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UCSC Music professor receives patent to help fight bark beetles ravaging Western forests

Very important work coming out of UC Santa Cruz (my alma mater!), and a great example of art and science working together to help save the world, or at least the Western forests (whose existence helps keep the earth cool, so yeah, the world).

​UC Santa Cruz music professor David Dunn listening to bark beetles (Images copyright UCSC and David Dunn)

UC Santa Cruz music professor David Dunn has joined forces with two forest scientists from Northern Arizona University to combat an insect infestation that is killing millions of trees throughout the West.

They are applying the results of nearly a decade of acoustic research in an unconventional collaborative effort to stop bark beetles from tunneling through the living tissue of weakened, drought-stressed pine trees.

The trio has now received a patent for a device that uses sound as a targeted sonic weapon to disrupt the feeding, communication, reproduction, and various other essential behaviors of the insects.

Read more at: http://news.ucsc.edu/2017/02/bark-beetles-dunn.html

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Artist-in-Residence in UW Science Lab

Source: University of Washington

​(Image: “Terminology I,” one of Cowie’s works inspired by her 2016 residency in the Nemhauser lab. Credit Leo Berk)

Claire Cowie — an artist, UW alumna and lecturer — spent three months in 2016 as a part-time artist-in-residence in Nemhauser’s lab. On Feb. 3, Cowie will deliver a talk to share her experiences and help spread the word about the benefits both she and Nemhauser see in their unusual partnership.

“This was such an insightful and creative experience,” said Cowie, who earned a graduate degree in printmaking from UW and has taught at the university since 1999. “I hope that by sharing this story and describing the residency program, we can inspire other collaborations between scientists and artists.”

By her own admission, Nemhauser wanted to host an artist in the lab “for years.” She was motivated in part by a longstanding desire for new and creative ways to move science out of the lab and into the public sphere.

“I feel strongly that scientists, as public servants, must engage with the community in meaningful ways,” said Nemhauser. “And many artists are already operating in the public sphere. Art and design have tremendous influence on how we communicate ideas.”

Nemhauser also feels that scientists could benefit from the perspective that artists bring — especially in creative processes and abstract thought.

Full story: http://www.washington.edu/news/2017/01/30/artists-in-the-lab-talk-will-highlight-a-creative-partnership-between-art-and-science/

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How Crocheted Octopuses are Helping Premies

LOVE THIS!

​(Photo: Poole Hospital, UK)

I have been tempted to learn how to crochet for years! This might just finally push me over the proverbial edge.

PLUS, there is a medical reason behind the tentacles… so I suppose technically you could make a squid too:

"Research has shown that crocheted tentacles remind little ones of their umbilical cords and being inside their mother’s womb, which in turn helps them feel safe.

"The idea came from Denmark, where research showed that toy octopuses can calm babies, while squeezing their tentacles led to better breathing, more regular heartbeats and higher levels of oxygen in their blood. The babies were also less likely to pull on their monitors and tubes."

Read more here:

http://www.prima.co.uk/family/kids/news/a37423/crocheted-octopuses-help-premature-babies/

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UV light reveals true colors of ancient greek statues

This is not a new method, necessarily, but it is very cool to see the technique advance and what it can tell us about style and art 2000+ years ago.

Original Greek and Roman statues, like Augustus, were brightly painted, but after thousands of years, those paints have worn away…

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Although it seems impossible to think that anything could be left to discover after thousands of years of wind, sun, sand, and art students, finding the long lost patterns on a piece of ancient Greek sculpture can be as easy as shining a lamp on it. A technique called ‘raking light’ has been used to analyze art for a long time. A lamp is positioned carefully enough that the path of the light is almost parallel to the surface of the object. When used on paintings, this makes brushstrokes, grit, and dust obvious. On statues, the effect is more subtle. Brush-strokes are impossible to see, but because different paints wear off at different rates, the stone is raised in some places – protected from erosion by its cap of paint – and lowered in others. Elaborate patterns become visible.

Infrared and X-ray spectroscopy can help researchers understand what the paints are made of, and how they looked all that time ago. Spectroscopy relies on the fact that atoms are picky when it comes to what kind of incoming energy they absorb. Certain materials will only accept certain wavelengths of light. Everything else they reflect. Spectroscopes send out a variety of wavelengths, like scouts into a foreign land. Inevitably, a few of these scouts do not come back. By noting which wavelengths are absorbed, scientists can determine what materials the substance is made of. Infrared helps determine organic compounds. X-rays, because of their higher energy level, don’t stop for anything less than the heavier elements, like rocks and minerals. Together, researchers can determine approximately what color a millennia-old statue was painted.

The author calls the work “tacky”, but I’m not convinced. What are your thoughts?

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(Original article)

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Painting with Light

THE DIRT

lok1 From the series Decoding Scape (cropped) / Lee Jeong Lok

Contemporary artists around the world are painting with light, using photographic techniques to add layers of light art on top of real-world scenes. These layers, which take many forms, add depth, evoke awe, and are stunningly creative. These images also illustrate the changing relationship between real and digital realms, nature and technology, and the photographer and their studio tools.

Korean artist Lee Jeong Lok overlays glowing Korean characters, symbols, and stylized natural forms like butterflies and trees on the natural vistas he has photographed.

lok2 From the series Nabi (cropped) / Lee Jeong Lok

In Designboom, he writes: “I have been painting something that exists despite its invisible nature; places that correspond to the visible world, places beyond our sensual cognition, profoundly mysterious places that nevertheless cannot be separated from our world of cognition.”

lok3 From the series Nabi (cropped) /…

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How Playing With Puppets Turns New Learners into Future CEOs | GOOD

I loved how the original article author pulled in studies looking at the neuroscientific benefits of building and manipulating a puppet.

Mental Flowers

This is a very well thought out and researched article about the benefits of pretend play, specifically creating and playing with puppets.

How Playing With Puppets Turns New Learners into Future CEOs | GOOD

The [Puppet School] curriculum establishes the tenets of puppeteering education, which put educational theories about the importance of play and grit and resilience into practice.

In the beginning classes, students start to learn basic head and mouth movements, using motor skills in both hands and both arms, choreographed to pre-existing sound tracks of well-known pop songs. Students learn to articulate vowels and develop a sense of rhythm with their bodies. As the exercises advance, students learn to improvise using their own voices and hand movements, and eventually choreograph movement to material they’ve written. From motor skills, to communication and improv skills, then finally written skills, students exercise many parts of their brains at Puppet School, increasing communication between their two brain hemispheres.

According to Eric Jensen’s Teaching with…

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Hugh Livingstone’s Sonic Landscapes

Interesting article about using science and tech with art in a natural landscape.

THE DIRT

sound The Pool of ‘Bamboo Counterpoint’ / Hugh Livingston

“I listen to a place, record its sounds and then look for the empty spaces. I put the music in the gaps,” said Hugh Livingston, a sound artist, explaining his new sonic landscape commissioned by Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. His approach fits with the “niche hypothesis,” which posits that all species in a biological environment seek out their own frequency niche to communicate in so they don’t compete with each other. Like other living things, Livingston said, “I don’t compete with nature. I complement.”

For his new installation, which is called The Pool of ‘Bamboo Counterpoint,’ Livingston miked the landscape, capturing sounds night after night to use in his sound piece. He discovered “sirens are going all night; air traffic is continuous.” He also recorded parts of Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks Concerto on an old Steinway at the museum. There…

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