Saw a 1907/08 Picasso yesterday afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, a big cubist nude, one of the handful he was working on during that pivotal year when he made Les Demoiselles D'Avignon. Understanding the context and importance of that moment in the push toward modernism a century ago makes the work incredibly moving. It's a beautiful painting, too, but it is tangible contact with its importance that gave me goose bumps.DNA
It is, I suppose, a biologist's parlor trick.consumption and free software
In the lab at MIT Saturday afternoon learning some basic experimental techniques, and we had some down time while the DNA samples we were "studying" when through the gel electrophoresis reaction we were doing. Clare, the tech who was helping us, gave us each a little vial of salt water and told us to swish it around in our mouths for 30 seconds and spit it back into the vial. She added a chemical to break down the lipids in the cell walls to the vial (essentially soap) and the solution became viscous. Then she added alcohol to denature it and these little filaments began to appear - long strands of my own DNA. You could scoop it out and keep it if you wanted, which I did.
Clive Thompson yesterday blogged his Washington Post review of a book called "The Support Economy" that argues that in modern industrialized, consumerized societies our identity is defined by our consumption. Mac zealotry is a great example of this. It occurs to me that one of the great attractions of free software is that one can also help create that which one consumes.