Friday, January 28, 2011

Mark Twain on Writing

I conceive that the right way to write a story for boys is to write so that it will not only interest boys but strongly interest any man who has ever been a boy. That immensely enlarges the audience.
- Letter to Fred J. Hall, 10 Aug 1892

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
- Letter to Emeline Beach, 10 Feb 1868

Let us guess that whenever we read a sentence & like it, we unconsciously store it away in our model-chamber; & it goes, with the myriad of its fellows, to the building, brick by brick, of the eventual edifice which we call our style.
- Letter to George Bainton, 15 Oct 1888; (first printed in
The Art of Authorship: Literary Reminiscences, Methods of Work, and Advice to Young Beginners, Personally Contributed by Leading Authors of the Day. Compiled and Edited by George Bainton. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1890, pp. 85-88.)

I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
- Letter to D. W. Bowser, 20 March 1880

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Michaelangelo's Brain

The picture above is from "Concealed Neuroanatomy in Michelangelo's Separation of Light From Darkness in the Sistine Chapel" by Suk, Ian BSc, BMC; Tamargo, Rafael J. MD, FACS in the May issue of Neurosurgery, the official journal of the Congress of Neurosurgical Surgeons.

Michelangelo Buonarroti was not only a master painter, but a master anatomist, and these neurosurgeons believe they've discovered his 500 hundred year old secret; one that was hidden in plain sight.

Here's an excerpt from their abstract:
"In the winter of 1511, Michelangelo entered the final stages of the Sistine Chapel project and painted 4 frescoes along the longitudinal apex of the vault, which completed a series of 9 central panels depicting scenes from the Book of Genesis. It is reported that Michelangelo concealed an image of the brain in the first of these last 4 panels, namely, the Creation of Adam. Here we present evidence that he concealed another neuronanatomic structure in the final panel of this series, the Separation of Light From Darkness, specifically a ventral view of the brainstem. The Separation of Light From Darkness is an important panel in the Sistine Chapel iconography because it depicts the beginning of Creation and is located directly above the altar."
They believe that Michaelangelo, a religious man, intended to document his anatomical accomplishment (apparently one of his hobbies was dissecting human cadavers) by hiding the neuroanatomical rendering of the human brain within the image of God.

Could it be true, or is this just another case of seeing brains in clouds?

Monday, January 24, 2011

"If you type two spaces after a period, you're doing it wrong."

Damn. I spent years NOT using two spaces after a period, and was told this was absolutely WRONG. Now I'm told THAT is wrong. Sweet Jebus. Here's the article from if you're interested.

Eye Candy

Water Sculpture from Shinichi Maruyama on Vimeo.

Friday, January 21, 2011

13 Minutes of Brain Candy

For anybody who has a few minutes and would like to see some pretty fantastic optical illusions click Here.

Let Them Eat Cake

My father had quite a surprise for his 74th birthday earlier this month. A party with quite a few familiar faces and a cake that should look familiar to some.