The most powerfully engaging works of art appeared to trigger brain regions in the frontal cortex that are involved in introspective thought, as well as nearby regions usually directed at more outward matters. The two areas usually don’t activate simultaneously. “That is a very rare state,” Dr. Vessel said. “It resonates in the shape of your mind.”
Beyond their beauty, fossils are also physical objects, with heft and depth, contours and textures. These qualities are not easily conveyed across the Internet, which tends to resolve on screens, brightly colored and flat.
Feeling the need to bring some creativity into your workplace in the new year? Get off to a good start with “Poetry at Work Day” tomorrow, the brainchild of the folks over at tweetspeakpoetry. They have all kinds of resources, including a free ebook, graphics, and line art of assorted popular poets that you can print out, color in, and stick on a pencil to take around the office for the day.
Who is your favorite poet? Perhaps you want to print out a few copies of one of your favorite poems and leave them in the break room tomorrow.
Pretty sure I had gloves just like this when I was 7, only there was a tiny knit teddy bear in a pocket instead of a Russian flag…
It’s almost time for the Winter Olympics, and time for me to find friends with working TVs so I can play too. Before the torch reaches the Olympic stadium, however, there’s still time to work in some fun Olympics themed interdisciplinary awesome!
The Australian Olympic team has provided a set of interlinked Winter Olympics lessons for several grades and disciplines. (Despite its dubious educational benefit, my favorite is the coloring sheet featuring a kangaroo jumping out of a matryoshka, for sheer hilarity.)
From the Australian Olympic team, see link above
Science and Engineering
NBC Learn has a host of neat videos on the science and design behind the tools, gear, and execution of various winter sports. There’s even one called ‘Olympic Movement and Robotic Design’ that I am looking forward to watching when I get a free minute. (2010’s series of films are still available thanks to the NSF here.)
Those of you who follow Sea Dreams & Time Machines will know why I’ve been quiet this past month–all my blogging energy got diverted into churning out a whole lot of time-traveling, dragon-raising, industrialist-thwarting prose. In honor of people devoured by their passions everywhere, however, I share with you a recent clip by the highly entertaining Wil Wheaton, on why it’s awesome to be a nerd. (And thank you as always to the Trusted Source who pointed me towards it in the first place!)
There are some great stories out there about the power of imagination. As a kid, I was particularly fond of stories like Bridge to Terabithia, and The Phantom Tollbooth, and The Neverending Story. However, it’s a wide and wildly varying genre, so today I’m focusing on stories (and activities) to do with cardboard boxes.
Crispin The Pig Who Had it All is officially a Christmas story wherein an overindulged pig is given an empty box for Christmas by Santa, but is a great story and amusingly illustrated for younger readers.
Despite my oft-stated claim that I find just about everything interesting, I can honestly say that I’ve never been a big fan of quantum physics, except as a useful bit of technobabble in some of my favorite science fiction. However, what Geordi LaForge, Samantha Carter, and John Crichton hadn’t quite convinced me of, a handful of *real* scientists with the assistance of the Symphony of Science did. I now really want to go find out what those ’12 particles of matter, 4 forces of energy’ are, and meanwhile, like Rachel Maddow, I can’t stop humming this song. Enjoy!
I’ll save my thoughts on the importance of an educator’s being a ham for another day, but for today I’d like to highlight the magic that is live theater, from playing ‘dress-up’ in your backyard to setting King Lear on the Moon (okay, that I’ve never seen, but wouldn’t you like to?). Here’s a collection of fun and fascinating links for you on theater, puppetry, and the Bard:
In recognition of the holiday season, I have decided to celebrate with twelve posts of things that make me happy, inspire me, make me think, or otherwise stick alluringly in my brain. (Expect a bit more humor and a bit less curriculum!)
Today’s Topic: Seasonal Papercraft, with a highlight on origami and snowflake making
Photos from the Origami Resource Center
Round Up of Origami Snowflakes and Snowmen directions from the Origami Resource Center. Very cool stuff. I love the idea of using wax paper or patty paper so that you get the layered translucent snow-like effect.
My anonymous tipmaster sent me a very cool video earlier this week showcasing the universality of the pentatonic scale. (Bear with me: it means that anywhere in the world, people watching Bobby McFerrin jump around a stage can actually sing on pitch and together with almost no instruction). This incredibly cool exploration of sound, music, and the way we think reminded me that I’d been collecting some very fun sound-related links to share with you here on Brain Popcorn.
A Not So ‘Silent World’
Diving in New England is a relatively quiet business. Most of the time, it’s your air bubbles, your dive buddy’s air bubbles, and the occasional scrape of gear on rock that accompanies you in the deep. But not always, and not elsewhere. Diving in the USVI a few years ago I was thrilled and startled to be surrounded by what seemed like a chorus of marine Morse code, and was informed that there were ‘very talkative shrimp’ on that particular reef. A recent report highlighted by the Smithsonian suggests “A Noisy Reef is a Healthy Reef,” which is a fascinating new look at ways to measure the health of communities in endangered waters.
For most of us, the ‘sound of ice’ is skates carving up the surface, or possibly that sharp pop you get when you drop an ice cube into a glass of lukewarm juice. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit the land of glaciers and icebergs, maybe you also think of the great rumble and splash of a calving glacier. But what about a lake in winter? Thoreau certainly noticed interesting sounds at his spot by Walden Pond:
The cracking and booming of the ice indicate a change of temperature. One pleasant morning after a
cold night, February 24th, 1850, having gone to Flint’s Pond to spend the day, I noticed with surprise, that when I struck the ice with the head of my axe, it resounded like a gong for many rods
around, or as if I had struck on a tight drum-head. The pond began to boom about an hour after sunrise, when it felt the influence of the sun’s rays slanted upon it from over the hills; it stretched
itself and yawned like a waking man with a gradually increasing tumult, which was kept up three or four hours. It took a short siesta at noon, and boomed once more toward night, as the sun was
withdrawing his influence. In the right stage of the weather a pond fires its evening gun with great regularity.
The Voice of the Little Mermaid — How might the Little Mermaid have sounded under water? If, like certain people who shall remain nameless, you’ve ever tried humming in the swimming pool to find out, here’s a way to explore a little further. An opera singer has actually performed most of an opera, singing underwater, and discusses her technique and the changes in the sound at the link above. Very cool–but hard on the costumes, I should think!
Ladle Rat Rotten Hut – Did you ever notice that when listening to the radio or the TV in the background, you could still get a sense of the meaning even without catching all the words? Try reading this intro to “Little Red Riding Hood” aloud with a ‘storytelling voice’ and see how far you get. Listen to the narrator on the Exploratorium’s page if you’re stumped, and find the rest of the story there too.
Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage, honor itch offer lodge dock florist. Disk ladle gull orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty ladle rat hut, an fur disk raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.
Every time I look at my inbox and start thinking that I really need to try to cut down on the amount that lands there on a daily or weekly basis, something cool invariably arrives to change my mind. Case in point, this morning’s email from the National Park Service announcing the upcoming arrival of the very first National Fossil Day(TM) on October 13, 2010.
I like fossils. I like love the National Park Service. I had my career-epiphany-moment directly after taking a fossil hike on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
I opened the email.
So what is National Fossil Day? Part of the 2010 Earth Science Week celebrations sponsored by the American Geological Institute, National Fossil Day is “a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value.”
(In other words, a really good excuse to play in the dirt. I always like those.)
The NPS website is a wealth of interesting information, a “rockin'” interdisciplinary list of activities, and other fascinating and fun stuff. A few highlights include a map of the 230 national parks containing fossils (including ones in Guam and the US Virgin Islands) and fossil highlights from many of those parks, a list of the official state fossils, and a list of events in your area.
If, like me, you take a look at all the amazing activity which is going to be on the National Mall in DC and want to cry into your Pleistocene soup from sheer envy, here are a handful of fun fossil-related activities and articles you can enjoy from the comfort of your desk chair.
Pterosaur Ornithopter videos. Which are apparently flying vehicles which mimic bird- or bird-like flight, specifically in this case, dino-bird-like-flight. The key to this seems to be that the wings flap, as opposed to fixed-wing aircraft like normal planes. Intrigued? There is actually someone who has built and tested a successful human-powered ornithopter called the Snowbird, with a record setting 19.3 second flight, achieved just last week on September 22nd.