Saturday, May 29, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Henri Rousseau - The Dream (1910)
- for more Tuesday poems, click here -
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
When I knelt down to pick it, it came away from the soil without any resistance, as though it had landed there rather than burrowed its way up through the earth. It had none of the muscle and weight of our black- or brown-gilled mushrooms and was lighter and more spongey in texture. I brought it inside to photograph (it was beautiful, particularly with those angelic, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth gills and I wanted to make a portrait or two) then emailed the pics to Penelope with the comment that I didn't think I'd be having risotto for dinner. . . I then hopped onto the web to visit New Zealand Fungi a wonderful local hub that celebrates all things 'fungi'. (It also has an excellent list of links to related sites, including The Hidden Forest and this one, All About Mushrooms.) My suspicions were confirmed. This handsome mushroom belongs to Amanita family - probably Amanita karea or Amanita sp. - and is extremely poisonous. . . not deadly like Amanita phalloides, the 'death cap', but capable nevertheless of creating havoc with a person's internal systems, esp. the liver. A minute or two after I'd identified it, Penelope emailed with one emphatic sentence in the subject line - "'SHROOM - DO NOT EAT!"
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
In What is Life? - a book I tend to carry around with me - Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan write -
". . . We and many other animals sleep and wake in cycles that repeat every twenty-four hours. Some ocean protists, dinomastigotes, luminesce when dusk comes, ceasing two hours later. So hooked are they into the cosmic rhythm of the Earth that even back in the laboratory, away from the sea, they know the sun has set. Many similar examples abound because living matter is not an island but part of the cosmic matter around it, dancing to the beat of the universe.
Life is a material phenomenon so finely tuned and nuanced to its cosmic domicile that the relatively minor shift of angle and temperature change as the tilted Earth moves in its course around the sun is enough to alter life's mood, to bring on or silence the song of bird, bullfrog, cricket and cicada. But the steady background beat of Earth turning and orbiting in its cosmic environment provides more than a metronome for daily and seasonal lives. Larger rhythms, more difficult to discern, can also be heard. . . " (pg 240)
". . . Knowledge about the varieties of life on Earth - life which, from pond scum to tigress, is connected to us through time and space - serves to inspire. That excess is natural but dangerous we learn from the photosynthetic process of plants. That movement and sensation are thrilling we experience as animals. That water means life and its lack spells tragedy we garner from fungi. That genes are pooled we learn from bacteria. Modern versions of our ancient ancestors, the protoctists, display versions of the urge to couple, and of our capacity to make choices. Humans are not special and independent but part of a continuum of life encircling and embracing the globe.
Homo sapiens tends to dissipate heat and accelerate organization. Like all other life forms, our kind cannot continue to expand limitlessly. Nor can we continue to destroy the other beings on which we ultimately depend. We must begin to really listen to the rest of life. As just one melody in the living opera we are repetitious and persistent. We may think ourselves creative and original but in those talents we are not alone. Admit it or not, we are only a single theme of the orchestrated life-form. . . " (pg 246)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sunday, May 09, 2010
'. . . Astronomers say they have heard the sound of a black hole singing. And what it is singing, and perhaps has been singing for more than two billion years, they say, is B flat -- a B flat 57 octaves lower than middle C.
The ''notes'' appear as pressure waves roiling and spreading as a result of outbursts from a supermassive black hole through a hot thin gas that fills the Perseus cluster of galaxies, 250 million light-years distant. They are 30,000 light-years across and have a period of oscillation of 10 million years. By comparison, the deepest, lowest notes that humans can hear have a period of about one-twentieth of a second.
The black hole is playing ''the lowest note in the universe,'' said Dr. Andrew Fabian, an X-ray astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy at Cambridge University in England. . . '
Another site referred to this song as our universe's "longest symphony." Yet another referred to the idea that healing properties are inherent in the vibrations emitted by the note B-flat.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Monday, May 03, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Here's news of a terrific global community event that's open to anyone with a digital camera; the countdown is on but the 'click minute' is still a few hours away. Details re; image file sizes and upload instructions can be found on the New York Times site.
"... Journalists are often at their worst when trying to predict the future. But it seems safe to say that many hundreds — if not thousands — of shutters will be released simultaneously on Sunday, May 2, as photographers around the world help Lens create “A Moment in Time”; one single moment in the life of the planet.
That moment will be 15:00 hours in Coordinated Universal Time or U.T.C., the contemporary equivalent of Greenwich Mean Time. In the United States, under daylight time, this would be 11 a.m. on the East Coast, 10 a.m. in the Midwest, 9 a.m. in the West and 8 a.m. on the West Coast. For local times around the world, you can consult this converter from timeanddate.com."
Northern Hemisphere participants will have it easier than those of us in the Pacific. 3.00AM on Monday 3 May is the time we have to be up in order to push our shutter buttons in synch with the rest of the world!
My alarm is set. Proof of this particular pudding will be a photograph posted here a few hours from now. Anyone else keen to join in?