Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Stone Age

iPhoneOgraphy – 30 Apr 2016 (Day 121/366)

The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 6000 BC (or BCE) and 2000 BC (BCE) with the advent of metalworking.

Stone Age artifacts include tools used by modern humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, and possibly by the earlier partly contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools were used during this period as well but are rarely preserved in the archaeological record. The Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use.

The Stone Age is contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception possibly being at the very beginning, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System, especially toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands. The closest relative among the other living Primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved. The rift served as a conduit for movement into Southern Africa and also north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia.

Starting from about 3 million years ago (mya) a single biome established itself from South Africa through the rift, North Africa, and across Asia to modern China, which has been called “transcontinental ‘savannahstan'” recently. Starting in the grasslands of the rift, Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it, becoming a “tool equipped savanna dweller.”

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Lasius Niger The Black Knight

iPhoneOgraphy – 29 Apr 2016 (Day 120/366)

The black garden ant (Lasius niger), also known as the common black ant, is a formicine ant, the type species of the subgenus Lasius, found all over Europe and in some parts of North America and Asia. The European species was split into two species; L. niger is found in open areas, while L. platythorax is found in forest habitats. It is monogynous, meaning colonies have a single queen.

Lasius niger colonies can reach in size up to around 40,000 workers but 4,000–7,000 is around average. A Lasius niger queen can live up to around 15 years and it has been claimed that some have lived for 30 years. Lasius niger queens while in the early stages of founding can have two to three other queens in the nest. They will tolerate each other until the first workers come, then it is most likely they will fight until one queen remains. In certain circumstances, it is possible that there can be multiple queens in a single colony if they are founding somewhat near each other and eventually their two tunnels connect.

Lasius niger is host to a number of temporary social parasites of the Lasius mixtus group including Lasius mixtus and Lasius umbratus.

Ants mate on the wing, so “flying ants” are males and immature queens. Mating / nuptial flights of Lasius niger usually occur around June to September throughout the species’ range; in North America flights usually occur during the autumn, whereas in Europe they generally take place during the hot summer months of July and August. Flights can contain thousands of winged males and females.

Disparities between local weather conditions can cause nuptial flights to be out of phase amongst widespread populations of L. niger. During long-lasting, hot summers, flights can take place simultaneously across the country, but overcast weather with local patches of sunshine results in a far less synchronised emergence of alates (winged individuals).

Once the queens have mated they will land and discard their wings and begin to find a suitable place to dig a tunnel. Meanwhile, the males generally only live for a day or two after the mating flights and will then die.

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Light From A Candle

iPhoneOgraphy – 28 Apr 2016 (Day 119/366)

Candles were made by the Romans beginning about 500 BC. These were true dipped candles and made from tallow. Evidence for candles made from whale fat in China dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC). In India, wax from boiling cinnamon was used for temple candles.

In parts of Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, where lamp oil made from olives was readily available, candle making remained unknown until the early middle-ages. Candles were primarily made from tallow and beeswax in ancient times, but have been made from spermaceti, purified animal fats (stearin) and paraffin wax in recent centuries.

Romans began making true dipped candles from tallow, beginning around 500 BC. While oil lamps were the most widely-used source of illumination in Roman Italy, candles were common and regularly given as gifts during Saturnalia.

Qin Shi Huang (259–210 BC) was the first emperor of the Chinese Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC). His mausoleum, which was rediscovered in the 1990s, twenty-two miles east of Xi’an, contained candles made from whale fat. The word zhú 燭 in Chinese originally meant torch and could have gradually come to be defined as a candle during the Warring States period (403–221 BC); some excavated bronzewares from that era feature a pricket thought to hold a candle.

The Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) Jizhupian dictionary of about 40 BC hints at candles being made of beeswax, while the Book of Jin (compiled in 648) covering the Jin Dynasty (265–420) makes a solid reference to the beeswax candle in regards to its use by the statesman Zhou Yi (d. 322). An excavated earthenware bowl from the 4th century AD, located at the Luoyang Museum, has a hollowed socket where traces of wax were found. Generally these Chinese candles were molded in paper tubes, using rolled rice paper for the wick, and wax from an indigenous insect that was combined with seeds. By the 18th century, novelty Chinese candles had weights built into the sides of candles – as the candle melted, the weights fell off and made a noise as they landed in a bowl. Japanese candles were made from wax extracted from tree nuts.

Wax from boiling cinnamon was used for temple candles in India. Yak butter was used for candles in Tibet.

There is a fish called the eulachon or “candlefish”, a type of smelt which is found from Oregon to Alaska. During the 1st century AD, indigenous people from this region used oil from this fish for illumination. A simple candle could be made by putting the dried fish on a forked stick and then lighting it.

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Something Always Make Me Cry

iPhoneOgraphy – 27 Apr 2016 (Day 118/366)

The onion (Allium cepa L., from Latin cepa “onion”), also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is a vegetable and is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium.

This genus also contains several other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion (Allium fistutosum), the tree onion (A. ×proliferum), and the Canada onion (Allium canadense). The name “wild onion” is applied to a number of Allium species, but A. cepa is exclusively known from cultivation. Its ancestral wild original form is not known, although escapes from cultivation have become established in some regions. The onion is most frequently a biennial or a perennial plant, but is usually treated as an annual and harvested in its first growing season.

The onion plant has a fan of hollow, bluish-green leaves and the bulb at the base of the plant begins to swell when a certain day-length is reached. In the autumn (or in spring, in the case of overwintering onions), the foliage dies down and the outer layers of the bulb become dry and brittle. The crop is harvested and dried and the onions are ready for use or storage. The crop is prone to attack by a number of pests and diseases, particularly the onion fly, the onion eelworm, and various fungi cause rotting. Some varieties of A. cepa, such as shallots and potato onions, produce multiple bulbs.

Onions are cultivated and used around the world. As a food item, they are usually served cooked, as a vegetable or part of a prepared savoury dish, but can also be eaten raw or used to make pickles or chutneys. They are pungent when chopped and contain certain chemical substances which irritate the eyes.

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Epipremnum Aureum

iPhoneOgraphy – 26 Apr 2016 (Day 117/366)

Epipremnum aureum is a species of flowering plant in the family of Araceae, native in Mo’orea, French Polynesia. The species is a popular houseplant in temperate regions, but has also become naturalized in tropical and sub-tropical forests worldwide, including northern Australia, Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hawaii and the West Indies, where it has caused severe ecological damage in some cases.

The plant has a multitude of common names including golden pothos, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, money plant, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy and taro vine. It is also called devil’s vine or devil’s ivy because it is almost impossible to kill. It is sometimes mistakenly labeled as a Philodendron in plant stores.

E. aureum is an evergreen vine growing to 20 m (66 ft) tall, with stems up to 4 cm (2 in) in diameter, climbing by means of aerial roots which adhere to surfaces. The leaves are alternate, heart-shaped, entire on juvenile plants, but irregularly pinnatifid on mature plants, up to 100 cm (39 in) long and 45 cm (18 in) broad; juvenile leaves are much smaller, typically under 20 cm (8 in) long. The flowers are produced in a spathe up to 23 cm (9 in) long. This plant produces trailing stems when it climbs up trees and these take root when they reach the ground and grow along it. The leaves on these trailing stems grow up to 10 cm (4 in) long and are the ones normally seen on this plant when it is cultivated as a pot plant.

In temperate regions it is a popular houseplant with numerous cultivars selected for leaves with white, yellow, or light green variegation. It is often used in decorative displays in shopping centers, offices, and other public locations largely because it requires little care and is also attractively leafy. It is also efficient at removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene. A study found that this effect lessened the higher the molecular weight of the polluting substance. As a houseplant it can reach a height of 20 m (66 ft) or more, given suitable support. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

The plant is sometimes used in aquariums, placed on top of the aquarium and allowed to grow roots in the water. This is beneficial to the plant and the aquarium as it absorbs many nitrates and uses them for growth.

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A Memorable Day…

iPhoneOgraphy – 25 Apr 2016 (Day 116/366)

Today is another memorable day in my life, it is my little angel birthday and it is also my lovely angel suffering day (giving birth).

I had bought two presents for them, one for my little angel and wishing her “Happy Birthday”, the other one for my lovely angel and to tell her “Thank You”.

I’m would like to say “I Love You” to both my angel and “Thank You” for being in my life…

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Today Sunset View…

iPhoneOgraphy – 24 Apr 2016 (Day 115/366)

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky”. – (Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds)

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Which Unit Should I Stay?

iPhoneOgraphy – 23 Apr 2016 (Day 114/366)

A building or edifice is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a wide number of factors, from building materials available, to weather conditions, to land prices, ground conditions, specific uses and aesthetic reasons. To better understand the term building compare the list of non building structures.

Buildings serve several needs of society – primarily as shelter from weather, security, living space, privacy, to store belongings, and to comfortably live and work. A building as a shelter represents a physical division of the human habitat (a place of comfort and safety) and the outside (a place that at times may be harsh and harmful).

Ever since the first cave paintings, buildings have also become objects or canvasess of artistic expression. In recent years, interest in sustainable planning and building practices has also become an intentional part of the design process of many new buildings.

The word building is both a noun and a verb: the structure itself and the act of making it. As a noun, a building is ‘a structure that has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place’; “there was a three-storey building on the corner”; “it was an imposing edifice”. In the broadest interpretation a fence or wall is a building However, the word structure is used more broadly than buildingincluding natural and man-made formations and does not necessarily have walls. Structure is more likely to be used for a fence. Sturgis’ Dictionary included that “[building] differs from Architecture in excluding all idea of artistic treatment; and it differs from Construction in the idea of excluding scientific or highly skilful treatment.” As a verb, building is the act of construction.

Structural height in technical usage is the height to the highest architectural detail on building from street-level. Depending on how they are classified, spires and masts may or may not be included in this height. Spires and masts used as antennas are not generally included. The definition of a low-rise vs. a high-rise building is a matter of debate, but generally three storeys or less is considered low-rise.

A report by Shinichi Fujimura of a shelter built 500 000 years ago is doubtful since Fujimura was later found to have faked many of his findings. Supposed remains of huts found at the Terra Amata site in Nice purportedly dating from 200 000 to 400 000 years ago have also been called into question. There is clear evidence of home-building from around 18 000 BC. Buildings became common during the Neolithic.

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I Need More Power…

iPhoneOgraphy – 22 Apr 2016 (Day 113/366)

Batteries provided the main source of electricity before the development of electric generators and electrical grids around the end of the 19th century. Successive improvements in battery technology facilitated major electrical advances, from early scientific studies to the rise of telegraphs and telephones, and eventually leading to portable computers, mobile phones, electric cars, and many other electrical devices.

Scientists and engineers developed several commercially important types of battery. “Wet cells” were open containers that held liquid electrolyte and metallic electrodes. When the electrodes were completely consumed, the wet cell was renewed by replacing the electrodes and electrolyte. Open containers are unsuitable for mobile or portable use. Early electric cars used semi-sealed wet cells.

“Primary” batteries could produce current as soon as assembled, but once the active elements were consumed, they could not be electrically recharged. The development of the lead-acid battery and subsequent “secondary” or “rechargeable” types allowed energy to be restored to the cell, extending the life of permanently assembled cells.

In 1749 Benjamin Franklin, the U.S. Polymath and founding father, first used the term “battery” to describe a set of linked capacitors he used for his experiments with electricity. These capacitors were panels of glass coated with metal on each surface. These capacitors were charged with a static generator and discharged by touching metal to their electrode. Linking them together in a “battery” gave a stronger discharge. Originally having the generic meaning of “a group of two or more similar objects functioning together”, as in an artillery battery, the term came to be used for voltaic piles and similar devices in which many electrochemical cells were connected together in the manner of Franklin’s capacitors. Today even a single electrochemical cell, e.g. a dry cell, is commonly called a battery.

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Chinese Opera – xìqǔ

iPhoneOgraphy – 21 Apr 2016 (Day 112/366)

Chinese opera (Chinese: 戲曲; pinyin: xìqǔ) is a popular form of drama and musical theatre in China with roots going back to the early periods in China. It is a composite performance art that is an amalgamation of various art forms that existed in ancient China, and evolved gradually over more than a thousand years, reaching its mature form in the 13th century during the Song Dynasty. Early forms of Chinese drama are simple, but over time they incorporated various art forms, such as music, song and dance, martial arts, acrobatics, as well as literary art forms to become Chinese opera.

There are numerous regional branches of Chinese opera, of which the Beijing opera ( 京劇 ) is one of the most notable.

An early form of Chinese drama is the Canjun Opera(參軍戲, or Adjutant Play) which originated from the Later Zhao Dynasty (319-351). In its early form it was a simple comic drama involving only two performers, where a corrupt officer, Canjun or the adjutant, was ridiculed by a jester named Grey Hawk (蒼鶻). The characters in Canjun Opera are thought to be the forerunners of the fixed role categories of later Chinese opera, particularly of its comic chou (丑) characters.

Various song and dance dramas developed during the Six Dynasties period. During the Northern Qi Dynasty, a masked dance called the Big Face (大面, which can mean “mask”, alternatively daimian 代面, and it was also called The King of Lanling, 蘭陵王), was created in honour of Gao Changgong who went into battle wearing a mask. Another was called Botou (撥頭, also 缽頭), a masked dance drama from the Western Regions that tells the story of a grieving son who sought a tiger that killed his father. In The Dancing Singing Woman (踏謡娘), which relates the story of a wife battered by her drunken husband, the song an dance drama was initially performed by a man dressed as a woman. The stories told in of these song-and-dance dramas are simple, but they are thought to be the earliest pieces of musical theatre in China, and the precursors to the more sophisticated later forms of Chinese opera.

These forms of early drama were popular in the Tang Dynasty where they further developed. For example, by the end of the Tang Dynasty the Canjun Opera Had evolved into a performance with more complex plot and dramatic twists, and it involved at least four performers. The early form of Chinese theatre became more organized in the Tang Dynasty with Emperor Xuanzong (712–755), who founded the “Pear Garden” (梨园/梨園; líyuán), the first academy of music to train musicians, dancers and actors. The performers formed what may be considered the first known opera troupe in China, and mostly performed for the emperors’ personal pleasure. To this day operatic professionals are still referred to as “Disciples of the Pear Garden” (梨园弟子 / 梨園弟子, líyuán dìzi).

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