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Kidstuff, Creativity

November 1, 2014


Thinking of Seth’s recent work at Xandari’s neighboring school, and earlier work in Galapagos, this article strikes a cord:

Laura Carlin’s artistic exercises for young minds

The Phaidon author demonstrates how creativity comes from an active mind not an overly tutored hand

At Phaidon, we understand that a good art education should start early. Yet some books for younger readers aren’t always especially kid friendly. This is why we’ve buddied up with the London illustrator and educator Laura Carlin. Her fantastic new book, A World of Your Own, treats drawing not so much as a skill be to mastered, but as a fantastic toy, to engage a child’s imagination. Read more…

Strunk, White, & ?

November 1, 2014


Click the book cover to go to the Powell’s website for a description of the book we formerly only knew as being authored by, and generally referred to simply as, Strunk and White. We love Maira Kalman and never knew she had illustrated this classic. That is interesting enough, but if you are ever accused of being a member of the “grammar police” as some of us are, or are a fan of Steven Pinker, or both, check this out (thanks to the Chronicle of Higher Education):

The voice on BBC radio was that of Professor Steven Pinker, fluent and engaging as ever. But my blood froze as I listened to what he said.

On the panel show A Good Read (Radio 4, October 17, 2014), each guest recommends a book, which the other guests also read and discuss. And Pinker’s recommendation for a good read was … The Elements of Style !

It was like hearing Warren Buffett endorsing junk bonds. It was like learning that Stanley Kubrick called Plan 9 From Outer Space high-quality cinematography. It was like seeing Chet Atkins  (Never mind. I am too dispirited to go on with this potentially entertaining game of analogy-making.) Read more…

Bird of the Day: Black Vulture (Xandari Resort, Costa Rica)

October 31, 2014

Awesomeness In Small Images

October 31, 2014

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We have pointed out photography competitions many times over the last several yearsIf you are so inclined, so equipped, and capable, we applaud you already:

The Nikon International Small World Competition first began in 1975 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope.

Since then, Small World has become a leading showcase for photo-micrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines.

A photomicrograph is a technical document that can be of great significance to science or industry. But a good photomicrograph is also an image whose structure, color, composition, and content is an object of beauty, open to several levels of comprehension and appreciation.

The Nikon Small World Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography through the microscope. Truly international in scope, entries have been received from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Winners have included both professionals and hobbyists. Read more…

End The Exotic Pet Trade

October 31, 2014


Thanks to the New York Times‘ weekly Science section for a reminder of all the reasons why wild animals should not be traded as pets across regions of the world:

Infection That Devastates Amphibians, Already in Europe, Could Spread to U.S.

Fire-bellied newts imported from Asia through the pet trade may be spreading a fungal disease that is killing off fire salamanders in Europe, according to researchers.

Bird of the Day: Great Black-backed Gull (Appledore Island, Maine)

October 30, 2014

Wet Future, Sustainable Cities

October 30, 2014


Thanks to Conservation for this counterintuitive explanation of the sustainable city of the future, with the water-related effects of climate change taken into account:


In a world of melting ice caps, storm surges, and tropical cyclones, the most resilient cities aren’t the ones that fight the water back—but the ones that absorb it.

By Fred Pearce

The ramshackle river port of Khulna in southwest Bangladesh is one of the most flood-prone urban areas on Earth. The third-largest city in one of the world’s poorest and most populous nations is at constant risk of inundation. It lies 125 kilometers inland from the shores of the Indian Ocean. And yet a tenth of this city of 2 million people is flooded at least ten times a year on average.

Read more…


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