The Brain’s Artistry: A Conversation with Neuroscientist and Artist Greg Dunn

Everyone knows that nature is beautiful. So much of nature’s beauty, however, is too small to see without a microscope. Greg Dunn, an artist with a neuroscience doctorate from University of Pennsylvania, has managed to make the microscopic splendor of the brain accessible to anyone, not just scientists, through his paintings. His vivid, organic brushstrokes capture both the essences of neural structures and the interests of scientists, artists, and pedestrians alike. Have you noticed the fundamental similarities between neurons, trees, veins, and even lightning? Have you found yourself wondering why these similarities exist? Dr. Dunn just might have an answer for you, and artistic evidence to boot.

Though art and neuroscience may initially seem like severely different disciplines, artists and neuroscientists have more in common than one might think. For example, as Dunn himself proclaimed, “Part of being an artist or a scientist is living your life with the intent to solve a problem: wanting to know more about something that you’re interested in, and allowing yourself to become utterly obsessed and consumed by the problem.” It appears that Dunn has done exactly that, and in the process has produced some captivating pieces of art and compelling scientific theories. We had a fascinating opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Dunn about the science behind his art, and the art behind his science.

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Kickstart It: Stefan Loble’s Miracle Pants and His Vision for Online Apparel

Stefan Loble wants to liberate your life by changing your pants. It’s an idea that’s wild enough to work. Loble recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to springboard his apparel company into business. He has one flagship product and a promise: to eliminate the time we need to spend caring for our pants, so we can go follow our dreams.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Stefan Loble about his Kickstarter project, and his goals to start an apparel company.

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Kickstart It: Touch the Temp with the Cryoscope Thermal Display

Robb Godshaw believes conventional temperature measurements like Celsius and Fahrenheit are arbitrary and difficult to translate. Using the assistance of crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, Godshaw hopes to upend convention with his touch based weather forecaster, the Cryoscope. Using a thermoelectric Peltier heating and cooling element, the Cryoscope can recreate any current or future temperature conditions from around the globe. Instead of mentally calculating what 67 degree weather might feel like, the Cryoscope allows you to feel it with the palm of your hand.

I recently had the chance to talk with Robb Godshaw about his Kickstarter project, the Cryoscope, and his goal to raise $80,000.

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Truth in Words, in Rhymes, in Notes: An Interview with Nate Ruess of Fun.

Blake J. Graham had the opportunity to interview Nate Ruess of indie rock band Fun. The following article is a profile of Nate Ruess as constructed from his conversations with Blake J. Graham.

On an all but normal evening in 2011, Nate Ruess arrived early at the Bowery Hotel on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He sat at the bar, downed a couple drinks, and waited nervously. Having spent ten years writing and performing music with various punk bands, a popular indie-rock group named The Format, and now as the front man of power-pop trio Fun., Ruess has encountered many people and products of the music industry. But on this night he’s getting silly drunk to calm his nerves and loosen up. For Fun.’s second album, Ruess devised an album seismically different from Fun.’s previous work. “I remember telling the guys in the band, the record label, and our manager ‘oh, it’s going to be like a Fun. album but it’s going to have breakbeats,’” Ruess told me. He intended to fuse his theatrical indie pop-rock sound with hip-hop aesthetic. To do it, he wanted the best producer in the business. He waited in the Bowery Hotel’s bar for producer Jeff Bhasker, the man behind the gilded stars Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Drake. Bhasker had already cancelled multiple meetings with Ruess, but serendipitous conditions aligned and he agreed to give Ruess 10 minutes of his time.

Aided by a slight sense of inebriation, Ruess talked freely with Bhasker about the concept of Fun.’s upcoming album, dropping huge hints abut the band’s desire to work with him. Bhasker took interest. He had been in the studio working on Beyoncé tracks that day and decided to invite Ruess to his room to show him the songs. With the power of drunk-logic behind him, Ruess decided it was only proper to show Bhasker what he had been working on. He sang the chorus of an unfinished song that he had written only days prior. Bhasker was impressed. That night they recorded the hook for what would become Fun.’s breakout single “We Are Young.”

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The Rocketboys: Building from Bloodless

The Rocketboys, out of Austin, Texas, are an independent band on the scene since 2005. For an unsigned act, they have quite the track record, already having released three EPs, two live DVDs, and a full length with another record in the works. With the release of their newest single “Bloodless” off their new album, Build Anyway, and a busy show schedule including the 2012 South By Southwest, The Rocketboys are ready to explode into the airwaves, and The Airspace.

I recently had the chance to talk with Brandon Kinder, Josh Campbell, and Justin Wiseman of The Rocketboys.

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Commentary Ticker

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  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
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  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
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    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
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    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

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