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November 29, 2005

Kaleidoscopic Cell

Sometimes, I just have to make something silly. Usually this happens when I've been working on a particular project for a very long time and I start imagining it's elements in a peculiar way ;-)

Click on the stage to start a new randomly generated pattern.

Thanks go to Edwin, for inspiration and some code from his kaleidoscopes (1, 2, & 3).

November 28, 2005

Overloaded Elements

Our Periodic Table of Elements with Flash and webMathematica project has been "discovered", and we're getting unusually high traffic on the math server. By unusual, I mean jumping from around 400 to 16,000 hits per week for that application. As a result, the math server is slowing and sometimes crashing. It's just not set up for that much traffic going through webMathematica.

We're looking into ways to improve the performance of the server, and increasing the number of processes the kernel can run.


Dee Breger, Director of Microscopy at Drexel University, sent me some great images to help promote the auction of the Guided Session with a Scanning Electron Microscope that she donated to Art Intersect Science.

Please note that these images are protected by copyright and may not be used for any purpose without written permission from Breger.

The first is a micrograph of a fossil Antarctic radiolarian, "siliceous shell of a one-celled animal from the sediments of the Ross Sea near Antarctica."
Fossil Antarctic Radiolarian

Multiphase Micromineral: This tiny microscape was formed by three lead-silicate minerals from Franklin NJ, the site of more minerals than are known anywhere else on earth. The oldest Franklin minerals date back one billion years. Micromineral

And finally, a photograph of the "camera" itself--the scanning electron microscope. Yes, that whole thing is the microscope. Photo by T. Baker.
Scanning Electron Microscope

November 23, 2005

New version of The Cell

We've just uploaded a new version of The Cell: A Learning Tool.

This version includes a feature that lets the user build a cell from a selection of organelles, and checks if the correct organelles have been placed in the cytoplasm.

We've also included questions in the quiz that are more cognitive based.

We still need to add better logic to the quiz, so that the same question isn't repeated and the quiz responds to the user's learning needs.

November 20, 2005

Neural Net

Does this image remind you of a node garden or a neural network? It should, because it actually is a neural network. These particular nerve cells are called ciliary ganglion, and the image is the result of scientific research into the effects of early exposure to nicotine. Dr Phyllis Pugh, was kind enough to donate the piece to the show and benefit auction.

neural network

Bidding is currently open on this piece at the Art Intersect Science online benefit auction.

November 18, 2005

Cycle of Lives Under the Leaves

Cycle of lives under the leaves is an amazing work by internationally acclaimed glass artists Akiko Isono. She creates an ecosystem complete with mushrooms, worms, and sprouts...all within a 1inch spherical glass bead.


I first discovered Ms Isono's work in 1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking. When she agreed to donate a piece to Art Intersect Science, I was thrilled. When the package arrived, I was stunned and happy to find that she had sent two versions of the bead: one with pink mushrooms and one with blue mushrooms.

Bidding is currently open for both pieces at the online benefit auction.

November 17, 2005

GalaxyGoo registered with MissionFish

Ebay has this fantastic program for non-profit organizations, where people can donate a portion of their sales to a non-profit of their choice. This program is called Giving Works and works in association with MissionFish.

GalaxyGoo has just finished the certification process, and now has a MissionFish: Nonprofit Homepage.

November 14, 2005

Moock Announces Essential ActionScript 3.0

Woohoo! When this book comes out, it will be a must-have.

moockblog: announcing Essential ActionScript 3.0...

Sponsor a CF upgrade on the GalaxyGoo server

GalaxyGoo needs to upgrade CF on it's server. Your donation will help us pay for the new licence and will also be tax deductible. Please mail your donation to

4104 24th Street, #349
San Francisco, CA 94114

Be sure to write "for CF upgrade" in the comment line on the check, so that the donation is earmarked for the upgrade.

Since we have such an old version of CF, we can't take advantage of the upgrade pricing.

Legal statement: GalaxyGoo is a registered charity in the state of Califorina, and is not solicitng donations from outside of California.

What Makes a Great Conference

It's been so busy around here, that many "news" items just haven't made it to the blog.

This summer, I attended the best conference I've ever been to: the Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science and Education. There were several factors that made it such a great conference. First of all, the attendees were all encouraged to participate by presenting posters, so that most attendees were either giving a talk or giving a poster. Also, the speakers were not singled out, or isolated from the rest of the attendees.

The conference was focused on a single track of sessions, and there were more opportunities for talking with the other attendees than at other conferences I've been to. Also, limiting attendees to 125 reduced the chances of getting "lost in the crowd". During the five days of the conference, we ate all of our meals together and there were many opportunities in the day to socialize. We visited several pubs.

For me, attending one of the two-day workshops before the conference began was a great way to get to know people. We broke up into small working groups. I learned a great deal about assessing the effectiveness of learning applications, and got to know some amazing people at the workshop. You could even say that I had a paradigm shift, as a result of the workshop. I'll be writing more about this, as I continue my studies and explorations.

There was also the mini-grant competition. During the course of the conference, we were encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams, design a pilot project, and write a grant application to fund the project. Each team was expected to include a subject expert, a learning expert, and a media expert. The application was due at the end of the conference.

I am pleased to announce that I am part of a team that won funding for a pilot project, through the conference, and the project will include the development of a learning tool built with Flash. The grants were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

November 11, 2005

Class Based version of CML Reader

Eric Mulvihill contributed a class based update of Edwin's CML reader a while back. It's now available for download on the GalaxyGoo Working Forums - CML reader

Art Intersect Science--Show Extended

If you missed the show, there's still time to get a look at this wonderful collection of art. The show has been extended for another week, and will be up until next Wednesday.

The gallery has two floors, so be sure to go downstairs and see the whole show.

Lucid is at 580 Sutter, about a two blocks from Union Square. Their website hasn't been updated, so the last show is still listed as "currently showing".

The event--first impressions

I just got home from the Art Intersect Science event, and I want to write down some of my initial reflections on the event.

First of all, I have to give applause to the artists who made the whole show. Without their genius and generosity none of this would be possible.

Next item: the music was perfect! Wendy De Rosa gave the perfect performance--not quite background, but not dominating the experience. She enriched the whole event. Her performance was so perfect that people upstairs were surprised to know that it was a live performance and came downstairs when they realized it was live... when she spoke between songs.

The food! Oh my goodness! The appetizers from the Ritz-Carlton disappeared before I had a chance to make my way over to the table. I heard that they were very, very, tasty, but they were gone before I could taste any of them. I was very busy and couldn't get there for almost two hours into the event. The Westin St. Francis and the 24th Street Cheese Company both provided ample platters of tasty treats, which I did get to taste. Yum, yum, yum! The plate from the Cheese company had these yummy spicy olives on it. I'll have to ask them what they were, because I can't recall tasting them before, and they were just fantastic!

Perhaps I have saved the best for last: the art! It was wonderful to see people with the art. I've been amazed by the pieces as they came in, one by one. Seeing them all together, hung in the gallery, was an altogether different experience. I saw myself as a curator for the first time. It has been an honor to be the central organizing point, that these amazing artists contributed their works to. If I could, I would keep all of the art for myself. Every piece is remarkable.

My favorite part of the whole night, was when I got the chance to go around the gallery with a guest and explain why I thought each piece was brilliant. After some discussion, I've decided to write up these thoughts. Over the next several weeks I will try to write about as many of the art works as time permits.

November 10, 2005

Daydreaming about being a guest on the Daily Show

I wonder if somebody without a publicist could get onto the Daily Show. They certainly pay attention to blogs, but could a geek like me get enough attention to be asked to be interviewed by John Stewart? And would he be nice to me? And if I got there, would I be able to walk out on the stage with the lights glaring and the audience full of non-geeks, and avoid looking like a deer caught in headlights? Would I look like a complete idiot? Or would I Mr. Stewart put me at ease and make me look much smarter and funnier than I actually am?

November 08, 2005

Update: Volunteers with Laptops needed

Our source of computers, for online bidding during the event this Thursday, has fallen through. If your company is based in San Francisco or the Bay Area, we ask that you consider sending us some volunteers equipped with wi-fi enabled laptops to help attendees register to bid and place bids on items in the benefit auction. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Update: All taken care of. We won't have as many computers as we were planning on, but we can get by now.

November 04, 2005

Tarbell and Peters in Art Intersect Science

Two great Flash developers have donated items to the Art Intersect Science auction. Jared Tarbell has sent a print of his Nine.Block piece and Keith Peters has sent an autographed copy of his much anticipated book Making Things Move.

Visual Art and the Brain: At the Interface of Art and Science

Are you in the New York area? There's a fantastic one-day conference going on tomorrow (Saturday, Nov 5) on Visual Art and the Brain: At the Interface of Art and Science.

Barbara Tversky, one of the speakers and my fellow co-pi on an upcoming project, gave me the heads-up on the event. Barbara is a cognitive psychologist, and has written some very interesting research papers on science visualizations and learning. I'll be posting my informal reflections on these and other papers soon.

November 03, 2005

It's up! The show is up!

After months of preparation and hours of hanging the pieces in the gallery, Art Intersect Science is up. It's quite a thrill to put together a show like this, and see it all on the walls of a gallery.

November 02, 2005

Call for Flash Computational Art

At the celebration of Art Intersect Science (Nov 10), we'll have a projector available to hook up to a lap top. We just found out about this and are going to show off some GalaxyGoo projects.

Since this is an art show, it would be great to project some live computational art as well. If you've created some computational art with Flash, especially Flash8, and would like to have it showcased in a San Francisco gallery, contact me right away. Projects with open source code are preferred.