Weekly Photo Challenge: It’s All In Your Head

Brain On Display

This week’s challenge is all about things you admire, so I decided on something a little less..conventional. Do not adjust your set; that is a real human brain, preserved in epoxy and currently on display at the Exploratorium. Take step back and consider all that a human brain does. Controlling your body’s functions, from the senses and sleep to memories and sheer, raw emotion. Keeping you breathing and balanced. Reading this sentence and processing the little squiggles into letters and words, and thus their meaning. A complex organic machine connected via trillions of synapses. For all the dangers out there, it’s allowed us to become the dominant species on the planet. We survive, thrive, create, accomplish, and it’s all because these little clumps of matter are developed just enough to make it happen. Yeah, it’s worth admiration. A larger version is viewable here.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Papua Skull Reliquary

Papua Skull Reliquary

A 19th century artifact from the Gulf of Papua, on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. While some might think it’s creepy, I think it’s an amazing work of art. Also can be viewed here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Asmat Skull

Asmat Skull

The Asmat are an ethnic group of New Guinea, residing in the Papua province of Indonesia. This skull of one of their ancestors is on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. While some might find it creepy, I think it’s a beautiful artifact of a culture we know so little about. Larger version can be seen here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Borneo River Toad

Borneo River Toad

This rather stoic fellow can be found inside the Osher Rainforest at the Academy of Sciences. Unlike many animals, he just sat there calmly and let museum-goers get a good look. Larger version available here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: White-Spotted Jellyfish

White-Spotted Jellyfish

This week’s challenge calls for some close-ups, and I immediately thought of this shot. Meet phyllorhiza punctata, more easily pronounced as a white-spotted jellyfish. According to the display, “These jellies can grow up to 60 cm (24 in) in diameter. The stinging cells in their tentacles capture food and provide protection. Each large jelly can collect food from 50 m³ (65 cu yd) of water a day. Diet: small zooplankton. Distribution: coastal areas and estuaries in the Southwestern Pacific, invasive in Hawaii and the Gulf of Mexico.” I photographed this little one, however, at the aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Plankton Rainbow

Plankton Rainbow

This week’s challenge is all about forces of nature, so I thought I’d post something about light and its effects of animals. Here’s another Exploratorium exhibit. Basically, zooplankton can distinguish different colors of light. In the ocean, it helps them swim toward the surface, where their food is located. Blue and green lights shine deeper in the water than the other colors, hence why the plankton are attracted to these ones; they think the sun is shining through the water, and that they’re entering the photic zone for a meal. Large version available here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate, Or: Wine Glass Reflections

Wine Glass Reflections

This week’s challenge calls for something intricate, and I immediately thought of this wall at the Exploratorium.This is part of the “Simply Smashing” exhibit by Rebecca Cummins: A 20-foot wall of about 900 glasses, all filled with water to create optical effects with the reflections. Large version available here. Another angle can be seen here.