Design


pixar_brave_2012-wideWe’re big movie fans in our house and we love to see how our favorites were made. While exploring the “behind-the-scenes” featurettes on our copy of DisneyPixar’s Brave I stumbled across a little gem called “Wonder Moss.” In it, sets forest development artist Iñigo Quilez explains the complex mathematics used to create the film’s beautiful Scottish setting:

Most people think of mathematics as something boring and mechanical—but that’s not the way we see mathematics at Pixar. For us, maths are a tool to create images, movement, richness, and fun, actually. (more…)

iStock_000022603921MediumIt’s as busy as Grand Central Station. This New York landmark, correctly referred to as Grand Central Terminal, is often thought of as the epitome of chaos. Rightfully so. I happened to be there on its 100th birthday, February 1, 2013. The terminal teemed with performers and cameras, with local commuters undeterred from their path, and with overwhelmed tourists trying to soak it all in. Displayed above the chaos: an astronomical mural framed by intricate architecture.

I exhaled slowly and thanked God for the quiet reminder of his handiwork. Then I looked with new eyes at the hectic scene on the ground. (more…)

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” — William Morris

iStock_000015882593XSmallThe blogosphere is replete with advice for taming clutter and getting organized—helpful reading for any upcoming spring cleaning. While I’m not exactly a Martha Stewart of organization, I do have my husband’s junk-filled man cave/household office slated for a good purging. Unless they have a useful purpose (or sentimental value), all those unread textbooks, random cables, and various odds-and-ends have to go. Without function or beauty, the objects in an office (or any room) end up as clutter.

Until recently, scientists believed the human genome is full of genetic clutter—DNA fragments that may have possessed function in the past but possess it no longer. (more…)

***Sandra and Maureen are taking a week off from blogging fun. They’ll be back to their usual schedule next week. In the meantime, please enjoy this guest post by RTB’s Outreach Manager Ken Hultgren.***

Before working at Reasons To Believe, I spent over 10 years in youth ministry and I can honestly say I never taught a lesson or preached a sermon on “gas giants” (though it was a common topic of conversation among the junior high boys!). (more…)

My husband and I have experienced a spate of “interesting” next-door neighbors over the last year. As a new set of neighbors recently moved in, I couldn’t help praying they’d turn out to be a nice, normal family—with a sense of volume control. Having grown up surrounded by such families, I appreciate the value of good neighbors.

Similarly, Earth needs good neighbors, too. The solar system’s occupants influence Earth’s ability to support life. Take the gas giant planets, for example. (more…)

In a few days, fervent fans will scatter to the nearest theater to catch one of the most anticipated movies of the summer: The Amazing Spider-Man.

An exciting little detail about this franchise reboot is that it stays truer to the original comic books than previous films, with Spider-man (Andrew Garfield) shooting artificial webs from web-shooters (that he makes) rather than shooting organic webs from his wrists.

Might not seem like a big deal, but ask your friendly neighborhood comic book fan or bioengineer and you’ll discover the difference is huge! (more…)

Editors aren’t Borgs. Honest. But we often stress that resistance to saving multiple versions of the same document is futile. This practice might seem redundant and unnecessary, but when an entire manuscript becomes corrupted (as happened a few weeks ago), we are ever so grateful for that precious backup copy. It’s second in value only to coffee.

Yet if you were to ask an evolutionary biochemist, she might say that multiple copies (or redundancy), at least with respect to genes, is an example of waste. (more…)

They say the top three most stressful life events are death, divorce, and … moving. Recent experience tells me why the latter makes the list.

Friends and family stressed their muscles lifting heavy boxes, while I stressed my nerves over the thought of unpacking the seemingly endless piles of stuff. A space heater, several garden gnomes, and a long-forgotten George Foreman Grill flashed back at me like the strobe light from last Halloween. And the message was clear: Do we really need all this stuff? (more…)

Me and my husband with a trio of feathered friends.

In early elementary school I developed distaste for reading. To remedy the situation, my parents bought books suited to my interests—principally, animals. I willingly devoured Zoobooks magazines, curled up with girl-and-her-horse novels, and thumbed through a well-loved copy of a mammal encyclopedia. Although my literary tastes expanded over the years, even today few things will catch my attention faster than an animal.

And it seems the animal kingdom has been garnering some attention in popular science news as well. (more…)

Eric’s glorious ‘stache

Tens of thousands of people are affected every day by this latest epidemic: the ironic hipster mustache. What may have begun as nothing more than a hairy badge for hipsters has transformed into a movement (fittingly called Movember) to “change the face of men’s health.” And it serves as a fine example of giving purpose to a trivial trend. (more…)

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