Phillippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman is best known for his jumping photographs of famous subjects from the middle of the 20th century, from Richard Nixon to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Halsman’s body of work also includes surreal portraits of the artist Salvador Dali that leave the viewer puzzled and trying to figure out how the photograph was physically possible. Any photography student who is interested in pushing the envelope with portraits should study Phillipe Halsman’s portraiture.

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Salvador Dali

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire includes film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to a self-styled “Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

Dalí was highly imaginative, and also had an affinity for partaking in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem and to the irritation of his critics.

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Klein Bottle

If you want to give a mathematician something to try to wrap their head around, a Klein bottle is a good place to start. A real Klein bottle is an object with no inside and no outside that can only exist in four dimensions. These glass models exist in three, which means that unlike the real thing, they can actually hold liquid.
The difference between the models and the real thing is that by adding an extra dimension, you can make it so that the neck of the bottle doesn’t actually intersect the side of the bottle. Take a couple aspirin and try to picture that in your head.

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Gallium is a silvery metal with atomic number 31. It’s used in semiconductors and LEDs, but the cool thing about it is its melting point, which is only about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you hold a solid gallium crystal in your hand, your body heat will cause it to slowly melt into a silvery metallic puddle. Pour it into a dish, and it freezes back into a solid.
While you probably shouldn’t lick your fingers after playing with it, gallium isn’t toxic and won’t make you crazy like mercury does. And if you get tired of it, you can melt it onto glass and make yourself a mirror.

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The Gömböc is a self-righting object, which means that no matter which way you put it down, it stands itself back up. It’s like a Weeble, except it doesn’t cheat by having a weight at the bottom, and it’s the only shape that can do this.
The existence of a shape with these properties was conjectured in 1995, but it took ten years for someone to figure out how to actually make one that worked. And then everyone was embarrassed when it turned out that turtles had evolved this same basic shape in their shells a long time ago, to make it easier for them to roll themselves back over if they get flipped.

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Also known as frozen smoke, Aerogel is the world’s lowest density solid, clocking in at 96% air. It’s basically just a gel made from silicon, except all the liquid has been taken out and replaced with gas instead. If you hold a small piece in your hand, it’s practically impossible to either see or feel, but if you poke it, it’s like styrofoam.

Aerogel isn’t just neat, it’s useful. It supports up to 4,000 times its own weight and can apparently withstand a direct blast from two pounds of dynamite. It’s also the best insulator in existence, which is why we don’t have Aerogel jackets: it works so well that people were complaining about overheating on Mt. Everest.

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The Human Mind

You know when someone says to you a certain famliar name or place and you can see an image forming in your mind, or when you travel somewhere or do something and when you think about it you have no recollection of going there or doing it (spontaneous amnesia), have you ever wondered why it is that happens or how it works that you can visualize an image in your head. The human mind is a fascinating thing in itself and according to some theorists we only use on average 5% of its full strength. There has been debate that some people are able to focus more than others and therefore become pychics or mediums etc. I find this absolutely amazing. Imagine if we all had 100% use of our mind. Imagine the things possible to us and the doors it could open. Hopefully this post will encourage you to become interested and curious too.

  • How can we only use a percent of our brain?
  • Evidence shows we can use more.
  • Scientists and others in the psychological, sociological fields have asserted that humans use maybe .01 to.10 percent of our brain. Without getting all science geek about it there is an easier way of understanding what that means.
  • First let us clarify, mechanically you use 100% of your brain. Maximizing usage is another subject. So when someone puts a percentage of use on the brain they do not mean that the other say 90% is dormant or useless.
  • Think of it this way. Let’s say your brain is a stereo. When you are using your stereo you are using 100% of it. Here is the x factor. If the volume knob is set at say a 2 level then you are not getting the same usage when compared to turning the volume knob to 8 or 10.
  • So what scientists are trying to get across to us is we have a lot more room in our cranium to fill. We have more volume to boost. We are not even close to tapping our potential of brain power. The percentage is actually a moot point I would think in reality.
  • There is no physical data to determine in tangible evidence the amount of usage the human brain has. There are as many as if not more than 100 billion brain cells. Then there is the neuronal and synaptic connections. Interestingly there has been data that has determined that people have increased there brain power however.
  • Then there are the people who demonstrate mental abilities that are very rare. Some people with autism for example have had the ability to calculate very high levels of math equations without ever having learned how.
  • There is also more and more variables we are learning about the brain. Studies that suggest that even though our brain is one as a whole we evidently get production out of separate parts of the brain for different mental tasks. We have all heard of the right brain/left brain references for example.
  • So regardless of how you want to interpret the brain usage by percentage, the fact is it is the most amazing gift we have. A computer is nothing compared to the human brain. And we can build upon our ability to get more out of it. So turn up the volume button and get the old noggin’ working.
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