Category Archives: The Art of Science

The Art of Science: Drink in the Science

photo (3)The Finch & Pea has, from its inception, been a labor of love by Mike and myself. The labor of that love has been spread to several other individuals over the past few years.

In some ways, Mike & I are very good bosses. We don’t yell. We don’t ask for reports to be filed. We understand that life is more important than deadlines. We are also pretty crappy bosses, in the sense that no one makes any money directly and there are no benefits. We don’t claim to provide “exposure”. We claim to offer fun and creative freedom. We also offer really nice beer glasses*.

Earlier this year, I teamed up with Matthew Cummings, the glass artist behind The Pretentious Beer Glass Company, to create a custom The Finch & Pea beer glass for the staff. Together with his colleague Lisa Wulf they came up with this beautiful (but amateurishly photographed, by me) imperial glass. Continue reading

The Art of Science: Lie Back and Think of Extinction

Might Work?

Ooooooooh baby (art by Roger Peet)

Humans are a successful species. But the growth of the human population has placed tremendous strain on many other species, causing thousands of extinctions through hunting and habitat loss.

The Center for Biological Diversity came up with a novel idea to bring more attention to this problem. Since 2009, the CBD has been distributing hundreds of thousands of free condoms across the United States. Wrapped in colorful, wildlife-themed packages with artwork by Roger Peet, Endangered Species Condoms explicitly push the message that creating fewer new humans leads to fewer species extinctions.

The 2014 series features the Florida panther, dwarf seahorse, hellbender salamander, Western snowy plover, leatherback sea turtle and polar bear.

The condom packages are distributed by a network of volunteers at concerts, bars, Earth Day celebrations and other events. Each package contains — along with two condoms — original artwork and information on the species featured, and facts about human population growth. For more information, see the Endangered Species Condoms page.

The Mobiest of Dicks

I know that title doesn’t sound right…or does it.

Thanks to a tweet by Jimmy Stamp that was retweeted by Alexis Madrigal, I found this delightful post by Robin Sloan entitled “The Moby Dick Variations” that speculates about what it means to be a novel as a unique work of art. In the post, Sloan investigates how a novel can vary and still maintain its identity. The post instantly connected to two divergent thoughts in my brain. Continue reading


Screenshot 2014-07-17 22.05.33

If you are in the Baltimore want to see Michele Banks and her fabulous science art in person, you can visit her at Artscape tomorrow through the rest of the weekend (18-20 July). Remember, our artists can’t support themselves.

RYBG Blood Cells by Michele Banks


The Art of Science: Energy Duck has the Power – to Terrify

Duck Vader

The first thing you need to know about Energy Duck is that Energy Duck does not exist. It’s just a design, an entry in the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), a competition to design and construct public art installations that also serve as sources of large-scale clean energy generation.  So for now, file it with the other wonderful, terrible things that live on the internet, like the trampoline bridge on the Seine and the city buses with roof gardens.

If it gets built, though, Energy Duck will have the ability not only to provide solar and hydro power to Copenhagen’s public grid, but to fuel the nightmares of Danish children for decades to come.

Common Eider by Jessica Dixon for Phylo: The Trading Card Game (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A London-based team of artists, Hareth Pochee, Adam Khan, Louis Leger, and Patrick Fryer, modeled the sculpture on the common eider duck, which is found in the waters of Copenhagen. The Energy Duck, which is planned to be 12 stories tall (!) and constructed around a lightweight steel frame, with very lightweight steel supporting a skin of photovoltaic panels, would float in the city’s harbor.  At night the duck would be lit by LED lamps that change color, with the color pattern undulating according to the output of the hydro turbines. Visitors would be able to move around the inside of the duck.

All this is well and good, I suppose. Sustainable energy produced by a plant floating offshore is a great concept.  But as a person who lives in a 7-story building near a river, the idea of a huge, black, armored duckie larger than my apartment building floating nearby is somewhat less than appealing. It’s terrifying, in fact. The fact that it would turn into a glowing, pulsing, rainbow hippie duck by night helps matters not at all.

I do kind of hope that Energy Duck gets built. At the very least, it would provide endless entertaining photo ops of the “then Lancelot, Bedivere and I jump out of the duck” variety. Please, Just not in my backyard.

H/T: Inhabitat