MEow MEow

meme noun
: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

 When I graduated from high school and left home to go to art school, I was one of those kids who ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. My diet consisted of fast food, pizza, ramen noodle packs, tacos, hot dogs, ice cream, sodas, and beers. I was on my own for the first time in my life, and I did things I couldn’t do before, just because now I can! Of course, that was just a phase. Eventually I came to my senses and cleaned up my act. I had things to do, places to be, and goals to accomplish, and to do all these I first needed to learn to take care of myself.

The information we consume is not unlike our physical diet. In fact, it’s almost exactly the same. We are what we eat, and our minds are made of what we see, hear, and read everyday – a “cerebral diet”, if you will.

Thanks to the Internet, we are now entering an era when we have the ability to obtain any information we want, whenever we want. Like that kid who left home for college, many of us went directly for a cerebral diet of junk food, just because, for the first time in human history, now we can! “Epic fail” compilations, cute animal pictures and clips, Farmville and Candy Crush, just to name a few. Yes, they are fun and harmless, and did I mention that they’re fun? But then what? At some point we’ll have to realize that if we want to propel ourselves in life, it might be a good idea to add some broccoli and carrots to our cerebral diet.

The Internet likes memes. The Internet likes cats. The Internet likes memes with cats. Now, if the Internet learned something about string theory, the Internet might like it too!

I leave you with this inspiring TED talk featuring String Theorist Brian Greene. He’ll tell you why our universe possibly has 11 dimensions 😉

Rainbow Connection – Put the “Wonder” Back in Wonderful!

Science is great! Science is exciting because it is an attempt to fulfill our primitive curious impulse – the impulse to understand and explain how the world around us works. Science is inquisitive and unprejudiced; it teaches us to solve problems, to think critically, and to be intellectually independent – traits that lead to success in life, even if we don’t all grow up and become scientists.

Yet, it seems our general education places very little emphasis on these wonderful, beneficial qualities science can offer us. By the time we graduate from high school, we are practically trained to regard ‘Science’ as a school subject in which we memorize numbers, letters, and formulas so that we can spit them back at exam papers. Now, where’s the fun in that?

To promote scientific literacy, Urban-FairyTales.com is thrilled to present a series of illustrated posters for k-12 classrooms. These posters won’t merely try to convey scientific facts. In fact, they won’t be trying to do that at all – there are teachers and textbooks for that. Instead, through the power of art, these illustrations aim to kindle, foster, and remind us of the fire that lit up in our eyes when we learned about dinosaurs, meteors, stars, rainbows, and many more of nature’s wonders.

The first of these illustrations is inspired by this quote about the beauty in nature:

“Knowing how the rainbow works doesn’t make it less beautiful. It makes the rainbow MORE beautiful.”

Richard Feynman

I thought it would be appropriate to begin the series with the imagery of a rainbow – a symbol of connections, connections between heaven and earth, between human beings and a higher divinity, between reality and imagination, between Science and (Urban) fairy tales (hah!). We might each have our own opinions and beliefs, but that shouldn’t stop any of us from appreciating the beauty of a rainbow and understanding how it works!

rainbow03

I hope this illustration made you wonder about the wonderful world we live in. I will leave you with this little excerpt of a very inspiring interview with Richard Feynman. Make sure you check back soon for the next instalment of Scientific Literacy Illustrated Posters Series!