Friday, 23 March 2007

Summer Mountains from China

This pictures let us travel to China, during the Song dynasty—one of the golden ages of this ancient civilization. Here we see one of the finest paintings in the Metropolitan's collection, Summer Mountains, which was painted in the mid-eleventh century and was once the treasured possession of several Chinese emperors.We know, from writings of the period that we are meant to enter with our imaginations into this world created solely of ink and pale pigments on silk.(view video with explanations)

Summer Mountains, Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), 11th centuryAttributed to Qu Ding (Chinese, active ca. 1023–ca. 1056), China

Video of Statue of a Kouros

This Kouros, a work of great nobility, probably stood on a tomb, although its stance and expression are shared by cult statues of gods which suggests that it may have been created for a sanctuary. (view video with explanations)

Statue of a kouros (youth), ca. 590–580 B.C.; ArchaicGreek, AtticNaxian marble; H. without plinth 76 in. (193 cm)Fletcher Fund, 1932 (32.11.1)

What makes us human?

Music, art, language and technology are just a few of the ways we shape our surroundings and define who we are. Although they vary over time and from culture to culture, these forms of expression reveal an inventive spirit shared by all humans.
Weighing only about three pounds when fully grown, your brain stores your every memory, generates your every thought and feeling and allows you to manage your world. More than any other part of the body, the human brain—and its capacity for symbolic thought—sets us apart from all other species.
Although the human brain reached its current size some 150,000 years ago, the first evidence of symbolic thought didn't appear until tens of thousands of years later. Our symbolic awakening occurred when modern humans began to use their brains differently (read more).

Timeline of art history

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY) presents an illustrative timeline of art history (view).

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Neurogenesis in the Adult Olfactory Bulb

Active neurogenesis from neural progenitors continues throughout life in discrete regions of the central nervous system of most mammals. However, human adult neurogenesis is still a contentious issue. Signs of adult neurogenesis have been reported in the hippocampus, but a second neurogenic niche described in rodents has not been found in recent human studies. Curtis et al. have just published a paper in Science not only describing this missing rostral migratory stream in great detail but also showing that it is organized around a tubular extension of the lateral ventricle that reaches into the olfactory bulb. (view figures).

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