Living at the convergence of faith and art.

Science

Buried Secrets Indeed

I’ve been cranking out loads of art and thoroughly enjoying the Holidays.  By the way I hope you’ve all had a very Merry Christ*mas and will enjoy the blessings of a prosperous New Year.

53288-78I’ve got another awesome NOVA special for this post; “The Bible’s Buried Secrets”.  I’ve watched it on-line so far, but will be checking out the DVD from my local library just as soon as it’s available.

Most of the time I’m incredibly suspicious of programs like PBS/NOVA or PBS/Frontline even attempting to get anything right about the Christian faith, but this production is a wonder filled eye opener.

When you watch you need to remember DISCUSSION not DEBATE.  This program is NOT a debate about whether Christianity is “dangerous”, or even “true”.  This wonderful production has no agenda and to understand this more clearly, read the text interview of Senior Executive Producer, Paula Apsell.  The program bears out what Apsell states, there is no agenda.

In case you haven’t caught on here, one of the reasons I write this blog is because I see incredible harmonies between the gifts of science and the gifts of faith.  I’m weary of the pointless  “debate” over nothing between science and faith.  So when I find awesome programs demonstrating how science reveals that which is, and faith enriches our lives with direction & purpose, I simply must share it.

For additional views on this incredible program, you may want to read Professor Kenneth Atkinson’s piece in Biblical Archaeological Review of November/2008.

Let me know how this program (as discussion) enriched your understanding of this subject.

Enjoy. Enlarge. Become More.


The Fractal Dimension

ART, SCIENCE, & FAITH

For me, if there was ever a harmonious convergence of art, faith and science it can be found here, in the design of structures.  NOVA / PBS have done it again with what I believe will be another award winning production revealing that which has always been; the fractal.  It’s beautiful; it’s simple; it’s elegant; it’s powerful.

FRACTALS for EVERYONE

I’m no math-wiz.  In fact my daily use of math extends to the basics of cooking and art, but this I get.  In the 1970’s a Frenchman named Benoit Mandelbrot (ben-wah man-del-bro) discovered something wonderful; the fractal.  It’s basically a mathematical expression of infinite repetition found in all natural designs and systems.  At this point, I’m going to let the program describe them because any attempt on my part would only confuse you.  The bottom line is, fractals are far more than just pretty pictures.

APPLICATIONS

The use of what has come to be known as fractal geometry is transforming how scientists explore and observe the natural world of living things, and even of natural systems of all kinds.  Fractals can be found in literally every aspect of nature.  This discovery is leading to some incredible new ideas and research projects, as well as the design of advanced products and technologies.

The world of entertainment owes its entire bag of visual tricks in Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) to the discovery, comprehension, and application of fractal geometry.  Modern digital communications have taken quantum leaps forward because fractal geometry has been applied to their design.  Heavens, you can even wear fractals.

WATCH ONLINE

You can see this awesome program online at PBS.  It’s in five parts, and can be understood by anyone.  It’s not over-your-head science.  Great Homeschool stuff!

Search. Engage. Enlarge.


Black Holes

I am always amazed at the ability of great scientific minds to envision the power of this universe without ever having traveled to see the phenomenon in person.  The elegance of mathematics, the rational interpretation of evidence, the well throughout conclusions all add up to visions of powerful forces and processes too large for us to gaze upon even if we could travel to their presence.

NOVA has created an awesome program describing the blackhole at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy.  It’s a fabulous production telling a wondrous story of the great, dark, vacuum-cleaner which lies at the galactic center.

Its discovery, and the further exploration of this gigantic “object” is richly presented in NOVA|Monster of the Milky Way.  You can watch it in segments online.

Explore. Enjoy. Be Amazed.


Antikythera – Ancient Technology Revealed

You know me… curious as all get out.  I’ve found an incredible object; a powerful convergence of astronomy, mathematics, and the watchmaker’s art.

Most of us remember the Cosmic Clock in Tomb Raider and how it indicated planetary alignments.  Great story; planetary alignments every 5-thousand years; broken triangle of power; great stuff of Hollywood.

However, such objects may be more real than we suppose.  In the Mediterranean Sea, off the Greek island of Antikythera was found a cosmic clock (some call it a computer) which indeed predicts both solar and lunar eclipses.  It even told the Greeks where and when the next Olympic Games were to be held.

The Antikythera Mechanism is, today, little more than corroded plates of bronze about 9cm thick.  Discovered in 1901 by sponge divers the crumpled mass remained little understood until a research team reexamined the object in 2006.

This type of mechanical computation is some fifteen-hundred-years ahead of its time.  Devices of similar complexity and accuracy weren’t created until the 18th century.  This beautiful, encrusted stack of bronze faces and gears has been examined with the latest in x-ray tools and these images have allowed a master builder to replicated it.  We even have a video for you to enjoy!

Explore. Seek. Discover.


Unknown Mysteries & Science

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I have a set of blogs I read each day of the week, seven little folders each containing that day’s ration of reading. If I didn’t keep them in a little daily folder I’d wander all through my list of favorite blogs and would probably miss something really meaningful, or I’d go through the first six in the list day after day.

In my Sunday folder is Real Live Preacher. Pastor and author Gordon Atkinson has been writing essays since 2002. Now an established author, he is a frequent contributor to The Christian Century, The High Calling, and, Wittenberg Door (DISCLAIMER-the Wittenburg site is not for everybody.)

What I like about Atkinson, and others like him, is that he’s an unassuming man of God. He seems to wear his faith like a set of favorite, well-fitting clothes. It suits him (no pun intended); it belongs; it’s a real, authentic part of him.

I admire authenticity.

His writing style is often frank, always playful, and seems to come from someone who’s living mindfully, as author Ellen J. Langer puts it.

In a piece written for Christian Century (01-15-2008), Atkinson shares a delightful episode from his own childhood. He revisits a pair of night-time mysteries which later granted him a wondrous understanding of the harmonious mysteries of Faith, and Brother Scientist.

Listen Deeply. Be at Peace. Grow.


Amazing Planet – Amazing!

I watch a lot of documentaries and this one is excellent. Produced in 2006 by National Geographic Geographic Channel, it’s available on DVD, from the video store, online store or your local library.

It’s an action packed three hours featuring Born in Fire, Ocean Realm, and, Destructive Forces. The pace is intense, the science is great, and the sheer big-picture comprehension of our wonderful world is something you’ll carry with you. This isn’t a green-agenda production. It’s a powerful exposition of the latest facts and theories of our current understanding of Earth, it’s origins, it’s geologic and climatic processes, and includes a sneak peak into our possible future.

In fact I was recently revisiting my collection of Mars images from the two rovers currently trotting across the Martian landscape. I was struck by the evidence of Mars’ own water and wind, and yet it being so desolate. I suddenly realized, but for our own Earth orbit around our star, the Sun, there go we.

Born of Fire focuses not only on volcanology, but on the entire “fire cycle” where Earth’s crust is made, subducted, and re-made; the origin of our atmosphere and our water; and the titanic forces of plate tectonics.

Ocean Realm deals with seven-tenths of our planet, our oceans. We know more about the Moon and Mars than we do about our own oceans. You’ll discover just how important the Earth’s oceans are to our weather, and our climate, and our atmosphere.

Destructive Forces focuses on the three most powerful elemental erosive forces on Earth; wind, water, and time. I know a good deal about these forces having, as most of us have, studied them in science classes from High School through College Geology, but this presentation is fresh and engaging.

If you love good science, well presented, you’ll want to check out Amazing Planet by National Geographic.

Engage. Enlarge. Live.


Science Meets Art?

In an absolutely delightful bit of fiction in the best tradition of steam punk comes the Telectroscope; a device allowing Londoners to see right the way through a transatlantic tunnel to New York, and vice versa.

You really ought to suspend your own disbelief long enough to imagine a project undertaken in the late 1800’s wherein engineers attempt to dig all the way beneath the Atlantic Ocean for the sole purpose of erecting a transatlantic viewing device. The Telectroscope Project is on view in both New York and London (of course) from May 22 through June 15, 2008.

On the cusp of tremendous imagination and invention, authors such as Jules Verne, and HG Wells were fueling fantastic possibilities and with it our own confidence to make our imagined dreams reality through science and the designs of technology. From the fertile imagination of artist Paul St. George and ARTICHOKE,  The Telectroscope Project has a complete back story filled with intrigue and adventure.

Enjoy! 😮