Monday 28 August 2017

Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (2017)

A piece HERE in the New York Review of Books on Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant by Kazuto Tatsuta

Aesops Fables (1912)

From HERE.

Problems, Myths and Stories (1999)

We take stories and story-telling for granted. The great reservoir of myths, legends, parables, tales, that we dip into for entertainment, use for films and plays, refer to so as to elucidate a point or draw a parallel – it is always there and we hardly think about it. Tales are as old as humanity, like a long shadow thrown by our history. How old? We don’t know. Whenever we reach a point where it seems impossible to go back further, then we can be sure that soon the dark of our ignorance will yield to research and, behold, it is evident that the long shadow showed itself much earlier than we had thought.

Problems, Myths and Stories by Doris Lessing, HERE.

Image from HERE.


Sunday 27 August 2017

The earliest English version of the fables of Bidpai; The morall philosophie of Doni, by Sir Thomas North. (1888)

The first English translation of the ancient sanskrit collection of fables, The Panchatantra, was published in 1570 by Sir Thomas North.  A reprint was made in 1888, which is available HERE.

Friday 25 August 2017

Ancient Babylonian Math Tables deciphered (2017)

Plimpton 322 is a 3,700-year-old Babylonian clay tablet, that has a sophisticated set of trigonometric tables inscribed in the base 60 mathematical notation that the Babylonians used. It includes extensive use of Pythagoras Theorem and Pythagorean triples (3,4,5 is the simplest but the table includes less obvious triples such as 119, 120 and 169). It has just been fully deciphered. Story in the Guardian HERE

Friday 18 August 2017

Daedalus RIP (2017)

The obituary HERE of David Jones, the person who wrote countless Daedalus colums for New Scientist, then later Nature and the Guardian.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Despite limited statistical power (2017)

A great short post by Andrew Gelman HERE.

It’s not always clear what people mean by this expression, but sometimes it seems that they’re making the “What does not kill my statistical significance makes it stronger” fallacy, thinking that the attainment of statistical significance is a particular feat in the context of a noisy study, so that they’re (mistakenly) thinking of the “limited statistical power” of that study as a further point in favor of their argument.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus (1683)

HERE is a fantastic time lapse video of the unpacking and hanging of Cristóbal de Villalpando's Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus at the Met. The installation of the 28-foot-tall painting took five days.

Genome re-sequencing reveals the history of apple... (2017)

A paper HERE on the complex history of how the domestic apple developed along the `silk road' trading routes. 

The abstract reads:

Human selection has reshaped crop genomes. Here we report an apple genome variation map generated through genome sequencing of 117 diverse accessions. A comprehensive model of apple speciation and domestication along the Silk Road is proposed based on evidence from diverse genomic analyses. Cultivated apples likely originate from Malus sieversii in Kazakhstan, followed by intensive introgressions from M. sylvestris. M. sieversii in Xinjiang of China turns out to be an “ancient” isolated ecotype not directly contributing to apple domestication. We have identified selective sweeps underlying quantitative trait loci/genes of important fruit quality traits including fruit texture and flavor, and provide evidences supporting a model of apple fruit size evolution comprising two major events with one occurring prior to domestication and the other during domestication. This study outlines the genetic basis of apple domestication and evolution, and provides valuable information for facilitating marker-assisted breeding and apple improvement.

On the Earthshine depicted in Galileo's watercolors of the Moon (1609 / 2017)

A great paper HERE by Paolo Molaro, carefully re-analysing the wash studies that Galileo made of the moon in 1609. The abstract reads:

With the manuscript of the Sidereus Nuncius preserved at the Biblioteca Nazionale of Florence are included 7 watercolors of the Moon painted by Galileo himself. We suggest that some of them, and in particular the drawing of the 30 Nov 1609 of the very first Moon's observations, illustrate the phenomenon of the Earthshine of the Moon, which was discussed in some detail in the Sidereus Nuncius to provide evidence of the similarity of Earth to other celestial bodies. The watercolors were used as models for the engraving of the Moon in the Sidereus but, surprisingly, the secondary light had not been reproduced. Galileo may have decided for the inclusion of the passage on the Earthshine only at a very late stage of the editorial process. Galileo's hesitation shows how contentious was this issue already recognized as a possible discriminant between the different systems of the world.  

Saturday 5 August 2017

Book of Miracles (1550)

The Book of Miracles is a recently discovered book of apocalyptic Renaissance art. The illustrated manuscript was created in 1550's Augsburg. Taschen have just published an annotated and fully illustrated edition (HERE).

Friday 4 August 2017

Sir, I exist! (1899)

from War Is Kind (1899) by Stephen Crane (1871-1900)