Tag Archives: art

William Wasn’t the Only Badass Wallace

You of course know all about the estimable Charlie Darwin, but what, if anything do you know of his exceptionally bold and largely unsung contemporary, British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace? Yeah. Well, he was a fine and modest chap with a sharp mind and adventurous spirit, and, you know, also discovered natural selection. No big deal.

File:Alfred Russel Wallace engraving.jpg

Wallace was one of the first to legitimately write about ecology and early concepts of conservation, and in his free time he supported women’s suffrage. In short, he was a kind of freethinking dreamboat.

Last November, in honor of the centennial of his death, The New York Times posted Flora Lichtmanis and Sharon Shattuck’s excellent animated tribute to the man, The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace. If I can’t actually be Wallace (or the modern-day lady equivalent) I’d love to at least tell stories like his in such a poignant, whimsical, and visual way. Well done, ladies.

Peep this superior display of creative, informative artistry and fine science storytelling  of fantastic gaudy things here:

Microbes Are Charming

You know our bodies are more microbial life than they are actual us, right?

Check out artist Benjamin Arthur’s gorgeously rendered imagining of our microbial kingdoms. Who knew our good bacteria could be so adorable and charming? This is another terrific example of good, creative, and memorable science storytelling. It’s so inspiring to me.

[Pic: Benjamin Arthur]

And if you want to court a little more of that probiotic gut bacteria, think about shoveling in some yogurt or try lacto-fermenting something at home. I recommend sauerkraut, because it is delicious.

The Most Astounding Fact

Peep this beautiful little astro-video replete with wisdom bombs from that big, badass astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. We are, all of us, made of stardust and guts, sewn up with the double-twined, shining umbilical threads of the universe. 

Be Like a Bird

So, I have been working on various art projects lately… I hadn’t specifically drawn for a while, and was surprised how good it felt to pick up a pencil the other day. You wouldn’t know because there is no color here, but this is a violet-green swallow. They always remind me of my friend Robert Michael Pyle. He and Thea know spring has arrived in Gray’s River when the violet-greens return, swooping in to reclaim their nest under the eaves of the front porch. How magical it would be to be the harbinger who everyone looks for in the afternoon. But it is much, much too early to think of spring here, even as my dark hyacinths grow long and leggy across the kitchen table. No, for now it is better to think of the chickadees flickering through the winter wood, tittering over hidden seeds between thin branches. And if still, the blue begins to creep, think too of this little verse a friend passed along to me last year…
Thachycinta thalassina
Be like a bird, who, halting in her flight,
On a limb to slight, feels it give way beneath her;
Yet sings, sings, knowing she has wings;
Yet sings, sings, knowing she has wings.