One photo a day until I meet Jonathan Harris

27th May

Lapis lazuli,  cinnabarmalachite, and orpiment: four naturally occurring minerals transported from the four corners of the globe.

Jean-Michel crushes portions of these and combines them with binding agents to create pigments of different colours. He uses these pigments to create his own paintings and to restore ancient tibetan thangkas.

He told me about the Chinese philosophy of calligraphy - the process of dipping the pinceau into the black void of ink and then creating order out of this chaos with a brush-stroke.

Last week Craig Venter announced that he had succeeded in his attempt to create synthetic life. From the perspective of a computer engineer, I find it difficult to communicate the significance of this event.

Venter dipped his robotic brush into an unordered chaos of four 'elements' (adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine) and then wrote a bio-chemical poem that lives and reproduces in the same way that we do.

Admittedly I don't watch much television or read many newspapers, but why did I only stumble upon this announcement by chance?  Why were there so many empty seats at the press conference?

I guess we can't be bothered to rethink philosophy when we have such shiny new toys to play with.