Symmetry in Art and Science
I don’t have a huge body of work compared to other artists. Nor are my artworks stylistically consistent. But many of the paintings are symmetric in some way. A few friendly fellow artists have asked about that and I’ve never really had a satisfying answer. I think now that some time has passed, the answer is clearing up for me. I like symmetry because I am a scientist.
I like symmetry because as a scientist I want things to balance. I.e. I want things to “add up”. I.e. I want things to be accountable. In art I actually don’t seek that, yet when I work with the “muse”, some pieces just come out that way. But why would anyone NOT want things to balance in science and other accountable fields, such as for example, virus epidemiology? Here’s a good example of my attention to symmetry in epidemiology.
I was working on the data in order to follow up from some funded work and transform some findings into a scientific paper for peer review. Then I became distracted by the symmetries from some of the Covid-19 and Influenza data. There are several interesting if not concerning symmetries in this image. I’ll follow up in this very post (or another) at a later time. If you think you can see at least two, then congratulations. Just reach out if you need to understand more. I can at least add that although the graphs have some symmetry, that is actually because the underlying epidemiological surveillance doesn’t add up. Many aspects of my study involved some discussions with some other health scientists, and I’m sorry to share, much like this chart, the answers haven’t always added up.
The practice of science is in many ways, about this actually very healthy, obsessive-compulsive desire to get to the truth of something. And again, that means getting things to add up. When I engage with a scientist who tells me such and such explains this or that about Covid-19 or Climate Change, I will actually check their claims. And I expect them to check my notions. When their claims don’t balance with other things I know, or when they don’t seriously check and cognify my scientific indications, then the scientific processes don’t happen.
When these simple things that all working scientists are supposed to take for granted, don’t happen, then perhaps it is because on a meta – scale, things don’t add up. Often I can only guess that politics provides the missing explanatory pieces. But even then, politics is about self-correction. So if self-corrections don’t emerge, something even more disturbing must be behind political imbalance. Some of the foundation of all of our lives is accordingly, not adding up.
I probably don’t need to cite examples but perhaps the recent Covid-19 relief bill is a good one. Naturally the bill adds to our massive fiscal deficit, so it is another imbalance. Also, if you noticed that chart above, the CDC and other health care professionals cannot explain why half a million influenza cases were redefined as Covid-19 cases. And no media person will ask. Yet we all must now take more vaccines, on top of the flu vaccines.
We only receive vaccines for four influenza strains each year in part apparently because of the added physical risks from receiving more than 4 antigens through a needle. Also the health scientists have long noted the reduced efficacy against any flu when more than 4 strains are targeted. Even that is a bit of a stretch because the efficacy of any particular flu vaccine alone or in combination with others is typically barely 50%. That means to me at least that they haven’t emerged above the high bar of the Null hypothesis. And that means so much that I dare not say, but I do encourage you to explore on your own and with any epidemiologist who will recognize you.
Covid-19 is also an extraordinarily close cousin to the Common Cold. Yet there are no vaccines for the Cold. Vaccines for the Cold have been tried, but they’ve led to some serious complications. Nor have they shown any efficacy. Researchers often deflect from these failures and complications and instead argue about “too many varieties” of Cold to battle through the use of vaccines. Yet there are arguably too many varieties of both influenza and Cold viruses to merit vaccinating only against a few strains. Symmetry and transparency would be welcome in this health direction.
I have explored other directions related to Covid-19 testing. According to a few responses to me from some experts, Covid-19 and the Influenza numbers are not mutually exclusive. Please chew on that for the rest of your now unnaturally vaccinated life, if you have the stomach for it.
When it comes to symmetry in art, my connections are often more related to earth sciences. The featured piece at the top (photographed twice by switching the diptych canvases) was inspired by a streetscape in London and a canyon-scape in Southern New Mexico. A canyon that was once occupied by cliff-dwellers. And so several aspects seemed related enough to me to merit the work. I can add that both frames were based on random photos that I took while at each site.
I painted the acrylic museum piece below* at the same time as the diptych above, and I ensured that I finished both on exactly the same day. So I guess more obsessive-compulsive symmetry there. And although these had a message or two, they were really more about my own interest to explore how landscape paintings can change and stay the same in many different ways.
Yes this painting is somewhat about drought. And there are many auxiliary climate notions which don’t appear to balance with observations. I just wrote a piece about the AMOC, an assertion involving the Arctic ice cap and the currents of the oceans. I have my views of why this asymmetric AMOC pattern doesn’t add up, and yet the AMOC researchers have their own debates, much like the Scholastics of old who knew more than anyone else apparently, and sagely argued with each other how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.
To make the AMOC presentable, many Atlantic Ocean symmetries have been banished from scientific recognition. The radially symmetric North Atlantic and South Atlantic Gyres? Canceled. The bilateral symmetry of these gyres on either side of the equator? Canceled. The bilaterally symmetric Gulf and Canary Currents? Canceled (although the Gulf stream name was reassigned to a limb of their new monster). The dividing equatorial currents between the symmetric North and South Atlantic Ocean? Canceled. The bilaterally symmetric Brazil and Benguela Currents on either side of the canceled South Atlantic Gyre? Canceled.
All of those magnificently alive ocean swirls and currents were dismembered for their own good, no doubt, and the choicest limbs and organs were scientifically transformed into a Re-Animated monster that has run AMOC. If you don’t believe me, ask Dr. Rahmstorf, the AMOC’s nominal champion, or the UK Met Office, the greatest climate Scholastics of our time. I can speculate more about the AMOC. Researchers are demure about sharing that their models are very poor at predicting anything, even though those models are extraordinarily costly to the public. Therefore, if they can present a controlled narrative of some kind of debate, then regardless of how things turn out, they can say that at least one group got it right.
This is only a semi-satirical blog, so get a life, Dr. Rahmstorf. I’d happily endure satire over cancellation, if that helped to raise greater awareness of these irreproducible monstrosities. But in any case, the Scholastically anchored AMOC debate also enables the most chilling messages to be promoted for every year that the Arctic Ice cap fails to follow the route predicted by their expensive models. That happens every year.
What’s interesting is their apparent belief that whenever Arctic Ice melts, it diminishes and threatens the AMOC. Well, if the AMOC is a primary mechanism of heating of the Arctic, then isn’t ice-melting supposed to happen? How has the AMOC endured since there was an ocean and an Arctic without shutting itself down? In my view it is because the AMOC doesn’t exist, any more than Frankenstein’s monster ever did. But perhaps in their view, we the villagers will believe anything from someone wearing a white lab coat.
*This artwork was blind-juried into a show at the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts. More on this and other artworks at my Art and Science page.
**The gyres do this, with their associated currents actually, and with great logical consistency and scientific reproducibility. But I’ll save that for another post.
Disclaimer: This and all other posts are informal opinion pieces. I am not a health scientist. For what it is worth, I am a climate scientist and the seasonality of influenza and other respiratory viruses is a climate issue as much as a biological health issue.
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