EssentialstheDiagonal is a personal blog by Mike Gerra, skeptic, technologist, psychologist, artist, humanist, collector of grand, eclectic ideas.theDiagonal blog connects the dots across multiple disciplines for inquisitive, objective and critical thinkers, exploring the vertices of big science, disruptive innovation, global sustainability, illuminating literature and leftfield art. It is on this diagonal that creativity thrives, big ideas take flight and reason triumphs.
Monthly Archives: February 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
From The Guardian:
The guests were chic, the bordeaux was sipped with elegant restraint and the hostess was suitably glamorous in a canary yellow cocktail dress. To an outside observer who made it past the soirée privée sign on the door of the Anne de Villepoix gallery on Thursday night, it would have seemed the quintessential Parisian art viewing.
Yet that would been leaving one crucial factor out of the equation: the man whose creations the crowd had come to see. In his black cowboy hat and pressed white collar, Ion Barladeanu looked every inch the established artist as he showed guests around the exhibition. But until 2007 no one had ever seen his work, and until mid-2008 he was living in the rubbish tip of a Bucharest tower block.
Today, in the culmination of a dream for a Romanian who grew up adoring Gallic film stars and treasures a miniature Eiffel Tower he once found in a bin, Barladeanu will see his first French exhibition open to the general public....read more
Thursday, February 18, 2010
By Gary Kasparov, From the New York Review of Books:
In 1985, in Hamburg, I played against thirty-two different chess computers at the same time in what is known as a simultaneous exhibition. I walked from one machine to the next, making my moves over a period of more than five hours. The four leading chess computer manufacturers had sent their top models, including eight named after me from the electronics firm Saitek....read more
Monday, February 15, 2010
On the quarter-mile walk between his office at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland and the nerve center of his research across campus, Henry Markram gets a brisk reminder of the rapidly narrowing gap between human and machine. At one point he passes a museumlike display filled with the relics of old supercomputers, a memorial to their technological limitations. At the end of his trip he confronts his IBM Blue Gene/P—shiny, black, and sloped on one side like a sports car. That new supercomputer is the centerpiece of the Blue Brain Project, tasked with simulating every aspect of the workings of a living brain....read more
Monday, February 8, 2010
By Robert Pinsky for Slate:
After a certain point, reverence can become automatic. Our admiration for great works of art can get a bit reflexive, then synthetic, then can harden into a pious coating that repels real attention. Michelangelo’s painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican might be an example of such automatic reverence. Sometimes, a fresh look or a hosing-down is helpful—if only by restoring the meaning of “work” to the phrase “work of art.”...read more
Friday, February 5, 2010
Flexible, see-through, one-atom-thick sheets of carbon could be a key component for futuristic solar cells, batteries, and roll-up LCD screens—and perhaps even microchips.
Under a transmission electron microscope it looks deceptively simple: a grid of hexagons resembling a volleyball net or a section of chicken wire. But graphene, a form of carbon that can be produced in sheets only one atom thick, seems poised to shake up the world of electronics. Within five years, it could begin powering faster and better transistors, computer chips, and LCD screens, according to researchers who are smitten with this new supermaterial....read more
Tuesday, February 2, 2010