This week, tech giants Apple and Facebook announced that they would begin covering the cost of egg freezing for their employees, allowing female techies to put off childbearing until…some more convenient time, I guess. However, the fact remains that some employees will want to have kids, and Facebook’s new headquarters will provide daycare for dogs but not for children. Someone’s got to take care of the small humans! Luckily, I have devised an elegant solution that combines the best of the internet with real life: LOLCatCare™.
A crack team of cat nannies will care for the babies of Silicon Valley until they are old enough for preschool. Tasks such as feeding and changing babies, which are difficult for childcare workers without opposable thumbs, will be rendered unnecessary by training babies to eat and drink from bowls on the floor and use a litter box. Babies will gain key motor skills by chasing feathers and red dots. Blankets and boxes will be thoroughly investigated. Naptime, of course, will be led by top-level experts.
I see no way this plan can fail. You’re welcome, America. You’re welcome.
Ellyn Weiss, Unidentified Specimen, Wax and Pigment
Concepts of time and change center the work of three artists in a show entitled Density Fluctuations that opened yesterday at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. The exhibition features work inspired by physics and biology by Shanthi Chandrasekar, Stephen Schiff and Ellyn Weiss in a variety of media. Chandrasekar, who studied physics before becoming a painter, explores the differences in the understanding of time as expressed in science and myth. Stephen Schiff morphs photographs, starting with images of nature and multiplying them and reconfiguring them like cells to create new, complex geometries. Ellyn Weiss uses layers of wax and pigment to create her imagined versions of creatures discovered by science as layers of ice melt. The intriguing shapes of her sculptures hint at unknown species of animals or strange mineral deposits. Together, the work of these three beguiling artists in approaching such heady topics is sure to provide plenty of food for thought.
Density Fluctuations is on display at the American Center for Physics until April 2015. More information is here.
Shanthi Chandrasekar, Chakra-Neer, Acrylic on Canvas
Professor Kitteh demonstrates the effect of a simple machine on an object.
Today is Chemistry Nobel day, so it’s a perfect time to spotlight a new site that explores the beauty of chemistry though ultra-high-definition videos and interactive graphics. Beautiful Chemistry is a collaborative project by the University of Science and Technology of China and Tsinghua University Press.
The Beautiful Reactions section features videos taken with a 4K UltraHD camera and special lenses to capture chemical reactions in remarkable detail. The Beautiful Structures page uses computer graphics and interactive technology to showcase some of the most classic and beautiful chemical structures, including crystals, DNA and amorphous solids.
Beautiful Chemistry, which launched last month, hopes to use digital media and technology “to bring the beauty and wonder from the chemistry world to a wide audience. In addition, we want to achieve a unique aesthetic of chemistry, making chemistry approachable and lovable.” You can find more information on the video techniques and coming attractions on the Beautiful Chemistry blog.
A study published this week in the journal Neuron suggests why people learn better when their curiosity is piqued.
Researchers from UC Davis conducted fMRI scans on students and found evidence that activity in the midbrain was enhanced during states of high curiosity. The study indicated that curiosity was related to an increase in the activity of the brain chemical dopamine, which seemed to strengthen the students’ memories.
While this may be good news for human students and teachers, researchers have yet to test the findings on cats, a group to which curiosity is often said to be lethal. Good luck getting those proposals past IRB cat!