Friday, October 20, 2017

Pi in the Face

Would you like a full year of fun holidays, silly and funny days?

Today is International Sloth Day.  Sunday October 22nd is Caps Lock Day. There are many  sites claiming to have funny days - for example, daysoftheyear.com says that today is Information Overload Day. Most of the sites have today as Brandied Fruit Day.

I wanted to find a really "Special" Day  and Huffington Post delivered on this:
"That's the case with Pi Day, which commemorates the mathematical constant 3.14 (ad infinitum) on March 14 (3/14).
Pi Day was inaugurated in 1988 by Larry Shaw at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, where he worked as a physicist before his retirement.
"Larry has a wonderful, quirky sense, and he realized that March 14 was 3/14, and we could celebrate the transcendental number pi," says Ron Hipschman, an educator at Exploratorium. "Then his daughter realized it was also Einstein's birthday."
Pi, which expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle, is an irrational number approximated by Archimedes and other mathematicians going back more than two thousand years ago.
For scientists of all stripes who deal with formulas, pi has an almost magical power. It has an infinite number of digits that never repeat in any kind of pattern. Computer calculations so far have taken it out to about 30 trillion digits and counting.
"The normal way we celebrate Pi Day is we do all kinds of pi- and circular-related events at the Exploratorium," says Hipschman, who helps co-ordinate the day's activities. Over the years, those events have included pizza-pie tossing contests, pie fights and pi digit memorization recitals, as in 3.14159 ... and onwards.
A Pi Shrine was built at the top of a cylindrical building on the grounds of the interactive science museum and a brass plaque was installed honouring the number.
"At 1:59, we have a pi procession where everybody carries a digital pi on a pie plate attached to a beater stick through the Exploratorium, up to the Pi Shrine, where we circumambulate the Pi Shrine 3.14 times while singing 'Happy Birthday' to Albert Einstein," he says.
"And then we eat pie!"
These two buildings are from a visit to Kingston last August.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Surfacing Attention

Surfaces and Textures are an interesting theme for photography.  There are so many kinds of surface structures, details, shapes, and textures as the subject of the image. The photographer's task is to showcase the surface and texture itself.  
There are so many places to find these - everywhere - in the grain patterns of wood, the surface of stones, crystals of snow and ice, water, fabric, metal, leaves, sand, woven objects, clouds.  Included are urban decay surfaces such as rust and decay where scratches and dents create surface structure, texture, detail, and colour. Textures can occur at all level – including aerial photography and landscape views.
The types of surfaces and textures include: rough, ragged, gritty, bumpy, spiky, sharp, fuzzy, slimy, slick, slippery, smooth, soft, silky, scaly, coarse, burl, knot, slub, abrasive, scratchy, shaggy, bristly, prickly, spiny, thorny, burnished, glossy, polished, powdery, and fine grain.

So I went to two of my own portfolios to see what was there - Surfacing Attention and Nature's Impressions - and clipped the thumbnail image displays.  We see the array of surfaces and textures all around us.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What has no surface?

I have 2 sales sites - Redbubble and Fine Art America.  You can purchase a diverse range of products on these sites.  There are traditional art prints in paper, canvas, and metal, and then a series of home-based products such as pillows, duvet covers, and more such as clothing.  There are new products with high quality printing coming out all the time.

One of the things I enjoy at Redbubble is hosting a few groups.  They are based on themes - gardens, flowers, Canadian artists, etc.

The group Surfaces and Textures has an abstract theme - it is 'about' the surface and texture of things around us, with the focus of the image the surface itself.  Today's pictures are the surfaces of wood trunks found in Santa Fe.  These are trees outside the range of our northern forests.

I realize we don't have images of air by itself.  It is the great invisible - gasses cannot form a free surface on their own. 
Can you imagine the thing that is all around us cannot be photographed except in the presence of a liquid or solid?  Images of air on the internet are ,pictures of the sky with clouds, the sun, sunset, etc. 

This will make a great challenge for the group - this contest functionality - where I set up a theme with a defined time for submission of entries, then voting on the entries, with a winner and top ten displayed at the end.   I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Halloween History - 94,000,000

There are 94,000,000 results for the search halloween history.  This is a sizeable number.  Halloween is very popular - Christmas history has 179,000,000 results, likely the most popular celebration search.  However, my search results seem uninteresting, so let me turn to the rich history of the land that the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, sits on.

The Royal Botanical Gardens sit on an ancient gravel sandbar known as Burlington Heights.  This land feature was created millions of years ago by Lake Ontario's predecessor lake, Lake Iroquois.  Burlington Heights was a significantly sizeable 'sand bar' created by this lake. Lake Iroquois's shoreline came through Toronto just a few blocks north of my house at Royal York.  Looking at the 'approximate location map', I expect my brother's back garden at Royal York and Eglinton is part of the shoreline - it is a sandy hillside.


Burlington Heights separates Cootes Paradise Marsh on the west from Hamilton harbour on the east.  It has been a gathering place for thousands of years. Archeological discoveries date from 1000 to 800AD at Princess Point, and it was thought the settlements were from 400BC to 1000AD.

Cootes Bay was identified as a bird paradise by Europeans - typically the quote is 'enjoyable for naturalists and sportsmen alike'.  One of the most famous paintings of Cootes Bay is by Elizabeth Simcoe, wife of the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Simcoe.  It is dated 1796. It is repeatedly described as a paradise, and eventually became part of the name.

This area had the largest number of bird species ever found in one place. It is still home to the highest concentration of plant species in Canada.  Everything was in abundance: it was designated a fish sanctuary by 1874, and became a formal provincial game sanctuary in 1927.  


Coyotes Bay gave us nature's abundance, and Halloween gives us the weird and wonderful. This picture comes from the toy store window in Santa Fe - the quote is one of the versions of "Most everyone is made here" - by the cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

How Not to Dress on Halloween

School rules have already established that no 'terrorists' or 'pocahotties' will be allowed. Educational institutions in Toronto are releasing the 'no' list of costumes.  You can read advice on 'how not to be a jerk' this Halloween.  Security will screen costumes at college parties.

There are 14 offensive Halloween costumes in the goodhousekeeping.com article.  Included are eating disorder costume, adult flasher costume, homeless person, the twin towers in flames, black face, and don't forget the 'adult fat stripper piggyback costume' which is new for 2017.

Good Housekeeping somehow omitted the 15th most offensive costume.  Huffington Post asks why would you dress up as Donald Trump - 'a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther for Halloween?'


What would make the news outlets - CNN, CBC, Huffington Post - and more give so much advice? These news organizations cover the news and that includes the newsworthy offensive Halloween costumes every year.The offensive costumes make the news because they are worn by Hollywood celebrities.  All of the above have been worn by celebrities - terrorist, eskimo, black face, Cecil the Lion, deceased football coach, sexy Indian, sexy Japanese geisha, and so on.  

Our pictures today are from Santa Fe's street curbs with their different colours for parking and stopping, etc.