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Archive for November, 2012

Postcard from Cassini

November 30, 2012 2 comments

https://i1.wp.com/www.nasa.gov/images/content/639854main_pia14604-full_full.jpg

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The ice moon Enceladus transits Titan, the second-largest moon in the Solar System, with Saturn’s rings bisecting the image. A photograph to make us think of the approaching Solstice and other moments of magic.

Thank you, Cassini!    

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Photo: WikiCmns; NASA/JPL; Public Domain with attribution.

New York Times annual list of 100 notable books

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

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a list worth perusing…  RT

(reposted from newsofthetimes)

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New York Times annual list of 100 notable books.

Drawings

November 29, 2012 2 comments

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Here’s a serene and beautiful drawing for Thursday afternoon…enjoy!   RT

(reposted from Jeremy Cole)

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Drawings.

Seasonal Affective Disorder–Quaggas of Creativity, Post 6

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

It may be that dystopia is the most characteristic literary form of the 20th century, present in both 1984 and The Lord of the Rings–to RT’s mind, the two greatest works of fiction published in English during the last century. There can be no question that that amazing and appalling century gave novelists of despair much to work with; on the other hand, writers and indeed artists in every medium are known for their perennial struggle with melancholy in its several forms. And certainly no form of depression is more insidious than seasonal affective disorder, a kind of hibernation gone berserk.

So far, the Quaggas of Creativity have focused on positive aspects of the process of making something new, but with winter coming on, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to one of the occupational hazards of the creative life.

A) Here are the symptoms of SAD: 1) difficulty waking up in the morning; 2) morning sickness; 3) a tendency to oversleep and overeat; and especially a craving for carbohydrates; 4) a lack of energy; 5) difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks; 6) withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities; and 7) a decreased sex drive. These signs are accompanied by general depression and feelings of hopelessness, intense enough in some people that they lead to thoughts of suicide.

At least one thing seems certain about SAD: it is caused by waning light levels during the fall and winter months. The benefits of adequate exposure to sunlight include improved immune response, an easing of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, better sleep, and, yes, a brighter overall mood. One key physical benefit of sunlight is the production of vitamin D.

Consider how much, even during summer, the intensity of daylight varies: from a maximum of 120,000 lux (brightest sunlight), to 40 lux during sunrise, sunset, and fully overcast skies, to <1 lux under the darkest storm clouds.

As one might expect, people living in high-latitude regions are more susceptible to SAD: in Florida, the prevalence of the condition is 1.9%; in New Hampshire, 9.5%.

B) Fortunately, several treatments are available for SAD: 1) light therapy; 2) anti-depressant medication; 3) cognitive-behavioral therapy; 4) vitamin D supplementation; and 5) carefully timed supplementation with melatonin.

Readers should bear in mind that RT is not a doctor or medical professional, and if they suspect that they might be suffering from SAD, they should consult a doctor.

C) People have long suspected the existence of a link between creativity and mental illness, and in fact the list of successful and creative people who suffered from mental illness is suggestive and includes such luminaries as Vincent Van Gogh, Abraham Lincoln, and Beethoven. But exactly what the mechanism or connection is remains undetermined.

RT

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Photo: Person undergoing light therapy. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

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I nearly cried (National Novel Writing Month)

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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Hang in there; you’ll do it!   RT

(reposted from Megan Stephanson)

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I nearly cried (National Novel Writing Month).

Abstract Picture 48

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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Here’s something to stimulate your grey cellsabstraction lives!   RT

(reposted from Shared Blogs)

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Abstract Picture 48.

Five: RT Steps Once More into the Perilous Waters of Poesie!

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

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The muse, a bit miffed, called with an overdue notice yesterday; she hasn’t missed out on the cell-phone revolution. Here’s my latest contribution, inspired by a certain recent browsing of The Stones of Venice and a prompt from We Write Poems: to write a poem consisting of three perfect sentences.

Enjoy!  RT

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5 thrones

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three thrones: tyre, venice, london & what

of the fourth? No word yet, unless we remember

the stones laboriously assembled–the stuff of

heaven, the fabric of time and space, wall of Cathay,

its new inland sea. Ruskin’s rustling whiskers, like a

certain Cheshire cat, are all that may remain,

or not: the dam will hold, the domes of heaven, hang

from Constantinople’s threads–straight lines, sinuous

accommodations.

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Copyright © 2012, The Rag Tree

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Word Art: 5 Elements; author: Beartales; WikiCmns; Public Domain.

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Kari + Luis | {in love}

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

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and here is a lucky couple to brighten your day…  RT

(reposted from newVintage photography)

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Kari + Luis | {in love}.

Mediterranean Vacation: Lost Landscapes

November 27, 2012 3 comments

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The Mediterranean Sea offers more than a few beguiling aspects these days (as witnessed by the photo at left), attracting tourists in their thousands during the cold months farther north. All seems familiar, and even routine, about their vacations. But things were not always so; RT doesn’t have to venture as far as New Zealand or Madagascar to encounter the exotic in landscape and wildlife.

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Imagine, if you will, a very different Mediterranean. We have been transported back almost six million years. The Strait of Gibraltar has closed tight. Within a thousand years of this closing, the entire Mediterranean has almost completely evaporated, leaving behind huge salt and gypsum deposits and a few brine lakes, filled with Dead Sea-like water. The exposed sea-bed lies 2-3 miles below that era’s sea-level. The air pressure on the abyssal plain hovers at 1.7 times the air pressure at sea-level today.

Things are hot and dry: 176° F at the lowest levels and rainfall, if any, is extremely sparse. Little, of course, could survive in this inferno.

On the other hand, the desiccated basin did support life at higher altitudes. Following great rivers such as the Nile, antelopes, elephants, and hippopotamuses all migrated into the basin, eventually reaching highlands that subsequently were turned into islands by flooding: Malta, Cyprus, and Sicily. At this point, the various species underwent insular dwarfism, resulting, for instance, in the Cyprus Dwarf Elephant, which weighted about 200 kg. (or 2% of its 10,000 kg. ancestors) and is believed to have survived until about 11,000 years ago.

Other species included the Cretan Dwarf Deer (Candiacervus), the Sardinian Dhole (a dog-like animal), and a dwarf owl.

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All of this lasted only about half a million years. The Zanclean Flood, a gigantic inundation resulting from the sudden reopening of the Gibraltar strait, flooded the Mediterranean Basin, raising the water level at about 30 ft. a day. But readers should not assume that the reflooding straits took the form of a huge waterfall–the channel carved by the ocean waters was gradual, looking more like a river.

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And that’s it for the latest Lost Landscapes post…perhaps our next voyage will take us to South America…   RT

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Images: photo at topStrait of Gibraltar, Manfred Werner (photographer), Tsui (user); topogr map at right, Roger Pibernat. Both images: WikiCmns, CC 3.0 Unported, attrib-share alike. Bottom photo: Skeleton of Cretan Dwarf Elephant, Peter Maas, WikiCmns; CC 2.5 Attrib-Share Alike.

Wedding Card for Bihari Bride & Assamese Groom

November 26, 2012 2 comments

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Wow…amazing work!  RT

(reposted from Creative Mithila)

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Wedding Card for Bihari Bride & Assamese Groom.