Progressive Homeschool
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The stunning beauty of Cell Biology - man's advance at the hand of Art

Thursday, October 27, 2005





These amazing images are to-scale watercolor illustrations of a bacterium and blood cells. These are small sections of a larger piece made by Dr. David Goodsell. Notes on this work say

Macrophages circulate through the blood, searching for bacterial infection. When bacteria are found, macrophages engulf and digest them. This series of three paintings shows a macrophage engulfing a bacterium. Only a portion of the two cells, where a pseudopod of the macrophage is extending over the bacterium, is shown. The original paintings are 1 meter tall--at this magnification, the macrophage would fill most of a building.

David S. Goodsell is someone I admire deeply for his ability to illustrate Cell Biology (my favorite part of the life sciences, cant help the bias).

He is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He is the author of Bionanotechnology: Lessons from Nature (J. Wiley and Sons, 2004), Our Molecular Nature: The Body's Motors, Machines, and Messages (Springer-Verlag, 1996), and The Machinery of Life (Springer-Verlag, 1993). His recent biomolecular artwork can be viewed here. Address: Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037. Internet: goodsell@scripps.edu (I got this blurb from here)

Read about his scientific interests here.

Read about his artistic work here.

A nice online presentation he has on Overview of Biological Machines from the Designing Nanostructures: A tutorial site can be found here. And you can pull up a nice slide presentation here.

Here is a lovely poster on Molecular Machinery (PDF 5MB)

5:20 PM :: 0 comments

nika :: permalink

Snow on 10-26-05

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Snow on 10-26-05, originally uploaded by nikaboyce.

Mother nature has decided that it shall snow on the 26th of October in centeral MA!

8:49 AM :: 0 comments

nika :: permalink

Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandalas - Like raising your children

Monday, October 24, 2005

It occurs to me that raising and living with your children (especially for homeschooling families), if done well, is a bit like the Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala ritual. link link

(Learn more about this and the Tibetan Buddhist monks who travel the world to bring compassionate and beautiful Tibetan Buddhism to those of us who cant go to Tibet.) (super cool video of the process!)

Tibetan Buddhist monks train for weeks and months, meditating on a certain message and "type" of Buddha to "bring to life" in a mandala sand painting. They then render the mandala on a board with tubes that guide the sand into patterns. In earlier times, Tibetan Monks used ground precious stones like rubies, sapphires, and pearls. Other monks are chanting prayers so that, as the ritual of making the mandala proceeds, the Compassionate Intention emanates into the neighboring world. At the end of the ritual, the sand is scattered, collected, small amounts given to people watching and also used to bless nearby rivers and other things which need to be purified by Compassionate Intension and Love. (The whole world in my view).

How is this like raising kids? Do I really have to answer?! :-) Each child is a beautiful and infinite possibility matrix who, with our love and compassion and teaching, manifests in the world all of the goodness and right that flows from ourselves. Their complexity makes them unique in every way and that complexity should be honored, celebrated, seen, allowed to grow, and allowed to be as colorful as possible. The sand of our children is exquisitely precious, way beyond ground pearls and rubies.

But most beautiful and grand is that our little human madalas are not blown apart but must be allowed to exist on their own, freed to affect the world in wonderful and unpredictable ways.

2:16 PM :: 2 comments

nika :: permalink

Celestia: Teaching at our local public school

Q and her dad have been invited to go into the 5th grade computer class today to teach them and the computer teacher about this amazing software Q uses to explore the universe. (Did you catch that? A homeschooling student and parent invited into the school to teach).

This opensource software is called Celestia and can be found at this site: LINK HERE.

The front page says this:

Welcome to Celestia
... The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy.

All movement in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit.

Celestia is expandable. Celestia comes with a large catalog of stars, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and spacecraft. If that's not enough, you can download dozens of easy to install add-ons with more objects.

Here are somescreen shots from this program.

Remember that ALL of these images below are generated within the Celestia program.

A closeup of the space shuttle Discovery in orbit over Florida; this shot demonstrates Celestia's virtual texture feature for extremely high resolution mapping of planets.

The 1989 flyby of Neptune by Voyager 2--last stop before leaving the solar system.

9:15 AM :: 2 comments

nika :: permalink


Sunday, October 23, 2005
Q has finished Eldest and all her other free reading books so I have started her on the next "Great Book" (she is slowly going through The Oddessy too)... Herodotus The Histories (link here)

12:30 PM :: 0 comments

nika :: permalink

Living Language Japanese


We went and got an audio + written/read lesson series on Japanese. I felt the need to hear the language instead of simply approaching the written characters alone. I would not say I know the BEST way of learning a language but I think it should be fun and engaging. We giggle at our mispronunciations after the guy on the CD but we keep trying till we get it right.

This course is available here.

We also got a proper Japanese Character workbook and will be practicing that too.

12:20 PM :: 0 comments

nika :: permalink