Idea flow

Sitting outside. A storm approaches.  Strong air. Thinking about life, ideas, posture, air quality, metabolic networks, connectomics, neuroscience, biomimicry, dynamic architectures, infographics many things.  How do I choose what to blog about?  Which idea arrays generate the most spikes of late.. how am I most passionate?  What ideas are most valuable to you, for you to think, to stimulate your own mind?  Hm exploring other minds, understanding and fueling curiosity, exploring what exists.. What ideas spark me as splendid and why.  That’s what I will blog about.

Neuroscientists are combining viral addictive game mechanics with EM resolution imaging analytics of 3D brain tissue. Game changer.

Background: you are the connections among your neurons.  Humans have never mapped this “connectome.”  Not even of a mouse.  Some scientists did c. elegans, a 1 mm worm with 4,000 total connections.  It took 12 years.  You have 100 billion neurons, some with tens of thousands of connections.

Researchers use a blend of AI and manual mapping to trace the 3D shape of neurons (colorful picture above).  It takes 1,000 lab hours to map 1 cubic milimeter of tissue.  How big is a full brain?  One million times larger.  We’re working to solve the bottleneck by crowd-sourcing the analytics. Sebastian Seung’s lab at MIT conceptualized a game called WiredDifferently (because we are, and we must map it to see and understand ourselves) and built a live beta that allows users to help map retinal connectivity at the synaptic level by filling in a 3D coloring book of sorts (we don’t even know how we see!).  I will write more about this on healthsterling.com.

Is this splended? You decide.  I experience joy by thinking about neural network complexity and the sheer magnitude of challenge. We don’t even know how many different types of cells there are in our own heads!  Opportunity.  Time to accelerate the rate of exponential progress.  Develop new questions, technologies, understandings..

Other splendidities..

Language.  How does the way I think reflect a configuration of neurons?  I wonder.

Quora continues to fuel surprise discoveries.  Exploring how others explore fascinates me.  I love navigating thoughts with questions.  There is an entire network of ideas growng now.  Splended! You can be a part of it.  See how my ideas evolve. And check out these stats about your body.  Visualize..

What might you find curious…Last week was in San Fran working on the MIT project, before that was in Dubai and Doha for TEDxSummit (blog that) and prior to that TEDMED.  Hyper development in the past couple months.  Exceptional connectivity in rare environments catalyzes rapid idea prototyping.  Theories are evolving. More on that before the end of the year. For now, launched Healthy City pilot with DailyFeats; the TEDx Global Music Project was granted forward progress by TED, other projects hm this post is about what, making you think? You want to hear thoughts that come out of experiences.  Alright.

The Exploratorium: epic interactive museum.  These are whoa.

Uncoupled “simple” pendulum waveforms.

Magnetic sand (black and magnetic because it contains iron)

Ferrofluids, strongly magnetizable fluids.


In conclusion, think something new, think differently frequently.  Here’s a drop of surprise that I happened upon on Quora to get you on your way: what is the most badass ancient city?

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Be Inspired on Quora

How do you discover the web?

I’ve become a big fan of Quora, a Socratic social network.  In the words of its founder, Adam D’Angelo:

When you want to know more about something, Quora delivers you answers and content from people who share your interests and people who have first-hand knowledge — like real doctors, economists, screenwriters, police officers, and military veterans. On Quora, it’s easy to create a personalized homepage of everything you want to know about by following topics, questions, people and boards.

UCSD’s Neuroscience Department shared Quora with me on Twitter about a year ago.  Yes, that’s right.  Neuroscience labs are on Twitter.  Follow some.  But back to Quora.

If you already use it, do so more frequently.  And connect with me.

If you don’t use Quora yet, it’s pretty simple.  Like Twitter, you follow people and they can follow you back.  Link with Facebook and your “likes” automatically become Topics you follow.  This means that when someone adds a question to a topic you follow, it shows up in your feed.  You can also follow questions.  Play around with Quora.

Ask questions.

Add and explore answers.

Shuffle and discover random and hilarious questions, like

Create boards.

Today I built “Be Inspired” featuring ongoing questions like

(The crowd loves Euler’s equation)

Quora rocks.

Share links to your favorite Quora questions in the comments.  Add the most delightful questions to Be Inspired.

Amy

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#lifebonus

What makes you excited to be alive?

Open-ended questions like the one above light me up.   I personally love it when people lay out the ideas they are passionate about and then explore how and why those ideas matter.  Would you like to be asked “What’s the most curious thing you have discovered recently?” more often?  I would. Hopefully this post will inspire you to surprise someone with a delightful chance to share who they are and enlighten you in the process. It’s relatively easy: ask a good question.

About 48 hours ago I sent the following email to a few friends:

Hey!  I hope you’re well!  This is for fun/how I’ve decided to keep Friday Fresh.

Reply inline and I will subsequently send fresh shit from my end.  It’s important to note that when you successfully answer these challenges you, friend, get a life bonus!!  Seriously, it will make your day rock.

– Most interesting thing you’ve discovered in the past 10 days (if it’s too hard to choose, share up to 3)
– Most beautiful image/video from past month
– Best meal or food from the past month
– Did you learn a new word in the past month?  Share.  If not, go find one.
– Funniest/most entertaining.  “Find out what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest” -Herman Hesse
That’s all.  You have 48 hours to reply.  Good luck!
For fun/inbox entertainment
Amy
This is more than inbox entertainment.  I think it actually helps me get to know a person along the lines of what’s important and how he or she spends free time.   What matters to you?
“Such as are your constant thoughts, such will be the character of your mind” Marcus Aurelius
From here on out, this post is crowd-sourced.  Every video, image, link, quote and fact was “recruited” by the above email.    I hope you enjoy this fresh broad collective perspective that materialized over the weekend.
  • Most Beautiful Image/Video

Creative tech

a story for tomorrow

Rediscovered classic

que bella

there and back: space

NASA releases epic panorama of night sky made from 18,000 images.

  • Most interesting thing you’ve learned/discovered

Nat Geo’s Friday Fact: A hurricane weighs as much as 160 million rhinos!

exp.lore.com

How to divide a square equally into 5 parts.

“Triggered by Brené Brown’s talk about shame I discovered some things about myself.
I discovered that fears and insecurities can be layered and that if you’ve successfully stripped away one layer you may discover another one underneath.
Unfortunately, I am not always aware which fears and insecurities I really have.”

“That the technology for taking a blood sugar reading on an iPhone is being developed.”

ChronoZoom beta is out!

Sexually rejected mice turn to booze.

“Offer a male fruit fly a choice between food soaked in alcohol and its nonalcoholic equivalent, and his decision will depend on whether he’s mated recently or been rejected by a female. Flies that have been given the cold shoulder are more likely to go for the booze, researchers have found. It’s the first discovery, in fruit flies, of a social interaction that influences future behavior.”

Wild lions up close with the Beetle Cam.

Shark teeth are essentially modified scales and evolved from skin, not bones (right, sharks are cartilaginous; they don’t have bones).

“No matter how much you plan, you’ll always face something totally unexpected.”

True.  Perspective on embracing the unanticipated with delight from a different person:

“I have no idea where I’m going, I’m totally conflicted and I’ve never been happier or more flipped out.”

  • New words

awesomeness 

bitumen – the pronunciation is awesome. It’s a synonym for asphalt.

buckram – 1. A coarse cotton fabric heavily sized with glue, used for stiffening garments and in bookbinding. 2. Archaic Rigid formality

coqui – teeny nocturnal frog 

dongleflump – “not sure about a new word but I make lots up, like this one.” Define for yourself, world!

entelechy -In the philosophy of Aristotle, the condition of a thing whose essence is fully realized

LTE – (4G phone network) means Long Term Evolution

pedantic – overly concerned with minute details or formalisms

plumbeo- (Spanish word)  sad, slow, opaque.  “It is like the colour of the sky in winter.”

sycophant – A person who acts obsequiously toward someone in order to gain advantage; a servile flatterer.

wish – “I had forgotten what it meant.  I know now.”

What is the last new word you learned?

  • Best recent nomnoms

I ate fruit roll-ups with a girl I had just net a few days before, she looked at me and smiled and I felt like a teenager.

mom’s chicken pot pie; a private restaurant in Bogota, Columbia; Portuguese food: Rice with octopus and red wine; dinner with Hans Rosling on Wednesday; sukiyaki; Silk City Diner pork tacos; pork chop at vinotinis; fish tacos at Tacombi NYC; some beef mince thing at a party (I have no idea what it was); oven roasted Red Drum fish fillet with kai lan; butternut squash, pasta and a preserved lemon saffron sauce; dinner at an Australian restaurant near Amsterdam; Brenda’s soul food; dinner in Philly two weekends ago on a pitstop before I came home to Switzerland.

Catching up with friends and sharing stories and challenging each other to think critically on a wide range of topics.

  • funny+entertaining

“Went to my grandmothers 80th birthday party, which for most 80 year olds means a nice little party with family and friends. Now for my grandmother, who happens to be the owner of 4 Gentleman’s clubs in NYC..her friends are well interesting.”

Demoreel for visual effects studio The Mill

“If camping outside is so great, then why are all of the bugs trying to get into my house. “- Jim Gaffigan

When was the last time you got this excited when you heard a new song? 🙂

“My kids listening to Toy Dolls”

Where’s _why?

Portraits imagining a baby’s future profession.

Books on Amazon:

That is all.  John Hodgman

The Fan“, Eric Bogosian (comedy)

  • anything else?

“48 days until I graduate from Penn State. No sure exactly what’s going to happen in the next 48, but I know it’s going to be crazy.”

What are you doing with the next 48 days of your life?

Try something different.  Do new.  Ask open-ended questions.  Instigate surprise.  Play.  Explore the world and minds around you. And feel free to answer the questions below or post your own question in the comments section.  Or tweet interestingnesses with the hash tag #lifebonus to @amyleerobinson.

– Most interesting thing you’ve discovered in the past 10 days (if it’s too hard to choose, share up to 3)
– Most beautiful image/video from past month
– Best meal or food from the past month
– Did you learn a new word in the past month?  Share.  If not, go find one.
– Funniest/most entertaining.  “Find out what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest” -Herman Hesse

Kudos to Antonella Broglia (Madrid), Jon Yeo (Melbourne), John Eberhart (Huntsville, USA), Dave Lim (Singapore), Marconi Pereria (Rio de Janeiro), Lisa Nicole Bell (Los Angeles), Steve Garaguilo (Zurich), Hugo Schotman (Zurich), Evan Grant (London),  Brad Garland (Huntsville), Philip Kovacs (Huntsville), Dylan Finelli (Boston), Zach Zimbler (Penn State), Lionel Felix (Austin TX), Dan Jacob (Toronto), Shreenath Regunathan (San Francisco), and Sean Gourley (San Francisco).  This post is friend-sourced.

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Google Body: the awesome report

Google Body is gone, ladies and gentlemen.  It was lost in a changeover from google labs.  “More wood behind fewer arrows,” says Google.  For now, what was google body is not available for use.  I hope the next version includes deep tissue zoom.

Google “google body” and you find Zygote Labs, the imaging and design firm that created the brain and heart below.

by Zygote 3D anatomy

Zygote is the company behind the 3D human anatomy displayed in Google Body.  As Google Labs winds down Zygote will move forward with Zygote Body.

A “searchable and interactive 3D model of human anatomy.”  Awesome.

I hope that interactive body3D incorporates agility.  I imagine that one could input a movement relative to neutral position and the digital anatomy moves as it were a human body and you can zoom into deep muscle layers etc and see which ones are flexing and how much etc.  zoom from whole body to biomolecular happenings.  I’m thinking.  It’s on now.

Imagination squared.

Notes on a blog:

This is individual reporting.  I think someday I will run these blog posts through a grammatical analytics platform and map the trajectories of my concentrated and directional ideas.  This post is a catalog, occuring over more minutes than you might think.

I’m looking around the Zygote/3Dscience website.  They have a curious program called Human Factors, which

“enables users to use anthropometrically accurate solid 3D male and female models within their SolidWork assemblies to visualize and evaluate …[one hopes musculoskeletal] interaction [of the human body] with the human body [are these hard to read?  I just wrote two varities of the incident sentence. As a reader of these thoughts some time in the future, I wonder what relevance the previous grammatical bifurcation might encourage.]”

$950 licensing fee.  Google body, you were free!  I think humanity is trending toward freedom of innovation.  I think it compounds when shared.  And the best part, action from ideas!

Welcome to my mind.  9:40 on a Tuesday evening. In between writing on this post I did 2 handstands.  Relevant?  Notes for future reference.  I am creating a book.

What else do I do.  What is a blog?

I ask questions.  They give life moguls and amplitude, and curious word combinations.  What does that mean, thinking differently?  Relative to myself, how do my neural networks change relative to how they used to be and where and how and with whom could I explore this?

I learned recently two cognitive curiosities:

  1. Every neuron in your brain has its own capillary.
  2. Dendritic spining is an integral part of your neurons’ function and evolution.
“The modification of synaptic connections between neurons is thought to underlie our ability to form memories and acquire new behaviors. The majority of excitatory synapses in the brain are formed onto specialized cellular structures known as dendritic spines that consist of a bulbous spine head that is separated from the remainder of the dendrite by a thin neck.”

Says Neurobiology Professor Bernardo Sabatini of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology.  Dendritic spines seem to serve the purpose of spatially segmenting individual synapses such that signal transductions are not interfered with by neighboring synapses.  The volume of a spine is tiny at <1 femtoliter (one quadrillionth of a liter).  We have only recently been able to image them and observe their interaction in living tissue.  Here is the latest comprehension of how they work:

“spines are dynamic structures that grow, structurally reorganize, and sometimes disappear within tens of minutes and spine motility has been correlated with the ability of animals of reorganize their cerebral cortex..”

This spawns a plethora of thoughts in various directions which I will think more thoroughly through then communicate the most valuable aka curious ones to you, the internet and me, myself.  For now, on with the train of thought.

A blog is self notes.  I think of it as making my mind social.

How do I share how I think?  Is that what I actually think about?  When?  With most passion?  Curiosity?  Time?  How does what I do/what I spend time thinking about (and doing) vary over time?  It is in bursts.  What do I think about in my spare time?  Why do I suddenly experience shyness?

Finishing up, the awesome report: things interesting to me.  Think and discover and enjoy!

“Non-profit global collaborative experiment to collect health and lifestyle information and share it in an open and anonymous way.”

google chrome experimental

Google Experimental. I am testing Google Instant.

“Google is always experimenting with new features aimed at improving the search experience. Take one for a spin.”

Quora:  The Wikipedia of Questions

“A continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.”

New arXiv entries into the journal of Quantitative Biology.

Look at these categories!

  • molecular networks
  • neurons and cognition
  • subcellular processes
  • biomolecules
  • cell behavior

11:56 pm.  Final words, thoughts?  Exist mindfully and intensely.

Life is long if you know how to use it.

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Vegan experiment: day 10 of 45

Vegan = plants only.  No animal products.   No milk, cheese, butter, eggs, or meat.  I am minimizing starches (forget bread; grains sparingly) and maximizing whole foods.

Volumetrically, about 60% of my diet is vegetables; 30% fruit;  10% nut and oil.

I eat A LOT.  A 90% vegetable and fruit diet has that effect.   I average about 30 different types of fruits and veggies each day.  I have developed a serious affinity for Curries and Chinese Five Spice.  My body feels great.

Creative cooking is a fun new challenge: using only plant based products, how can I build a complete protein loaded with phytonutrients that tastes spunky?  Innumerable ways, it seems.  I tend to make super-sized supermixes of about 15 types of veg/fruit that I munch on for several days.

Here’s the one I made tonight:

1 c chopped Kale; Squash1/2 c; zucchini 1c, arugula 1 c; can: kidney, garbanzo, soy beans; Mache 1.5c; over ripe blackberries; fresh cut ginger 1T; cut green beans 1/2 c; baby carrots sliced lengthwise 3/4 c; 1 peach, juice from 1/2 orange + 1/2 sliced orange pieces ; white rice vinegar 1/4 c; 2T Chinese five spice; 1T curry; cinnamon 1t; 1/6 c raw sugar; 1 t mustard seeds. s&p

I wonder what systemic chemical changes are going on in my body.  Biochemists, please, chime in.

The goal of this project is to explore potential relations between creative output and health.  So far, I’ve gone through all 595 TEDx music performances. I’ve started playing ukulele (almost there with It’s a Wonderful World).  I finally sent Billy Valentine a demo of my autotune performance from TEDActive (remixxx!).  I’m almost finished completing the corporate wellness program process for Sterling Health.  I’ve learned the basics of Inkscapes, a vector based graphic design program.  I joined Google +.  I’ve started recording brainstorms on the iamtpain autotune app.  The last thing on this list you should definitely try.

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What is TEDx?

TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design – is a pro bono organization that shares intriguing, intellectual, inspiring multimedia presentations from the pinnacles of human achievement.  To me, they demonstrate that the categories of accomplishment continually expand in the presence of persistent discovery.  This is what I think TED promotes through its “ideas worth spreading.”

TEDtalks, as these multimedia presentations are called, run from three to eighteen minutes in length (my personal favorite lasts but six).  Collectively, TEDtalks have been viewed near a billion times worldwide. ~700 talks. ~700,000,000 views.

If TED is new for you, you are in for a treat.   Enjoy.

The curators of ideas worth spreading fittingly shared their concept and created the “independently organized TED event.”  TED becomes TEDx.  Thousands of individuals then curate action by sharing TEDlike ideas.  This catalyzes an entire new level of collaboration and even, as Chris Anderson proposes, crowd sourced innovation.   It’s almost a new societal infrastructure.

This is amazing.   Not only is this one of the most beautiful evolutions of our human race, but the longer term outcome – say, what becomes of TEDx in five, ten years – is wonderfully beyond my imagination.

In my opinion, TEDx is a concept derived from TED.  Its purpose is to procure the finest attribute of humanity:  our capacity for thought.

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What are you passionate about?

Yesterday I was asked “what are you passionate about?”  Refreshing.  And told to answer in 100 words or less.  Interesting challenge.

This question in the TEDGlobal application catechism caught my attention.  At first I scoffed.  How can I capture my zest in 100 words..I need a thousand, ten thousand.. and then I began to write. 

Scoff turns to intrigue as I realize this is a conversation with a quiet comrade, not a monologue.  Who am I, what fuels me is the question.  Introduce, don’t preach.  Outline my horizon.

I think high and wide and a hurricane of vocabulary in strange grammatical structure erupts from my brain.   Thoughts of thousands of words melt into hundreds, then dozens.  This challenge poises an opportunity for precise creative thinking.  As I progress in my answer I am captured by the notion that my initial reaction has morphed into a beautiful realization. 

I used the 100 words to create a chromosome of passion.  This is an outline of me, not the complete expression.  In this attempt to densely pack  myself into 100 words I found, surprisingly, that my passion required just four.  And I am delighted to share them with you.

Question:  What are you passionate about?

“Curiosity.  Endless exploration and perpetual discovery. History, etymology, literature (Seneca, Voltaire, Nietzsche+), scientific theory, travel, the human mind…My greatest curiosity is consciousness and how “I” exists.  I am obsessed with systems and complexity. Interdisciplinarity fuels my revelry in reality’s infinite variety.  Bilateral symmetry, philharmonic sound, fractals, posture, creativity, the wild..adamantly I focus and refocus my perception of the world and myself.  A dynamic innovative mind am I who lives for both the unexpected surprise and long developed accomplishment. In 100 words I need but four to tell you:  My passion is life.”

We should all be asked this more frequently.  Have a go, what are you passionate about?

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Diary of Ambidexterity

A musician at TEDxAtlanta taught himself to play guitar with his left hand after a nerve affliction made it impossible for him to continue playing with his right.   Becoming ambidextrous is a monumentally difficult undertaking.  I know because I have taught  myself to do it as well.

Just days before the conference I wrote the following pages, pictured at  the bottom of this post.  I shared them with Billy after his final performance.  Years I have practiced to reach this moderate level of dual articulation.

I am vibrant with life and curious and intrigued to the nth degree.  The notes convey this so I have decided to transcribe their contents for you:

Page 1:  LEFT HAND.

“13 April 2010.  Existing here fawning over reality.  Is this life real?  It is, silly rhetorical question.  What I mean to imply is a sense of wonder regarding what the world brings to the table.  Human beings are astonishingly wonderful creatures.  They recognize and respond to passion.  It moves and compells the interesting lot of us into curiosity.  I am driven beyond measure and comprehension in directions that seem at the whim of creative impulse.  Where does it come from?  How does curiosity exist?  It fuels me.  That’s a potential book title.  Tangents.  What is to be said of them?  This ambidextrous endeavor in attempt to expand utilization of this one body with two hands, one typically the malnourished sibling of its dominant counterpart.  I have two hands, I should be able to use them with equal finesse.  This page has taken about thirty minutes to write.  It is my finest specimen of left-handed writing to date.  Indeed, my left hand, forearm, and fingers feel exhausted, like my legs when I run a 10K.  Intriguing relativity.”

Page 2:  RIGHT HAND.

“13 April 2010.  I compose this page after writing the one to the right with my left hand.  Look at these scripts.  Hell, even check the speed.  I will take a photo of these two pages.  Looking now it seems as though the next page was composed by your author under drugs or a bumpy road.  I attest I have not left my bed and that both are by the same human being.  It took so much more attention, focus, concentration, a stronger grip on both the pen and task at hand.  I recall my first attempts at ambidexterity.  Frustration was the word.  I read in Gray’s Anatomy that most people have a lateral curvature of the spine – to the right – and reverse in left-handed specimens.  Fuel for the fire of achieving perfect alignment.  Posture, balance, skeletal frame refinement – these are paramount in my scale of importance.  It is one of those “still in my head will be conveyable to rest of world in due time.” An underlying structure ties in – the systemic approach to energy’s interaction with itself – and passionate inquiry meets curiosity once and forever again, taking me endlessly into realms unknown.  Beautiful. (This page – five to ten minutes).”

This is the first time I have directly shared my personal notes with the public.  Enjoy this glance into my thoughts to myself.

I wonder what our taking on of difficulty says about who we are.  I wonder what the degree to which you laboriously follow passion in pursuit of the difficult says about who you are.

Be Inspired,

Amy

Notes
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Grilling over Rosemary Wood

I was jogging the other day and ran by a rosemary bush a meter tall thrown out with trash.

I replanted it and the bush is today pronounced deceased.  So now I have some Rosemary wood to grill with.  It is a perennial herb with 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick limbs .  And once it dries out a bit we are going to cook over it.  Hickory smoked food tastes good.  Rosemary smoked food..oh man sounds amazing.  I will let you know how it goes.

Side note related to life and the outdoors, I have been taking photos of a specific garden since early April. It is turning into somewhat of a masterpiece of photographic flow series.  First every two weeks and now it seems every couple of days new greenery bursts into vibrant bloom.  From barely broken winter ground to a four foot tall mesh of life.  Changing bright and soft colors and hues and depth of green. Green into POW! white, yellow, purple, burgundy.

What does life do to an area of Earth that it inhabits?  A hydrologic system (of organisms) mediates a bit of air and soil [look into that statement].  It changes the chemical composition of its environment, making complex molecules and a variety of by-products that themselves fuel an evolving, increasingly complex biosphere.

Periodic cycles of ebb and flow in energy availability drive a dynamic system to “produce” (that is, exist).  The structure of the affecting cycles effects the overall ecology, which itself incorporates the functions which affect its description.  I find this intriguing.  I think about this subject in many ways, striving for pure curiosity and inquisitiveness.

Along the way I end up with systems affecting (or as an effect of – or both -) my thought process.  Such is the case in my deciding to document the growth of a garden.  Here, it is so that I can look back and see, differently.  It’s a pseudo-experiment that tests the hypothesis that the end product will inspire something new.  Which could be just some photos.  Conversely, it might aid thoughts about evolving ecological systems.

As great books inspire ideas, thoughtful intrigue can incite literature recollections and research collaborations that happen to arise alongside the stimulus.  The stimulus of instantaneously re-seeing a garden grow from bare to bearing.  It falls under a nameless category of curiosity to which I ascribe the sentiment of “Hm, that’s interesting”.   I nurture many off-the-wall undertakings with this principle.  Now then, you have wasted minutes reading my eccentric labors and musings.  Go along and pursue your passion, no matter the obscurity. Remember that gravity was considered ridiculous when Galileo first thought of it.

Here is one photograph I have taken along the way.  Sharing enthusiasm for life’s subtle details.  -Amy

Aquilegia (also called Columbine) blooms in mid-April 2010
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