The Two Jakes

The organizers of the Volvox 2017 meeting put together a Volvox trivia quiz, and one of the questions had to do with a 1990 movie in which Volvox had had a cameo appearance. I was stumped. I knew Europa Report was much more recent. I probably didn’t know what Volvox was in 1990, and I don’t think I had seen the movie in question, which turned out to be The Two Jakesa sequel to 1974’s Chinatown

The Two Jakes

Because that’s how dedicated I am, I rented and watched both videos and screen captured the clip in question. Sorry there’s no sound. [somewhat important spoiler below the fold]

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A few more things called “Volvox

I like to document uses of the name “Volvox” that don’t refer to the green algal genus, for example Volvox the shipVolvox the paintDJ Volvox, another DJ VolvoxVolvox the art galleryVolvox the Turkish metal band, and another Volvox band (“one of the most extraordinary bands ever to emerge from Melbourne, or in fact anywhere else”).

Postdoc Katrin Schmidt recently brought a few more to my attention; I’m really not sure if they have anything at all to do with proper Volvox:

The Volvox

Volvox the book.

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As a frequent Amtrak rider, I appreciate this

I have ridden the Empire Builder, the Capitol Limited, the Cardinal, the Sunset Limited, the Crescent, and once as a child the Auto Train all the way from Virginia to Florida. Amtrak doesn’t own most of the rails for these long-haul routes, so freight trains always get priority. Since there’s often only one track, I’ve spent a good bit of time pulled over on a siding and waiting for a freight train to go by in the other direction.

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“…much that was human and natural found no expression.”

Fall of Giants
I discovered Ken Follet only recently, historical fiction not normally being my cup of tea. Right now I’m reading Fall of Giants after enjoying The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. Follet has, I think, a bit of Stephen King’s ability to make you care what happens to his characters, and he plays the long game, with subplots sometimes taking taking generations to play out. Religion plays an important role in his writing, as it must given the setting. His characters include skeptics and true believers, who are inspired by their beliefs to do evil as often as good. Anyway, I thought the last part of this quote might resonate with the godless heathens that frequent this site:

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Volvox the art gallery

Volvox Art Gallery. Image from Art Gallery. Image from

If you’ve ever seen Volvox alive under a microscope, you probably remember it. They are beautiful, huge (relative to most things in a drop of pond water), and seemingly purposeful as they roll across the field of view. Volvox and its relatives have also played important roles in some big scientific and philosophical discussions, such as the evolution of multicellularity, the evolution of cooperation, and the nature of biological individuality. Given all that, it’s probably not too surprising that the volvocine algae, and Volvox in particular, have inspired a lot of art, including paintings,

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Tranquil Roller

Volvox by Aeravi. Oil on canvas.

“Tranquil Roller” by Aeravi. Acrylic on canvas.

I have featured Aeravi’s painting and photography previously, and here’s another example.

If you have Volvox– or volvocine-themed art you’d like to see on Fierce Roller, feel free to send it to me.

EDIT: Aeravi does commissions, so if there’s a painting you’d like her to create, get in touch via her website.