Saturday, June 16, 2018

UP on the Roof

The contents of my conservatory greenhouse are still in the garden.   Compared to yesterday morning, it is very clean outside and in.

How does one clean the outside of a greenhouse?  From the roof!  The little yellow chord in the picture is the water supply.

What is the difference between a conservatory and a greenhouse?  Wikipedia gives us three options:
  • Conservatory (greenhouse), a substantial building or room where plants are cultivated, including medicinal ones and including attached residential solariums
  • Music school, or a school devoted to other arts such as dance
  • Sunroom, a smaller glass enclosure or garden shed attached to a house, also called a conservatory
So greenhouse and conservatory are interchangeable.  

Along the way, I saw that a conservatory and musikgymnasium appear similar.  Musikgymnasiums are in Germany.  In Germany, this term describes one of three types of the most advanced types of German secondary schools.  It sounds similar to the Royal Conservatory of Music - musical education for youth.  The Royal Conservatory is outside the regulated education system in Ontario. Its is an independent institution, although it used to be governed by the University of Toronto.  Its royal charter came from King George VI in 1947.  

Who would be considered its most famous pupil?  Would it be Glenn Gould or Oscar Peterson?  There's a very long list of graduates HERE.  They include Gordon Lightfoot, Diana Krall, Gordon Pinsent, Norman Jewish, and Randy Bachman.  Jeff Healey is listed, but I heard him on his JazzFM show say that he was disgusted by their lack of interest in early Jazz (his specialty), and he left in the first semester.  In his biography it says he received an Honorary Licentiate from the Royal Conservatory of Music. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Buckets and Buckets of Bucket-Lists

We are living longer - by 2030 baby boomers will swell the ranks of age 65 and older from 13 percent to 18 percent.  Genes account for one-fourth to one-third of longevity says the author of the Longevity Project, Howard Friedman. 

The advice for older people involves exercise, eating well, etc.  There are lots of bucket lists too things to do before you die - 20, 50, 100, things - pick a number.

There are even lists of things to do before you are 20 and before you are 12.  I found the 
list from the Globe and Mail for 50 things to do before you're 12. There are twenty of them.
1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild
4. Build a den
5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain
7. Fly a kite
8. Catch a fish with a net
9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Throw some snow
12. Hunt for treasure on the beach
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Go sledging
16. Bury someone in the sand
17. Set up a snail race
18. Balance on a fallen tree
19. Swing on a rope swing
20. Make a mud slide

I enjoyed this list - it reminds me of what it was to be a child - these seem to be things that children think of doing by themselves, without any prompting from adults.  Gathered together, they make a fine summary of what children do with almost nothing, and still have fun.

The list for 100 things to do before you die  seem to mostly involve spending a lot of money - e.g. see the Mona Lisa, visit Stonehenge, visit Brazil, the Grand Canyon, France, sleep in a castle, visit Machu Picchu, The Great Sphinx, and so on. 


Our picture today shows an interesting and most unusual focal point on the Niagara-on-the-Lake garden tour.  I've never seen an iron cross as a focal point in a garden before.   One will occasionally see Celtic crosses - these are a traditional garden element. The close-up of this one had praying angels facing the vertical portion of the cross.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bees Come Done

We think we're the only ones who understand that zero is less than one.  Livescience.com (which brought the exploding rotten fish art story) says that dolphins, African gray parrots and nonhuman primates understand "zero".  And that bees are considered to understand zero - with a brain of less than a million neurons  (compared to our 86 billion neurons).
'The researchers set up two cards, each of which had a set of symbols on them, like triangles or circles. Then, they trained a group of the bees to fly to the card with the lower number of symbols. (The bees quickly learned what the humans wanted them to do to get their delicious, sugary rewards).
The trained bees were then shown a card that was empty versus one that had symbols on it. Without any prior training, the bees flew more often to the empty card — thereby demonstrating that they understood that "zero" was a number less than the others, according to the study, which was published Thursday (June 7) in the journal Science.
Although they flew more often to an empty card than to one that had one symbol on it, it became easier for them to differentiate when the symbols' card increased in number. For example, they more often flew to the zero when the other card had four symbols than when it had one, according to NPR.'

Today's pictures show our newest restaurant in Grimsby - Casa Toscana.  The beautiful turreted house in the middle of the downtown section used to be a real estate office and now is a lively patio/restaurant.  Luca Vitali is pictured with Therese de Grace, the chef previously with The Good Earth.  Now we can savour fine food along with the finest extra-virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar imported from his mother's farm in Tuscany.

I planted the little herb garden for him out in front of the porch. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Don't be Blindsided by Elections!

Yesterday was Ontario's Day in the spotlight.   The world was watching our election.  We are in a similar position as the U.S. election that resulted in Trump's win.  We have a mini-Trump leader in the conservative party. The liberal government has been in power for more than a decade and has performed dismally on all counts, especially the fiscal one.  The New Democratic Party has the possibility of creating a minority government, but has been blind to the fiscal issues at hand and offered to spend, spend, spend. 

There is much despondency voiced by voters.  The Globe and Mail has heard this and the front page has the headline "Your Vote Counts."

How would you vote if you knew what the future held with each candidate?  Or how our decision might impact other jurisdiction voters?

The easy prediction is that it is going to be an exciting evening.  And then what? Our headline from yesterday seems so poignant - don't be blindsided by the future!

So many great stories in the Strasburg Machine Shop - abstracts, small locomotives in repair, and the view out of the shop with the train going by.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Don't be Blindsided by the Future

What a great headline this is today.  It comes from Google's top rated futurist speaker, Thomas Frey.  The query I entered was 10 unanswerable questions.  

Here's how he views things.  His headline is: 10 of Life's Most Unanswerable Questions...that neither science nor religion can answer.  

Here are his 10 questions:

1. Why are there exceptions to every rule? He says everything has exceptions and that exceptions matter because nothing comes with 100% predictability.
2. Why do logic  and reason fail to explain that which is true?
3. Is the universe finite or infinite?
4. Why does anything exist?
5. Why does time exist?  He quotes Albert Einstein's comment:  "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
6. Why do humans matter?
7. Why are humans so fallible?
8. Do human accomplishments have long-term meaning?
9. Why is the future unknowable?
10. What is the purpose of death?

Find all the details on the 10 questions  HERE.  Then hop over to his articles on drone taxis/mini airportsmorphing mannequins20 common jobs in 2040 and so many more topics about the future.  Tom Frey's view of the future is fascinating.  He outlines the opportunities ahead with an inventor's mind. 

And our pictures today?  A wedding couple at Longwood, smiling into the future.