December 04 Open Thread

[Image description: A picture of a red-and-orange flower in a dark vase, with green leaves. Upon closer inspection, it is possible to see that the flower and vase are made of still-liquid paint.]

A picture of a red-and-orange flower in a dark vase, with green leaves. Upon closer inspection, it is possible to see that the flower and vase are made of still-liquid paint.

This has been going around Tumblr. The post has many pictures of similarly made flowers. The caption says: “Using a combination of high speed photography and precise paint splashes, artist Jack Long creates liquid flowers, which are basically paint that has splashed in such a way and captured at the right moment that it looks like a flower. Even more impressively, a lot of the pieces depict flowers in vases, rather than just the flower itself.”

Have you recently dealt with anything that seemed surprising when you looked more closely?

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3 Responses to December 04 Open Thread

  1. Sciatrix says:

    Yeah, as a matter of fact. I recently had to write a term paper on any topic I chose, and I opted to write one on a topic I thought was a fairly simple type of evolutionary transition from one method of sex determination (temperature-dependent, like crocodiles) to another (genotypic, like humans use).

    And then I was forcibly reminded that simple dichotomies are not really things that exist in biology. I ended up panicking and wading through huge swathes of papers trying to figure out how to say something sensible about the topic. You’d think I’d have learned by now that biology abhors a binary.

    • Siggy says:

      I can relate to trying to research something, and finding it more difficult than I first supposed. I just want an answer to a simple question, and I find myself going ten citations deep with no end in sight. It’s almost as bad as digging out a thread on tumblr.

      Also your topic on sex determination sounds really interesting.

      • Sciatrix says:

        Oh man, I that happens all the time. I will say that I would rather end up ten citations deep with no end in sight than finding out that no one has done the work and you don’t have the time/resources/experience to try doing it yourself.

        It was! I mean, trying to make sense of a ton of information aside, I learned a lot from writing it. And I got to brush up on the literature of a few fields I don’t know much about, like developmental biology, which was exciting. Another student who knows that literature much better than I do told me later that I’d managed to pick a topic that is currently exploding with good work, so at least I can feel a little bit better about getting buried in papers.

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