The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.
If I call stones blue it is because blue is the precise word, believe me, and be equally assured that the color of stones can be very well distinguished by starlight.
"Natural selection, for Darwin, did not forbid cultural and individual developments on a timescale hundreds of thousands of times faster than evolutionary development - on the contrary, it prepared the ground for them. We are literate not by virtue of a divine intervention, but through a cultural invention and a cultural selection that makes a brilliant and creative new use of a preexisting neural proclivity."
"I had to realize that the inner workings of the mind could dispense with words."
"... the opposite of alexia is lexical or text hallucinations, or phantom letters [...] the shapes of letters have been selected to resemble the conglomerations of contours found in natural scenes, thereby tapping into our already-existing object recognition mechanisms. "(70)
"... he reads only in the act of writing [...] knowing or having an idea of what one should see, are crucial in many aspects of perception." (134)
Yet these little hallucinations are interesting, in a way: they show me the background activity, the idling of my visual system, generating and transforming patterns, never at rest (184)
When a public luminary leaves us suddenly, it hits hard because they never withdrew from their vital role in present-day humanity. Today I thank: David Bowie, Oliver Sacks and Karen Schmeer. Their stars will never dim.
I didn't realize (but am not so surprised) it took 5 years to build and finesse this masterpiece of overlapping patterns that span highly distinctive lifestyles and life forms.
"That's the big joke. It wasn't fast at all, and it wasn't cheap, but it was out of control." (Karen Schmeer)
Bliss in an art gallery goes something like this: scores of gregarious zebra finches free in a room full of rock instruments. It's called 'from here to ear v19' and it's a captivating installation/live show by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. What I found most surprising was the level of activity in the room, not coming from us transfixed human spectators but from the birds themselves: hopping on guitar strings, feeding, singing, attempting to build a nest on a guitar, snoozing in the sand... the whole had an air of purposefulness and order far from the disarray I had expected to find. Here's a great article in Slate that clarified some questions I had. It even goes into how birds of the same species can develop different dialects based on environment, something I've always wondered about since observing urban chickens and wondering if they would develop different calls to cope with the loudness of the city.
Sparse highlights from the great spinning sphere of publication.