Monday, August 21, 2017

Stratford Swans

How is it that swans are associated with Stratford?  "You can download and read about our pride and joy in the brochure The Swans of Stratford".

The story of the swans started in 1918, and gained fame when Queen Elizabeth II gave six pairs of Mute swans to Ottawa in 1967.  One of the pairs was then given to Stratford.

Read about Clyde, one of the offspring, and his notorious activities. 


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Garage Sale Today

There don't seem to be as many garage sales as a few years ago.  Is that really the case?  Do we sell more stuff on Craig's List and Kijiji now?  I didn't see any statistics, but did find that there is a lot of advice on what to sell, what to buy, when to have it, how to advertise it, what are the top deals and treasures...

Our wonderful plant store, Cole's, is having a parking lot sale very shortly.  Starting at 7:00am!  They have purchased the stock of one of Westbrook Floral's Beamsville location greenhouses  - thousands and thousands of those decorative little plant holders and garden things that you see in shops.  Except this is thousands all at once.   Westbrook is the largest floral greenhouse grower in Niagara.

"In 1959, William Vermeer Sr. founded a small 14,000 square foot greenhouse operation. The early years of production included orchids, cut chrysanthemums, cut roses and sweethearts, cut lilies and carnations as well as a few potted plants. From these humble beginnings, Westbrook has expanded to become the large complete floral wholesaler we are today. Growing in over 1.5 million square feet of greenhouse space and 250,000 square feet of production and office space Westbrook services customers all over North America."

What made Westbrook sell off this inventory?  Westbrook made the headlines when it recently sold one of its greenhouse facilities to Up Cannabis Inc., who will be growing medical marijuana.  The article is HERE.  I've heard stories of greenhouse growers who are planning to convert to medical marijuana - I hope it isn't so.  I would hate to lose our only producer of Medenilla plants and  one of our major Kalanchoe producers.

The major difference, of course, is security.  I was told by one of the Vineland Research staff that security is a greater cost than plant production.

“What we need to do at that site is add in the proper security,” said Wilgar. In order to adhere to Health Canada’s tight security regulations for marijuana production, they will have to install hundreds of cameras, a laser detection system, a vault to hold the finished product and more."

I guess I won't be asking to take pictures in a laser detection facility with hundreds of cameras.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Thought Express

What are racing thoughts? What speed should thoughts be?  Wikipedia tells us that racing thoughts is an expression that refers to the rapid thought patterns that often occur in manic, hypomanic or mixed episodes.  And I just expected to find out that sometimes we think fast and other times slower.  Instead the articles are about calculating how fast we think.

The website "The Conversation" (Academic rigour, journalistic flair) has an article on the speed of thought. This article says that a given thought can be generated and acted on in less than 150 ms.  This article identifies a 'thought':

"For our purposes, a “thought” will be defined as the mental activities engaged from the moment sensory information is received to the moment an action is initiated. This definition necessarily excludes many experiences and processes one might consider to be “thoughts.”"

"In sum, although quantifying a single “speed of thought” may never be possible, analyzing the time it takes to plan and complete actions provides important insights into how efficiently the nervous system completes these processes, and how changes associated with movement and cognitive disorders affect the efficiency of these mental activities."

Here's a great question on the internet:
Is the speed of my thoughts/imagination, faster than the speed of light?

And here's a fact:
According to a particular study it was seen that close to 99% of the thoughts in a human mind tend to be repetitive, with just 1% left for any original or new thought.

We're into the month of August and I found this  abstract interpretation of the restaurant August's sign, along with some abstracts from a restaurant ceiling in Toronto.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

August Vacations

I don't think of August as a travel month.  I get the impression the travel industry thinks the same:  the articles give a few examples, and then skip ahead to September and autumn.  TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards says that the best vacations in the world are:
  • Bali
  • London
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • New York City
  • Barcelona
  • Prague
  • Phuket
  • Dubai
These all look like expensive vacations.  Back in 2012, the Globe and Mail had an article on how much is too much to spend on a yearly vacation?
The article says that Canadian should allocate no more than 4 per cent of their after-tax income to yearly vacations.

According to American Express, the average vacation expense per person in the United States is $1,145 per person or $4,580 for a family of four.  "In the States, financial experts suggest that the average family vacation costs between 5-10% of total income.  If your family makes $40,000 per year then experts say your yearly family vacation budget should average between $2,000-$4000." That's double what the Canadian article recommended to Canadians.

It doesn't seem like there's an intersection between a trip to London and taking pictures of clouds as vacation activities. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Primed for Faces

The BBC covered the topic of finding faces in the most unexpected places:  "It's not often that you look at your meal to find it staring back at you.  But when Diane Duyser picked up her cheese toastie, she was in for a shock. “I went to take a bite out of it, and then I saw this lady looking back at me,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “It scared me at first.”  As word got around, it soon began to spark more attention, and eventually a casino paid Duyser $28,000 to exhibit the toasted sandwich. For many, the woman’s soft, full features and serene expression recalls famous depictions of the Virgin Mary."  The 2014 BBC article is here.  I don't know if the sandwich is still preserved.

 I find human depictions in various places.  Today's are relics of the water - crackled buoys and prove the BBC statement that we are primed to see faces in every corner of the visual world.