Friday, May 29, 2009

Because its there, I guess...

Why would someone want to break the world free-diving record?  Its an exercise in self abuse.   But I guess that's true of so many feats humans are tempted to undertake.  Riding the Tour de France, climbing Everest and sailing non-stop single-handed circumnavigations are all tough rows to hoe.  But there is something about free-diving that is so immediate.  You are choosing to just about kill yourself with asphyxiation.  Now that's commitment!

But when I watched this, I was mesmerized by the beauty of his form and rhythm.  He looks like a creature that has been molded into a super-swimmer by eons of steady evolutionary pressure, like a sea turtle or a seal.

And then when he reaches the surface--is he about to pass out?  Is he partially passed out already?  Look at how long it takes him to get the energy up to wave his fist in the air.  

Friday, May 1, 2009

Its absolutely impossible, unless you crochet...

Feminine handicraft, euclid and relativity.  Who would have guessed that these things reinforce, even explain one another?  I remember learning about hyperbolic geometry in high school.  But I didn't really understand it. I guess I shouldn't beat myself up about it because a century was spent trying to explain how it was impossible to model.  

Then in 1997 a mathematician at Cornell, Dr. Daina Taimina figured out how to model it by crochet.  And it turns out that models of hyperbolic structures were everywhere, from sea slugs to lettuce leaves.

"We live in a society that completely tends to valorize symbolic forms of representation, algebraic representations, equations, codes...but through this sort of modality...plastic forms of play, people can be engaged with the most abstract, high powered, theoretical ideas.  The kind of ideas that normally you have to go to university to study in higher mathematics...but you can do it through playing with material objects."

I don't know what else there is to say.  Lets play.