Guild Affairs

Administrivia and Internal Matters

Science Art: Five of Spades, from Playing Cards: Engineering


This is one of a whole deck of… well, they’re practically a technological tarot, really. They’re playing cards illustrating concepts in engineering. (The two of diamonds is also beautiful, though some might prefer the human figures in cards like the seven of clubs.)

They were originally collected by William Barclay Parsons, the chief engineer of the New York City subway. He was on the library board from 1911 to 1932, when he died. More importantly, he also donated a set of mechanics pla…

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Science Art: Red White Blood Cells, by NCI-Frederick.


The one carries oxygen around, the other keeps the system clean. They’re teeny tiny.

Image from the Electron Microscopy Facility at The National Cancer Institute at Frederick (NCI-Frederick).

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SONG: Levitating Diamonds (Tiny Impossible Things)

SONG: “Levitating Diamonds (Tiny Impossible Things)”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE:Based on “Lasers used to levitate glowing nanodiamonds in a vacuum”, Science Daily, 7 Sep 2015, as used in the post “A laser levitating glowing nanodiamonds in a vacuum..”

ABSTRACT: I really wanted to use “A laser levitating nanodiamonds in a vacuum” as a lyric, because it’s got such a great rhythm, but no, it didn’t happen.

Musically, things fell together well – I came up with chords on a guitar, and t…

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SONG: One (is the Loneliest Number) (penitential cover)

SONG: “One (Is The Loneliest Number)”.

ARTIST: grant, featuring Sebastian Balfour. (Originally by Harry Nilsson.)

SOURCE: It doesn’t have a research source. It’s a penitential cover of a haunting song by Harry Nilsson that Three Dog Night turned into a prog anthem, which Aimee Mann turned into stunning reclamation project. Nilsson still wins.

ABSTRACT: I’ve been a penitential cover* behind for months and months. I first had the idea of doing this song in something like this way …

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Science Art: To Scale: The Solar System by Wylie Overstreet.

To Scale: The Solar System from Wylie Overstreet on Vimeo.

I like the desert in Nevada already because of the sense of perspective – such wide, flat spaces (wider and flatter even than Florida’s water-level wet prairies), sometimes flanked by mountains just big enough to provide a frame of reference. This is how small you are. This is how far you have to go.

That’s the ideal landscape for this kind of project. How big are we really? How far away is the place next door?

This far away. …

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Science Art: Aequorea Forbesiana by Philip Henry Gosse.

Click to embiggen

This is a jellyfish drawn by Philip Henry Gosse, a naturalist and Creationist (!) who gave us the word “aquarium” as a place to see marine creatures. Before Gosse, an aquarium was a place to water cattle.

He built the very first public one as the “Fish House” of the London Zoo in 1853.

A few years later, he published a book trying to prove that fossils couldn’t disprove Genesis because of course the act of creation would make things appear to be older than they are. …

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No song today.

23 December 2014 // 0 Comments

It’s been a season, this holiday has. Mea maxima culpa. One verse and an arrangement sans guitar does not a song make. It’ll be posted soon, as will a penitential cover. (I still owe two, actually, now that I think of it. Hmm.)

Guild Salute: Michael Hearst, Songs for Unusual Creatures

21 February 2014 // 0 Comments

Michael Hearst! Composer! Writer! Player of atypical instruments! Science fan! You are compiling instrumentals based on wonderful animals, like the glass frog, the magnapinna squid, and, as performed below by The Kronos Quartet, the aye-aye: You are a man of science, wonder and music. The Guild salutes you! Here’s more about him in his own words, talking about the making of his album and some of the musicians (Margaret Leng Tan!) he got involved with the project: [I heard him on The Takeaway]

Science Art: “How to Get Ahead in Science? Simple.” Jim Kelly, Houston Press, August 19, 1991.

3 September 2013 // 0 Comments

Ever since the Buckyball story broke big last year, Rice University chemist Rick Smalley has been getting the phone calls. Rick, they say, this is Jamie in Minnesota, and I saw this article. I just wanted you to know that I’ve dreamed about this molecule and now I can see it. And Smalley, whose job it is in a sense to dream about molecules, finds himself talking to a complete stranger about the one he discovered by accident. Officially, the molecule is called buckminsterfullerene, in honor of the eccentric futurist-inventor R. Buckminster Fuller, and it fascinates not only the Jamies of this world, but the Paul Chus as well…. Ride easy, Jim.

The Guild reviewed.

14 March 2012 // 0 Comments

Check this out: Forget your Variety and your Rolling Stone. The Guild of Scientific Troubadours just received positive notice from a writer for New Scientist. Success!

A salute: Trying and trying and trying by Gethan Dick.

6 March 2012 // 0 Comments

Over the transom this morning, I just got word of an amazing science-music-art project that combined six University College London biomedical researchers with six bands to make a pretty great album: This project was funded by the Wellcome Trust and involved working with six different UCL bio-medical scientists (Dr Alex Dedman, Dr Sam Tazzyman, Dr Zarinah Agnew, Kara Cerveny PhD, Dr Nandi Simpson and Dr Martin Austwick) to write truthful but poetic explorations of their research, then taking the lyrics to six exciting, innovative and award-winning musicians (birdengine, The 9000, Reeps One, Hannah Marshall, Workers Union Ensemble and The Overdrive Orchestra) and working with them to record six unique new songs. In each, the science feeds directly into the music: one song uses electric guitars to copy an optical frequency graph with their noise levels; in another song about genetic codes, A and D notes are inverted ; and in another, a beatboxer channels an […]

A Higgs boson walks into a cathedral…

20 September 2011 // 0 Comments

No, really. A religion and science joke. A Higgs boson walks into St. Patrick’s Cathedral on a fine Sunday morning. The monsignor looks up and reacts angrily, “Get thee behind me, Higgs boson, and leave our place of worship!” The Higgs boson turns on his heel and says, “Fine. But you’ll regret it. You can’t have mass without me.” [via]

“Watasenia Scintillans Addresses the New Graduates” by Squid Pro Crow.

24 August 2011 // 0 Comments

Watasenia Scintillans Addresses the New Graduates by Squid Pro Crow So. If you’ve noticed me referring obliquely to a “special project” lately, or to “having a thing” that’s taking up my time since April or so, this is it. The thing. This is what I’ve been working on for the past few months. Just a taste. There’s more to come. Words by Kate Horowitz, who can be found over here. We’ve been taking to time to get it right. And what do you know – this is what comes out. Watch this page (or Squid Pro Crow on bandcamp) for more.

Song delay

23 July 2011 // 0 Comments

What, it’s the 23rd and there’s no song? Yes, it’s true. I’m moving (yet again) and have been unable to record between the packing and unpacking. Expect one shortly. And a penitential cover. And, perhaps, some news that might make the wait worthwhile.

Song delay.

23 September 2010 // 0 Comments

This hasn’t been a week for lyrics. September’s song will be completely shortly, followed by another penitential cover.

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