Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hope is not the condition or cause of action...

My bookmarks folder has a backlog of work-related stuff (The Big Issues in Engineering Simulation, Content Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2018, etc.) and artist websites (Julie Mehretu, Katie Holten, etc.). But there's enough gibberish to post while I have the chance so here it goes.

Soon
You can download (and read) all 51 volumes of the Harvard Classics in ebook form.

I don't recall who recommended that I listen to Alex Haas' music but I'm doing so now. (Was it Eraldo Bernocchi with a statement about Alex's ability to create atmosphere?)

While making the case for mindfulness (aka meditation), this article cites modern research in psychology and neuroscience making the case that the self is actually multiple selves which can explain inconsistent behavior. And those voices in your head.

A Google map of U.S. nuclear weapon design, manufacture, and testing.
Science finally found about half of the universe's (up to now) missing matter in gas filaments strung between galaxies. Now, who's got the other half?

Isn't Shakespeare in modern English kinda like the Mona Lisa as a GIF?

And there's a new album from Centrozoon.

And you can watch a video of J. Peter Schwalm performing The Beauty of Disaster live.

Looking for Japanese recipes? Check out Otaku Food, a blog written by a friend's daughter.

More from friends: Blue Hope, the second novel builds on Red Hope and man's quest for all things Martian.

If jazz is your thing, check out Pete Levin's new album Mobius.

Fred's won the 2017 Burger Battle here in Fort Worth. I'd link to the article in the Star-Telegram but it's behind a paywall.

Everything I know about drawing (which admittedly isn't much) comes from Don Martin in Mad Magazine.

I can't do more than quote directly from the Newsweek article. "Security experts warn sex toys connected to the internet are vulnerable to hacking." (If your sex toy is connected to the internet, you're doing it wrong.)

...Hope is the consquence of action. ~Cornel West and Roberto Unger

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The two most powerful warriors...

A backlog of musical bookmarks that needs exploration:
Kandinsky's painting set to Mussorgsky's music. Well worth watching.
The Clyfford Still Museum launched an online database of the artist's works. You could spend hours in here.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest announced it's 2017 winner for composing the worst opening sentence for a novel. Marvel at this: "The elven city of Losstii faced towering sea cliffs and abutted rolling hills that in the summer were covered with blankets of flowers and in the winter were covered with blankets, because elves wanted to keep the flowers warm and didn't know much at all about gardening."

Speaking of bad writing, marketing. Here are some phrases to ban from your marketing copy beginning with "industry leader."

How about 61 hours of Orson Welles' radio plays including War of the Worlds? In junior high, friends and I would sit around a record player wearing big, old school headphones, listening to War of the Worlds on vinyl. It was/is fantastic.

Here's an infographic tracing the lineage of the world's languages.

Yummy math cakes
Competence is underrated, especially in management. Maybe because everyone's drinking the Steve Jobs or Elon Musk strategic kool-aid and not keeping their eye on operations.

A long but worthy read about identify theft and credit reports. "Mean words cannot hurt a bank. Threats cannot hurt a bank. Paper trails, though, are terrifying to regulated institutions. "

Money magazine named Allen, Texas the 2nd best place to live in America. Bedford, Texas is #23.

I tweeted about this a while back, but science seems to have discovered a brainless animal that sleeps. Like me, you are probably thinking "teenage boy." But no, it's a jellyfish. Why is this relevant? Sleep is thought of as a brain-oriented activity. But this jellyfish suggests sleep is more of a core biological function.

Scientists tracked gravitational waves back to their source: the collision of two black holes.

The engineering of roller coasters and other rides at the state fair. I know this guy.

source
...are patience and time. ~Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Second Train

No one sees the second train coming.

When I was in second grade, the sister of a classmate was killed by a train. She was waiting patiently at the crossing while the train passed. When it cleared the crossing she hopped on her bike and pedaled across.

Unfortunately, she didn't see or hear the second train coming from the opposite direction on the second set of tracks. She was killed instantly.

We all see the first train. But how many of us are looking out for the second?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Work shapes the mind...

The public school system I attended as a wee lad was ranked as the 2nd best in the state of Ohio.

This NYT article on wealth goes against what I was taught was good manners; don't talk about how much you spend on things. The author believes, on the other hand, that not talking about your wealth distracts all of us from considering the moral implications of wealth inequity. Even worse, the author believes that judging wealthy people by their individual behaviors (work ethic, charitable effort, etc.) is just another veil that hides the moral dilemma of income inequity. (In other words, you can be a good person but vilified simply for success.) I'm unable to describe how disturbed I was by this article.

NASA has made available for free the ebook The Saturn System Through the Eyes of Cassini. Highly recommend.
The state of craft beer in Texas.

How about a time lapse video of Sol Lewitt's Wall Drawing #797 being drawn?

If you are an art fan, and Disney art in particular, I highly recommend the PBS American Masters episode on Tyrus Wong, the artist responsible for the design of the film Bambi.

I've mentioned here before the Disney film Four Artists Paint One Tree. Andreas Deja's blog post Four Old Men & One Young Lady introduced me to a Disney TV episode called The Tricks of Our Trade in which animation techniques are demonstrated by animators. There's a Leonard Maltin intro to that film on YouTube.

Josef Albers, Tenayuca, 1943. In an article on IdeelArt.com, the case is made this Albers' work is more personal than it seems and he is quote as saying "Everyone senses his place through his neighbor."
Here's a little insight into "ugly painting" or what I think people also call post-painterly abstraction. Granted, I don't necessarily get all these works either but the inclusion of de Kooning drew me in. "It serves as a reminder that art isn’t a branch of mortuary science, providing faithful replication of lost beauties. It’s a mind-altering drug: It exists to cause trouble, knock things head over heels and show that there are other ways to see."

The new band Gizmodrome (featuring the Police's Stewart Copeland and King Crimson's Adrian Belew) is streaming and commenting on their debut album.

In which we read how Steven Wilson's new album To the Bone is an attempt to emphasize songwriting over concepts.

Alma Woodsey Thomas, Orion, 1973. From an exhibition dedicated to American abstract artists who were also women of color.
Here's a slightly interactive infographic of every U.S. nuclear weapon.

Do not read this before you've had your coffee. I think it says that mathematicians have proved that the infinities of countable and uncountable numbers are the same.

...leisure colors it. ~Rev. James Dolbear

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Simplicity does not precede complexity...

I just discovered piano prodigy Joey Alexander - this kid plays classic jazz piano as though he grew up on the piano bench next to Oscar Peterson.

Other music up for consideration:
  • Lighthouse by Wingfield Reuter Sirkis. Neither jazz nor rock nor improv. If anything deserves the label progressive fusion, this might be it.
  • Loss by Marcus Fischer. Embraces both loss and life, loneliness and companionship.
earth :: an animated, interactive, global map of wind and weather

The periodic table done with haiku. Genius.

It's that time again when we crown the best burger in Fort Worth. Don't read this article unless you plan to eat soon cuz it'll make your mouth water.

OK, so we've had a map and something about food. How about a map about food? Specifically, the food each state hates most. Steak cooked "well done"? Absolutely. 
Here are maps of the U.S. colored as Disney princesses.

When was the first f-bomb dropped? Probably earlier than you think. Like 1310.

Computer issues have cut into today's writing.

...but follows it. ~Alan Perlis

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Innes, Iceberg

The dictionary definition of abstract is "existing in thought but not having a physical existence." It's no wonder then that many people can't find a connection between abstraction and their own experience of reality. "What is it supposed to be?" is often asked.

While not all abstract painting need represent a tangible object (and it doesn't), sometimes you see something that immediately reminds you of an abstract painting. Such was the case when I saw David Burdeny's photograph, Mercators Projection, on Bored Panda.

David Burdeny, Mercators Projection.
Immediately I thought of one of my favorite painters, Callum Innes. And it didn't take long for me to find a Callum Innes painting that looked like a David Burdeny photograph.

Callum Innes, Exposed Painting Blue Lake, 2013.

I'm not suggesting that Innes was painting an iceberg. But next time you are standing in front of an abstraction, try taking it for granted that the scene has a physical counterpart and spend the time thinking about the artist's expression of reality and your perception of it. Rather than a puzzle to be solved, think about the communication of ideas. You might be surprised at what is revealed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Line into Color, Mesh into CFD

Painter Helen Frankenthaler's work has been on my mind since seeing the exhibition Fluid Expression: The Prints of Helen Frankenthaler at Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum of American Art earlier this week. While there I also purchased and then read John Elderfield's book on her painting, Line Into Color, Color Into Line. Both left me with a much stronger appreciation for her work.

As often happens to me, certain concepts, ideas, or statements about art trigger analogies to my work in computational fluid dynamics and mesh generation. Such was the case when Frankenthaler was quoted in the book as saying
I felt more and more that the drawing should come from what the shapes of the colors are; rather than, "I am arranging this with lines or confinements or patterns." And I do very much believe in drawing, especially when it doesn't show as drawing... When I talk about drawing, I mean "how are you getting your space," not where the pencil is going.
To put that quote in context, the book's theme was how Frankenthaler exercised three types of lines (drawn lines, the perimeter of regions of color, and the edge of the canvas) to great effect in her paintings that are more typically known for their ethereal washes of color - poured, stained, painted or otherwise.
Helen Frankenthaler, Sesame, 1970. source
But first a bit of background. Within the world of computational fluid dynamics, the mesh is the digitalized version of the object around which you wish to solve the equations of fluid motion - digitalized so the computer can understand it. Think of it as the scaffolding on which the fluid will be simulated. In the illustration below (image source), the mesh lines around a ship's hull define where the computations will be performed.


When the equations of fluid motion are solved on the mesh, the results are often presented as graphical contours of a some property of the fluid like pressure as shown below on the ship's hull (image source). In this picture, red represents high pressure and blue represents low pressure.


The analogy I'm making between Frankenthaler's paintings and computational fluid dynamics is lines are meshes and color is the CFD results. When she says "drawing should come from what the shapes of the colors are" I hear the case for mesh adaptation (closely coupling the mesh to the actual flow of fluid instead of just the geometry). When she says she believes in drawing "especially when it doesn't show as drawing" I hear the case for "invisible" mesh generation (because meshing is not and end unto itself, only a means to an end). Regardless of whether we're talking about lines in terms of mesh or lines in terms of boundaries of the regions of color, it's true that the mesh is how you're getting your space, the space within which the simulation will be performed.

Other than the fluidity with which she applies pigment to canvas, there's little that visually ties her paintings to CFD (the images above make this clear). The drawn lines in Sesame don't look anything like lines in a mesh and the regions of color don't look much like fluid flow. But it's Frankenthaler's process and approach and her way of thinking about the interplay of line and color, mesh and CFD, creating and defining space, that brings art and science, a bit closer, at least in my mind.