Monthly Archives: January 2016

Pyramid Texture Glasses

iPhoneOgraphy – 21 Jan 2016 (Day 21/366)

In Chinese history, glass played a peripheral role in the arts and crafts, when compared to ceramics and metal work. The limited archaeological distribution and use of glass objects are evidence of the rarity of the material. Literary sources date the first manufacture of glass to the 5th century AD. However, the earliest archaeological evidence for glass manufacture in China comes from the late Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC to 221 BC).

Chinese learned to manufacture glass comparably later than the Mesopotamians, Egyptians and Indians. Imported glass objects first reached China during the late Spring and Autumn period – early Warring States period (early 5th century BC), in the form of polychrome ‘eye beads’. These imports created the impetus for the production of indigenous glass beads.

During the Han period (206 BC to 220 AD) the use of glass diversified. The introduction of glass casting in this period encouraged the production of moulded objects, such as bi disks and other ritual objects. The Chinese glass objects from the Warring States period and Han Dynasty vary greatly in chemical composition from the imported glass objects. The glasses from this period contain high levels of barium oxide (BaO) and lead, distinguishing them from the soda-lime-silica glasses of Western Asia and Mesopotamia.At the end of the Han Dynasty (AD 220), the lead-barium glass tradition declined, with glass production only resuming during the 4th and 5th centuries AD.

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Koʻokoʻolau (Bidens)

iPhoneOgraphy – 20 Jan 2016 (Day 20/366)

Bidens is a genus of flowering plants in the aster family, Asteraceae. The common names beggarticks, black jack, burr marigolds, cobbler’s pegs, Spanish needles, stickseeds, tickseeds and tickseed sunflowers refer to the fruits of the plants, most of which are bristly and barbed, with two sharp pappi at the end. The generic name refers to the same character; Bidens comes from the Latin bis (“two”) and dens (“tooth”).

Bidens is distributed throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world. Most species occur in the Americas, Africa, and Polynesia, and there are some in Europe and Asia. Bidens is closely related to the American genus Coreopsis, and the genera are sometimes difficult to tell apart; in addition, neither is monophyletic.

On the Hawaiian Islands, Bidens are called kokoʻolau or koʻokoʻolau.

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Sempervivum Tectorum

iPhoneOgraphy – 19 Jan 2016 (Day 19/366)

Sempervivum (U.S. sem-per-VEE-vum) is a genus of about 40 species of flowering plants in the Crassulaceae Family, commonly known as houseleeks. Other common names include liveforever (the source of the taxonomical designation Sempervivum, literally “always/forever alive”) and hen and chicks, a name shared with plants of other genera as well. They are succulent perennials forming mats composed of tufted leaves in rosettes. In favourable conditions they spread rapidly via offsets, and several species are valued in cultivation as groundcover for dry, sunny locations.

The name Sempervivum has its origin in the Latin semper (“always”) and vivus (“living”), because this perennial plant keeps its leaves in winter and is very resistant to difficult conditions of growth. The common name “houseleek” is believed to stem from the traditional practice of growing plants on the roofs of houses to ward off fire and lightning strikes. Some Welsh people still hold the old folk belief that having it grow on the roof of the house ensures the health and prosperity of those who live there. The plant is not closely related to the true leek, which belongs to the onion family.

Other common names reflect the plant’s ancient association with Thor, the Norse god of thunder, and the Roman Jupiter. Hence names such as “Jupiter’s beard” and the German Donnerbart (“thunder beard”).

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Haworthia Fasciata

iPhoneOgraphy – 18 Jan 2016 (Day 18/366)

Haworthia fasciata is a species of succulent plant from the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Rare in cultivation; most plants that are labelled as Haworthia fasciata are actually Haworthia Attenuata.

The plants are generally small, less than 10 cm (4 in) high. The triangular shaped leaves are green with narrow white crested strips on the outside. At the end of the leaf is a non acute spine. The summer flowers appear in October and November, on the end of an inflorescence.

The species has similar markings to Haworthia Attenuata, which is commonly grown as a house plant. The two are therefore frequently confused with each other, and a great many H.attenuata specimens are mislabelled as the rarer H.fasciata.

However Haworthia fasciata is rare in cultivation, and can easily be distinguished by the smooth upper (ie. inner) surfaces of its leaves. Its white tubercles occur only on the lower (outer) sides of its leaves; whereas H.attenuata has roughness or tubercles on both sides of its leaves. The leaves of H.fasciata are also stouter, more deltoid, and fibrous inside. They tend to curve inwards more. Unlike H.attenuata, older H.fasciata specimens also develop long columnal stems.

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The Art Of LOVE (Ai 爱)

iPhoneOgraphy – 17 Jan 2016 (Day 17/366)

Two philosophical underpinnings of love exist in the Chinese tradition, one from Confucianism which emphasized actions and duty while the other came from Mohism which championed a universal love. A core concept to Confucianism is Ren (“benevolent love”, 仁), which focuses on duty, action and attitude in a relationship rather than love itself. In Confucianism, one displays benevolent love by performing actions such as filial piety from children, kindness from parent, loyalty to the king and so forth.

The concept of Ai (愛) was developed by the Chinese philosopher Mozi in the 4th century BC in reaction to Confucianism’s benevolent love. Mozi tried to replace what he considered to be the long-entrenched Chinese over-attachment to family and clan structures with the concept of “universal love” (jiān’ài, 兼愛). In this, he argued directly against Confucians who believed that it was natural and correct for people to care about different people in different degrees. Mozi, by contrast, believed people in principle should care for all people equally. Mohism stressed that rather than adopting different attitudes towards different people, love should be unconditional and offered to everyone without regard to reciprocation, not just to friends, family and other Confucian relations. Later in Chinese Buddhism, the term Ai (愛) was adopted to refer to a passionate caring love and was considered a fundamental desire. In Buddhism, Ai was seen as capable of being either selfish or selfless, the latter being a key element towards enlightenment.

In contemporary Chinese, Ai (愛) is often used as the equivalent of the Western concept of love. Ai is used as both a verb (e.g. wo ai ni 我愛你, or “I love you”) and a noun (such as aiqing 愛情, or “romantic love”). However, due to the influence of Confucian Ren, the phrase ‘Wo ai ni‘ (I love you) carries with it a very specific sense of responsibility, commitment and loyalty. Instead of frequently saying “I love you” as in some Western societies, the Chinese are more likely to express feelings of affection in a more casual way. Consequently, “I like you” (Wo xihuan ni, 我喜欢你) is a more common way of expressing affection in Chinese; it is more playful and less serious.

This is also true in Japanese (suki da, 好きだ). The Chinese are also more likely to say “I love you” in English or other foreign languages than they would in their mother tongue.

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Fragaria x Ananassa

iPhoneOgraphy – 16 Jan 2016 (Day 16/366)

The garden strawberry (or simply strawberry; Fragaria × ananassa) is a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria (collectively known as the strawberries). It is cultivated worldwide for its fruit. The fruit (which is not a botanical berry, but an aggregate accessory fruit) is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. It is consumed in large quantities, either fresh or in such prepared foods as preserves, fruit juice, pies, ice creams, milkshakes, and chocolates. Artificial strawberry flavorings and aromas are also widely used in many products like lip gloss, candy, hand sanitizers, perfume, and many others.

The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s via a cross of Fragaria Virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria Chiloensis, which was brought from Chile by Amedee-Francois Frezier in 1714. Cultivars of Fragaria × ananassahave replaced, in commercial production, the woodland strawberry (Fragaria Vesca), which was the first strawberry species cultivated in the early 17th century.

Technically, the strawberry is an aggregate accessory fruit, meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each apparent “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it.

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Tear of The Sky

iPhoneOgraphy – 15 Jan 2016 (Day 15/366)

Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then precipitated – that is, become heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth. It provides suitable conditions for many types of ecosystems, as well as water for hydroelectric power plants and crop irrigation.

The major cause of rain production is moisture moving along three-dimensional zones of temperature and moisture contrasts known as weather fronts. If enough moisture and upward motion is present, precipitation falls from convective clouds (those with strong upward vertical motion) such as cumulonimbus (thunder clouds) which can organize into narrow rain bands. In mountainous areas, heavy precipitation is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation which forces moist air to condense and fall out as rainfall along the sides of mountains. On the leeward side of mountains, desert climates can exist due to the dry air caused by downslope flow which causes heating and drying of the air mass. The movement of the monsoon trough, or intertropical convergence zone, brings rainy seasons to savannah climes.

The urban heat island effect leads to increased rainfall, both in amounts and intensity, downwind of cities. Global warming is also causing changes in the precipitation pattern globally, including wetter conditions across eastern North America and drier conditions in the tropics. Antarctica is the driest continent. The globally averaged annual precipitation over land is 715 mm (28.1 in), but over the whole Earth it is much higher at 990 mm (39 in). Climate classification systems such as the Koppen climate classification system use average annual rainfall to help differentiate between differing climate regimes. Rainfall is measured using rain gauges. Rainfall amounts can be estimated by weather radar.

Rain is also known or suspected on other planets, where it may be composed of methane, neon, sulfuric acid or even iron rather than water.

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Read More, Gain More…

iPhoneOgraphy – 14 Jan 2016 (Day 14/366)

The history of books starts with the development of writing, and various other inventions such as paper and printing, and continues through to the modern day business of book printing.

Writing on bone, shells, wood and silk existed in China long before the 2nd century BC. Paper was invented in China around the 1st century AD. The discovery of the process using the bark of the blackberry bush is attributed to Ts’ai Louen, but it may be older. Texts were reproduced by woodblock printing; the diffusion of Buddhist texts was a main impetus to large-scale production. The format of the book evolved with intermediate stages of scrolls folded concertina-style, scrolls bound at one edge (“butterfly books”) and so on.

The first printing of books started in China and was during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), but exactly when is not known. The oldest extant printed book is a Tang Dynasty work of the Diamond Sutra and dates back to 868. When the Italian Catholic missionary Matteo Ricci visited Ming China, he wrote that there were “exceedingly large numbers of books in circulation” and noted that they were sold at very low prices.

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“I Do!” The Ring of Marriage

iPhoneOgraphy – 13 Jan 2016 (Day 13/366)

A wedding ring or wedding band is a ring, often but not always made of metal, indicating the wearer is married. Depending on the local culture, the ring is usually worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe. In the United States, wedding rings were originally worn only by wives, but during the 20th century they became customary for both husbands and wives. Wedding rings are a tradition that goes back many centuries, having been manifested in the wedding customs of many different nations and religious groups. They come in many forms, most traditionally a ring made of gold or some other precious metal. Many people wear their wedding rings day and night, causing an indentation in the skin that remains visible even when the ring is taken off. Another indication of their cultural importance is that wedding rings are among the few items permitted to be worn by otherwise restrictive rules for prison inmates and visitors.

It is widely believed that the first examples of wedding rings were found in ancient Egypt. Relics dating back as far as 3,000 years ago, including papyrus scrolls, show us evidence of braided rings of hemp or reeds being exchanged among a wedded couple. Egypt viewed the circle as a symbol of eternity, and the ring served to signify the never-ending love between the couple. This was also the origin of the practice of wearing the wedding ring on the ring finger of the left hand, which the Egyptians believed to house a special vein that was connected directly to the heart, otherwise also known as Vena Amoris.

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Little Key Story

iPhoneOgraphy – 12 Jan 2016 (Day 12/366)

A key is a device that is used to operate a lock (such as to lock or unlock it). A typical key is a small piece of metal consisting of two parts: the blade, which slides into the keyway of the lock and distinguishes between different keys, and the bow, which is left protruding so that torque can be applied by the user. A key is usually intended to operate one specific lock or a small number of locks that are keyed alike, so each lock requires a unique key. The key serves as a security token for access to the locked area; only persons having the correct key can open the lock and gain access.Keys provide an inexpensive, though imperfect, method of access control for access to physical properties like buildings, vehicles and cupboards or cabinets. As such, keys are an essential feature of modern living, and are common around the world. It is common for people to carry the set of keys they need for their daily activities around with them, often linked by a keyring adorned by trinkets usually known as a keychain.

The earliest known lock and key device was discovered in the ruins of Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria. Locks such as this were later developed into the Egyptian wooden pin lock, which consisted of a bolt, door fixture, and key. When the key was inserted, pins within the fixture were lifted out drilled holes within the bolt, allowing it to move. When the key was removed, the pins fell part-way into the bolt, preventing movement. The warded lock was also present from antiquity and remains the most recognizable lock and key design in the Western world. The first all-metal lock appeared between the years 870 and 900, and are attributed to the English craftsmen. It is also said that the key was invented by Theodore of Samos in the 6th century BC.

Affluent Romans often kept their valuables in secure boxes within their households, and wore the keys as rings on their fingers. The practice had two benefits: It kept the key handy at all times, while signaling that the wearer was wealthy and important enough to have money and jewelry worth securing.

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