People have wondered for a long time on what is beautiful and what isn’t. The Greeks certainly did, and even though they had set rules to define what the “right” proportions were for sculptures, buildings etc. they still had philosophers ready to challenge those ideals. Not sure if it was because they were dating someone ugly, but some of them decided that a bit of ugliness makes things prettier.
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Yale University Art Gallery

Mesoamerican gold figure

The Yale University Art Gallery has expanded its collections considerably, and even though the “official” opening date for the new galleries is December 12, they are already open for the public (thoughn they are still working on them).

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The Shaman’s Charm (New York)

This is from my recent trip to the American Museum of Natural History, in New York. The photo is a bit blurred, but the light in that gallery is too low for my point and shoot. It was made by the Tlingits, a Native American tribe from the Northwest. I am not sure of its meaning, besides it being a shaman’s charm. It reminded me immediately of the carving on the sarcophagus of the Mayan ruler Pakal the Great. Pakal is shown there riding some sort of serpent (not a spaceship, as some crazy lunatics eccentric anthropologists love to think):

(this is a picture I took from, so it is not mine)

The purpose of that trip to New York (and then New Jersey) was to visit my good friend C and his family. Since he loves to read articles on cognitive psychology we spent some time talking about that. C was talking about the Asch experiment:

I for my part remembered the very amusing concept of misattribution of arousal:

We then went on and on about change blindness and inattentional blindness, but I don’t want to post video after video here. At night we had clams with wine, and afterwards, to end the day properly, a glass of 32 yr old Macallan, to the memory of those old serpent riders (ride the snake, ride the snake. To the lake, the ancient lake)