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Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Inside the Human Body: A Collection of Extraordinary Images

Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 08:02 PM  posted by Mark

As President Obama and a deeply divided Congress wrangle over health care reform and Americans spend more and more money every year on insurance, the medical and scientific community continues to make extraordinary advances in medical technology. According to the New York Times, Americans’ annual spending on health care has risen from approximately 5% of GDP in 1960 to approximately 15% of GDP today—so where’s all that extra money going? Though both insurance and everyday medicines are more expensive today than they were 50 years ago, the lion’s share of the spending increase comes from the ever more sophisticated technology that keeps us healthy.

Inside Information, William A. Ewing’s extraordinary collection of images of the human body, shows where some of that money is going. Tracing the history of medical imaging from low-power medieval microscopes through today’s state-of-the-art Transmission Electron Micrography, Ewing provides a thumbnail sketch of how we’ve seen the human body in the past and how our understanding of the body has changed because of how we precisely we can see its internal processes in the present. The book consists primarily of full-color Transmission Electron Micrographs—ultra-close-ups of the cells inside the body—that reveal the stunning beauty of our own viscera.

Microscopic images of striated muscles resemble satellite images of Nebraska wheat fields, red blood vessels floating into a capillary look like the moons orbiting Jupiter and a Light Micrograph of the cerebellum could be mistaken for an image of the Mississippi Delta. The consonance of shapes that make up our internal universe create eerie resonances with the external universe, the macroscopic and microscopic forms holding up a weird cosmic mirror.

Inside Information makes the internal landscape of our bodies seem as beautiful and mysterious as the grandeur of the largest and most distant forms in the universe. Have a look:

Of the 100 billion neurons in your brain, Purkinje neurons are some of the largest.

Colored image of a six-day old human emryo.

This transmission electron micrograph revealed the presence of hepatitis B virions. Image Credit: CDC/ Dr. Erskine Palmer

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Belles-Lettres: The Principles of Uncertainty

Friday, January 29, 2010 @ 11:01 AM  posted by Mark

The Principles of Uncertainty, Maira Kalman’s illustrated memoir, began life as a blog for the New York Times and is now available in a deliciously hefty paperback. Kalman’s artwork regularly appears on New Yorker covers, and her oddball illustrations liven up the most recent edition of Strunk and White’s otherwise staid Elements of Style. She has written and illustrated 12 children’s books, but The Principles of Uncertainty, despite being whimsical and colorful enough for any child to enjoy, is a sweetly melancholy book for adults, an artist’s day book whose musings take the long view of life. Kalman enjoys and draws life’s little pleasures, directing our attention to the charmingly dilapidated furniture in a friend’s apartment or to the towering pastry displays in a Paris restaurant; but while celebrating the sheer delight of everyday curiosities, Kalman never loses sight of their transitory nature. The wit and gentleness of The Principles of Uncertainty return you to your everyday life with your eyebrows raised and arms akimbo, and you notice once again the small wonders unfolding all around you.

Kalman’s current blog And the Pursuit of Happiness offers illustrated musings on Americana and the American character and is chock full of quirky humor.

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