· r e j i q u a r · w o r k s ·

the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

20oct2020

cropWhile I have been making these useless doodles, the wizard has been watching a lot of physics lectures on youtube, and was trying to explain some of this stuff to me. I had a really good chemistry textbook in college, and it had these topographic-map style line depictions of orbitals that for whatever reason really drove home the shapes of these things. Well, more properly, I guess subatomic particles are really more properly artifacts of wave fields...?

Also, since electrons are technically points in the mathematical sense, it's more properly the fields in which they are located/are/what ever that spin, but I did recall the Pauli exclusion principle, because whatever his weaknesses as a HS chemistry teacher were in other ways,(1) Mr Tiefke did have a vivid metaphor to explain that:

Supposing all these kids (who don't know each other) are getting on the school bus—well, you know each will take an empty seat, and only once those all are filled, will they sit two by two.)

Electrons, it turned out, behave in exactly the same way, for a given energy level. I detested having to take the bus to high school, but my parents had by that time moved to a suburb with those enclosed, windy roads that were supposed to keep people from speeding, unlike the traditional Penn-style grids of the 1920s neighborhood in which I spent my childhood; but this meant only the 45 MPH no-sidewalk mile roads were the only real way to cross from the western side of town to the HS three–four miles east of us. I didn't know anyone on the bus, and usually got on too late to get a seat to myself, or, even if I managed that, inevitably would have had to share it. Dual seating on buses is great for friends wanting to sit together, but it sucks for introverts...

In any event, the Pauli exclusion principle is evidently why, despite being fields, electrons and therefore matter acts solid. And Sean Carroll has a whole series of videos about physics"<self> where you can learn all this and more:)

Or you can check out my latest drawing, which admittedly will take less time.


Mr Tiefke had all these handwritten acetate sheets he'd lay on a projector, which we would copy, basically word for word; hence his oft-repeated joke, ‘I know your notes better than you do’. Yes, he caught me out with the answer write right there, in my notebook. No, even then I realized it wasn't the most engaging way to teach.

19oct2020

cropSince today's portrait is Asian (and was probably inspired by some article about Japanese culture) it seems only appropriate to mention this wonderful NYT article about the 10th print in Katsushika Hokusai's magnificent ukiyo-e series ‘36 Views of Mt Fuji’. The Times notes:

Woodblock prints like his — called Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” and turned out by the thousands in private printing houses — were considered vulgar, commercial images.

Ho, ho, ho. Anyway, the article uses some cute web-based tricks to direct your attention to differing parts of the image that are, as Amp said, really clever. Well worth checking out.

And here's my offering, the latest in a long-running series of flower people...

16oct2020

cropO hai, didn't get that one project done I was hoping to show yesterday. On the other hand, I managed to figure out all the niggling local candidates for stuff like the various school boards, which meant I finished up voting so's f2tE could personally turn in our household's ballots to the City Clerk.

If I had known what a sense of relief that would bring, I would researched all those end-of-the-ballot issues a lot sooner: it really didn't take all that long (though I admit I was afraid I was gonna have to watch 90 minutes of what looked to be an excruciatingly dull board meeting to get a sense of the candidates. And honestly, I'm grateful to be able to do so—this was not an option, say, back in the early 80s when I started voting, where if there wasn't something about the candidates in the local newspaper, you were out of luck.)

Fortunately for me, the local community college administration's financial shenanigans have gotten so bad a watchdog group has helpfully summarized the various incumbent trustee's voting records, which made the process much faster. If you've ever wondered why you should bother, it's too keep your tax dollars you thought were supporting education being spent on 30,000 dollar silk wallpaper office re-decorations for the school's prezzie.

Now I no longer have to worry about spilling tea on the ballot, plus I discovered our state has a surprisingly sane approach to straight and split ticket voting, who knew? And they included an "I voted" sticker with the ballot, yay.

Now if I can just get my houseplants taken care of while it's still warm enough to do all that trimming and repotting outside...Have a great weekend, and here's a doodle about voting, albeit one not made in as celebratory of a mood.

14oct2020

cropFor reasons I hope will be come clear later this week, today's links feature a couple of comics—one is boingboing's nod to a short video history of Steve Ditko's Mr A his Objectivist hero protag. —I had no idea that the guy who co-created the superhero whose uncle admonishes him that, ‘ “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility” fell into Randian Objectivism, that black hole of selfishness—fortunately, it's even duller in comics than it is in novels; Rorshach Ditko's watered-down-for-mainstream-comics version is made illuminating and empathetic in Alan Moore's brilliant deconstruction, Watchmen. Yeesh!

The other, a real unicorn chaser, is this charming and altogether appropriate sketch of Wonder Woman and her much needed Lasso of Truth (would that it could applied during Congressional Hearings....) by Silver Age artist Ramona Fradon.

okay, too lazy to transition to today's drawing. Enjoy.

13oct2020

cropBeing retired, a dilettante, hopelessly undisciplined I just generally make whatever interests me (or in the case of this summer, whatever can be done while watching youtube videos, i.e. doodles, so as to keep at bay all the problems ravening so many peoples’ worlds) but this piece is actually a study for a project I was actively commissioned to do. (And that I completed by deadline, go me.)

I finished up Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence today(1) which I'm sorry to say I did not finish by the deadline, or at least the library's due date, which I'm pretty sure was yesterday. It's a new book, so I feel a bit guilty, because I know someone else is waiting to read it. (Otherwise it would've renewed...)

This book explores much of the same material discussed in this world science festival panel Revealing the Mind: the Promise of Pyschedelics (via bb) which I stopped watching because I figured I should finish reading up the book first (though the panel actually takes place before the book goes to press, because there's a reference to it in the text.)

Besides the fact that the book (and the talk) discuss how both this class of drugs and meditation can cause altered states of consciousness (1)which since I'm actually writing this at 4 in the morning the following ‘day’ is not something I really have time to delve into right now, except to note that my friend and commissioner, above, is a Buddhist who certainly has a meditative practise and a very interesting mind) I'll just briefly note, again how frustrating I find all these missed opportunities:

Scientists were using these drugs in the 1950s to treat alcoholism, a form of addiction, which in turn is thought to be part of a constellation of conditions that likely also include depression, anxiety, mania, and obsession-compulsive behavior, what Pollan and the researchers he talks to consider to be the mind's over-focus paired with rigidity on either the past or present, instead of connection with the (nature, people, activities of) now. Richard Nixon and his moral panic over the ‘hippies’ set progress on the real uses of these drugs back by ...basically my entire lifetime, much as Reagan's ‘Greed is Good’ killed the whole green energy movement of the Carter years: my spouse had all these books on ‘Your Solar Home’ and the like from the 80s, but the subsidies got pulled, killing the movement before it could bootstrap itself up. (Thanks, oil companies...)

It's probably worthless—certainly the people trying to get us to live now, instead of “ruminating” on regrets would say so—to mourn lost chances, rather than focus on the very real progress that is now, once again, being made. The drugs caused people to bask in the wonder (literally!) of Universal Love (instead of being good little corporate drones), a sentiment, evidently, that both Timothy Leary and Richard Nixon shared, though they had nearly opposite opinions as to its benefits to society.

Over and over again, Pollan and others describe their trips as ‘initially terrifying’ but by facing fears, the wonder, bliss and contentment follow, along with a connection to the universe for which any description besides ‘divine’ or ‘immanent’ really doesn't fit: even to someone as dulled by age and especially four years of the current administration's naked greed and corruption, it's very clear that the emotions these drugs can engender are completely antithetical to capitalism, and that, as Ursula K LeGuin's famous quote suggests, they may give us that courage to imagine something completely new, initially terrifying ...and ultimately better.

Er. I need to go back to bed. Enough blather, let's wrap this up.

12oct2020

cropLike any sane person, I tend to be deeply suspicious of youtube's recommendation algorithms, and so ignored the many veritasium recces that kept popping up. However, I think one finally got recced on boingboing, and as it happened, to be a topic of interest to me: tiles. I am all about repeating patterns, and background fills are a common element in Japanese design, bridal henna...and my current doodles. But these are generally periodic, that is a given unit endlessly repeating (as, for example, the background of rejiquari on the works pages.)

But Penrose tiling, is aperiodic, or sort-of non repeating patterns. Except...when you get a big enough field of these things, it's more like the infinite tiny variations in tree leaves—all bascially the same, yet infinitely many tiny variations. I also liked this one about an equation's non-obvious connection to mandelbrot sets (The really cool thing is that as you plug different numbers in, the output varies from regular to chaotic to regular again—pretty sweet!)

Anyway. At least one day this week, we have a drawing.