Monday, August 14, 2006

Baby Rose

Introducing "Baby Rose". She's the latest in my "Flower Children" series - isn't she sweet? This design will be featured on new products in my shop, Tickled Pink Designs, later today or tomorrow when I can get the chance. I have added quite a few new designs to my shop (for those of you who haven't looked lately). Don't forget to check out my prints, posters and greeting cards! By the way, I have a discount coupon in my store that I believe is expiring today - I'm not allowed to put it in my blog, evidently, so you must look in Tickled Pink Designs.I hope you all enjoy the display of Mount Etna and Tungurahua that was just posted this morning (due to me not realizing that my last post was not published). I found it totally fascinating and thought the volcano sounded very classical!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mother Earth Sings

Volcanoes may reveal secrets through 'song'

Active volcanoes are being made to "sing" by researchers who convert seismic data into frequencies audible to human ears. Although the volcanoes are unlikely to sell many records, the technique could make it easier to detect patterns that warn of an eruption.

High-powered computers are being used to convert seismic readings from Mount Etna in Sicily and Tungurahua in Ecuador into audible rumbles, roars, beeps, and even piano music.

The technique, known as "sonification", is used to help people detect patterns in complex data. Research has shown that people find it easier to detect patterns audibly rather than visually. While the eye can quickly become confused by visual representations of very complex data, the ear is very good at sorting patterns from random noise.

"The human ear is a logorithmic device. It's much more sensitive than the human eye," says Roberto Barbera, a physicist at the University of Catania in Italy. "We can figure things out that we couldn't otherwise." Barbera and colleagues at the University of Salerno, Italy, have been working at sonifying the data from Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Recently they added information from the Ecuadorian volcano.

Avant-garde piano
Sonification is very computer intensive, so the researchers used the European GEANT2 and Latin American ALICE-RedCLARA research computer networks to process the information.

The researchers have made the volcanoes sound like heavy wind outside the window in one case, like a powerful engine idling in another. They also mapped the sounds onto MIDI piano, resulting in some avant-garde-sounding pieces. Listen to the piano versions of Mount Etna and Tungurahua in action.

Bruce Walker, a psychologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, US, says that a number of researchers are experimenting with sonification to help them analyse complex information. "The auditory system is the best pattern recognition device we have. If you're trying to find patterns in complex, time-varying data, then listening to it is much more effective than looking at it," he says.

Mount Etna and Tungurahua in action.

12:40 10 August 2006, newsservice
Kurt Kleiner


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

School Daze

Are you all ready to send the kiddies off to school? Hard to believe summer is almost over, isn't it. Long, sun-filled lazy days in the sun, trips to the pool or beach with the incumbant sopping wet, sand-encrusted towels and feet, red slurpy splots on tee-shirts, and wet-doggy smells are put away with other joyful summer memories. Its time now to readjust to the new standard:the "school daze". Some children adapt readily, while thinking excitedly of new teachers, new friends, wonderful new subjects to test their scholarly abilities and brand new "so cool" outfits to show off. Others resignate themselves to another school year as just another part of life to endure. Hopefully you don't have the rebellious type of child who will fight as if his or her life is now in danger of extinction! Its a time of adjustment for everyone, and you may find yourself going around in a daze for a few days. This is much harder than daylight-savings-time! Worse than jet-lag! Maybe not quite as bad as the flu! Regardless of how we handle the change, most of us DO adapt - after all, aren't humans known for their adaptability? Soon we'll all be going with the flow again, and summer will remain in our memories as "one of the best ever"!

Buttercup Baby Kids Baseball Jersey

Wired Kids T-Shirt

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Going Polar

Its still summer and it is! This may be the hottest its been all over the nation since 1933! This made me decide to bring out my polar bear print. I'll be putting it on t-shirts today on Cafepress while sitting at my computer under the ceiling fan. I imagine the poor polar bears are thinking about how warm they are, too. They would have to be with the ice melting out from under them! And they can't even take off their winter coats....


Monday, July 31, 2006

In a Hurry and Don't Know Why

This is one of those times when I have too many things to do and not enough time. Of course a song will jump into my head that reminds me of the situation, just as it always does. In this case the song fragment is "I'm in a hurry to get things done....I rush and rush until life's no fun...I'm in a hurry and don't know why...all you gotta' do is live and die...". I'm sure you've all had days like this, too, but life is like that. After a day or two, this streak will hopefully be over and things will calm down a bit (until the next rush anyway).

Here are some funny t-shirts I found on Cafepress. They're sure to make a person laugh things off and realize the relative unimportance of many instances in our lives!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Displaced Homemaker

I have a few minutes to blog this morning while waiting for the people to come and steam-clean our carpet. Its funny how DISPLACED this makes a person feel. We had to move furniture out from the wall, stack things all over on our shelves and tables that somehow have no other place to go, vacuum behind heavy furniture that doesn't get moved very often - etc., etc. I've decided to flee the mess for part of the time and go do some errands, leaving my hubby to deal with the noise, the mess and the smell of the cleaners. I guess I've turned into a real computer geek, hating to leave when I've got so much work I want to do on the computer, yet seeing no need to see my possessions moved around and disordered. It feels like we're about to move, although we are not moving. It makes me think about the victims of disasters - hurricanes, floods, fires, and war - and how traumatic everything becomes when one's life is turned upside down. My heart goes out to these people. My home will be put back into order in a few hours, but theirs may not be for years, or maybe ever.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Insects: Invasion of Thought

With the advent of summer come hordes of marching ants and swarms of flies, mosquitoes and gnats. can be extremely annoying as they whine, buzz, bite and dive-bomb their way into our world with no consideration of anyone's feelings. Our first instinct is usually to run for a fly swatter or a can of "Off". I've been just as guilty as the next person in proudly knocking as many bugs as I could into the next world. They can be really hard to take when they're sucking your life's blood, but killing insects is akin to trying to pick up tons of grain at a time. Insects can multiply much faster than they can be killed off, no matter what new we use against them.

We rarely take the time to reflect on the singular beauty and grace of the insect kingdom and its importance in the scheme of life. We rarely consider insect qualities and what, if anything, we can learn from them. Is it possible that, with a change of viewpoint, insects can become our teachers? As an artist, I've become fascinated by their clean lines and often alien personnas. Some insects have light, feathery wings that glow in the sun with all the colors of the rainbow. They are actually light-weight aerodynamically-sound flying machines! Others have smooth, polished, chitonous exteriors and resemble armored tanks. Many are architectual wonders that are both challenging and fun to draw. As I continue to study insects, their resemblance to helicopters, airplanes, missiles, bombers and even spacecraft begins to increase. Their alien personnas begin to seem more familiar.

Do they also have qualities? Why, of course! Insects definetely have persistence. They have purpose. They know the meaning of teamwork. They are extremely adaptable on any terrain. They push on relentlessly once they have identified their target. Obviously worms got their namesake from somewhere: they can strip the whole countryside of greenery in a matter of weeks. Locusts can swoop down out of the sky in a black cloud of fury, destroying a whole grain crop before your eyes. Flies and ants can strip a carcass to the bone in a matter of minutes.

Insects are not only a destructive force; they are also a creative force. Spiders can spin huge, magnificent webs using nothing but that which comes from inside themselves. Bees, hornets and wasps build hives to rival any ancient palace. Termites build structures as tall as any pyramid if you take into account their diminutive size.

Insects may be food for the birds, but they can also become food for thought. Perhaps what we hate most about them is that they embody the very qualities we don't want to acknowledge within ourselves: they are greedy, they are persistent, they are fruitful and multiply unchecked....they are threatening to overun the earth.

These ideas can be empowering ones if we pay attention to our little teachers. I recall a fragment of an old song which children are taught in school: "just remember that an ant - can't - move a rubber tree plant".... Well, perhaps ONE can not, but the many CAN - if they have but the will and the persistence of insects. Which world dream would YOU like to help create?

Insects at Thyroid Diaries - Bee Happy

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