books, interweb, people, science

Remembering Oliver Sacks

Though I was only peripherally and more pop-culturally familiar with his work, neurologist and prolific writer¬†Oliver Sacks’ was hard to miss these past days, as the creative community began¬†publishing beautiful tribute and remembrance pieces in the wake of his death from cancer at age 82.

Sabine Heinlein’s lovely¬†Swimming with Oliver Sacks,¬†recalls¬†her encounter with a bathing-cap-clad Sacks at a writer’s retreat in the Adirondacks in 2012.

RadioLab aired an extremely touching sit down¬†between Robert Krulwich and Sacks, who had been a dear friend and constant inspiration to¬†the program since its inception. The episode touches on some of Sacks’ most painful memories of love, loss, and loneliness. It’s a tear-jerker.

Starlee Kine reposted a piece she wrote in 2013, remembering the kindness Sacks displayed one summer in the late 90s, when he responded to a letter she thought he would never read.

I’ve begun digging into the archives of Sacks’ writing. To say there is a lot is an understatement. He wrote right¬†up until the end of his life, and a¬†note on his personal site says the latest pieces will be released¬†posthumously in the coming¬†weeks.¬†Face-Blind, published in The New Yorker in 2010, is a fascinating story¬†about Sacks’¬†lifetime of dealing with face blindness, or the inability to recognize familiar faces, sometimes even his own reflection. What was¬†often mistaken for social ineptitude, rudeness, or even Asperger’s by acquaintances, was in fact just a misinterpretation of his difficulty recognizing faces.

Next on my list is his¬†book,¬†The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales,¬†in which he recounts case histories of various bizarre and fantastical neurological disorders. Sacks was an amazing storyteller, and though he’s gone I’m much looking forward to spending some more time with him.

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interweb, photos

Unchanging Window

Unchanging Window is a wonderful personal photo blog by artist Mary Manning that I get excited to check every day. Each post offers its¬†own little abstract narrative, a photo essay wrapped up by a thematic¬†end quote, question or lyric: “What’s Going to Happen Today?” “Smiles Awake When You Rise” “The Magic Tortoise.” Every photo is great, but strung together they take on some new, next-level power. Are they individual moments of inspiration? A mysterious, connected plot to decipher? You don’t know, and that’s the best part.

 

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interweb

Fun With Frank

Ze Frank is an innovative, interactive wizard. He created viral videos before the notion was ever commonplace, has won Webbys, spoken at TED and runs a constant dialog with a community of devoted online followers. Today his personal site gets millions of visitors and is filled with hundreds of games, flash toys, applications and multimedia projects.

One of my favorite recent finds is an app that allows you to draw a picture using your voice. You can hum, yell or whistle your way to an amazing masterpiece, or in my case, really pathetic doodle. Frank’s portrait creations are rather ambitious, as in…kind of impossible:

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Here’s my first attempt, that’s totally a nose, right?

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Instructions explain that lower volume curves the line counterclockwise, medium moves it straight and loud sounds turn it clockwise. While mentally for me that was hard to process while whistling like a spazz into my laptop microphone, perhaps it will help some. I still think my best creation came from accidentally leaving the app running while I watched tv:

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“So abstract…so brilliant. I love it.”

Try for yourself.

And check out Frank’s site for more entertaining items.

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art & design, interweb

Some Links for Looking

At my new job we LOVE to have a lot of meetings and pay personal visits to clients several times a week, so I feel like I’m always on the move. Today I managed to stay in my seat for the majority of the day, during which I got back some quality Internet trolling time.¬† Thought I’d share what I’ve been looking at:

The Places We Know is a visually arresting, interactive site by photojournalist Jonas Bendiksen that explores four of worst slums in India, Kenya, Venezuela and Indonesia. Puts complaining in perspective.

Gregory Jacobs has a sick and twisted painting gallery up for perusing.

Travis Millard has some quirky zines, like The Little Things, along with lots of other random cool stuff up on his site, Fudge Factory Comics.

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