Monday, April 28, 2014

learning from nature | Of Spirals, Shells and... 3D prints

I am always fascinated by the spiral, shape of growth and expansion -but also contraction.  Often shells are shaped as spirals, due to their growth rules, as explained in detail by D'Arcy Thompson in "On Growth and Form". The nautilus shell follows the geometry of the logarithmic spiral. I am particularly intrigued by this shape also for the septa (thin walls) partitioning the internal camerae (chambers) of the shell: the septa are interesting per se as concave-convex surfaces, proposing the spatially ambiguity of surfaces turning inside-out. I have designed and 3D printed several models of shells and nautilus but perhaps this one is my favorite:

Nature is always a great teacher, if we listen to her..

PS More of my shell design can be seen in the Shapeways shop

Saturday, April 19, 2014

on/in the water | Island Views

April 19 2014

My tour du jour had Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet as major land destination. The transportation vessel was the historical (by all means) sailing yacht Southern Cross, which I have been told made it to the 1974 America's Cup final. Unfortunately the sails were down throughout the whole trip but for about twenty minutes. We were told that the winds were not strong enough.

Although a motor driven sailing boat is not the best way to cruise, yet the trip was overall fun and even I got to steer the helm of this old glorious yacht.

Snorkeling was a disappointment, especially after the yesterday glamorous trip to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. We jumped from the boat in proximity of  Hook Island.

I could not see any remarkable fish, but saw geometrically inspiring marine creatures, including, what I believe to be, brain coral, hexactinellid sponges (from Haeckel's illustrations), symmetrically organized algae. Probably the most interesting encounter, at least for a geometry freak as myself, was a recursive tetrahedral sponge, which I cannot locate at first sight in the Haeckel's illustrations of marine organisms.
"The 9th plate from Ernst Haeckel's ''Kunstformen der Natur'' (1904), depicting corals classified as Hexacoralla" retrieved 23 April 2014,  
Whitehaven Beach's postcard beauty kept up to the touristic claims. Setting the camera to panorama was a must to capture by photographs the broad vistas of this stunning encounter between the shimmering white sand with the blue-green water, with hues ranging from aqua to turquoise and deep blue.
My yoga practice at Hill Inlet was an unusual unforgettable experience, especially in practicing headstands and over inversion, with upside-down water-sky-earth perceptions
"Finding the Axis Mundi" yoga flow
I have been using Google Tracks for a good part of the boat trip, which was also promoted a special awareness of my perceptions placed in a geospatial reference system.

The tour was overpriced, considering that there was no sailing, especially compared to my previous trip to the Great Barrier Reef with , where the service was excellent and food was abundant. Yet the Whitsunday Islands are so magical, that any way to get by and around them is always a means to an unforgettable experience.

Friday, April 18, 2014

In the Water | Out in the Great Barrier Reef

April 18, 2014

My 2014 Easter/Rebirth celebration was quite different: a celebration of water and its life in the most beautiful seascape I ever seen: the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.