Here's a few illustrations for the Sunday edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
I seem to have become their go-to guy for articles on gloom, doom and despair...wonder why that is...
Despite that, they are a complete pleasure to work with, and let me get away with stuff others probably woudn't.
On the history of the death penalty in the US, on occasion of the recent re-introduction of the firing squad in Utah.
Hospital workers and their complete lack of empathy for the dying in their care.
About a female judge and her experiences of dealing with mostly juvenile delinquents.
A young police officer's account of her struggles with the challenges, responsibilities and expectations of her daily job.
Romanian housekeepers/caretakers, mostly caring for widowed elderly folks in Germany, and their reports (some more substantiated than others) of being treated like slaves.
About international kidnappers, their highly professional approach to the "business", and the struggles of the authorities to keep up with ever more creative and advanced demands of ransom delivery.
Little series on abortion, the mental struggles involved and having to deal not only with one's own doubts, but with everyone around having an opinion on the matter as well.
Slightly less gloomy, on the various ways of influencing a child's development during pregnancy- for good or bad.
An elderly lady's story, about coming to terms with the idea of having arrived at the final stages of her life, and her ways of dealing with the notion of death having become something very real and close.
And finally, about how we as humans are willing to give up large parts of ourselves, convictions, ideals, hopes and dreams, all for fear of being lonely.
The 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, and the notion of winning the peace being just as important as winning the war, as demonstrated in Grant's rather generous conditions for surrender when he met with General Robert E Lee on April 9, 1865.
On the occasion of the 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships in Colorado, a look at the history of skiing and its place in literature. Here's Hemingway, mere seconds after finishing his short story "Cross-Country Snow".
The ‘Happiest Place on Earth’, Disneyland, turned 60 on July 15, 2015.
On that occasion, a look back at places of amusement in history. The Romans being the first (even though the ancient greeks had public leisure spaces as well) to expand the concept into a way of life, with innocent
events at the Colosseum being the favorite pastime of bored citizens.
On the Ebola virus, and the history of pandemics. This is Mary Mellon, better known as Typhoid Mary, who was presumed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, over the course of her career as a cook. It is her we have to thank for the food sanitation laws on hand-washing.
On the occasion of Dolley Madison's birthday, a look at her part in creating the role of the First Lady.
After Dolley, it was expected that First Ladies would have a public part to play, one that was above day-to-day politics and often national in its scope. And she liked to wear turbans.
For the beginning of Summer, an article about some famous summer riots and other violent occurences, presumably triggered by the heat. According to a 1968 study of the US Riot Commision, having examined the causes behind the serious summer violence between 1964 and 1968, it only needs to be 80.6*F to create ideal weather conditions for a riot.
On the history of the Star Spangled Banner, and how it distinguishes itself from any other national anthem. Here's Francis Scott Key, who wrote it in 1812. Yet practically everyone outside (and probably some inside) America mistakenly assumes that the song refers to some battle during the War of Independence.
On the 35th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher being the first woman to be elected Prime Minister. And about a bunch of famous woman leaders through the ages.
For the Day of the Dead, a look at some famous people throughout history who, for one reason or another, got buried separate from their hearts (or heads). This is Robert the Bruce (1274-1329), King of the Scots, who died soon after winning independence from England. On his deathbed, Robert begged his knights to embark on another crusade so that his heart could go with them. Which they did.
40 years after the House Judiciary Committee voting to impeach Richard Nixon, a look back at investigative journalism. This is Ida Tarbell, whose 1904 book, ‘The History of the Standard Oil Company’, resulted in the company being broken up under the 1911 Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
About man's relationship with nature, historically, on the occasion of the beginning of Spring. During the Industrial Revolution, the question arose among poets, if true spiritual enlightenment could ever be found outside of nature. William Wordsworth’s (1770-1850) commitment to that ideal ultimately made him abandon urban life in favor of England’s Lake District. There, as described in the 1807 poem ‘The Daffodils’, he wandered lonely as a cloud across the Dales, being moved to a state of bliss by such majestic sights as ‘a host of golden daffodils’.
On the 30 year anniversay of Band Aid's efforts to help starving Ethiopians, and its revival 30 years later to help Ebola victims in West Africa. Which coincides nicely with the 150th anniversary of Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross (That's him there), persuading twelve kingdoms and states to become signatories to the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field.
On occasion of the anniversary of the British officially abolishing slavery throughout the Empire on August 1, 1833, freeing some 800,000 Africans from bondage. While it is important to commemorate this historic milestone, the attempts of the enslaved to free themselves must be remembered, too. Here's Gaspar Yanga, a slave from Gabon who instigated the first successful African slave revolt in the Americas.
Here's a few pieces for Scientific American magazine.
I have been doing this regular thing for some time now for a section called "Advances",
where it's always about new findings in different areas of the scientific realm and their possible applications. Pretty tough at times, as they can be very vague and abstract...They're always small and round and pretty simple and conceptual. Well, for the most part. Somtimes just silly...
All of them great fun, and hey, sometimes I even learn something! And then I quickly forget, of course.
The Boss Man on this is the inimitable Michael Mrak.
About a drug that targets the sweet receptors in your gut / A cell phone that presents decoy data when someone tries to pull information from it- the implications could be good or bad.
Ants apparently don't carry all their waste outside of their hives, as previously believed, but also have dedicated toilet compartments inside /
Some plants adjust the thickness of their seed casings to the ground they grow on.
How blind cave fish got blind / Fungi in sloth hair could yield new drugs / One-way sound transmission.
Medical apps for smartphones / Dolphins straining their voices in much trafficked waters / Doctors discussing gun safety with patients
If you can’t remember being a baby, it’s because the creation of many new neurons in young brains wipes out old memories / The importance of large wildlife in keeping rodents (and therefore infectious diseases) in check / Make a cellphone call even when the network goes down.
Deer interpreting other deer's voices to determine their strength / A drug derivative of marijuana to treat epilepsy / The physics of hair curling.
The naming of a newly discovered snail / Pushy parents harming kids' social skills / Antibiotic resistance in manure.
A later start-time in schools improves learning / How taste receptors in your nose help fight bacteria / Staring at monitors all day can cause symptoms of dry eye disease.
Scientists creating invisible rodents for non-invasive diagnoses / Why larger, longer-lived animals aren’t more prone to cancer, even though they ought to be / Researchers have documented a prey species (samango monkeys) opportunistically using human presence (Human Shield Effect) to avoid leopards.
Graphene's behaviour in water and the environmental implications / The shrinking Y chromosome / The distraction center in the brain.
Flexible glass and its applications / Groups being better at spotting lies than individuals.
Why does scratching an itch make it itchier? / Singing in the rain: Tonal languages (like Chinese, where the same phonemes have different meanings with different pitches) exist more frequently in humid areas than dry ones.
Gut microbes helping to deliver vaccines / Parents’ unrealistically positive views of their children may promote narcissism.
The warm air a computer gives off can reveal once-private information / Russian physicists recently found that they could model the “Blitzkrieg” of World War II with a scientific law: the kinetic theory of gas atoms.
Some American deer (mule deer and white-tailed) will respond to distress vocalizations of a wide variety of mammal young / Bendable LEDs and their possible applications / Plantibodies: human antibodies produced by plants.
Scientists trying to understand the behaviour of bubbles, with the aid of a new computer model, in order to create better foam based materials / Some researchers believe that it was a stellar explosion, or supernova, that triggered the solar system’s formation from a cloud of dust and gas billions of years ago.
Human microbiota change incredibly quickly- within three or four days of a big dietary shift / Follicles harvested from scalp trimmings in facelift surgeries and cultured in growth serum being used for hair loss treatment research / Astronomers haven't really discovered much in the Kuiper belt since 2005, the year Pluto got demoted- mainly because there may not be much left to discover in these parts.
Sperm cells are just the latest mystifying place researchers have found taste receptors / Tracking indoor bacteria provides a new route to real-time climate control / The Perfect Kelvin, a turning point in the quest for an absolute temperature scale, not depending on the freezing and boiling point of water.
Meals alter how cells behave / Tadpole Galaxies.
Are neutrinos their own antimatter counterparts? / Smithsonian astrophysicists have identified a fascinating star called HVS17, which is racing out of the galaxy at nearly a million miles an hour / Even scientists who dedicate their careers to studying insects get spooked by spiders.
Fracking Linked to Tainted Drinking Water / Does Mars need protection from our microbes? / What we could learn by monitoring sleep patterns of the entire world.
A new physics paper explains why cornstarch and water mixtures do the strange things they do / A study suggests atoms can bond not only with electrons in their outer shells, but also via those in their supposedly sacrosanct inner shells.
Despite its flaws, Body Mass Index remains a useful measure / Fracking? Solar? Coal? U.S. energy secretary Ernest J. Moniz says: "All of it!"
Men who do more housework have less sex / Humans may use quantum vibration to smell.
On creating a plant-based egg substitute that can do everything (scramble, bake, etc.) that a good old chicken egg can / Smart, networked devices will deliver significant benefits to a population rarely targeted by consumer technologies: the elderly / Astronomers have found direct evidence that galaxies in the early universe supped on cold streams of gas to fuel their prodigious star formation rather than bashing into each other to acquire the gas.
The pitfalls of positive thinking or how rosy thoughts can lead to negative outcomes / Nasal cavities can provide air conditioning or heat, depending on the climate.
Dispatches from a late night party where physicists were awaiting word from CERN about the Higgs Boson / A new brain-machine spelling device could help the paralyzed communicate with their thoughts / Orbiting planets exert extremely subtle wobbles in a star’s motion by their gravitational pull.
Whether we believe, religiously, may have to do with how much we rely on intuition versus analytical thinking / New findings on Allergies / Extramarital sex ups the risk of sudden death.
Mothers producing different kinds of milk for babies of different sexes / Paradoxical materials could grow when compressed, shrink when pulled / Researchers are beginning to study form of memory called “mind-pops,” fragments of knowledge that drop suddenly and unexpectedly into consciousness.
Roaches to the Rescue! Engineers design robo pests that can search for earthquake victims / Materials that design themselves / Research into how things break could lead to new, shatterproof materials.
I've been on a bit of a hiatus, posting-wise, but hey, everythings a bit slower over here...and it's summer...
So here's the second edition of illustrations from a column called "Historically speaking", written by Dr. Amanda Foreman. It's bi-weekly and draws on behaviors of historical figures to illuminate similar behavior in modern contemporary society. It sometimes ends up being a rather straightforward portrait of said figure(s), but can also be purely conceptual (and all the grey areas in between).
Very fun gig!
AD on this is Keith Webb.
I'm actually gonna break this one up into two posts...boredom is boring...
First one's about the Philae space probe landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Grasimenko and the history of humanity seeking out new frontiers to discover and explore, both poet and scientist, and how the promise of new frontiers still holds true in the 21st century. Here's Galileo contemplating Jupiter's moons.
On the 2014 Scottish Independence campaign and how everybody in it seemed to be male. In contrast, the 19th century, especially the 1820s, was just teeming with female freedom fighters. Here's "Admiral" Laskarina Bouboulina, famous for fighting on behalf of Greek independence.
Airing of political grievances, social protests and even rioting was a common occurrence in theaters throughout history. And then the tickets became too expensive...
Here's Marie Antoinette. Apparently, she never even said the whole "let them eat cake" bit – though she may have said a few other things that eventually scored her a date with the executioner.
One in a long line of misattributed quotes.
About May Day, and the many different meanings it has for many different groups of people.
Automatons. People have been fascinated with them since ancient times...the newer incarnations however, artificially-intelligenced and self-teaching and all – we might just have another thing coming...
Historically, the greatest swindles used to have a face or at least a name to vilify. By contrast, the financial scandals of today seem diffuse, transnational and as nebulous as their acronyms like Libor, ISDAfix, and HFT. Here's Charles Ponzi...
Just in time for wildfire season, an article about how fire still is, despite all of today's sophisticated technology, one of the most dangerous threats to humans. Yet it also has always been a source of inspiration and innovation. And terror.
This is Nero, one of history's most notorious pyromaniacs.
Abdication fever is sweeping through the royal palaces of Europe. Recently, it was Spain’s King Juan Carlos who became the third monarch in just over a year to renounce his crown.
It seems to be just like King Farouk of Egypt predicted:‘There will soon be only five kings left: the kings of England, diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs’.
About the Oscars, and the enormous financial rewards they can bring. By comparison, the awards given out by its spiritual ancestor, the ancient Greek festival of Dionysus, which is regarded to be the first festival to give out prizes for drama, were rather moderate. It's alleged first winner, Thespis in the mid-6th century BC, received a live goat.
Triumph over adversity. It always resonates with audiences. Teddy Roosevelt, in his speech ‘The Strenuous Life’, captured the true meaning of success, ‘which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.'
Here he is, after losing his White House run in 1912, undertaking a hazardous expedition to the Amazon basin, exploring the River of Doubt, one of the great uncharted tributaries of the Amazon River.