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Books &










Is this neatly analysed selection of pictures of the human form by perhaps its greatest artist (and certainly one of the world’s greatest minds), Leonardo Da Vinci-



The article is by Juhi Kulkarni writing on anatomymasterclass.com





1)“The Other World That Bekons” (Carl Sagan on Albert Einstein). Originally published September 16, 1978, available online here-




2)“The Blood of the Crab” by Caren Chesler- a fascinating article about the vital role of Horseshoe crab blood in medical research and concerns about the future of the Horseshoe Crab, itself-





3)“Scientists just accidentally discovered that trees share food with each other” by Illana Strauss (a short popular-science introduction to recent research by Tamir Klein at the Weizmann Institute and colleagues in Swizterland)-



Number 1- May 2017:

Marc Salazaar picks the top Science, Popular Science, Art & Books:

This Month's Inspiration:

This Month's Inspiration:

Book/Art/ Picture-Gallery of the Month:

Book/Art/ Picture-Gallery of the Month:

this Month's Recommended Popular Science Articles are:

this Month's Recommended Popular Science Articles are:

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A male "Clipper" butterfly, Parthenos sylvia.

(an insect that is found in parts of  Southern & South East Asia).

A Ring-tailed Lemur, Lemur catta,

(An endangered Madagascan species).

Is this glorious, brightly coloured selection of sea-slug photographs c/o National Geographic-


Is the artwork of Russian realist painter

Vasily Ivanovich Surikov (1848-1916)


on “Olga’s Online Gallery”-



and on wikiwand-


1)“How to Spot a Psychopath” by Tom Chivers, published in the Daily Telegraph (11th May 2017) delves into one of the darker areas of human psychology as it explores the differences between psychopathy and autism and talks about the nature of evil-



2)Sticking with a psychology/neuroscience theme, this recent article by Anil Ananthaswamy asks profound questions about the nature of consciousness.



A paper version of the same article was published in the 27th May 2017 issue of New Scientist, Number 3127, page 7 under a slightly different title (“Quantum test could show if minds are matter”).


3)Finally, a fascinating article by Marta Zaraska in last month’s Discover magazine examines the latest research into plant decision making and plant “intelligence”. The piece, called “Smarty Plants”  runs from pages 52 to 57 of the May 2017 issue of Discover, or you can find it online under a slightly different title here-



Again, for whatever reason, the online title (“Garden Greenery is Brainier Than You Think” does not match the title of the print version, yet the text and pictures seem to be identical).


The May edition of Discover magazine is actually highly recommended from end to end; it leads with a “Heroes of Science” theme that ties in rather well with a lot of the content we have prepared for release on TheGreatestMinds.Org over the next few months. More comments on that Discover issue in due course. ...

This Month's Inspiration:

Book/Art/ Picture-Gallery of the Month:

this Month's Recommended Popular Science Articles are:

…Is the treasury of Hindu scriptures on Vedabase.com. It makes interesting reading, whether you are actually seeking some form of spiritual wisdom from India, or just enjoy classical literature from an entirely secular perspective. It is particularly nice that the verses on vedabase.com come in a wide range of languages with the original Sanskrit transcribed into the familiar Roman alphabet and a word-by word translation-



Sticking with the Indian Culture theme, this month’s e-gallery is of work by Keralan artist

Raja Ravi Varma  (1848- 1906)-



1)It has been widely and repeatedly reported that "the world of Physics" is "really very excited by..." Quantum Tunnelling, Quantum Computing and, frankly, everything Quantum. Even Canada’s President Justin Trudeau found himself answering questions on the subject last year . A good starting point for a lot of science topics is (unexpectedly) Wikipedia- presumably this is because a lot of their scientific articles are written by researchers and PhD students in the relevant subjects, rather than by impassioned passers-by. . . The Wikipedia entry on quantum Tunnelling follows in this well-written tradition-



2)Following on this theme, one of the best and most readily readable articles I have seen on Quantum Theory in recent years is this elegant essay from 28th June 2017 by Phil Ball writing for Nature.com –




If you have ever wanted to know “How quantum trickery can scramble cause and effect”, look no further…


3)Finally, one subject that is perhaps even less understood than even Quantum Physics is sleep.

Even the purpose and necessity for sleep are not fully understood, let alone its processes or the rhythms driving sleep.


For a long time, the most common sentiment was that being an “early bird” was preferable to being a “night owl” and that the latter tendency was not merely suboptimal for social purposes, but bad for a host of mental- and physical- health reasons. More recently, opinion on night owls has changed somewhat- one light article on the topic is this piece by Leah Zerbe on rodalewellness.com-




The article (“Night Owls Are More Productive than Early Birds”, which dates from 2009, reports on research done in Belgium and Switzerland on the topic). Research proceeds in this subject area, but articles from a few years ago still remain interesting reading.

North Island Kaka,Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis. a member of the New Zealand parrot family(Strigopidae)

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Books & Brain-Food.

Number 2- June 2017:


Marc Salazaar picks the top Science, Popular Science, Art & Books:

Books & Brain-Food:

Number 3- July 2017:


Marc Salazaar picks the top Science, Popular Science, Art & Books:

This Month’s Inspiration:


Is one of my oldest favourite internet sites- Omniglot.com

The site describes itself as “the online encyclopaedia of writing systems and languages”, which is pretty self-explanatory, even if it doesn’t fully do justice to the sheer amount of information and scholarship there.


Book/Documentary/Photo-gallery of the Month:


Usually, I like to find a neat online gallery for this section, but this time I am going to cheat with a link to a Selection of weird and wonderful creatures on Pinterest that was compiled a little while back by our own “Dear Leader” on this site (editor). Anyway, the list is a compilation of images by other people and it still gets amended and expanded from time to time. Naturally, it is just one of a great many highly colourful boards on Pinterest, but some of the images there and the links that follow from them are well worth a look–



This Month’s recommended articles:


…are all rather arty/literary, rather than scientific, for a change, but great brain-food, nonetheless-


1)First-up is a fascinating piece on racism/anti-Semitism and Shakespeare in The New Yorker by regular New Yorker Contributor Stephen Greenblatt. Published in the July 10 & 17, 2017 issue, the article is called “Shakespeare’s cure for Xenophobia” and stands firmly at odds with the current much-debated “safe-space” ideology of some current university teaching-



2)Next is an article that could perhaps be called “The Quantitative Linguistics of Jane Austen” but, in fact, goes under the more poetic title of “The Word Choices That Explain Why Jane Austen Endures”, Written by Kathleen A. Flynn and Josh Katz, it was published in the “Upshot” section of the New York Times on 6th July 2017. You can find it online here-



3)Finally, As well as being inherently interesting, This piece by Erin Van Rheenen on Colorado’s Yampa River [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yampa_River ] is a thought-provoking example of the way science, conservation, politics and writing can and often do merge and interplay, particularly in the case of environmental issues. –



See you next month, when we’ll be looking at some butterfly links.

M. Salazaar.


Books & Brain-Food:

Number 4- August 2017:


Marc Salazaar picks the top Science, Popular Science, Art & Books:

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Books & Brain-Food:

Number 5- September 2017:


Marc Salazaar picks the top Science, Popular Science, Art & Books:

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Book/Documentary/Photo-gallery of the Month:


     As the first mists gathered over the ploughed brown fields a few weeks back, with the apples still ripening on the trees, it was hard to escape the conclusion that Autumn was well and truly on its way. It is a time of mixed feelings for many people- not least school pupils and college students heading back to the classroom- but it is surely impossible not to enjoy the sheer beauty of the season, whatever may lie ahead.  Japan and New England are perhaps the world’s most famous places for their Fall colours, but, from personal experience, I can say that Autumn in South Korea and Central Europe can be every bit as spectacular. Hungary, in particular, is a land of hot summers, cold winters and forests that seem almost medieval, if not primeval, even yet. You can easily imagine William Tell wandering amongst the trees, hunting wild boar with his bow or gathering apples on his way back to a cottage surrounded by piles of bright yellow leaves. With that in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that playing cards in central Europe- Austria and Hungary in particular- celebrate the seasons, with pictures of noblemen and peasants and long-gone folk heroes arranged in 4 suits- each devoted to a different season. Acorns represent Winter (Tél); Hearts, Spring (Tavasz); Bells stand for Summer (Nyár) and Leaves depict Autumn (Ösz). The pictures in each suit are wonderfully evocative of the season they represent- like a folk memory of life in centuries gone by in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in the central European countryside.


This month’s picture links, then, are to Hungarian playing cards, however strange that might sound-




and to the landscape that inspired them-



Speaking of inspiration...


This Month’s Inspiration:


…is the collection of nearly 10,000 (!) quotes on inspiration collated on Goodreads.com-





This Month’s recommended articles:


After last month’s literary detour, the first link for this month’s Books and Brain-Food is firmly back in the ample bosom of science:

1) “Operation Neutrino” by MIT Prof. David Kaiser examines the history of research on the Neutrino-



2) As promised, last time, the rest of this month’s links are about butterflies. Historically, butterfly-gathering was something of a country hobby of gentlemen and gentlewomen, many of whom who were engaged in completely different occupations and endeavours for the bulk of their time. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that some of these amateur and semi-professional butterfly “collectors” were quite famous in other fields.


This 4-part article, published in The Atlantic by Dmitri Nabakov, son of the famous writer Vladimir Nabakov, recounts his father’s fascination with butterflies-







3) Meanwhile, August’s issue of The Oldie came with an engaging 2-page article by Iwo Dawnay on the hidden, butterfly filled Mexican garden of the late British billionaire Edward James. The title is “Crumbling El Dorado for a Sussex Surrealist” and as far as I can see, only a short abstract is available free online-


the full article is behind a pay wall.

The garden itself is called  Las Pozas (meaning “The Pools”)


and, according to its Wikipedia entry,  can be found “near the village of Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, a seven-hour drive north of Mexico City”.

It is as well known for its surrealist concrete structures as its fluttering fauna, so it is perhaps unsurprising that The Guardian newspaper described work to renovate these garden components back in 2007-




In this case, the full article is available free online.

See you next month,

Marc Salazaar.


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