Polynesian Stick Charts

The Polynesians, scattered as they were over 1,000 islands across the central and southern Pacific Ocean, were master navigators who tracked their way over a huge expanses of ocean without any of the complex mechanical aids we associate with sea fairing. They didn’t have the astrolabe or the sextant, the compass or the chronometer. They did however have aids of a sort, which though seemingly humble, were in fact the repositories of an extremely complex kind of knowledge. Called Rebbelibs, Medos. and Mattangs, today we call them simply “Stick Charts.”

08.23. filed under: design. history. science. 8

Beautiful Specimens

Wikipedia tells us: “A microscope slide was originally a ‘slider’ made of ivory or bone, containing specimens held between disks of transparent mica. These were popular in Victorian England until the Royal Microscopical Society introduced the standardized microscope slide in the form of a thin sheet of glass used to hold objects for examination under a microscope.”

I’d like to add the following: Antique microscope slides, looked at from a strictly aesthetic standpoint (egged on by a design obsessed brain obviously) are some of the most elegant and perfectly beautiful human artifacts on planet earth. You can quote me on that. See below for irrefutable scientific aesthetic evidence.

08.19. filed under: art. design. science. 8

While searching out some relevant linkage for the term “pantheistic solipsism” I came up pretty well flat. One hit, however, made me laugh. There was an entry for it on a site called “all science fair projects.com” which bills itself as the Science Fair Project Encyclopedia… I started thinking about some kid doing research for his tired old sputtering volcano and coming across (who knows how) the idea for “pantheistic solipsism” and deciding, “Hey, that sounds like a great science fair project!” What are the odds? I imagined the kid standing there with some poster board diorama with scribbly marker text and a few taped up photos and I just had to laugh. Made me wonder what other unlikely bits of science project fare might be listed in the Science Fair Project Encyclopedia… I laughed heartily, then, of course, I had to fire up ye olde photoshoppe. See below. 

12.07. filed under: !. play. science. 14

Elevator lady, elevator lady, elevator lady, elevator lady…................. Levitate me.

12.02. filed under: science. 2

Russell William Porter (1871-1949) was an architect, explorer, mapmaker, watercolorist, and pioneer in the field of “cutaway illustration.” As though this were not an impressive enough skill-set Porter was also an ameture astronomer and telescope builder, sometimes referred to as the “founder of amateur telescope making.” It was presumably this wonderful intersection of talents which lead astronomer George E. Hale to recruit him to work on the design of the 200-inch telescope on Mt. Palomar (for a time the largest telescope on earth). During its conceptual development Porter produced 19 beautiful drawings of the instrument, which amazingly (considering their technical depth and exactitude) were all done before the telescope was actually constructed using only blueprints as a guide. The Prime Focus, from this set, is pictured above.

12.02. filed under: art. history. people. science. space. 2


08.01. filed under: !. personal. play. science. 5

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