Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Garden 2020

 iPhone photos of flowers in my garden, starting with the crocus in the spring.

ETA - captions beneath the pix.


Saturday, August 08, 2020

Blocked on Twitter by ....

4. N.N. Taleb - For this tweet. Taleb had tweeted "I myself came to America because of its properties. Preserving them is my duty." My response was:
"I myself came to America because of its properties. Preserving them is my duty." -- i.e., openness to immigration :)
3. C. Christine Fair - for pointing out to her that Sikh dharma is in the "omkaar karma punarjanma" school (and not particularly Islamic).

2. Sadananda Dhume - I don't remember exactly why, but he was stupid and I was rude.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky - pioneer Russian photographer

Photo shows the Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan (1880-1944), p
osing solemnly for his portrait, taken in 1911 shortly after his accession.

Wiki:  Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky August 30 [O.S. August 18] 1863 – September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in colour photography and his effort to document early 20th-century Russia.

Using a railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II, Prokudin-Gorsky traveled the Russian Empire from around 1909 to 1915 using his three-image colour photography to record its many aspects. While some of his negatives were lost, the majority ended up in the U.S. Library of Congress after his death. Starting in 2000, the negatives were digitised and the colour triples for each subject digitally combined to produce hundreds of high-quality colour images of century-ago Russia.

The Library of Congress collection of Prokudin-Gorsky photographs is here. Enjoy!

Friday, July 03, 2020

Melancholy reflections

From this:

America, however, is an utter disaster. Texas, Florida, and Arizona are the newest hubs of contagion, having apparently learned nothing from the other countries and states that previously experienced surges in cases. I stared at my phone in disbelief when the musician Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries.

Using masks to curb the propagation of an airborne virus that makes some people very sick and kills others is not seen as a simple obligation arising from being part of a society.

It is almost as though the demands of being ethical are considered to be a trespass upon freedom.

Which leads to the question - is freedom a means to an end, namely to lead an ethical life and live per one’s conscience; or is freedom an end in itself, and any kind of duty or obligation, no matter how necessary from an ethical perspective, is an encroachment on that freedom?

Friday, June 26, 2020

W.H.O. on alcohol

As a follow-up to this post from 2014, a poster from the World Health Organization.  The message is that much use of alcohol is harmful (and that by putting its ill-effects in numerous buckets, the harm is made to seem less).

In 2016, the harmful use of alcohol resulted in some 3 million deaths (5.3% of all deaths) worldwide and 132.6 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) – i.e. 5.1% of all DALYs in that year. Mortality resulting from alcohol consumption is higher than that caused by diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. Among men in 2016, an estimated 2.3 million deaths and 106.5 million DALYs were attributable to the consumption of alcohol. Women experienced 0.7 million deaths and 26.1 million DALYs attributable to alcohol consumption.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Cherry Parfait - May 26 - June 2

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Creeping Phlox - May 2

The permanent end of normal times.

Even just a few years ago, when mowing the lawn, I'd be making bees flee from their buzzing round the clover.  No pesticides, no herbicides in my yard, lots of nectar-bearing flowers, clover continuing to proliferate in the lawn - but where are the bees?  Oh, to be at the risk of a bee sting!

For that matter, where are the squirrels?  The "green acres" behind my house are empty; and not one squirrel shows up to eye the bird-feeders.   (What is new is a pair of chipmunks.).

My little pond got one froggy visitor last year.  None so far this year.

I think just like people in the red states seem oblivious of the COVID-19 virus, or at best, "oh, its just like the flu", humanity is sleepwalking through an ecological crisis; but will be suddenly woken up to the unsustainability of what it is doing.  Unlike our other crises, there is no November 3rd election day, or new vaccine or treatment that hold out the possibility of life going back to normal.