The symphony of sensation

Of course “everybody knows” that nerves use electric impulses to transmit sensations … kind of like Western Union but without all the stagecoaches. One problem with this model is that it doesn’t explain how anesthetics stop nerves from carrying pain signals.

Black & Gold by Andy McFarlane

In A Shocking Idea: Nerves Might Run on Sound, Not Electricity in Wired, Andrew Jackson & Thomas Heimburg, a pair of researchers at the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark a Niels Bohr biophysicist suggest that nerves operate using high pressure waves, like sound through a pipe.

Their theory, published in the Biophysical Journal, explains how nerves and anesthetics work as follows: Nerves are made of lipids that are liquid at body temperature. A yet-to-be-defined mechanism creates high-pressure, semisolid waves that move through the cells, delivering messages.

Anesthetics, they suggest, lower the temperature at which lipids become solid, making it difficult for the waves to form, thereby preventing nerves from sending pain signals. They also suggest that as the waves travel, they change the shape of the cell membrane, producing the electrical pulse that scientists currently mistake for the primary function of nerve cells.

I have to confess that the part of me that gets almost physically transported by music is nodding its head in time with this…

I looked at a ton of photos of violins and violinists and such, nothing struck me so here’s one I took at the Furniture show in Leland last month of a gorgeous table.

Lomography: n. the science of photographic happiness

Happy Max, Happy Photos

A couple months ago I ran a feature on lomo on Michigan in Pictures. I was feeling inexplicably blue today and checked back on it. I felt better. More about Lomo & Lomography.

The photo is titled “Happy Max” and it’s pretty clear that Max is indeed happy. The photographer, Maya Newman, has a bright and beautiful (and big) collection of Lomo on Flickr and (or?) a ton on her LomoHome pages. She says that she loves her LC-A camera because every day it reminds her that we live in a beautiful world.

WEEE Man … not so wee after all

The WEEE Man

The WEEE Man is made from the amount of waste electrical and electronic products that an average UK citizen will throw away in their lifetime – over three tons per person. I can only imagine that the average US citizen could build a larger man. More at the WEEE Man web site.
I came across Tracy’s photo while looking for a pic to illustrate an article about how my county is struggling with funding a recycling initiative. It boggles my mind that people can be so shortsighted about the conservation of resources as to vote down a $30 per YEAR measure. I’m almost wishing for an army of these things to show up.

All Your Searches Belong to Google Now

All Your Searches Belong To...

I'm so tempted to just post this and then go offline for a couple of days. Then I worry that someone might notice I was offline and call out the local deputies…

Despite the apparent elaborateness and downright premeditated creepiness of the above image, I was just trying to express my mild frustration with the new Google Toolbar for Mac "helpfully" clearing my form fields after they had sat unsaved for 20 minutes or so. As I had typed a masterful FAQ for Michpics, I was a trifle peeved with this security "feature". The toolbar has now gone to "Extension Heaven".

The image actually took about 10 minutes. It's writing all this stuff that takes the time.

Drawing used in above art via XibalbA (via Google image search). Fun fact: Xibalba is what the Mayans called their Underworld.
Background image the roots of apocalypse? (a death tree) by Giampaolo Macorig.

Whoah! Wikipedia has the scariest stuff of the batch in the Xibalba entry:

Sport was important among ancient Mesoamerican cultures, and the foul Lords of Xibalba were no exception to the rule. Xibalba was home of a famous ball court in which the heroes of the Popol Vuh either succumbed to the trickery of the Xibalbans in the form of a deadly, bladed ball, as well as the site in which the Maya Hero Twins outwitted the Xibalbans and brought about their downfall.