The Japanese Art of Furoshiki

Furoshiki (meaning bath spread) is the art of decoratively wrapping objects in silk cloths. It dates back as far as the Japanese Nara period, (AD710). The practice started as a way to wrap clothing and belongings while attending public baths. Furoshiki evolved to be a means for merchants to transport their goods or to protect and decorate a gift. Today it can be an environmentally friendly way to carry goods or an unusual way to wrap a gift.

More Information.

Furoshiki .com hosts several videos and galleries on furoshiki.
wikipedia has more information.

Forest Fires.

Photo credit: US Forest service.

Types Of Forestfire.

1) Crawling fire: The fire spreads via low level vegetation in the forest. It occurs by the slow combustion of surface fuels. Surface fuels are fuel sources that are on the ground, these can be small bushes, logs, tree stumps and fallen leaves and branches. Crawling or surface fires tend to burn without generating a lot of flame. They can spread slowly and steadily and last for days after the main burning event has occurred.
2) Crown fire: A fire that "crowns" that is, it spreads to the top branches of the trees. It can spread at a remarkable rate through the canopy of a forest. Crown fires burn from aerial fuels, these are fuel sources that are at least 1 meter above the ground. Surface fuels can include branches, leaves, tall bushes and bark still on the tree. Crown fires are the most dangerous type of fire as they can spread faster than they can be outrun, particularly on windy days.
3) Jumping or Spotting fire: In a jumping fire burning branches or leaves are carried by the wind and start distant fires, the fire can jump natural fire breaks like roads and rivers.

Reporters Drive Through Butte County Forest Fire With Fire Crew.

firefighters at the unita national forest fire

Photo credit: US Forest service.

Fire Suppression

The typical makeup of a forest fire fighting unit will be a large crew of around 20 firefighters, these crews fight the fire directly and construct fire breaks to help stem the spread of the fire. Other firefighters are grouped around this main unit in rapid response teams. If the fire is extremely remote, firefighters known as smoke jumpers are deployed. These fast attack teams are helicoptered into fires in hard to reach areas as a preemptive strike force. They often working on almost sheer cliffs or difficult terrain, they douse small fires and construct firebreaks.

Photo credit: US Forest service.

Fire authorities in areas prone to wild fires often possess helicopters and fixed wing aircraft specially equipped for use in dousing areas that are inaccessible to ground crews, they can deliver large quantities of water or flame retardant chemicals directly onto the fire site.

In the case of fires that are too large to tackle directly, firefighters control the fire by controlling the area to which it can spread. They do this by creating control lines or extended fire breaks. These control lines can be produced by physically removing any fuel source from in front of the fire, or by backfiring. Backfiring involves starting a small, low-intensity fire, to burn off all the flammable material, in the path of the fire. These are then extinguished by firefighters or, directed in such a way that they meet the main fire front, at which point both fires run out of flammable material and are extinguished.

An indication of the skill and dedication employed by professional fire fighting teams can be seen in the fact that in 2004 US firefighters contained more than 99% of all new wildfires during initial suppressive actions.

Tornado in a Forest fire in Vatreni Croatia.

The powerful updrafts caused by a large wildfire will draw in air from surrounding areas. These self-generated winds can lead to a phenomenon known as a firestorm.

video credit

A 360 degree panorama from a lookout tower at Tripod Peak in the Boise National Forest.

360 degree panorama.

Top Ten Images Taken from The International Space Centre.

The following images were all taken and voted for, by the various crews members of the international space station. They are presented in this blog in no particular order. The NASA page hosting the photographs holds high resolution versions of the photographs along with an audio description by the astronauts who took the images. The page can be found here on the NASA home site.

The Moon Seen Through The Earth's Limb.

Photo credit: NASA
As the moon has no real atmosphere the outline becomes crisp and clear when viewed through the earths limb.

The Aurora Borealis

Photo credit: NASA

The Aurora Borealis and lights over Finland, Russia, Estonia and Latvia. The cluster of stars to the lower right of the thin crescent Moon is the Praesepe or Beehive Cluster in Cancer. Just to the right of that is the planet Saturn.

The Earths Atmosphere.

Photo credit: NASA

The limb of the Earth at the bottom transitioning into the orange troposphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange and blue atmosphere. The silvery-blue noctilucent clouds extend far above the Earth's troposphere.

Night View Of Los Angeles, California

Photo credit: NASA

Hollywood is nestled against the south side of the Santa Monica Mountains. On the coast, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the port facilities at Long Beach Naval Shipyards can be seen as bright spots.

Eruption of The Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Photo credit: Jeffrey N. Williams & NASA

This image, acquired shortly after the beginning of the eruption, captures the ash plume moving west-southwest from the summit vent. The eruption was short-lived; the plume had completely detached from the volcano summit two hours later.

Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia

Photo credit: NASA

Extensive lava fields known as haraat cover large areas in Saudi Arabia. One such field is the 14,000-square kilometer Harrat Khaybar, located approximately 137 kilometers to the northeast of the city of Al Madinah.

Nukuoro Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia.

Photo credit: NASA

Nukuoro Atoll is part of the Caroline Island chain, which stretches northeast of Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific. Nukuoro is one of 607 islands that make up the Federated States of Micronesia.

Green Aurora.

Photo credit: NASA

The reds and blues of a sunset light up the air layer to the west, while a green aurora dances along the earths magnetic field.

Bernese Alps, Switzerland.

Photo credit: NASA

The Aletsch Glacier dominates the centre of the picture, clearly marked by dark medial moraines extending along the glacier's length parallel to the valley axis.

Mount Everest and Makalu

Photo credit: NASA

The summits of Makalu on the left (8,462 meters: 27,765 feet) and Everest on the right (8,850 meters; 29,035 feet) are at the heights typically flown by commercial aircraft. They can only be seen at this height and angle from the International Space Station.

Randy Pausch Inspires Graduates

Professor Randy Pausch made a surprise return to Carnegie Mellon University to deliver an inspirational speech to the Class of 2008 at the Commencement ceremony on May 18, 2008.

The First Ever View Of An Earth Rise

first ever earth rise, taken on day 4, courtesy of NASA.

When most people think of the first photograph of the earth rising over the surface of the moon, the first earth rise, they think of the now famous NASA colour photograph at the bottom of this post. It became a potent symbol of the earth as celestial body, "Spaceship earth" as it was named, as much so as the famous blue marble picture of the earth. The real first earth rise picture is, in fact, the black and white one above.
In December of 1968 Apollo 8 circled the moon 10 times, on board, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders watched as the earth begins to rise from the far horizon. This is a transcript of the conversation that followed.
075:47:30 Anders or Borman (onboard): Oh, my God! Look at that picture over there! Here's the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!
075:47:37 Borman or Anders (onboard): Hey, don't take that, it's not scheduled.
This is recorded as the black and white picture above, the first ever earth rise picture. The astronauts then go on to take a series of colour photographs including the now famous colour picture below. The first photograph however remains the black and white exposure taken in sheer awe of the view.
Picture of earth rise courtesy of NASA

more information
Further information can be found at the Apollo Apollo 8 Flight Journal
and at the NASA homepage

Transcribed copies of the conversations on the Apollo Journal are © 2002 - 2006. W. David Woods and Frank O'Brien.

Lewis W Hine.

Lewis Hine was Born in Oshkosh Wisconsin, in 1874. He studied Sociology at the University of Chicago, and went to graduate school at Columbia university and New York University. When he graduated, he became a teacher in New York at the ethical Culture School.
In 1907, he became a photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. The NCLC gave Hine his first assigned project, to photograph a New York tenement. Later that year while still at Columbia University graduate school Hine was assigned The Pittsburgh Survey, An ambitious project which aimed to give a detailed view of an industrial city. The survey would describe the gap between the largely unskilled immigrant workers and the affluent managers and executives. The aim of the survey was to highlight and hopefully create an understanding of the social and economic inequalities that were present.
Between 1906 and 1908, Hine worked as a freelance photographer for The Survey, a leading social reform magazine.

William Parralla, 313 Second St., S.W., Washington, D.C., a 7 year old newsboy.

In 1908, the NCLC assigned Hine to photograph child labor practices. Hine continued this work until 1917. During this period he travelled widely across America photographing children at work in textile mills, factories, canneries, mines and farming.

Bowling Alleys, connected with Geo. P. Grays, "Bastable Caf " on Genesee St. About 8 very small boys employed here. Work until midnight. Photo taken at 11:30 P.M. Location: Syracuse, New York (State)

1909 Boy Woodpickers Under Way. Location: Boston, Massachusetts

1908 October Bill, a carrying-in boy, Canton Glass Works, Marion, Indiana. Gets $.80 a day or night.

In 1917 Hine accepted a position with the American Red Cross were he documented their relief work with refugees and displaced peoples in post war Europe.
In 1920 he returned to New York and was assigned to the American Red Cross National Headquarters. Here he photographed the drought relief work in the American South, for the Tennessee Valley Authority and made photographic studies of life in the mountains of eastern Tennessee.
He also served as chief photographer for the works progress Administration's National Research Project, which was set up to study changes in industry and how this effected employment.
In 1930 Hine was hired to photograph the construction of the Empire State Building. Hine photographed the workers in many precarious positions while they secured the framework of the structure. In order to obtain the best vantage points, Hine was swung out from the building in a specially designed basket.
The series of photographs he produced lead to the 1932 book Men at Work. Critics noted that he had managed to show the human contribution to modern industry while depicting the dignity and power of the American worker. At this time he even exhibited at the 1933 Worlds Fair.
By 1936, Hine was appointed head photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Progress Administration until his death in 1940 after complications from surgery.
The Library of Congress holds more than 5,000 Hine photographs 5,100 photographic prints and 355 glass negatives, given to the Library of Congress, along with the NCLC records, in 1954. NCLC records in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division contain approximately 65 reports, about 30 of which were authored by Hine.

Olympics 2008 Monkey Movie

BBC Sport's marketing campaign and titles for the forthcoming Olympic Games are based upon the traditional Chinese folklore 'Journey to the West'. The animation and music were specially produced by Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn.

BBC Magazine has an article 1970s cult TV series: Monkey Magic.

The BBC site has more pictures and graphics: Meet Monkey and friends.

Even more information from the BBC site: Monkey's journey begins.

Labs At Night

Seed magazine is hosting a photographic slide show of the work of Noah kalina. The slide show is entitled Labs at Night, and shows laboratories empty, with the experimental apparatus and equipment still running or in standby mode. The photographs cover a broad range of labs from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center through to the Hetzer Laboratory.

The Moon transits the Earth as seen by EPOXI

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has created a video of the moon transiting the Earth as seen from the spacecraft's point of view 31 million miles away.

Credit: Donald J. Lindler, Sigma Space Corporation/GSFC; EPOCh/DIXI Science Teams.

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has created a video of the moon transiting the Earth as seen from the spacecraft's point of view 31 million miles away.

Deep Impact was the mission that, on July 4 2005, directed an impactor into comet Tempel 1 so that the internal composition of a comet could be analysed. NASA has now redirected the spacecraft for a flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4, 2010.

EPOXI is a combination of the names for the two mission components that NASA has planned for the deep impact craft. The first is a search for extrasolar planets, which will be conducted during the journey to comet Hartley 2, is called Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization or EPOCH. The flyby of comet Hartley 2, the second mission, is called the Deep Impact extended Investigation or DIXI.

More Information

More information on Deep Impact: Deep Impact

Video of deep Impact launch: video of launch.

Video from the impacter hitting Temple 1: Impacter Video

The Weather Of The Antarctic.

Antarctica is the coldest place on earth, the lowest temperature ever recorded on earth at −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) was recorded here at Vostock Station. It is also extremely dry, with an average of only 166 mm of precipitation per year.The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica was 14.6°C (58.3°F) at hope bay, on January 5 1974. This gives a good indication of the severity of the weather in Antarctica.
Storm Classification.

Category 3: Good visibility, clear skies and no wind.

Category 2: Poor visibility, cloudy, significant wind, limited travel out of base.

Category 1: Zero visibility, poor conditions, strong winds, and no travel is allowed.
Katabatic Winds.

katabatic winds are caused by high density air from a higher elevation rushing down a slope under the force of gravity. Such winds are sometimes also called fall winds.
A katabatic wind originates from the cooling of air on a plateau, mountain or glacier. The density of air increases the colder it gets and so air will flow downwards, warming as it descends, thus creating the wind. The temperature of the wind depends on the temperature in the surrounding area and the distance descended.
Katabatic winds are most commonly found blowing out from the large and elevated ice sheets of Antarctica.The concentration of cold air over the ice sheets and their elevation creates a large amount of gravitational energy. This can propel the winds to hurricane force.

This blog describes what it's like to spend time in Antarctica conserving artefacts from the explorer's hut left behind by Ernest Shackleton in 1908.

Solar Flares

A solar flare is a an explosion on the surface of the Sun, it occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the suns atmosphere is suddenly released. Particles are heated and accelerated in the solar atmosphere and radiation is emitted across the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays. The energy released in a flare is ten million times greater than the energy released from a volcanic explosion.

Solar flare up close

Inside a flare, the temperature can be as high as 100 million degrees Kelvin. Solar flares tend to eject solar matter, mostly protons and electrons, into space. These events are called coronal mass ejections.
Solar flares coincides with the Sun's eleven year cycle. When the solar cycle is at a minimum, active regions are small and rare and few solar flares are detected. These increase in number as the Sun approaches the maximum part of its 11 year cycle.

A Solar Flare Up Close.

National Geographic video on solar storms

A montage of solar storms and flares.

Antarctic Images.

Antarctic images is a website run by a Satellite Engineer Anthony powell who is currently working his eighth year in the Antarctic. On his website you can find picture galleries of wildlife, landscapes and auroras.

There is also a you tube channel Antzarctica were you can find time lapse videos of arctic life.

A time lapse video of an aurora: Aurora Video

Antarctica Time lapse: A Year on Ice

"Lost Cases, Recovered Lives": Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic

The Willard Psychiatric Center
The Willard Psychiatric Center circa 1880

When the Willard Psychiatric Center closed in 1995, staff members were clearing out the hospital when they found, in the rafters of an attic, rows of wooden racks, packed with almost 400 suitcases of all shapes and types, mens on the left, womens on the right. Placed in storage for collection by patients who never left the hospital.
Around half the 54,000 patients who lived at Center over its 126-year existence had died there. Many were buried in the hospital cemetery, their graves marked not by their name but by their case numbers.
Staff members Beverly Courtwright and Lisa Hoffman, along with Craig Williams, a New York State Museum curator, worked to save these historical artifacts which were moved to the Museums warehouse near Albany.
It was here, in 1999, that Darby Penney, who worked in the New York State Office of Mental Health as director of recipient affairs, and Peter Stastny, a professor of psychiatry and documentary filmmaker, became aware of the luggage.
They went through the suitcases to choose a small number of individuals, and identified their belongings for closer study.
Over several years they visited their graves, read their correspondence and medical records, studied their snapshots, talked to their old neighbours, family and caregivers. Gradually they were building a picture of the inmates lives. Photographer Lisa Rinzler documented the artifacts, grave sites, and former homes of the patients.
This lead to the exhibition, "Lost Cases, Recovered Lives": Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic, at the New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library, which was seen by more than 600,000 visitors. The exhibition continues to tour America and has tour dates set until 2010.
More information can be found at.

The New York Times article: Forgotten Suitcases, Emotional Baggage.
The Village Voice also carried an informative article: What They Left Behind.

Richard Dawkins' jaw-dropping talk on our bizarre universe

Richard Dawkins is Oxford University's Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Author of such books as The Selfish Gene, the Blind Watchmaker and the god delusion. In this talk, titled, "Queerer Than We Suppose: The strangeness of science," he postulates that because the human mind evolved only to understand the "middle-sized" world we can observe, the true nature of the universe may elude us as we will simply be unable to comprehend it.

The Periodic Table of Videos

The Periodic Table of Videos.
Nottingham university has created a video version of the periodic table. Each element of the table has a short video introducing and describing its properties. A short introduction video can be seen here Introduction Video

Cuckoo's Nest to be Torn Down

Oregon State Hospital To Be Demolished.
Oregon State picture courtesy Katr67

Oregon State Hospitals 125-year-old main building, which featured in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is to be torn down and replaced by a new complex. Built in 1883 as the Oregon State Insane Asylum, much of the original structure is still in use.
The state decided in 2006 to build a new, $300 million, 620-bed hospital at the site of the oldest and most dilapidated part of the complex, the J Building. The front of the building, including the cupola, will be preserved as a museum on the history of mental health care. Construction of the Salem facility is set to begin in 2009, and be completed by 2011.
Time magazine carried an informative story on the planned demolition and rebuilding plans. More information can also be found at Rob Finch website, Oregon's forgotten hospital, that hosts a good slide show of pictures from in and around the hospital site.

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.

In September 2007, Carnegie Mellon Professor of compter science Randy Pausch gave his last lecture at the university entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". The lecture was part of a series conceived to ask academics "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?" Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. The lecture went on to become an Internet success with over 3 million hits on you tube alone.

Sample quote:"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"

Infra-red Photography

Infra-red Photography
Infrared film captures light in the part of the spectrum which we can't see with the naked eye. Infrared photography is available in two forms, black and white negative and colour, examples of which can be seen below.
In infrared photography a red style filter is used, this lets infrared light pass through to the camera, but blocks all or most of the visible light spectrum. The film used is sensitive to near-infrared light, this is separate from far-infrared, which is usually referred to as thermal imaging.
The river Aire towards Malham from the foot of Malham Cove, in the Yorkshire Dales.

A church taken in infra red.
This snowy scene shows the wood effect.

Infrared photography creates photographs with very dark skies and atmospheric haze, shadows and dull areas appear darker and more atmospheric, while lighter areas seem to take on an ethereal glow. Interesting artifacts can be produced leading to an image with a dreamlike quality. The effect, known as the Wood Effect(named after Robert Wood who published the first infrared photographs in 1910) is caused by light reflecting back from foliage.

Anka Watt

This photograph of SunRiver, St George, Utah shows the contrasting shades that can be achieved.
A side by side comparison shot taken of the Frank Lloyd wright's Rudin house shows the more extreme contrasts that can be achieved with infra red photography. Compared the sharper image of the black and white photograph on the left with the infra red picture on the right.

Infra red on black and white film makes for good landscape pictures, as this picture of Bere Mill shows.
Recommended links about infra red photography.
More information on infra red photography can be found on wikipedia forums offers some good advice and discussions on the subject.
The Spearmint Guide To Infra Red Photography give a good introduction to the subject as well as explaining some of the science behind it in good clear terms.

Tilt-shift miniature faking

Tilt-shift miniature fakes.
Fake Tilt Factory ©giumaiolini's

Tilt-shift miniature faking is a process in which a photograph of a real life location or object is manipulated so as to look like a photograph of a miniature or scale model. To achieve this effect the photographer photoshops the focus of the photograph, to simulate a shallow depth of field, which is more normally associated with a photograph of a miniature model. The area surrounding the central field of focus is blurred, and the colours of the original photograph are heightened.

Anhangaba├║ Valley© rednuht

Alps picture ©bennecontentos

canal boat ©srboisvert's

more info on tilt shift facking from wikipidia

Tilt-shift photography

Tilt-shift photography is a photographic technique that relies on the use of special lenses to simulate a shallow depth of field which makes real life objects appear as miniature models. The effect is achieved by tilting the lens relative to the photographed image to achieve a very shallow depth of field.
Tilt shift encompasses two different types of movements: rotation of the lens, called tilt, and movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, called shift. Tilt is used to control the orientation of the plane of focus to produce an image that appears sharp.while Shift is used to control the perspective.

Professor James Duane’s Famous 5th Amendment Lecture.

Professor James Duane’s famous 5th Amendment lecture “Don’t talk to the police!” The lecture, given as part of Regent Law School’s spring preview weekend, demonstrates why the right to keep silent and retain legal counsel is so important. The second half of the lecture is given over to officer George Bruch, a Virginia Beach police officer, who offers a police perspective.

Professor James Duane’s Lecture.

Vintage Russian Posters

Dark Roasted Blend is hosting a collection of unique and rarely-seen russian vintage posters. The collection starts in pre-revolutionary tzarist russia, with Art Nouveau designs showing Victorian luxury, passing through the art deco post revolutionary period, up to the dullness of the Stalin-era designs.

Russian vintage advertising posters.