Skip to main content

Pasta - e basta!

As you keep asking: this is my pasta. Handmade by me.
Photographed by me. Eaten by me.
Alone.
Let's forget what we just learned (it is the carbohydrates, not the fat that makes us (them) fat.
Wonderfully explained in the infographic of the day on fastcodesign).
Pasta is not bad for you at all!
The unrivaled Maria Popova from www.brainpickings.org just circulated a breathtaking review of 'Pasta by Design' - an extremely ambitious and obviously beautifully illustrated book analyzing with rigor the geometrical shapes of almost 100 different types of pasta.
(and I was proud of being able to identify eight!)
Most importantly it is stated already in the introduction that pasta is made of durum wheat flour and water. Pasta!, um, Basta! The designers would never even attempt to touch any of these egg-infested derivatives or supposedly ecological or healthy experiments with rye or spelt flour (yes, I had to look this one up).
To the trained cook and passionate gourmet it is clear that different shapes of pasta serve different purposes: the intake of sauce, the bite, the haptic ... all depends on the correct shape.
While the book then goes on to classify that amazing variety of noodles by following the science of phylogeny (building a family tree based on morphological similarities), the highlights are the mathematical descriptions of the individual species. Their simulation and graphic representation side by side with food stills of simple beauty.
To some the juxtaposition of mouthwatering food and scary mathematics might be too much to bear but some could get an inkling of what mathematics is doing when employed in natural sciences: far from claiming to accurately describe nature or to even break down nature into something cold and constructed, it illustrates the desire to find words for observations that go beyond "oh nice!", the sensation of mimicking nature. And maybe one or the other non-mathematician gets the flavor of what scientists are talking about when they describe a model or a theory as 'elegant', 'beautiful' - and thereby more probably 'true' than others.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Academics should be blogging? No.

"blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now" The London School of Economics and Political Science states in one of their, yes, Blogs . It is wrong. The arguments just seem so right: "faster communication of scientific results", "rapid interaction with colleagues" "responsibility to give back results to the public". All nice, all cuddly and warm, all good. But wrong. It might be true for scientoid babble. But this is not how science works.  Scientists usually follow scientific methods to obtain results. They devise, for example, experiments to measure a quantity while keeping the boundary-conditions in a defined range. They do discuss their aims, problems, techniques, preliminary results with colleagues - they talk about deviations and errors, successes and failures. But they don't do that wikipedia-style by asking anybody for an opinion . Scientific discussion needs a set

Information obesity? Don't swallow it!

Great - now they call it 'information obesity'! If you can name it, you know it. My favourite source of intellectual shallowness, bighthink.com, again wraps a whiff of nothing into a lengthy video-message. As if seeing a person read a text that barely covers up it's own emptyness makes it more valuable. More expensive to produce, sure. But valuable? It is ok, that Clay Johnson does everything to sell his book. But (why) is it necessary to waste so many words, spoken or written, to debate a perceived information overflow? Is it fighting fire with fire? It is cute to pack the problem of distractions into the metaphore of 'obesity', 'diet' and so on. But the solution is the same. At the core of every diet you have 'burn more than you eat'. If you cross a street, you don't read every licence-plate, you don't talk to everybody you encounter, you don't count the number of windows of the houses across, you don't interpret the sounds an

How Does Knowledge Get Into Society? A fly-by-artist-in-residence and a Dialogue

The artist Sadie Weis was shadowing some of the scientists at Paul-Drude-Institut (a research-institute for nanomaterials) for eight weeks, observing the way they work, how scientists communicate with eachother, how they explain stuff to an outsider. The result of this dialogue is a light-installation and - maybe more important for the scientists involved - a reflection of the scientists  and of the artist on the languages they use.  T his project of an artist in a fly-by-residency will be wrapped up on Saturday, November 10th with a p resentation by the artist Sadie Weis and a panel discussion on differences and similarities in the way artists and scientists communicate with the outside world                  November 10, 2018 from 14-18                 Paul-Drude-Institut f√ľr Festk√∂rperelektronik                  Hausvogteiplatz 5–7, Berlin-Mitte                Germany For  the Dialogue,  please register at   exhibition@pdi-berlin.de .   Der Dialog wird auf Deutsc