Spiders, Dinosaurs and CVs [#49]

Well it’s been a long week of other distractions rather than writing, but I have built up several things to link out to, so I guess a round of links from the web is in order.

The Greatest Ignored CV Ever

Data visualisation of academic interests, achievements and major life moments, composed as a pseudo-CV
Now that’s a pretty (useless) CV

Originally created by Ritwick Dey (and weirdly hosted on Flickr), the mock-up data visualisation of Dey’s life has earned some serious kudos on Reddit and deservedly so. The visuals have an immediate impact and are just very aesthetically pleasing, even if (as many Redditors have pointed out) actually using it as your CV would be a quick shortcut to the reject pile. To be honest I’ve been dabbling in something similar (though far simpler) recently, so found seeing the execution of, and reaction to, something much superior to my own attempts kind of fascinating.

Spider Squeeee!

GIF image of an animated spider that is particularly adorable
Lucas the Adorable Arachnid

Lucas the spider has been doing the rounds of the internet this week and I fully understand why. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of spiders but I’m also far from arachnophobic, even finding certain real world spiders adorable. That said, nothing in nature (that I’m aware of) has been designed to tug at the heart strings quite so cleverly as this short animation test. Others have already called for it, but can I add my name to the petition for Lucas to be in the next Disney/Pixar movie?

Spider Awesome

Miles Morales, Spider-Man, swings into frame and lands on a skyscraper
Into the Spider-Verse? Yes please!

Weirdly, yet another piece of spider-based animation dropped this week which captured the hearts of the internet, though this time less Tumblr and more Reddit. The first trailer for Sony’s new animated Spider-Man film hit and just looks stunning. It’s Miles Morales meets Spiderverse so I was already intrigued, but those visuals mixed with that soundtrack has left me with extreme hype!

Wildlife Photo-Ark

Around twenty heaped tortoises each with a unique code engraved on the back of the shell
Madagascan ploughshare tortoises with anti-poaching codes

I’m a big fan of projects looking to archive information of endangered species, particularly quality images, biomechanics and video, so that if conservation efforts fail future generations still at least have good data. So when I discover a project like Endangered, created by photographer Tim Flach, it has to be shared. Flach’s photographs (see more at Gizmodo) are beautiful and frequently incredibly poignant, but they’re also paired with detailed information on the animals, and the threats they face, from biologist Jonathan Baillie. It’s conservation meets art, both noble goals in their own right that are only amplified by their intermixing. Definitely going straight on my future wishlist.

The Ones We’ve Already Lost: Palaeo Art

Two theropod dinosaurs with unrealistic iguana like physiology fighting
Two Dryptosaurus (at time Laelaps) fighting in an incredibly famous image from Charles R. Knight, 1897

From ensuring the animals we may soon lose are well documented to attempting to document those that have already been lost. It should be no surprise by now that I am a huge fan of the field of palaeo art and love both the finished pieces and the processes that go into their creation. There’s something incredibly interesting about decoding the past and trying to set it to understandable visuals which I just love. Stumbling on to an article taking a deep dive into the history of the field, then, was a fascinating read which has been put together very nicely. It’s great to see books I find particularly influential, such as All Yesterday’s, as well as their author’s (and respective blogs) being linked to and discussed on such a main-stream website as The Atlantic. It would also appear that some new books on the subject may be coming out soon, which is great news. An article I will want to come back to from time-to-time, if for no more reason than to explore all the linked resources. Top work.

Finding the Time [#17]

Life is busy right now. My partner’s birthday is this weekend, which also happens to be a bank holiday, so I’ve spent a lot of the last week organising, planning and generally prepping for a short break we’re taking to celebrate.

At the same time, my car has decided the oil dipstick is too long. We’ve also come to the end of a month long process failure with BT, trying to upgrade our internet. Oh, and then there’s the other two trips we’re taking later this year, an on-going dispute with Hermes over where a parcel is, the slowly dying iPad, broken spotlight and, of course, all the usual bills, chores and ‘adult’ stuff.

I feel like my time is entirely spent sleeping, working or trying to keep various balls aloft. I’m tired, frustrated and a little bit stressed. All I want to do is spend some time writing, working on some photographs or, better still, reading! Honestly, society seems to be designed around a never-ending treadmill of requirements, research and time sinks.

And yet…

And yet, last night I spent an hour just chatting with my partner. It was both relaxing and helped remove a bunch of juggling balls.

And yet, I’ve managed to put 8 hours into the story mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl since picking it up two weeks ago. It’s surprisingly fun.

And yet, my RSS feed is all-but-empty for the first time in nearly two years.

And yet, I’ve just finished a book that’s been sat on my night stand for months.

And yet, last weekend I had the car finally taken in to have the recalled airbag replaced.

And yet, that’s the thing. And. Yet.

Despite feeling like everything is crashing down around my shoulders, I’m still able to achieve an awful lot. Sure, I have a huge (literal) stack of books that I need to read before I can even start on the ones on the book shelf, but I am getting through them. It may have been a lot of time and work, but we now have a whole year of incredibly exciting adventures ahead, not least of all a trip we’re going on tomorrow! And when we do go on them, the car will be a lot safer then it was before.

Sometimes it’s nice to just take a step back, cover up the To-Do list and review your Done one. I live a life of immense privilege and luck. Sometimes, that gets forgotten, and yet when you remember it all the little things somehow become just that: little. It’s not so much finding the time as realising how much you already have.