Embryology of the Soul – The Science of Ernst Haeckel

There are a number of ways the soul, a theoretical conundrum as indemonstrable as the creator herself, could have come to be. Ernst Haeckel tells us that it’s not taken a bit from mom and a bit from dad, nor does it lie in wait until called upon, and it’s not a germ passed from Adam on down. It just is, and arises as such at the moment of fertilization, not coitus. While this strangely drawn argument could collude with certain anti-abortion sentiments, it is actually from the mind of man who considered himself a staunch liberal and free-thinker. Darwin’s champion in Germany, lover of that compounding of words so fancied in German, is credited with  first identifying the kingdom Protista and coining the terms ecology, phylogeny and ontology. A vexing character whose books on evolution far outsold Darwin’s Origin and Descent of Man, Haeckel was lambasted by Stephen Jay Gould for his “irrational mysticism” who also characterized Haeckel’s science as “dogmatic, unfounded and distinctly non-Darwinian.”

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Beyond Blender – Biology With Computers

A model of the structure of ATP synthase - found in nearly all animal and plant cells.

Since I became interested in Blender several months ago I have been convinced of the potential applications of modelling in science. Obviously communications are greatly enhanced by the 3d models we can easily make these days, but there are also people out there using modelling to investigate basic science questions relating to biological systems. One such individual is Aleksei Aksimentiev, at the University of Illinois. Check out this brief podcast (and associated article) from EarthSky.org:

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Hobbies for the Sane: How to be a Blend-nerd

Crafted from my own handiwork - note that any abnormalities represent disfigurations of the artist and not faults in the program.

The image above represents the product of the several tutorials I have gone through in the last few months since I discovered Blender, a free, open-source 3d design program. All told, this piece took about 90 minutes from start to finish. While there is a steep learning curve for the product, the weeks spent getting to this point are due more to the other things going on in my life –  I’m not a graphic designer of any kind and have no formal training. I would estimate a combined total of fifteen hours reading and mucking around to get to the final model which I produced just this afternoon. While I do have a fairly capable computer (AMD Phenom, 6GB Ram, Radeon 5770), I think the earlier versions of Blender (v.2.48 for example) would run on most contemporary machines.

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