The Buried Rainbow

The Buried Rainbow

His mind is a graveyard of memories
of young and beautiful faces,
utopian dreams,
transformative art
unseen in this island world of blind cyclopses
bumbling into each other with hurtling ambition
in the shadowed canyon bottoms.
He tosses pearls of protein, lipids and carbohydrates
on the frozen ground, and they erupt
as fluttering clouds of rock doves
rising into the clear air
to wheel about the shafts of light
streaming onto the canyon walls,
and carrying his gaze up into
the buried rainbow of an undiscovered country,
where fields of energy emanate
from fingertips of generosity
to unfurl a mesh of loving care
that cradles a race of poets.

25 January 2015


DEP Micro-device 2D Electric Field

I used to have the ambition of being an “artistic scientist,” a physicist and engineer aiming to produce scientific findings that were both useful and elegant, and which I would present in as beautiful a manner as I was able. The type of beauty I sought is a combination of logical simplicity, mathematical elegance, some range and depth of insight provided by the ideas, all communicated with visual and literary crispness in my written reports and other presentations.

I achieved this ideal, to my own satisfaction at least, a few times during my scientific career. One of those proud achievements is my model of the electric field in dielectrophoretic (DEP) micro-devices.

My original report “The 2D Electric Field Above A Planar Sequence Of Independent Strip Electrodes” is available below (a link to a PDF file). The report is dated 4 October 1999, and lists two authors; the second author is the patron who paid my salary during the months I worked on this project.

This paper was sent to a journal and subsequently published, but with egregious errors introduced by the journal’s editors, who “simplified” my math for publishing convenience. Months after I pointed this out to them, they issued an errata. The combination of the published paper and the errata (showing correct formulas) did not include many of the illustrations I had produced for my original report (Version 1), and which I think would help anyone actually thinking of using my mathematical model of DEP electrostatics.

So, this blog entry is similar to the case of a former artist who pulls out an obscure and favorite painting of theirs from storage in an attic or basement, dusts it off, and hangs it up on the wall so he can look at it again, and remember how good it felt to make.

A second report (an excerpt in PDF form) describes how use of the electrostatic model could assist in the development of DEP micro-devices (which are used in DNA sequencing technology).

DEP Device Diagram

DEP Device Diagram

DEP 2D Math Beauty

DEP 2D Math Beauty

DEP 2D Model Version-1

DEP 2D Model & micro-devices



Footprints In The River, Handprints On The Sky

Footprints In The River, Handprints On The Sky

My life is as dewdrops on a lotus leaf
spread above the quiet of Walden Pond,
disappearing slowly, inexorably, in the warmth of the sun
birthing an unending present – my unknowable future;
evaporating my sufferings
into the buzz of hummingbird wings
and the laughter of children playing,
no different today than in the days of Pericles and Gautama,
and certainly no different in those days to come
when my forgotten name will be half as old as theirs.
The American Ryokan, the Japanese Thoreau,
how glad I am of their gifts,
examples of living by principle –
content, enlightened, generous, humane, calm, funny,
engaging me with their words
the way their living engaged their neighbors,
waking so many from torpid lives of expediency
by the sheer force of example –
without exhortation,
their tangible traces, now, pure art.
And when I am gone what will be my legacy?:
the impish glee of a child laughing on the swings,
hands furrowing the warmth of the sand,
plunging through sweet air reaching for the higher bar,
watching ripples of light on the water.

24 November 2002

Hello Void, A Thanksgiving Message

This is a country of very ignorant selfish people who are being exploited by very smart selfish people. I can’t do anything to change that, but I don’t have to help it along, either. I can forgo getting the best possible deal at the lowest possible price with the least amount of thought.

I don’t talk politics during the holiday season, at family gatherings, or basically ever. People believe what they want to believe, and facts don’t matter. Challenging people’s beliefs only upsets them and drives them into bunkers of defensiveness. By adolescence, people don’t change, certainly not because of what others tell them. Any change of thinking and attitude is purely a result of responding to life’s traumatic experiences, and such change is rare even when the traumas are regular.

All talk of universal cooperativeness: world socialism, population control, decarbonizing industrialization to prevent climate change, and similar visions of worldwide social justice and economic equity are fantasies never to be achieved. Individual selfishness will always trump social responsibility, satisfying immediate desires will always trump achieving long-term social improvement, confident willful ignorance will always stymie hesitant and deliberate thoughtfulness and understanding.

The fear for human extinction caused by climate change, overpopulation and nuclear war, which is increasingly expressed by intelligent, socially conscious long-range thinkers, is beyond permanent relief. This fear springs from a deep-seated belief that humanity must endure eternally, that it cannot be allowed to pass away. But why? The history of life on earth is one of species emerging, evolving and fading away. Extinction is the rule, the average lifespan of species on earth is a few million years.

A human lifetime is too brief an instant for any individual to have any impact on the course of humanity’s drift toward extinction. It is true that some individuals find themselves in positions of immense temporal power and are able to initiate, or halt, genocidal events. However, the power to cause rapid human extinction is beyond any single individual. The intentional rapid extinction of humanity requires the cooperative madness of many individuals engaged in launching the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons in one apocalyptic world war. Individual selfishness is one deterrent to the selfless cooperative attainment of this radioactive crescendo of extinction.

A better response by socially conscious people, to the realization of humanity’s drift toward extinction as a mass of insular selfish individuals ensconced in their little logic and fantasy bubbles that are opaque beyond close-in personal horizons, is to make their face-to-face interactions as compassionate, honest, honorable and calming as is reasonable given the circumstances. Obviously, sometimes conflict is necessary and right, but one tries to minimize that. This is “being peace” as Thich Nhat Hanh has written about so eloquently.

You as a living experience are peace for your own well being in the here and now, and as a socially conscious expression of solidarity with whatever individual human being you are dealing with at the moment, because you recognize the same spirit of life in them as in you, and because you realize that every other person is a bundle of largely unseen and unknowable mental fears and psychological conflicts – just as you have, largely unseen by the rest of humanity.

Be peace because that is what you can do. Forget about saving humanity, you can’t do it, it can’t be done, and it doesn’t matter. Before you were here, while you are here, and after you are gone, the universe is.


Siboney — Español-English

Ernesto Lecuona (1896-1963) published his classic Cuban song Siboney in 1929. It has been sung and played by many many performers since, in a multitude of styles.

Ernesto Lecuona was a contemporary of George Gershwin (1898-1937), and both played similar roles in the development of the music of their respective countries, Cuba and the United States. They were each classical musicians, piano virtuosos and brilliant composers, who brought Afro-American strains of folk music characteristic of their countries — son cubano and jazz, respectively — into musical theater works (zarzuelas and musicals, some considered as operas today), piano concertos, works for solo piano, and many songs.

Siboney is a song that has said “Cuba” to the ears and hearts of listeners around the world since 1929, in the same way that George Gershwin’s Summertime has infused listeners with a sense of Mark Twain’s America since 1935. These aren’t national anthems, they’re better, they are the songs of the soul.

Siboney (1929)
(música y letras de Ernesto Lecuona)

yo te quiero,
yo me muero
por tu amor.
en tu boca
la miel puso
su dulzor.

Ven a mí,
que te quiero,
y que todo tesoro
eres tú para mí.

al arrullo
de la palma
pienso en tí.

de mi sueños,
¿si no oyes la queja de mi voz?

si no vienes,
me moriré de amor.

de mi sueños,
te espero con ansia en mi caney,

Porque tú
eres el dueño
de mi amor, Siboney.

Oye el eco
de mi canto
de cristal,
no se pierda
por entre el rudo


(a poetic translation of Ernesto Lecuona’s lyrics)

how I want you,
I would die to
have your love.
honey’s sweetness
from your lips wings
like a dove.

Come to me,
I who love you,
my treasure, and want you
as close to me as can be.

breezes whisper,
as palms murmur
thoughts of you.

my dreams call out,
can’t you hear my voice for you all about?

if you don’t come
I’ll die with your love away.

with tides dreaming
in my hut awaiting you anxiously.

You alone
are that person
who owns all my love, Siboney.

Hear the echo
of my song so
crystal clear.
Don’t lose your way
in the shadows of
swamp night fear.


Eduardo Brito (1931)
[The recording that made Siboney a hit, sung by an excellent baritone; a superb rendition: full, flowing, tuneful, without distracting affectations or showiness. Classic.]

Lecuona plays Siboney (1954)
[Ernesto Lecuona plays Siboney on the piano. Perfection.]

Plácido Domingo (1984)
[The Caruso of our time gives us the ultimate Siboney. Plácido finishes the song at 3:35 (minutes:seconds) but the video continues in silence for another 51 seconds with a slide show of photos of Plácido. (I list it here because the sound is good.)]

Grace Moore (1937)
[Grace Moore unfurls her high soprano voice with a Siboney aimed right at Cary Grant in the 1937 movie When You’re In Love.]

Alfredo Kraus (1982)
[Alfredo Kraus was a lyric tenor with a sparkling and powerful voice. This recording has nice sound and is accompanied by a slideshow of scenes of the Canary Islands — one can imagine Cuba from them — and historical notes on both Lecuona and Kraus, who each had roots in the Canary Islands.]

Xiomara Alfaro (1950s)
[An Afro-Cuban coloratura sings Siboney in this video from a TV broadcast.]

Los Sabandeños (2012)
[A big chorus! A slideshow of photos of the beach called Siboney, in the province of Santiago de Cuba in southeastern Cuba, accompanies the music; there are also historical notes.]

Concha Buika (2013)
[A black Afro-Cuban propulsive jazz rendition with a smokey/raspy?-voiced singer.]

Aurelio Gabaldón (2007)
[A video of Siboney performed at this tenor’s recital (in Spain?). He did a nice job.]

Charlie Musselwhite, with Eliades Ochoa & Cuarteto Patria (1999)
[Charlie Musselwhite riffs harmonica blues on Siboney, in the company of guitarist Eliades Ochoa and his Cuarteto Patria.]


Lessons For Life

Learn how to fail gracefully,
success is rare and failure most likely.

Do not put off what is in you to do.
Do not let death overtake you,
having denied yourself by submission
to obligation.

Sabor a mí — Español-English

Sabor a mí was written in 1959 by the Mexican agricultural engineer and songwriter Álvaro Carillo Alarcón (1921-1969).

Sabor a mí (1959)

Tanto tiempo disfrutamos de este amor
Nuestras almas se acercaron tanto así
Que yo guardo tu sabor
Pero tú llevas también
Sabor a mí.

Si negaras mi presencia en tu vivir
Bastaría con abrazarte y conversar
Tanta vida yo te di
Que por fuerza tienes ya
Sabor a mí.

No pretendo ser tu dueño
No soy nada yo no tengo vanidad
De mi vida doy lo bueno
Soy tan pobre, ¿qué otra cosa puedo dar?

Pasarán más de mil años, muchos más
Yo no sé si tenga amor la eternidad
Pero allá, tal como aquí
En la boca llevarás
Sabor a mí.

A Taste of Me
(a translation of Álvaro Carillo’s lyrics for Sabor a mí)

We had spent so much time savoring our love,
Our souls came so close together and yet stayed free,
Tasting still how you would love,
As you too must also have
A taste of me.

If you now negate my presence from your life,
Hugs and conversation now and then’s alright.
I know you have come to be
Infused indelibly with
A taste of me.

Not pretending that I own you,
I am nothing, and I have no vanity.
Giving what good in life I do,
As I’m so poor what else do I have to give you?

A thousand years must pass at least, and even more,
I do not know if love is in eternity,
Whether there or here where you may be
Your lips will always savor
A taste of me.


Álvaro Carrillo (1960s)
[The composer sings his song, accompanying himself on the guitar (a sound recording). Completely endearing.]

Alvaro Carrillo: Amor mio, Un poco mas, Sabor a mí (1960s)
[A video of a TV show with Álvaro Carillo performing a medley of three of his own compositions, accompanying himself on guitar. Absolutely precious.]

Eydie Gormé & Trio Los Panchos (1964)
[Eydie Gormé’s biggest hit, and the recording of Sabor a mí that brought the song into popular consciousness worldwide. This particular posting of the recording has good stereo sound, and video of Eydie singing; also extensive notes on Eydie. Eydie’s big, sunny and warm singing style blends perfectly with the refined ensemble guitar playing (and singing) by Los Panchos, to produce an irresistible rendition of Sabor a mí. It is both of its time and ageless.]

Gustavo “Pájaro” Ogara & Ximena Bedó (2013)
[One guitarist and one singer, perfection in its simplicity, sencillo y así puro. Very nice guitar playing by Gustavo “Pájaro” Ogara, and very nice singing by Ximena Bedó.]

Cover Estereo Son (2012)
[I like this trio of young musicians: Voz – Karen Mondragón, Bajo – Wilfredo Vinasco, Synth – Jhonatan Herrera. Karen’s singing is expressive, honeyed and brisk (contralto?). Both Wilfredo and Jhonatan are very adept at their instruments. The group produces a unified uncluttered sound that moves gracefully through their performances: modern (youthful enthusiasm in a streamlined format), warm, moving and polished. I wish them success. I liked their Lágrimas Negras, which is how I first heard them.]

Guadalupe Pineda (1980s-2000s?)
[A refined production, large though graceful, framing Guadalupe’s bell-like tones.]

Javier Solis (1960s)
[El rey del bolero ranchero. Silky smooth and sentimental.]

Los Lobos (1990s-2000s?)
[“Just another band from East L.A.” But one of the best. This performance is both solid and elegant; urban, unpretentious, sincere and aware of its roots. Sabor a mí is a guitar player’s delight.]

Classico Latino (2012)
[Performed at the Teatro Colsubsidio in Bogotá, Colombia, June 2012. Elegant and polished, with piano, violin, cello, conga drums, guitar and electric bass, all backing soprano Eirini Tornesaki.]

Beatriz Marquez (2007)
[Beatriz Marquez, a long-established Cuban singer from a musical family (at least 3 generations), plays the piano as she sings Sabor a mí, accompanied by guitar and percussion. A live performance at an Italian restaurant in Cuba, captured on video by a tourist.]

Manoella Torres (1980s-2000s?)
[A soft velvety rendition, something for an evening on the Riviera in tux and gowns. Born in New York City of Puerto Rican parents, Manoella Torres moved to Mexico as a child and lives there still. She was first recorded for discs in 1966, as a twelve-year old. In 1971, she signed with Columbia Records, and launched the career that continues today.]

Maridalia Hernandez (1980s?)
[Smooth melodious alto (?) from Santo Domingo, in a gently lush production.]

Laura Fygi (1990s-2000s?)
[A beautiful rendition, slow silky smooth sensuousness without sloppiness, but a bit of crackle on the sound recording.]