Hypocritical and appalling, indeed.

Via Jezebel:

Because buying light bulbs is totally like getting an abortion, am I right, ladies?  Paul tells Hogan that it’s “hypocritical and appalling” that she and other members of the Obama administration support one kind of choice (women’s access to abortion) and not another (consumer access to wasteful appliances), although he himself favors a constitutional abortion ban.  Never mind that the government has been in the business of regulating consumers products for over a century, and most people think of things like the Pure Food and Drug Act as a good thing–I’m pretty sure no one ever died because he didn’t have access to a toilet with a really high flushing capacity.

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Fractalicious.

Photo courtesy of Makezine.

Artist Michael Hansmeyer makes these incredible columns by stacking laser-cut slices of millimeter-thick cardboard to create intricate, smooth-looking solid forms.  The computer algorithim was developed by Edwin Catmull, who is now the president of Pixar, to render curved solids using polygons.  Maybe that’s why people easily mistake them for computing renderings.  The final product is something like Frank Gehry’s “Easy Edges” furniture on LSD.  Of course, Antonio Gaudí was doing this kind of thing 100 years ago, and without computers or laser printers:

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Feltworks.
Park Güell in Barcelona. Photo courtest of xarj.

Gaudí actually drew inspiration from the natural world as well as mathematics–not that they’re mutually exclusive.  He used hyperboloids and paraboloids repeatedly in his designs, which explains the organic appearance of a lot of his work, which often appears to grow straight out of the ground.  To me, the exterior of Casa Batiló looks like someone took a hot glue gun to their curio cabinet:

Casa Batiló in Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Soothbrush.
Casa Batiló on Barcelona. Photo courtesy of Damn Cool Pics.

But naturalistic shapes weren’t the extent of his mathematical interest.  He also drew from numerology, which intersected with his own kind of mystical Catholicism.  He included a magic square on the facade of La Sagrada Familia, in which all the rows and columns add up to 33, the age of Jesus Christ when he died:

Photo courtesy of Rhetorical Device.

Magical, eh?

And now for something I actually like.

Since I want this blog to be more than a clearinghouse for things in the cultural ether that I find supremely irritating and/or downright offensive, I present you with something I actually like:

Prickly like my disposition.

Okay, it’s not the prickly pear tree, although as a digression, how cool is that?!  In island environments some plants (like the prickly pear cactus) take the shape of trees.  Moreover, the earliest trees were club mosses and giant horsetails, the trunks of which took much different forms from the pines and bamboos we know, love, and clear-cut today.  These are just a few of the fascinating facts in Olivia Judson’s latest entry on the Opinionator blog at the New York Times website.

Things I have learned from Olivia Judson:

1. Trees are awesome.

2. How to make sex eyes to the camera.

Smizing?

Can we get this woman a guest judging spot on ANTM?  Please?