Dendrite, Again

Location: Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park, Oxford

Adobe Lightroom actually had trouble importing this image into my library, initially labelling it as a duplicate of the image I took a few days earlier (seen here in Dendrite).

This was the most snow I’ve seen during all my time in the UK and I’m really happy my kids got to experience it too. I also took a couple of short videos while it was snowing heavily from the park bench that was featured in my previous post Two Views).

Snow & Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park, Oxford
Snow & Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park, Oxford

Welcome To The Dark Side

I wanted to try something different for the site and so decided to switch to a darker colour scheme for the time being. The white background from the previous version made reading difficult because of its brightness and strong contrast.

Either that, or my eyes are just getting old…

Mostly I am happy with the new design which is based on the Exford theme from Automattic, although I still need to tweak a few things related to colours and font sizes.

Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments.


Location: Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park, Oxford

Dendrites are cellular projections that function as information-gathering structures in a neuron.

According to PubMed Wikipedia, the word ‘dendrite‘ is derived from the Greek word δένδρον déndron which means “tree”.

Looking at the picture above, it’s not hard to see why neuroanatomists immediately think of trees when they peer at a neuron under a microscope.

See also: Neurons In Nature

Neurons In Nature

I have a lot of photos of trees, more than what a normal person would (should?) have in their collection.

In my defence, trees always remind me of neurons for some reason, and for that very reason I find myself taking photos of them whenever I look up and see the familiar branching patterns.

Take, for example, this image:

Compare that with some of Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s incredible drawings of neurons, like the one that graces the cover of the book ‘A Beautiful Brain’ seen below:

It’s amazing how similar they look, isn’t it?

So whenever you feel tired of looking down at your smartphone, may I suggest looking up every once in a while to admire these ‘neurons’ in our natural surroundings? Just don’t walk into a tree, that’s all!

Disclaimer: This may, or may not, have happened to the author before.

Two Views

I am not a runner. I would much prefer flying my epic 310% speed mount in World of Warcraft going to the gym. The most I’ve ever accomplished in terms of running is probably contributing a couple of points to Sulaiman House after (barely) finishing the annual cross-country event in Kuala Kangsar.

So yeah, running’s not exactly my forte.

Occasionally, however, with much ‘encouragement’ from my lovely wife (thanks dear!), I gather enough motivation to drag my fat ass off the couch, put on my sports shoes, and go out for a run.

And on days like today, when I arrive early enough at the park (which is just next to our house by the way) that there are very few souls around, I am rewarded with glorious views of the landscape bathed in the golden light of the rising sun.

While out on my run this morning, I came across an unoccupied bench in the park and sat there for a while, absorbing the view and appreciating the tranquility around me. I think it’s a shame that in our world today, we seem to have lost any appreciation for the simple act of being alone with our thoughts. Our days are filled with Zoom calls, Spotify playlists, YouTube videos…it’s rare to have a moment of solitude.

But moments of solitude are very important, especially if you get to spend it in nature. They remind us that the world doesn’t revolve around us, that there is something bigger, and more importantly, that the world is in God’s hands.

I like this quote from an article by Andrew Sullivan entitled ‘I Used To Be A Human Being‘:

The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn.

Sitting on that park bench earlier, I couldn’t help but recall these verses from Surah Ali ‘Imran of the Qur’an:

There truly are signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of night and day, for those with understanding, who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth: ‘Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose– You are far above that!– so protect us from the torment of the Fire. 

Surah Ali ‘Imran [3:190-191]