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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn


cropThis is Valentine's Day Week, and I know a lot of people are so not into it—because they haven't a (romantic) partner, or because of the blatant commercialism; but I've always liked the holiday, because as a child, we all innocently exchanged valentines, or made them for our parents (especially mothers); and I adored the lace edged red foil heart shaped boxes fancy valentine's day candy came in, though I was far too poor to buy such a thing for myself.

Perhaps one reason the holiday was never spoiled for me was that I never felt at all obligated to purchase (or demand) Valentine's day candy or flowers (or even a card, though I sometimes made quite elaborate ones) let alone jewelry; I like hearts, romance and lace, and in my quest to enjoy the holiday, prefer to extend its celebratory power to everyone, not just lovers.

But if hearts aren't your thing, I guess you'll just have to skip this week;)


cropSince today is Friday but I'm still on the graduated dottie kick—in fact, this page is sort of the culmination, with all the colours, the fugly bit can be about a dirty practise: how money is laundered.

People tend to focus on the obvious ways they're cheated: being shorted on a paycheck, or overcharged for a service. But the real money is much less directly stolen, in these sorts of schemes. In the millions, billions, ...probably trillions. It's kinda teeth-grinding, really, because without all that greed and fraud, there'd be enough cash to feed, clothe & send to college (or trade school, or apprenticeship) every person on the planet.

That's my idea of a beautiful rainbow.


cropSince today is Thursday, but I don't have any book reviews, here's a link of suggested math texts for people wishing to get over math phobia, or to refresh long forgotten skills, or simply discover why people love it— a math 101 reading list if you will.

And some dotties, which I've always thought as among the more precise and sort of mathematical of my beads. Well, they all have fifteen dots, anyway, which I guess makes them sort of mathematically imperfect since I have to do it by eye—dividing a bead as you rotate it is much easier to do in 4ths.


cropSo I guess once upon a time, animals had four types of cones (in addition to luminance-detecting rods), but by the time monkeys diverged from birds and lizards (some of whom retain all five) we'd lost half of them. Then through gene reduplication, we regained one, but the red-green detectors have very closely spaced peaks (as opposed to cameras or bees, in which the red/green/blue peaks are evenly spaced through the 370–700 nanometer range that makes up what we consider visible light.)

(Also interesting was a note about one species of monkeys that, depending on alleles, is either dichromat or trichromat, and how these varying conditions set up an interesting equilibrium: in dichromats, one opsin of a particular gene would express as 560 (the max); but in trichromats (who had a third set of cones at their disposal), it came in at 535, sacrificing range for greater sensitivity.) A similar mechanism may be the reason as many as 15% of the world's (human) population is thought to be tetrachromat.

I was just barely able to follow along the original publication; the survey is a good deal more readable for the layperson but it disguises, somewhat, the controversies in the field—that first article, frex, was pretty emphatic in its assertion that while there's certainly some sort of selective pressure going on, it's likely not that folderol you see in the popular press:

As we have mentioned, there is little evidence that the evolution of long-wavelength sensitive receptors occurred in response to biological signals, such as fruit, flowers or mating displays.

But in any event, I learned some new and fascinating things, to whit that more than 5 detectors isn't really necessary; and that human colour sensitivity is not evenly spaced: it's optimized, basically for green (and red,) and much less for blue, possibly a result of forest-living ancestors.

Green is also my favourite colour, perhaps because I can perceive so many variations as in the this series of dottie made into an elegant bracelet.


cropI've never hiked the Appalachian trail, nor the PCT, though my eldest brother has done both, and I admit to cherishing fantasies of (at least) doing portions of both.

This woman's account was interesting to me on two fronts: one, her description of intense thirst while hiking in Pennsylvania—I didn't remember hearing about this problem, and it's evidently exacerbated by climate change; and the other, even more disturbing is how just the past few years of our current administration has made it likely she would not, in today's political climate, undertake the journey.

Black folks have historically been barred from camping, hiking and just overall enjoyment of our parks system, which obviously sucks, but even more frustrating is that they still are not very comfortable enjoying something I treasure—not least, I suspect, because a lot of parks tend to be (surprise) in rural, low-population areas, which is also prey to a lot of that political animus they find so unwelcoming.

I love the way cares just seem to fall away (well, except for rude and noisy camping neighbors...); and I want everyone to be able to enjoy that same peace. I mean, trees. And leaves. And here's a set of dotties in autumn leaf colours.


cropHey, yesterday's date was a pretty special 8 digit palindrome, that worked for both US and European systems (i.e. month/day/year and day/month/year). The wizard found some guy who also noted that there were exactly 333 days left in the year, plus some other number fun(1)...math geeks love this sort of stuff—Donald Knuth, frex, spent an hour doing a xmas lecture on how he snuck pi into the answers of all these math problems he (and others created)—It's kind of the way I just love all kinds of beads. (It's all about the patterns, in both cases...) —What I like about it is that (as I do for naming my photography files) is that it's also palindromic: 20200202

I've been so busy making stuff I've barely had time to photograph it, so this week's theme is vintage dotties, specifically graduated colour dotties.

In keeping with the colour theme, WHTM notes that ancient statues were painted dazzling colours back in the day —no matter how vulgar we might think it now...

I've been aware of this for some time, but when they say bright, they're not kidding—I was impressed not only by the saturation, but also the fancy, harlequin level patterns.

Dottie patterns, by contrast, are really quite restrained. And certainly the most ‘mathematical’ of my beads:)

(1)02022020 was the 33rd day of the year, with 333 days remaining because 2020 is a leap year.