a book by one J.H. Boot he found in his archives, which must have belonged to my grandfather. It's a book about stylisation, the art of ...
multicoloured carrots

The colour orange – “bitwixe yelow and reed”

Orange is a tricky colour: when pale, it can be seen as yellow, when dark, it is seen as brown. Bizarrely, orange did not get its English name until 1512. It was named after the fruit, though you could have thought it would have been the other way around. Even in the middle ages, English ...
Chickenosaurus

Chickenosaurus

Jack Horner is a paleo-dude of the purest water. He is funny, knowledgeable and loves dinosaurs so much he wants to build one. And it is actually feasible. Chickens are basically altered dinosaurs, and fiddling with switching on and off genes will give you a chickenosaurus. See the TED talk. Best dude around ...
W. B. Gould: artist and convict

W. B. Gould: artist and convict

William Buelow Gould (1801 – 1853) was an English artist convicted for stealing a coat and was sentenced to seven years of labour in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). He constantly got into trouble, also in the penal colonies, and was regularly punished for offences such as drunkenness, petty theft and forgery. His talent, however, got ...
Hoatzin bird

Living evolution: archaeopteryx, pterodactyl, hoatzin

pterodactyl Archaeopteryx Hoatzin bird I am going to skip over the arguments against the imbeciles who believe that the world is 6000 years old. Richard Dawkins are nobly taking that task upon himself. About 150 million years ago, the pterodactyl roamed the skies (pterodaktulos, meaning "winged finger"). There is something about that shape (and size!) ...
Fritz Kahn: the human as industrial palace

Fritz Kahn: the human as industrial palace

(I was horrified to discover that Wikipedia does not have an entry on Fritz Kahn in English. I was utterly unaware of how deep into obscurity this multitalented man had fallen. Update: my pigheaded ability to pester strangers have resulted in an solid entry on Kahn on Wikipedia. Many thanks to Yngvadottir ). man as ...
Sunsets and roses

Sunsets and roses

I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal.  – Jorge Louis Borges ...
synesthesia

Synesthesia: hearing colour, seeing sound

Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon where one sensory experience is automatically accompanied by another. The most common is colour synesthesia and chromesthesia. Colour synesthesia is where for example letters, numbers or weekdays gets a colour automatically "attached". Tuesdays might be purple, the number 9 red or things like that. It is automatic, involuntarily. People with colour synesthesia can remember phone numbers ...
Human skull

Human skull

You can actually buy some stuff with my drawings on them. Here, some examples of the human skull drawing. Head over to my CafePress home and have a look around (considering posters. Maybe later.). glass framed tile woven pillow card pendant t-shirt magnets sigg bottle coffee mug ...
Ernst Haeckel: art and science through the microscope

Ernst Haeckel: art and science through the microscope

Ernst Haeckel Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) was what we call a renaissance man. He was a professor, biologist, philosopher, physician, naturalist and artist. His contribution to biology, evolutionary theory and art is still mind-boggling; we owe a great deal of biological understanding and terminology to him. He was a great promoter of Darwin's theory ...
Cholera map, Broad street

Images in the time of cholera

In 1854 there was a cholera epidemic in London. The accepted theory at the time was that illness and epidemics spread through the "miasma", a form of "bad air", pollution and smell emanating from decomposing organic matter. The mechanics of germs was not understood. Dr. John Snow was sceptical to the miasma theory, but not entirely grasping germ mechanics, ...
1854: geographical distribution of indigenous vegetations

David Rumsey collection: mapping history I

David Rumsey's gigantic collection of historical and modern maps, schematics, timelines, data visualisations, diagrams, history, time, sciences, religion is a never-ending source of wonder and inspirations. It is a bit of a trap, as I can spend days wandering around in the magical world of visualisations of history, science, culture, religion. Looking at the older ...
tree of life

Tree of life – custom drawing

Tree of life – custom drawing: This is the third post in the series of my custom drawings. This time, it was a custom "tree of life" for my sister. She had a whole spare wall in the cabin up in the mountains... Again, as in all custom drawings I do, there are some elements ...
Black & white

Black & white

The world looks different in black and white. I think it might sharpen some parts of the visual processing, to see the world in ebony and ivory. Damascus Connie Melbourne Melbourne Damascus Oslo Oslo Oslo Oslo Oslo Riga Oslo ...
Drawing hands

Drawing hands

Three things are very difficult to draw: hands, feet and transparent plastic. Here are some sketches of hands from my Moleskines. hands hands hands hands hands hands hands hands hands hands hands hands ...
Michael Cain, cochineal uniform

The colour red – the story of E120

The colour red – the story of E120: In the series of useless facts and trivia, here's the story of food additive E120, also known as carmine or crimson. It's in your food, lipstick, sweets, meat, clothes, drinks and makeup. Chances are, you'll find it in anything reddish that is not naturally red (forget ketchup ...
Mechanical owls – custom drawing

Mechanical owls – custom drawing

Mechanical owls: I am not the quickest with xmas presents. On the other hand, people will get a custom piece of art. I have just finished this for a friend, and his general guideline was "mechanical owls". The rest is just me in free flight. mechanical owls, custom drawing It is a large-ish drawing (21x58cm), ...
Big data visualisation, CeBit 2014

Massive scale, breathtaking data-driven visualisation at CeBit 2014

I sometimes come across data visualisations that takes my breath away. This is one. Created by the design house Kram/Weisshaar for the CeBit 2014 computer expo in Hannover. Wish I was there. It is of course the sheer size that makes an impact, but the visualisations themselves are amazing, the amount of data accessed mindblowing, ...
Albrecht Dürer

Bow to the masters: learning from Albrecht Dürer

No better way than to learn from the masters. These are freehand drawings after the work of Albrecht Dürer: Dürer had apparently never seen a rhinoceros, so the drawing is what he did after having the animal described ...
Ernst Haeckel

Bow to the masters: learning from Ernst Haeckel

  There is no better way to learn, than to study what the masters studied. Even though Haeckel might have been a little too creative in some of his visual analysis, he is up there with the best of them ...
Diego Mazzeo: mechanical animals

Diego Mazzeo: mechanical animals

Green with envy, I present Diego Mazzeo and his wonderful mechanical animals. I am speechless; they are absolutely stunning and perfect in detail. I am particularly fond of the insert heart on the dragon, with the magnification in the corner. Inspired! Diego Mazzeo mechanical animals mechanical dragon dragon closeup mechanical raven raven closeup Diego Mazzeo, ...
Leonardo da Vinci drawing drapery

Bow to the masters: learning from Leonardo da Vinci

These are drawn from a book with Leonardo da Vinci's sketches; all in pencil.There is no better way than to learn from the masters.   ...
Kingdom: animal

Kingdom: animal

(According to Linnaean taxonomy, there are three kingdoms: vegetable, animal, mineral) After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains. – Walt Whitman The ultimate inspiration. Nature, the largest multivariate network there is ...
What is wrong with "interactive information"?

What is wrong with “interactive information”?

What is wrong with "interactive information"? Displaying information with heavy use of animation, interactions and happenings – why is it wrong? Why does video tutorials drive me batty? Looking for a tip in Illustrator, I find endless video tutorials and it annoys me no end. Why? Because all I want is an overview that I ...
Animal, vegetable, mineral, man-made

Animal, vegetable, mineral, man-made

The three kingdoms, according to Linnaeus; was mineral, vegetable, animal. Throw in man-made, and you have the Natural and the Artificial worlds… ...
Drawing animals

Drawing animals

Drawing is a skill, art is a gift. I am no artist, but I draw, and the same rule for learning to play the piano applies: practice, practice, practice. I have briefly mentioned earlier my deep belief in doodles. I will in a later post come back to my technique and how I go about ...
"Next station! Pituitary Gland!"

“Next station! Pituitary Gland!”

Over at http://rangelmd.com/ there is this genius post: Human anatomy as subway map ...
Kingdom: vegetable

Kingdom: vegetable

(According to Linnaean taxonomy, there are three kingdoms: vegetable, animal, mineral) After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains. – Walt Whitman The ultimate inspiration. Nature, the largest multivariate network there is ...
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