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Category Archives: Science

It is Time to Put an End to the Daily Spectical of Political Theatre in Canada

“We have chosen to help the most vulnerable….”

This scripted line has been repeated by The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, almost every morning for how many weeks now?  I have lost count.

The most vulnerable, the most frail of the elderly, are now dying in their beds.  Not of age, not of COVID-19, of starvation.

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“No Canadian should need to go without food…”

By refusing to hear the pleas of business and press agents, Trudeau is ignoring another vulnerable sector of society.  Businesses.

By handing out money, freely, to workers.  By ignoring the needs of the employers (not the businesses, those are pieces of paper – the employers, the people who run the businesses) you are failing those vulnerable people whose payrolls keep this country running.  It is people who keep the payrolls happening; bi-weekly payroll after bi-weekly payroll.

By supporting only the workers you are almost guaranteeing that there will be little work to go back to.

By not supporting farming in a way that gets qualified people out working on farms, you, Trudeau, are leading us into what could be – famine.

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“The most important people in this country, right now, are the frontline workers!”

Doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance attendants, care aids and janitorial staff are important.  Are they more important than the chemists who put the drugs into their hands to administer to the sick?  Are they more important than the carpenters, brick layers, boilermakers, iron workers, fabricators, boat builders, payroll clerks, realtors, etc.?  Are front line workers more important than the kid at the drive thru window handing out a cup of coffee to a front line worker who just finished a shift?

The frontline workers are very important and need our support.  So is the chain of supply.  That has been broken.  The support that was there to keep hospitals, pharmacies and doctors offices running efficiently has been broken – by those who have taken command.

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“There is a $40,000 loan available to small businesses…”

But, only if there is a payroll.  There is always a way out for the government.  This is an empty promise.  Think about this one.  Where does money come from?  My second year economics professor has been telling every student that passes through his classes the answer to this one.  Simplified – money comes from debt.  More debt, more money…

The money isn’t going out to small businesses until they have built enough debt to sustain a handout.  This is a slippery slope that leads, most often, to mass inflation.

Why the need for a payroll?  I know so many people who have a business that has no employees and no payroll.  They earn enough to support themselves and then, at the end of the year, they pay their taxes.  There is no payroll.  There is no need for a payroll.

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Businesses are failing.  Not just small ones.  The Canada Pension Fund is about to be in serious trouble.  Canada is in trouble.

Canadians need leadership.

Canadians do not need any more of the political theatre that is currently being pumped out in the garden of a 22 room cottage.

 

 

Painters’ Colours, Oils, and Varnishes: A Practical Manual by George H. Hurst, F.C.S. – published in 1892

Painters’ Colours, Oils, and Varnishes: A Practical Manual by George H. Hurst, F.C.S. Published in 1892 by Charles Griffin & Company, Limited, Exeter Street, Strand, London

I love this book and, I want to share some of what is in it, with links, so that the information can be used by artists and people doing various crafts.  The old information is fascinating and, coupled with what is available today – it is usable!  Be safe!  Be careful!  Most of this is not safe for children.  Please, always  keep safety in mind.

IMG_0088As I get going on this little project, I will add excerpts and links below.  Please feel free to comment, add and send links – the more information and the easier it becomes to find it, the better for everyone!

I am going to try to update this post regulary, with more excerpts and more links, as I work my way through this book!

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Chapter I:  Introductory. Colour, Colours, Paints and Varnishes.

from page 4, “Cause of Colour in Coloured Bodies. — The actual reasons why bodies such as vermilion, magenta, or emerald green are coloured, it is almost impossible to investigate in the present state of knowledge, since the cause, whatever it may be, must be due to the molecular construction of the different compounds about which very little is known…”

  • Geology is the key word here.  Geologists have been working to increase our knowledge base of Earth in general and specifically, in this case, our knowledge of pigments. Here is a great place to read about colour, Dust to Dust:  A Geology of Color by Heidi Gustafson  –  if you like playing in the dirt, foraging for rocks and then doing something with them, Heidi Gustafson’s website has some great information in it!

from page 5, “Colour Theories. — Two theories of colour are in use to explain the coloured effects of light.  The old theory… Brewster… The more modern theory, first broached by Young and more fully developed by Helmholtz…”

  • Sir David Brewster’s (1871-1868) work on colour theory is from the 1830’s.  His work “On a new analysis of solar light” was written in 1831 and published by Charles Tait, and Bell & Bradfute; and T. Cadell, London.  One place I have found credit for Sir David Brewster’s theories on the perception of colour is in an article by Peter John Brownlee, “Color Theory and the Perception of Art“, published in 2009 by The University of Chicago Press Journals.
  • Thomas Young, M.D. (1773-1829), was a scientist studying human perception of colour and in 1802 wrote a treatise speculating on how the human eye works to perceive colour.  There is also a lecture series by Thomas Young, “A Course of Lectures on Natural Philosophy and the Mechanical Arts” which was published in London by Joseph Johson, St. Paul’s Church Yard, in 1807.
  • Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894), continued work on the development of Thomas Young’s theories of human colour perception.  This work is known as the “Young-Hemholtz Theory” and furthers Thomas Young’s theories as to how our eyes actually work to perceive color.
  • This body of knowledge has been expanded upon for more than the 250 years shown in these writings and continues to grow today.  Here are just a few examples of the psychology of colour perception that are a little more recent.

from page 6, “Colours. — … the term “colours” is used in two senses — first, to express the sensation which light of various kinds… excites on the retina of the eye, and which sensation is purely functional; second, … [the] imparting [of] colour to other bodies;  such bodies are known as colouring matters and may be divided into two groups, dyestuffs and pigments….”

  • sensations of light, through rather than on the retina, continue to be studied by the scientific and psychological communities today.  This is fascinating research and the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas has some open access resources on this subject.
  • dyestuffs, as referred to by George Hurst, are materials which provide ‘soluable’ material that can be used to add colour to another item.  In other words, dyeing or staining, imparts temporary colour to other items.  If you have access to a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition and history of the word ‘dyestuff’ is fascinating.  Most libraries have a copy of the OED and may also allow access to the online version.
  • pigments, then, as defined by George Hurst in 1892, are ‘nonsoluable’ materials which provide a more permanent, opaque colour to things like paint.  Most of the chapters in this book are about pigments, where to find them, what to find them in, how to extract them and, how to use them.

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Chapter II:  White Pigments

Chapter III:  Red Pigments

Chapter IV:  Yellow and Orange Pigments

Chapter V:  Green Pigments

Chapter VI:  Blue Pigments

Chapter VI:  Brown Pigments

Chapter VII:  Black Pigments

Chapter IX:  Lakes

Chapter X:  Assay and Analysis of Pigments

Chapter XI:  Colour and Paint Machinery

Chapter XII:  Paint Vehicles

Chapter XIII:  Driers

Chapter XIV:  Varnishes

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A related post, and… a very interesting one!

Colour Theory from 1882

book cover   title page

The link takes you to a high resolution copy of this amazing 800+ page book.

 

… of things relative

There are dozens of tiny green tomatoes on this plant.  Even more exciting, there are dozens more bright yellow flowers….

 

Currently Reading:  The A B C of Atoms, by Bertrand Russell.  E.P. Dutton & Company, New York, 1923.  Date of first issue, 1908.

“But even if the size of an electron should ultimately prove… to be related to the size of the universe, that would leave a number of unexplained brute facts, notably the quantum itself, which has so far defied all attempts to make it seem anything but accidental.  It is possible that the desire for rational explanation may be carried too far.  This is suggested by some remarks… by Eddington, in his book, Space, Time and Gravitation…  The theory of relativity has shown that most of the traditional dynamics, which was supposed to contain scientific laws, really consisted of conventions as to measurement, and was strictly analogous to the “great law” that there are always three feet to a yard.  In particular, this applies to the conservation of energy.  This makes it plausible to suppose that every apparent law of nature which strikes us as reasonable is not really a law of nature, but a concealed convention, plastered on to nature by our love of what we, in our arrogance, choose to consider rational.  Eddington hints that a real law of nature is likely to stand out by the fact that it appears to us irrational, since in that case it is less likely that we have invented it to satisfy our intellectual taste.  And from this point of view he inclines to the belief that the quantum-principle is the first real law of nature that has been discovered in physics.

This raises a somewhat important question:  Is the world “rational,” i.e., such as to conform to our intellectual habits?  Or is it “irrational,” i.e., not such as we should have made it if we had been in the position of the Creator?  I do not propose to suggest an answer to this question.”

I LOVE skipping to the end of a book!

 

 

In The Beginning (of this blog)…

There was a tomato plant….

Several years later, there is another tomato plant!  It is gaining momentum!

2017-06-07_08.19.341

No need for a chain of command to appear here or, is there?

Sir!  Do we have enough tomatoes yet?  Do we need a discussion on this matter?  What about the aphids?  Sir!  Sir?  There are aphids!

Aphids?  This is not the Middle Ages!  We have to ask for permission.  This isn’t something we can just ‘handle.’  We need a committee!

Sir?

Stick around kid, I’m calling parliament — I’m on hold….  Be with you in a minute!  Do we have a call-back number?

SIR?

Solving for Pattern or, an Economy of Size

I have been reading lately.  I have been reading a lot, lately….  I could not sleep last night.  An old article by Wendell Berry gave me thoughts to consider and apply to my own small business.

 

Solving for Pattern.  Written by Wendell Berry.  Chapter 9 in The Gift of the Land:  Further Essays Cultural & Agricultural.  North Point Press, 1981.  Originally published in the Rodale Press periodical The New Farm.

Wendell Berry is a farmer and an author.  His writing is thought provoking and disturbing, well written, easy to read and difficult to walk away from…

 

Wendell Berry has been on my reading list for a long time.  It is time for us to get to know him, now!  Solving for Pattern is a short article that poses questions and discusses the long term meaning of economy.  Not of economics.  Economy.  Economy of size.  Small businesses.  Small farms.

Questions…  I went back to university several years ago.  I thought I just wanted to take a few courses, make my evenings a little more interesting.  I discovered that I was learning to read in a way that I had not even considered possible.  I am still learning about reading but now, I am also reading to learn to ask questions.  Wendell Berry has been asking these questions for a long time.  His questions about patterns, economy, conservation, and healthy living are worth considering.

 

Further Readings (I have already started reading The Unsettling of America):

Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America:  Culture & Agriculture.  1977.  Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1977.  This book is available in most libraries.  Read a review of this book here.

James George Frazer, The Golden Bough.  First published in 1890.  My edition was published in 1994 by Oxford University Press.  Available online, free, here.

 

 

 

Water Rights & Environmental Damage

I have been reading lately.  I have been reading a lot, lately….  I finished reading this article last night, on the bus on my way home from work.  Yes, I use public transit.  I gave up my personal gas pedal almost 3 years ago.

Water Rights and Environmental Damage:  An Enquiry into Stewardship in the Context of Abstraction Licensing Reform in England and Wales.  Written by Donald McGillivary.  Published by Environmental Law Review, Volume 15, 2013.  Pages 205-224.

Donald McGillivray, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Sussex, has a current publication list here.

I found this article doing a random search on water rights.  I was looking more towards Western Canada, where I live, but all information is good and this article is full of definitions that will probably help me in further reading.  And, bonus marks, Professor McGillivray’s writing is concise and clear.

Probably the most important things that I realized while reading this article was that the environment is not protected by stewardship rights or laws.  That the only time we really protect the environment is when there is an overlap of needs between someone holding water (or land) rights and the environment.  In other words, when it benefits someone to protect something, the environment is looked after.  Not something that I had not realized before but, seeing it in a published article is different.

 

A couple of ‘Further Readings’ (from the footnotes) that I made note of:

E.D. Elliot, ‘The Tragi-Comedy of the Commons: Evolutionary Biology, Economics and Environmental Law‘ (2001) 20 Viriginia Environmental Law Journal 17, pages 17-18.

C.P. Rodgers.  ‘Nature’s Place? Property Rights, Property Rules and Environmental Stewardship‘ (2009), Volume 68(3) Cambridge Law Journal 550.

 

 

National Gallery Postcard, circa 1950’s – van de Velde, Coast Scene: Calm

This is a vintage postcard out of my collection.  I like pieces of paper.  They are tangible things that people place a great deal of trust in.  Maps, charts, postcards, money, stamps….  They are all worth something, they just aren’t always worth a lot.

Please note that several of the links I have placed in this post are slightly ‘off topic.’  That is, there is a link showing for Trafalgar Square but, it is a link to “interglacial deposits” that were found there during the 1950s.  There is so much to this world that is just beneath the surface (or, the pavement….).

 

This postcard was printed for the National Gallery in London – and most likely purchased as a gallery souvenir.

National Gallery, Card No. 1115. Van de Velde: Coast Scene: Calm (871).  Printed in Great Britain for the Trustees under the authority of Her Majesty's Stationery Office by Waterlow & Sons Limited, London.  Wt: P1838

National Gallery, Card No. 1115. Van de Velde: Coast Scene: Calm (871). Printed in Great Britain for the Trustees under the authority of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office by Waterlow & Sons Limited, London. Wt: P1838

The National Gallery, located in Trafalgar Square, London, was established in 1824 and has been open to the public – free of charge – for most of the years between then and now…

The painting on this postcard is “Dutch Vessels Inshore and Men Bathing” by Willem van de Velde, 1661.  It is a painting of Men-of-War and men.

 

There are links to peer-reviewed articles in this post.  There is a lot of knowledge in these papers.  One of my many habits is to go through the reference lists, end notes and bibliographies to look for more information that I might enjoy reading.  This is a link to a small portion of the research that the authors of the articles have included.

Reading List for April 16, 2015 post

Why?  Because everything is connected…

 

 

Beautiful Warnings….

The cherry trees lining the street where I work now are in bloom.  I have the privilege of walking by them several days a week.  Many of the buds have opened.

The "For Rent" sign was removed from this nest on Monday afternoon.  Renovations are underway and the new tenants are noisy and cheeky....

The “For Rent” sign was removed from this nest on Monday afternoon. Renovations are underway and the new tenants are noisy and cheeky….

 

This afternoon, there are more blossoms open.  Tomorrow the show of pink against blue should be stunning.

Tuesday Blossoms and the sky is even bluer....

Tuesday Blossoms and the sky is even bluer….

 

I have been privileged to stand watch as a four hour sunset turned into a four hour sunrise.  That was many July’s ago during a 12 hour graveyard shift on the roof of a coker at Syncrude.

I do not have a photograph, only memories…  Inside the plant, personal cameras are not allowed to be carried by employees.

 

Today is February 23, 2014.

The photos of the cherry blossoms were taken in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada where in February’s past we have huddled under umbrellas, pulling our jackets close as the cold winds blew in off of the water.  I grew up here.  The cold winds and wet weather of winter are what is necessary to keep the rain forests green.

 

Climate change is real.

 

I have recently read Naomi Klein’s newest book, This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs. The Climate.  I do not believe that she exaggerates any point.

 

Every small thing we do (or don’t do) to stop the change helps.

Do Animals ‘Drink’ Intentionally?

A link to the following article was in my mail yesterday.  The article is interesting however, I don’t think it really gets at what might be underlying causes of birds imbibing a little too much or a little too frequently….

James MacDonald.  2014.  When Birds Drink Too MuchJSTOR Daily, January 1,4 2015.

 

There are two articles cited by the above mini-article.  I think that they are important and can be read online without any extra cost.

Frank Wiens, Annette Zitzmann, Marc-Andre Lachance, Michel Yegles, Fritz Pragst, Friedrich M. Wurst, Dietrich von Holst, Saw Leng Guan, and Rainer Spanagel.  2008.  Chronic intake of fermented floral nectar by wild treeshrews.  PNAS, Volume 105, No. 30, pages 10426-10431.

S.D. Fitzgerald, J.M. Sullivan and R.J. Everson.  1990.  Suspected Ethanol Toxicosis in Two Wild Cedar Waxwings.  Avian Diseases, Volume 34, No. 2, (Apr. – Jun., 1990), pages 488-490.

 

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Treeshrews?  Waxwings?

Eberhard Fuchs and Silke Cobach-Sohle.  2010.  Tree shrews in The UFAW handbook on the care and management of laboratory and other research animals, 8th ed. Oxford, UK:  Wiley-Blackwell, pages 262-275.

Loren S. Putnam.  1949.  The Life History of the Cedar WaxwingThe Wilson Bulletin, pages 141-182.

 

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My thoughts on this are going towards the caloric intake in fruits and berries that are fermented or are in the process of fermenting.  It seems to me that it might be higher than when the fruits and berries have just freshly ripened.

Eva M. Sehub,Alan C. Logan, and Alison C. Bested.  2014.  Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health:  ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatryJournal of Physiological Anthropology.  Article 332.

 

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Is it just the birds or do other creatures like a little drink now and then too?

Cheryl D. Knott.  1998.  Changes in Orangutan Caloric Intake, Energy Balance, and Ketones in Response to Fluctuating Fruit AvailabilityInternational Journal of Primatology.  Volume 19, No. 6, pages 1061

 

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Reading a bit further and another thought occurred to me!  Higher caloric intake for wildlife, just before winter sets in, would be useful for survival.  Putting on a little weight to get through the cold dark nights.  Can the fermentation of fruits provide other contributions to survival?

James O. Vafidis, Ian P. Vaughan, T. Hefin Jones, Richard J. Facey, Rob Parry, Robert J. Thomas.  2014.  Habitat Use and Body Mass Regulation among Warblers in the Sahel Region during the Non-Breeding SeasonPLOS One.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113665

Mark C. Witmer.  1996.  Annual Diet of Cedar Waxwings Based on U.S. Biological Survey Records (1885-1950) Compared to Diet of American Robins:  Contrasts in Dietary Patterns and Natural HistoryThe Auk.  Volume 113, No. 2, Pages 414-430.

 

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So, if the intoxicating fruits and berries are a good thing, why are some birds overdoing it?  Now?  Could it be that there is less competition for these yummy morsels?  Fewer birds equals more party favours?

Jennifer A. Howard.  2014.  The Lesser Coverts of Game BirdsBooth, Volume 6, No. 2, Page 1-2.

Probably not the best answer to my question but, a very good short story!  One that has me thinking a bit further off-track than usual.  I will come back to this story for another post.

 

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And then, there are people….

Laren Cordain, S. Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A Watkins, James H. O’Keefe, and Janette Brand-Miller.  2005.  Origins and evolution of the Western diet:  health implications for the 21st centuryThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Volume 81, pages 341-354.

Manas Ranjan Swain, Marimuthu Anandharaj, Ramesh Chandra Ray, and Rizwana parveen Rani.  2014.  Fermented Fruits and Vegetables of Asia:  A Potential Source of Probiotics.  Hindawi Publishing Corporation Biotechnology Research International.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/250424

 

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And, because we can think of other things to do with ethanol products…

Veeranjaneya Reddy Lebaka, Hwa-Won Ryu, and Young-Jung Wee.  2014.  Effect of fruit pulp supplementation on rapid and enhanced ethanol production in very high gravity (VHG) fermentationSpringerLink.  doi:  10.1186/s40643-014-0022-8

 

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And thinking along these lines… maybe we need to look at chronic diseases that may have some beginning in the foods that are available to us now as well as those that we choose to eat a lot of and, without competition, possibly eat a little too regularly – much like the small woodland creatures and birds in the first few articles.

Your thoughts are important to me and to continuing this as a discussion.  Please comment….

 

 

 

 

 

Mangrove Forests….

I just found a wonderful and interactive site!  Well, this isn’t just a site, this is a database and, it is worth a visit….

http://mangroves.elaw.org/map

 

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Now, I tried to put the following into my own words but, it is so perfectly written that I have copied and pasted it here for you:

A Case for Mangroves
The approximately 70 distinct species of mangroves in the world cover roughly 17,000,000 hectares globally (Valiela et al.  2001) – only 0.12 percent of the Earth’s surface (Sullivan 2005, Ellison 2008).  The greatest diversity is in Southeast Asia (36-46 species); the lowest diversity is in the United States and the Middle East (1-3 species) (Polidoro et al.  2010).  Mangroves are being cut down or otherwise destroyed at such a high rate that they may be functionally extinct by 2100 (Duke et al.  2007).  In just the last 50 years, 30-50 percent of the global acreage has been lost.  (Alongi 2002, Duke et al. 2007)  Mangroves are among the most valuable and most threatened ecosystems on Earth.  The ecosystems services they provide—e.g., buffering coastal communities against flooding and storms, fiber production, habitat for thousands of species of birds, mammals and marine species—are estimated to be worth US $1.6 billion dollars/year (Polidoro et al.  2010).  In addition, recent evidence suggests that mangroves sequester carbon more effectively than any other tropical forest (Donato et al.  2011).”

This is important!

 

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There are 65 of the most influential papers on mangroves and mangrove forests listed on this site.  All are worth reading but, we don’t all have that much time….

If there is a paper that you feel is missing, please add it in the comments below.  I look forward to hearing from you.