Fascination, reflection, and a Recovered Stream.

I was getting ready to board a trolley this evening at America Plaza when activity in a window caught my eye.

A person inside the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego gallery was working above a small planet amid water-like artwork!

The title of the coming exhibition is Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream. According to the museum website: This fall and winter MCASD will present multiple talks by distinguished scientists who will share their knowledge about climate change in conjunction with the participatory exhibition Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream.

With some searching on the internet, I learned environmentalist Oscar Romo is a professor at UC San Diego. His area of expertise is coastal and marine ecosystem conservation, using a natural systems design perspective. He has a special interest in the San Diego-Tijuana border region.

The upcoming talks should be very interesting!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Help build the San Diego River Discovery Center!

Look what I discovered today!

While driving down Qualcomm Way, I noticed a couple of new signs by the San Diego River indicating that “The San Diego River Discovery Center at Grant Park” is coming to Mission Valley!

The San Diego River Discovery Center at Grant Park is a project of the San Diego River Park Foundation. The following is an overview taken from their website:

“Imagine a place that provides hands-on science based nature education and experiences to 25,000 kids each year! For many of these kids, it will be their very first experience!

Imagine a place which celebrates the San Diego River as an important ecological resource and inspires the next generation of River and nature stewards.

In May 2009, this vision of a new place where people could enjoy and connect with the San Diego River took a major step forward when the San Diego River Park Foundation signed a donation agreement with a remarkable family, the Grants. This longstanding San Diegan family decided to donate their 17-acre river-fronting property to benefit the community of Mission Valley and San Diego in general.

With this inspiring action, the San Diego River Discovery Center at Grant Park was born.

This 17-acre site is in the heart of Mission Valley. Prominently located at the northeast corner of Qualcomm Way and Camino del Rio North, the site is easily accessible by foot, bicycle, trolley, bus and automobile.

Grant Park is being designed to serve as a nature-based park, learning center and a gateway to exploring our San Diego River.”

All the legal hurdles to begin grading have been cleared–now the San Diego River Park Foundation just needs to raise some additional funds.

After work I walked around the general area where the park and nature center will be built and took photos.

To learn how you can make a donation, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen made its very first appearance this evening in San Diego. Mitchell Walker, who plays didgeridoo in Balboa Park and Seaport Village, has completed an epic project that began as a dream almost 40 years ago. He has officially completed The Great Stellarium Project!

Mitchell’s 30-inch Plexiglas cube which contains a three-dimensional star map–his amazing Stellarium–made its debut in Balboa Park near the Fleet Science Center. The Stellarium was admired by curious passersby, and by astronomy lovers who’d gathered for the monthly stargazing “Stars In The Park” event of the San Diego Astronomy Association.

Mitchell has an irrepressible smile and a great sense of humor. One of his biggest passions is science fiction–Star Trek in particular. For much of his life he’s had a strong fascination with astronomy.

Years ago, Mitchell’s dream to recreate a part of our galaxy was inspired by the star map that figures in the film The UFO Incident. His idea was to design a transparent cube that holds an accurate portrayal of the stars nearest to our sun. His first attempt to invent such a marvel resulted in a cube that was 15 inches square. He still uses that smaller cube as a night light.

The impressive 30-inch Stellarium that debuted today displays our “stellar neighborhood” within 50 light years of Sol, the sun. Our tiny corner of the galaxy took Mitchell a little over a year to build. The 166 stars are obviously not to scale, but the distances between them and their relative positions around Sol are accurate. Each tiny star, attached to a filament that is almost invisible, shines with fluorescent paint in the color that matches its spectral classification. In darkness, under the cube’s black light, the effect is extraordinary.

After the sun set this evening, I sat on a nearby park bench and watched as people stopped to peer into the dreamlike Stellarium. Some pressed a button at the cube’s base to listen to Mitchell’s recorded audio narration.

Clouds unfortunately concealed the night sky. For a magical moment or two, members of the San Diego Astronomy Association abandoned their nearby telescopes and joined their friend Mitchell Walker, to gaze into a wondrous cube full of stars.

Please visit Mitchell’s web page that describes his Stellarium here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cowboys, the homeless, and 6000 neuroscientists.

The human world is complex. I suppose that’s due in large part to the contradictory impulses and plasticity of the human mind.

A big city like San Diego is filled with this often disconcerting complexity.

My walk around downtown today was a little more interesting than usual. Cowboys, symbols of rugged individualism and freedom, had gathered in the Gaslamp Quarter for the annual Fall Back Festival, an event that celebrates the Old West and early history of San Diego. Meanwhile, 6000 neuroscientists attending the big Society for Neuroscience conference at the convention center were sharing sidewalks with San Diego’s large homeless population.

Seeing that particular combination all together–cowboys, neuroscientists and homeless people–fired up a few billion neurons in my own mysterious brain. And stirred emotions.

So many human values, often in conflict.

Every so often a small work of fiction bubbles out of my brain.

If you enjoy reading, you might click Short Stories by Richard.

Unfolding Humanity appears at Maker Faire!

A couple months ago I blogged about the debut of a fascinating dodecahedron sculpture called Unfolding Humanity. The San Diego Geometry Lab had begun building their project by a parking lot at University of San Diego.

Today I finally saw the interactive metal sculpture completed! It was among the many cool inventions on display at 2018 Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park!

If you want to learn more about Unfolding Humanity–the mathematics behind it, and how it’s symmetry and complexity is similar to the structure of the universe–please check out my earlier blog post here, or visit the artwork’s extremely interesting website here.

I learned from Diane Hoffoss, Associate Professor of Mathematics at USD, that the San Diego Geometry Lab might be building additional similar projects in the future. Probably every other year. Because it’s quite an undertaking!

I also learned that many people enjoyed stepping inside Unfolding Humanity during Burning Man! Someone even performed magic tricks inside it!

This is what I saw at Maker Faire San Diego today…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos outside 2018 Maker Faire San Diego!

I learned this huge robotic praying mantis that shoots flames from its legs is named Zap!
I learned this huge robotic praying mantis that shoots flames from its legs is named Zap!

Another October! Time for another Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park!

Today, after checking out Trolley Dances at Hazard Center, I headed into Balboa Park to simply walk around and absorb the creativity. It’s amazing what human intelligence and imagination can produce! The potential is limitless! Marvelous new inventions keep on coming!

2018 Maker Faire San Diego continues through Sunday. Check it out!

Visitors to Balboa Park look at a map showing the many exhibitors and demonstrations at 2018 Maker Faire San Diego.
Visitors to Balboa Park look at a map showing the many exhibitors and demonstrations at 2018 Maker Faire San Diego.
A big crowd surrounds 30-foot-tall, flame throwing Robot Resurrection during 2018 Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park.
A big crowd surrounds 30-foot-tall, flame throwing Robot Resurrection during 2018 Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park.
These students invented a contraption that can fire multiple Frisbees in rapid succession.
These students invented a contraption that can fire multiple Frisbees in rapid succession.
Russell the Electric Giraffe is back for another Maker Faire San Diego!
Russell the Electric Giraffe is back for another Maker Faire San Diego!
Exploring the sensors and capabilities of a cool robotic giraffe!
Exploring the sensors and capabilities of a cool robotic giraffe!
Kids were riding cupcake cars around the Plaza de Balboa during the annual maker event.
Kids were riding cupcake cars around the Plaza de Balboa during the annual maker event.
Other kids have fun controlling robots that move blocks.
Other kids have fun controlling robots that move blocks.
Karen, of the Southwestern Artists' Association in Spanish Village, was painting stones out on the patio!
Karen, of the Southwestern Artists’ Association in Spanish Village, was painting stones out on the patio!
Karen's Rescue Rocks are fun and colorful!
Karen’s Rescue Rocks are fun and colorful!
Artistic kids were using lapidary equipment inside the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society Museum.
Artistic kids were using lapidary equipment inside the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society Museum.
This guy on the Spanish Village patio was creating small works of art from onyx.
This guy on the Spanish Village patio was creating small works of art from onyx.
People were testing out virtual reality at the Japanese Friendship Garden during Maker Faire San Diego.
People were testing out virtual reality at the Japanese Friendship Garden during Maker Faire San Diego.
Nearby, others were piecing together stuff that was 3D printed.
Nearby, others were piecing together stuff that was 3D printed.
The potted Rootbound Players would play music when their leaves were touched by a finger!
The potted Rootbound Players would play music when their leaves were touched by a finger!
People make Kokedama, Japanese traditional moss art! The roots of small plants are bound in living moss!
People make Kokedama, Japanese traditional moss art! The roots of small plants are bound in living moss!
This guy had created some small but very cool working submarines.
This guy had created some small but very cool working submarines.
UCSD students created an unmanned aerial vehicle for an academic competition.
UCSD students had created an unmanned aerial vehicle for an academic competition.
Creative kids were cutting out words and piecing together their stories with Words To Go!
Creative kids were cutting out words and piecing together their stories with Words To Go!
This guy was melting glass and forming a beautiful jewelry pendant.
This guy was melting glass and forming a beautiful jewelry pendant.
Ladies were making crafts inside the House of Sweden at the International Cottages. Perhaps they should have been a part of Maker Faire San Diego!
Ladies were making crafts inside the House of Sweden at the International Cottages. Perhaps they should have been a part of Maker Faire San Diego!
Do You Trust is a sculpture that enfolds visitors and plays an audio recording of poetry concerning trust.
Do You Trust is a sculpture that enfolds visitors and plays an audio recording of poetry concerning trust.
This cool minibike is made of odd objects, like a vegetable strainer, radio tuner, cereal bowl and umbrella. It's called the Time Machine.
This cool minibike is made of odd objects, like a vegetable strainer, radio tuner, cereal bowl and umbrella. It’s called the Time Machine.
Alastair, The Great Fairy Tinkerer hangs out in front of the future Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park.
Alastair, The Great Fairy Tinkerer hangs out in front of the future Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park.
A small human meets friendly Know Mann - Giant Robot Puppet!
A small human meets friendly Know Mann – Giant Robot Puppet!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Assembling a beautiful mystery: Unfolding Humanity.

Working to complete Unfolding Humanity. Lit green lettering on the exterior of the sculpture is similar to that from the iconic movie The Matrix.
Working to complete Unfolding Humanity. Lit green lettering on the exterior of the sculpture is similar to that from the movie The Matrix.

Late today I swung by the University of San Diego to see something extraordinary.

The San Diego Geometry Lab, with the help of the San Diego Collaborative Arts Project (SDCAP) and the University of San Diego (USD) Applied Mathematics program, is building a complex interactive sculpture called Unfolding Humanity. For a few minutes I admired the metal sculpture which stood outside by a campus parking lot, and watched as USD students and faculty worked to carefully assemble it.

Unfolding Humanity will be on public display this year during Burning Man, and the weekend of Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park.

Once completed, people will be able to stand inside the hollow, 12 foot tall dodecahedron. When the mirrored sides fold close, those inside will see their myriad reflections amid thousands of programmable star-like LEDs. They will seem to stand at the center of the universe. The fantastic effect will almost certainly inspire awe and provoke thought. Awe at the beautiful symmetry and complexity of the universe, and thought about its mathematical structure and our place inside it.

This very cool sculpture is fascinating on various levels. The Matrix-like chamber provokes questions about the relationship between technology and humanity. The opening pentagonal walls relate to Albrecht Dürer’s 500-year-old mathematical problem concerning the unfolding of polyhedra. Most interesting to me, the mathematical structure of the universe, based on observations of cosmic radiation, is thought to resemble that of a dodecahedron–the shape of Unfolding Humanity. Standing inside the sculpture might in some way help us sense the mysterious structure of the cosmos itself.

This artwork reminds us all that the universe’s existence, and our existence inside it, is ultimately a profound mystery. As the Unfolding Humanity website states: We human beings do not know who we are, and that is who we are.

Today when I attended Unfolding Humanity’s announced debut, I was under the impression the project was completed. But it turns out construction is ongoing. I learned the interactive sculpture should be finished in perhaps a week or so.

Please visit the San Diego Geometry Lab website. You’ll learn more about the artwork’s conception, historical significance and symbolism. You’ll see cool external and internal renderings of Unfolding Humanity based on a computer model, plus an animation of how it will open and close once completed!

Students, faculty and interested visitors watch work being done on Unfolding Humanity during its debut at University of San Diego.
Students, faculty and interested visitors watch work being done on Unfolding Humanity during its debut at University of San Diego.
Exterior panels haven't been attached to this side of the enormous Unfolding Humanity dodecahedron yet.
Exterior panels haven’t been attached to this side of the enormous Unfolding Humanity dodecahedron yet.
Unfolding Humanity, once completed, will make the mystery of human existence in a beautifully mysterious universe come to life.
Unfolding Humanity, once completed, will make the mystery of human existence in a beautifully mysterious universe come to life.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!