November 1, 2013 - FILED UNDER Mindjet
Fun Friday Links: BioArt, Why You Should Talk to Strangers, and Teeny, Tiny Photography
Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
The Confluence of Art and Science
A few years back I saw a collection of photos circling the internet of glow-in-the-dark animals (this isn’t the original piece, but you get the picture). It isn’t a trick of the camera or lighting, but instead a showcase of genetically-modified creatures that, under the proper bulb, look like they’ve just come straight from Chernobyl. Whether your unnerved or fascinated by the potential of this kind of bioengineering, the fact remains that “BioArt” is becoming an entire movement, with artists creating everything from (more) fluorescent animals to flowers spliced with human DNA. From Mashable:
“The lab is a garden, and the bioartist is the gardener for the new millennium,” posits the CUT/PASTE/GROW Science at Play: Bioart in Brooklyn website.
If anything, bioart is rising to prominence alongside these more “useful” biotech practices because art, like all forms of play (and all forms of critique), opens up a space in which we can ask important questions about what we’re doing without having to commit ourselves to a political position…Bioart is only one symptom of a larger cultural impulse to keep up with technoscientific developments.
What do you think? Would you want a literal flower-child?
We Just Want to Belong
Suffice to say, not everyone is ready for social interactions and smiles early in the morning, which is an unfortunate truth for anyone’s who’s ever been a barista. Bad news, though, grumpies — research suggests that actually talking to (rather than at) the guy handling your latte will put you in a better mood, improving your productivity at work. From PolicyMic and SagePub:
“Researchers have discovered that people who smile, make eye contact, and converse with cashiers report greater satisfaction and are in better moods than those who avoid conversation…Further, we found initial evidence that these effects were mediated by feelings of belonging. These results suggest that, although people are often reluctant to have a genuine social interaction with a stranger, they are happier when they treat a stranger like a weak tie.
Don’t start too aggressively, though — if your neighborhood coffee-slinger is used to handing you an espresso in awkward silence, a sudden, friendly inquisition could be jarring, to say the least.
As big, bumbling humans, it’s pretty easy to forget that all around — and under, and in, and on — us, there are billions of itty, bitty flora and fauna living out their lives. Luckily, science doesn’t skip over them that easily, and neither do photographers like Wim van Egmond, winner of the annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, who took home the top prize for his magnified image of marine plankton.
“For 20 years, I’ve been looking through a microscope, and every time I see things I haven’t seen before,” said van Egmond, who has had 19 images recognized as finalists in the competition over the past decade. “It’s such an endless world — there are so many species and so many different life stages of these organisms. It’s all so strange and wonderful that it’s become a bit of an addiction.”
The photos are stunning, made even more so when you read the accompanying explanations of their subjects.