Friday, September 6, 2013

Link List: Minecraft Libraries, the Life of Yeast, Insect Dioramas, and Other Delights

1) "You're eating for trillions." Scientific American publishes more news on the need for microbes inside. The good news: They can be replenished.

Though I also remember that some of the methods area little...odd. Remember rePOOPulate?

2) Insect Dioramas for your delight and delectation. I'm rather fond of the sunbathing caterpillar.

3) "Edible Opera"

Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta (Burton Nitta) have created The The Algae Opera: they use mezzo-soprano opera singer Louise Ashcroft's voice--or rather, her carbon dioxide--to help grow algae which they then feed to the audience. It's meant to be an environmental statement about interdependence and food-growing alternatives, and it certainly is memorable.

I tend to trip on the statement:

"The singer has trained herself specially for this project so that she can further enhance her lung capacity to produce the best quality algae possible. The slightest changes in pitch and frequency can apparently determine the algae's color, texture and even whether it will be sweet or bitter."

Drawn from a longer, more serious article on LiveScience.

*Walks off pondering voice and taste and wondering whether the algae is served with a side-dish of cooked insect.

4) I bake a lot of bread, partly because I like the end result and partly because I enjoy the process. I love watching yeast divide, but, while I enjoy the fact that yeast is alive, I've not thought a lot about it. For example, I tend to think of it as a plant. It's actually a fungi, or rather, several fungi, that are only vaguely related. The budding stuff we use in bread is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and it reproduces by budding (see below).

There's plenty more food for thought about all kinds of yeastsover at this Scientific American article--and maybe there's a couple things you don't want to think about. I certainly won't lose the thought of ethanol as "yeast pee" any time soon.

5) A library in Minecraft? Why, yes. Mattituck-Laurel Library in Mattituck, New York built their complete library into Minecraft, complete with clues pointing to the location of physical books, and treasure chests, and hunts.

6) Ever heard of fore-edge painting? I hadn't! It's the art of painting a picture on the book's edge in such a way that the image is only visible if the book is held at just the right angle. Some books may have more than one image! "The Secret Fore-Edge Paintings Revealed in Early 19th Century Books at the University of Iowa" has a whole collection of them, plus a couple of more videos. It's pretty amazing.

How on earth did the artists hold the books still so they could paint these? These aren't little sketches here, they're full fledged paintings!

7) And, speaking of book art, take a look at these images. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get a translation of the main page, but I think they're all by the live journal author in question. My personal favorite is the giraffe chewing the edge of the page. What's yours?


  1. Where do you always find such interesting links? I love the fore-edge paintings. How did people discover those? I'm imagining someone came across the first one by chance, and then went through an entire library tilting the page block to see if there was a miniature painting. I wonder do the pictures correspond with the book's contents? I'd love to see one of those in person!

    1. Glad you enjoy them! I wonder about the fore-edge paintings myself. Does something show a little bit? Is it only or mostly nineteenth-century books? Is someone practicing the art now?

      Something to look for! And now you now one of the ways I find links! I also have a lot of newsletters I follow & spend a lot of time following rabbit trails & then deciding this is just too interesting not to share.

    2. Your question got me to at least read the Wikipedia article linked. Fore-edge painting goes back to the 10th century and is painted in the margin of the book, not at the edge itself--which makes the artist's ability to keep track of what's where even more remarkable.

      I'll have to look into this further. I bet there are modern practitioners somewhere.

  2. So it's a little sliver of color on the very edge of the page, not on the outer edge itself? I have to puzzle hard about that- off to read more myself, now!

    1. The outer edge itself is often gilded, so it's juuust inside, and that's how some books have more than one, but as to how it's done, I'm still not sure!

      Let me know what you find, will you?

      I'm especially hoping to find a video or step-by-step showing how and where the paint is applied.

  3. Well, I did find the names of two artists who currently paint these: Martin Frost and Clare Brooksbank. Look them up and you'll find out more. There are special presses that will hold the pages in the right fanned angle to display the hidden painting; I assume that it also holds the book that way for the artist to apply the paint. How fascinating.