The Mathematics of Life

9 05 2007

The Mathematical Lives of Plants

Julie J. Rehmeyer

The seeds of a sunflower, the spines of a cactus, and the bracts of a pine cone all grow in whirling spiral patterns. Remarkable for their complexity and beauty, they also show consistent mathematical patterns that scientists have been striving to understand.


Each yellow nub in the center of this daisy is actually its own miniature flower, complete with a full set of reproductive organs. The buds form interlocking clockwise and counterclockwise spirals.
Scott Hotton

A surprising number of plants have spiral patterns in which each leaf, seed, or other structure follows the next at a particular angle called the golden angle. The golden angle is about 137.5º. Two radii of a circle C form the golden angle if they divide the circle into two areas A and B so that A/B = B/C.

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Pop Art Inspired by Lichtenstein

1 02 2007



Drowning Girl Roy Lichtenstein 1963If you are a fan of pop art then you’re probably already well acquainted with the work Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Lichtenstein became one of the leading pop artists of the sixties with his comic-strip paintings. Drowning Girl 1963, shown left, is one of his better known works and is a good example of the design features in his most famous pieces. Notice the thick lines, bold colors, and thought bubble. His work also often included boxed captions and words such as “WHAAM!”, commonly found in comic books.

Benday dots were Lichtenstein’s trademark. Benday dots are a printing process which combines two (or more) different small, coloured dots to create a third colour. Back in the day, pulp comic books used benday dots in primary colours to inexpensively create the secondary colours such as flesh tone.

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17 01 2007

Hello. Meet David, the Coconuter. You can visit his blog at

Originally a catharsis project for a high school psychology class, this assignment for David Eric Poarch turned into quite an entertaining video. Having been booted from a previous catharsis performing team, David was forced to perform solo. He had only a couple of days to come up with an idea and did so at the very last minute. Singing, dancing, and acting to a medley of songs (Britney Spears’ Toxic, Westlife’s Uptown Girl & When You’re Like That, Achy Breaky Heart, Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, Disney’s Kiss the Girl, and NSync’s Bye Bye Bye) he made some of the best memories of his life through this unrehearsed and somewhat spur of the moment performance. It turned out to be quite a comical and impressive spectacle, to say the least. David is a half American half Filipino who attended Rice University in Texas for a little more than a year and has dropped out. He is now moving out of the country to become a nomad in the Philippines. He is currently dirt poor and scraping pennies (or centavos) just to buy bare necessities like food and water. He tries to maintain a web site ( http://coconuter.blogspot.c… in order to earn some of his food money. He aspires of hitting it big one day in the Philippines somehow or some way. But for now, he’s just a dirt poor person wandering in a third world country with just some knowledge, talent, and faith to guide the way.

Make pretty stars!!

13 01 2007

I found instructions for these beautiful folded paper stars in an old magazine called The Workbasket. Not only were the directions indecipherable, the picture illustrations were misidentified. Although your first attempt might be a challenge, it’ll be worth it as the final product will impress your friends and family.

Use them to decorate your trees and presents for your holiday party, or hang them from your light fixtures for your New Years Eve bash.

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How to Be a Curious Photographer

13 01 2007

313825369 99C1D8A81APhoto by -bwr-

A few months ago I wrote a post on how curiosity is a characteristic of great photographers.

I was rereading this post earlier this week and began to ask myself a few questions:

  • How do some people end up more curious than others?
  • Is Curiosity a personality trait or can it be learned?
  • How can I be more curious?

As I pondered these questions I thought of the images that I see each day on Flickr’s interestingness pages (the shots in this post come from there). Some of the shots are just so unusual that I would never have thought to take them. Obviously there are some ‘curious’ photographers behind them – but how do they do it?

I’ve never studied this but I suspect that while curiosity could well be something a personality type thing and that some of us will be more naturally curious than others – it is also that we can all probably learn how to be – to some extent.

How can you add Curiosity to your Photographic toolbox?

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TOP 300 Freeware software!

13 01 2007


OpenOffice – office suite
PC Suite 602 – office suite
AbiWord – text editor
Atlantis Nova – text editor
Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer – power point files viewer
Adobe Reader – pdf reader
Foxit PDF Reader – pdf reader
PDFCreator – create pdf documents
Doc Convertor – document convertor
Convert – unit convertor
Converber – unit convertor
Sunbird – calendar/organizer
EssentialPIM Free – calendar/organizer
PhraseExpress – speed up your writing
ATnotes – create notes on the desktop

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Alpha Geek: CDs vs. Downloads

13 01 2007

cd%20vs%20download.jpgby Rick Broida

The novelty of the 99-cent song has worn off. The ugly reality of Digital Rights Management (DRM) has settled in. The music-download revolution is over. It’s time to go back to buying CDs.

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