Thursday, August 2, 2012

diatoms

I was never as good at science as I was with writing or doodling, especially when it came to moles and equations and the more abstract forms that I could not see or touch, but I always liked biology and geology because I could at least see what was going on, and what was going on generally filled me with wonder and geeky love. Planets? Heck yeah. Plants doing that whole transpiration thing? Sweet! Growing crystals in the basement with sugar water, volcanic eruptions, dinosaurs? Bring it on.

Chemistry equations, physics problems, not so much, due in part to a mediocre education system and incompetent lab partners and a brain that skews creative rather than mathematical, but I'm eternally thankful for people who know how all that kind of thing works. My Saganista homies who worship at the altar of Degrasse Tyson (because even the most skeptical of us have saints and demi-gods, no?) might say I lose all love of Science with my Archaic Superstitions, these things are really damn cool and if anything it shows to me a kind of attention to detail and design that I find amazing from the unponderable epicness of galaxies and nebulae to the miniscule whirrings of the atom.

There were some cool pictures of diatoms in our textbooks, these little microscopic glassy looking snowflake-intricate organisms, kaleidoscopic filigree patterns glowing beneath the microscope, rearranged and photographed since Victorian times, somehow more beautiful than the algae encrusting the pond where I walked the dog. I love that they look like bits of stained glass, if there was jewelry that looked like this I would wear it.


I got re-acquainted with these things when I had cockroaches in my old apartment in the almost-hood and the vegetarians downstairs gave me a plastic container full of "bug cookies" made of diatomaceous earth, sugar, and flour, because benevolence to the animal kingdom did not extend to vermin with six legs. So yeah, they do what nukes can't do and they're so beautiful while doing it, not to mention working well in dynamite, filtration, and the garden. Good stuff.


Ernst Haeckel illustration, of course...

more photos of microscopic sweetness here...

1 comment:

  1. Bug cookies, an occult accident just waiting to happen!

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