Monthly Archives: July 2016

Anyone Interest In Chess Game?

iPhoneOgraphy – 21 Jul 2016 (Day 203/366)

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Chess is played by millions of people worldwide, both amateurs and professionals.

Each player begins the game with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently. The most powerful piece is the queen and the least powerful piece is the pawn. The objective is to ‘checkmate’ the opponent’s king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. To this end, a player’s pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent’s pieces, while supporting their own. In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by voluntary resignation by the opponent, which typically occurs when too much material is lost, or if checkmate appears unavoidable. A game may also result in a draw in several ways.

Chess is believed to have originated in Eastern India, c. 280 – 550, in the Gupta Empire, where its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturanga, literally four divisions [of the military] – infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. Thence it spread eastward and westward along the Silk Road. The earliest evidence of chess is found in the nearby Sassanid Persia around 600, where the game came to be known by the name chatrang. Chatrang was taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia (633–44), where it was then named shatranj, with the pieces largely retaining their Persian names. In Spanish “shatranj” was rendered as ajedrez (“al-shatranj”), in Portuguese as xadrez, and in Greek as (zatrikion, which comes directly from the Persian chatrang), but in the rest of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian shāh (“king”), which was familiar as an exclamation and became the English words “check” and “chess”.

The oldest archaeological artifacts, ivory chess pieces, were excavated in ancient Afrasiab, today’s Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, central Asia, and date to about 760, with some of them possibly older. The oldest known chess manual was in Arabic and dates to 840-850, written by al-Adli ar-Rumi (800-870), a renowned Arab chess player, titled Kituab ash-shatranj (Book of the chess). This is a lost manuscript, but referenced in later works. The eastern migration of chess, into China and Southeast Asia, has even less documentation than its migration west. The first reference to chess, called Xiang Qi, in China comes in the xuán guaì lù (玄怪录, record of the mysterious and strange) dating to about 800. Alternately, some contend that chess arose from Chinese chess or one of its predecessors, although this has been contested.

The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By the year 1000, it had spread throughout Europe. Introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in the 10th century, it was described in a famous 13th-century manuscript covering shatranj, backgammon, and dice named the Libro de los juegos.

Around 1200, the rules of shatranj started to be modified in southern Europe, and around 1475, several major changes made the game essentially as it is known today. These modern rules for the basic moves had been adopted in Italy and Spain. Pawns gained the option of advancing two squares on their first move, while bishops and queens acquired their modern abilities. The queen replaced the earlier vizier chess piece towards the end of the 10th century and by the 15th century had become the most powerful piece; consequently modern chess was referred to as “Queen’s Chess” or “Mad Queen Chess”. Castling, derived from the ‘kings leap’ usually in combination with a pawn or rook move to bring the king to safety, was introduced. These new rules quickly spread throughout western Europe. The rules concerning stalemate were finalized in the early 19th century. Also in the 19th century, the convention that White moves first was established (formerly either White or Black could move first). Finally the rules around castling were standardized – variations in the castling rules had persisted in Italy until the late 19th century. The resulting standard game is sometimes referred to as Western chess or international chess, particularly in Asia where other games of the chess family such as xiangqi are prevalent. Since the 19th century, the only rule changes have been technical in nature, for example establishing the correct procedure for claiming a draw by repetition.

Writings about the theory of how to play chess began to appear in the 15th century. The Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez (Repetition of Love and the Art of Playing Chess) by Spanish churchman Luis Ramirez de Lucena was published in Salamanca in 1497. Lucena and later masters like Portuguese Pedro Damiano, Italians Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona, Giulio Cesare Polerio and Gioachino Greco, and Spanish bishop Ruy Lòpez de Segura developed elements of openings and started to analyze simple endgames.

The romantic era was characterized by opening gambits (sacrificing pawns or even pieces), daring attacks, and brazen sacrifices. Many elaborate and beautiful but unsound move sequences called ‘combinations’ were played by the masters of the time. The game was played more for art than theory. A profound belief that chess merit resided in the players’ genius rather than inherent in the position on the board pervaded chess practice.

In the 18th century, the center of European chess life moved from the Southern European countries to France. The two most important French masters were François-André Danican Philidor, a musician by profession, who discovered the importance of pawns for chess strategy, and later Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais, who won a famous series of matches with the Irish master Alexander McDonnell in 1834. Centers of chess activity in this period were coffee houses in big European cities like Café de la Régence in Paris and Simpson’s Divan in London.

As the 19th century progressed, chess organization developed quickly. Many chess clubs, chess books, and chess journals appeared. There were correspondence matches between cities; for example, the London Chess Club played against the Edinburgh Chess Club in 1824. Chess problems became a regular part of 19th-century newspapers; Bernhard Howwitz, Josef Kling, and Samuel Loyd composed some of the most influential problems. In 1843, von der Lasa published his and Bilguer’s Handbuch des Schachspiels (Handbook of Chess), the first comprehensive manual of chess theory.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Walking On The Pier

iPhoneOgraphy – 20 Jul 2016 (Day 202/366)

A pier is a raised structure typically supported by well-spaced piles or pillars. Bridges, buildings, and walkways may all be supported by piers. Their open structure allows tides and currents to flow relatively unhindered, whereas the more solid foundations of a quay or the closely spaced piles of a wharf can act as a breakwater, and are consequently more liable to silting. Piers can range in size and complexity from a simple lightweight wooden structure to major structures extended over 1600 metres. In American English, pier may be synonymous with dock.

Piers have been built for several purposes, and because these different purposes have distinct regional variances, the term pier tends to have different nuances of meaning in different parts of the world. Thus in North America and Australia, where many ports were, until recently, built on the multiple pier model, the term tends to imply a current or former cargo-handling facility. In Europe in contrast, where ports more often use basins and river-side quays than piers, the term is principally associated with the image of a Victorian cast iron pleasure pier. However, the earliest piers pre-date the Victorian age.

Piers can be categorized into different groupings according to the principal purpose. However, there is considerable overlap between these categories. For example, pleasure piers often also allow for the docking of pleasure steamers and other similar craft, while working piers have often been converted to leisure use after being rendered obsolete by advanced developments in cargo-handling technology. Many piers are floating piers, to ensure that the piers raise and lower with the tide along with the boats tied to them. This prevents a situation where lines become overly taut or loose by rising or lowering tides. An overly taut or loose tie-line can damage boats by pulling them out of the water or allowing them so much leeway that they bang forcefully against the sides of the pier.

Working piers were built for the handling of passengers and cargo onto and off ships or (as at Wigan Pier) canal boats. Working piers themselves fall into two different groups. Longer individual piers are often found at ports with large tidal ranges, with the pier stretching far enough off shore to reach deep water at low tide. Such piers provided an economical alternative to impounded docks where cargo volumes were low, or where specialist bulk cargo was handled, such as at coal piers. The other form of working pier, often called the finger pier, was built at ports with smaller tidal ranges. Here the principal advantage was to give a greater available quay length for ships to berth against compared to a linear littoral quayside, and such piers are usually much shorter. Typically each pier would carry a single transit shed the length of the pier, with ships berthing bow or stern in to the shore.

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The Hymn to Ninkasi

iPhoneOgraphy – 19 Jul 2016 (Day 201/366)

Beer is the world’s most widely consumed and probably the oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. The production of beer is called brewing, which involves the fementation of starches, mainly derived from cereal grains—most commonly malted barley, although wheat, maize (corn), and rice are widely used. Most beer is flavoured with hops, which add bitterness and act as a natural preservative, though other flavourings such as herbs or fruit may occasionally be included. The fermentation process causes a natural carbonation effect, although this is often removed during processing, and replaced with forced carbonation. Some of humanity’s earliest known writings refer to the production and distribution of beer: the Code of Hammurabi included laws regulating beer and beer parlours, and “The Hymn to Ninkasi”, a prayer to the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, served as both a prayer and as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people.

Beer is sold in bottles and cans; it may also be available on draught, particularly in pubs and bars. The brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. The strength of beer is usually around 4% to 6% alcohol by volume (abv), although it may vary between 0.5% and 20%, with some breweries creating examples of 40% abv and above. Beer forms part of the culture of beer-drinking nations and is associated with social traditions such as beer festivals, as well as a rich pub culture involving activities like pub crawling, and pub games such as bar billiards.

Beer is one of the world’s oldest prepared beverages, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9500 BC, when cereal was first farmed, and is recorded in the written history of ancient Iraq and ancient Egypt. Archaeologists speculate that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations. Approximately 5000 years ago, workers in the city of Uruk (modern day Iraq) were paid by their employers in beer. During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids’ construction.

The earliest known chemical evidence of barley beer dates to circa 3500-3100 BC from the site of Godin Tepe in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran. Some of the earliest Sumerian writings contain references to beer; examples include a prayer to the goddess Ninkasi, known as “The Hymn to Ninkasi”, which served as both a prayer as well as a method of remembering the recipe for beer in a culture with few literate people, and the ancient advice (Fill your belly. Day and night make merry) to Gilgamesh, recorded in the Epic of Gilgamesh, by the ale-wife Siduri may, at least in part, have referred to the consumption of beer. The Ebla tablets, discovered in 1974 in Ebla, Syria, show that beer was produced in the city in 2500 BC. A fermented beverage using rice and fruit was made in China around 7000 BC. Unlike sake, mould was not used to saccharify the rice (amylolytic fermentation); the rice was probably prepared for fermentation by mastication or malting.

Almost any substance containing sugar can naturally undergo alcoholic fermentation. It is likely that many cultures, on observing that a sweet liquid could be obtained from a source of starch, independently invented beer. Bread and beer increased prosperity to a level that allowed time for development of other technologies and contributed to the building of civilizations.

Beer was spread through Europe by Germanic and Celtic tribes as far back as 3000 BC, and it was mainly brewed on a domestic scale. The product that the early Europeans drank might not be recognised as beer by most people today. Alongside the basic starch source, the early European beers might contain fruits, honey, numerous types of plants, spices and other substances such as narcotic herbs. What they did not contain was hops, as that was a later addition, first mentioned in Europe around 822 by a Carolingian Abbot and again in 1067 by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen.

In 1516, William IV, Duke of Bavaria, adopted the Reinheitsgebot (purity law), perhaps the oldest food-quality regulation still in use in the 21st century, according to which the only allowed ingredients of beer are water, hops and barley-malt. Beer produced before the Industrial Revolution continued to be made and sold on a domestic scale, although by the 7th century AD, beer was also being produced and sold by European monasteries. During the Industrial Revolution, the production of beer moved from artisanal manufacture to industrial manufacture, and domestic manufacture ceased to be significant by the end of the 19th century. The development of hydrometers and thermometers changed brewing by allowing the brewer more control of the process and greater knowledge of the results.

Today, the brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. As of 2006, more than 133 billion liters (35 billion gallons), the equivalent of a cube 510 metres on a side, of beer are sold per year, producing total global revenues of $294.5 billion (£147.7 billion).

In 2010, China’s beer consumption hit 450 million hectolitres (45 billion litres), or nearly twice that of the United States, but only 5 percent sold were premium draught beers, compared with 50 percent in France and Germany.

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Snorkeling The Underwater Life

iPhoneOgraphy – 18 Jul 2016 (Day 200/366)

Snorkeling (British and Commonwealth English spelling: snorkelling) is the practice of swimming on or through a body of water while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel, and usually fins. In cooler waters, a wetsuit may also be worn. Use of this equipment allows the snorkeler to observe underwater attractions for extended periods with relatively little effort and to breathe while face-down at the surface.

Snorkeling is a popular recreational activity, particularly at tropical resort locations. The primary appeal is the opportunity to observe underwater life in a natural setting without the complicated equipment and training required for scuba diving. It appeals to all ages because of how little effort there is, and without the exhaled bubbles of scuba-diving equipment. It is the basis of the two surface disciplines of the underwater sport of finswimming.

Snorkeling is also used by scuba divers when on the surface, in underwater sports such as underwater hockey and underwater rugby, and as part of water-based searches conducted by search and rescue teams.

Snorkeling is mentioned by Aristotle in his Parts of Animals. He refers to divers using “instruments for respiration” resembling the elephant’s trunk. Some evidence suggests that snorkeling may have originated in Crete some 5,000 years ago as sea sponge farmers used hollowed out reeds to submerge and retrieve natural sponge for use in trade and commerce.

Snorkelers normally wear the same kind of mask as those worn by scuba divers. By creating an airspace, the mask enables the snorkeler to see clearly underwater. All scuba diving masks consist of the lenses also known as a faceplate, a soft rubber skirt, which encloses the nose and seals against the face, and a head strap to hold it in place. There are different styles and shapes. These range from oval shaped models to lower internal volume masks and may be made from different materials; common choices are silicone and rubber. A snorkeler who remains at the surface can use swimmer’s goggles which do not enclose the nose.

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The Sailing Boat

iPhoneOgraphy – 17 Jul 2016 (Day 199/366)

A sailboat or sailing boat is a boat propelled partly or entirely by sails smaller than a sailing ship. Distinctions in what constitutes a sailing boat and ship vary by region and maritime culture.

Archaeological studies of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture ceramics show use of sailing boats from the sixth millennium onwards. Excavations of the Ubaid period (c. 6000 – 4300 BC) in Mesopotamia provides direct evidence of sailing boats. Sails from ancient Egypt are depicted around 3200 BCE, where reed boats sailed upstream against the River Nile’s current. Ancient Sumerians used square rigged sailing boats at about the same time, and it is believed they established sea trading routes as far away as the Indus Valley. The proto-Austronesian words for sail, lay(r), and other rigging parts date to about 3000 BCE when this group began their Pacific expansion. Greeks and Phoenicians began trading by ship by around 1,200 BCE.

Square sails mounted on yardarms perpendicular to the boat’s hull are very good for downwind sailing; they dominated in the ancient Mediterranean and spread to Northern Europe, and were independently invented in China and Ecuador. Although fore-and-aft rigs have become more popular on modern yachts, square sails continue to power full-rigged ships through the Age of Sail and to the present day. Triangular fore-and-aft rigs were invented in the Mediterranean as single yarded lateen sails and independently in the Pacific as the more efficient bi sparred crab claw sail, and continue to be used throughout the world. During the 16th-19th centuries other fore-and-aft sails were developed in Europe, such as the spritsail, gaff rig, jib/genoa/staysail, and Bermuda rig, improving European upwind sailing ability.

In an interesting recent development, an elderly trawler, TS Pelican, was fitted with what are thought to have been the unorthodox riggings used by the Barbary pirates in the 16th century. The resultant performance has been remarkable, with the Pelican sailing, at speed, over 20 degrees nearer the wind than any square rigger.

Space satellites have successfully deployed solar sails which use radiation pressure or solar wind to propel them.

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Mr. Hermit Crab

iPhoneOgraphy – 16 Jul 2016 (Day 198/366)

Hermit crabs are decapod crustaceans of the superfamily Paguroidea.

Most of the 1100 species possess an asymmetrical abdomen which is concealed in an empty gastropod shell carried around by the hermit crab.

Most species have long, spirally curved abdomens, which are soft, unlike the hard, calcified abdomens seen in related crustaceans. The vulnerable abdomen is protected from predators by a salvaged empty seashell carried by the hermit crab, into which its whole body can retract. Most frequently, hermit crabs use the shells of sea snails (although the shells of bivalves and scaphopods and even hollow pieces of wood and stone are used by some species). The tip of the hermit crab’s abdomen is adapted to clasp strongly onto the columella of the snail shell. Most hermit crabs are nocturnal.

The land hermit crabs, spend most of their life on land as terrestrial species in tropocal areas. Though even they require access to both freshwater and saltwater to keep their gills damp or wet to survive and reproduction or breed aquatic larvaes. Most of them belong to the family Coenobitidae. Of the approximately 15 terrestrial species of genus Caenobita in the world, the following are commonly kept as pets: Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus), Australian land hermit crab (Coenobita variabilis), and the Ecuadorian hermit crab (Coenobita compressus). Other species, such as Coenobita brevimanus, Coenobita rugosus, Coenobita perlatus or Coenobita cavipes, are less common but growing in availability and popularity as pets.

All hermit crabs have gills. They require access to water to keep their gills wet to breathe through damp gills, otherwise the gills will dry out and the crab will suffocate.

As hermit crabs grow, they require larger shells. Since suitable intact gastropod shells are sometimes a limited resource, vigorous competition often occurs among hermit crabs for shells. The availability of empty shells at any given place depends on the relative abundance of gastropods and hermit crabs, matched for size. An equally important issue is the population of organisms that prey upon gastropods and leave the shells intact. Hermit crabs kept together may fight or kill a competitor to gain access to the shell they favour. However, if the crabs vary significantly in size, the occurrence of fights over empty shells will decrease or remain nonexistent. Hermit crabs with too-small shells cannot grow as fast as those with well-fitting shells, and are more likely to be eaten if they cannot retract completely into the shell.

As the hermit crab grows in size, it must find a larger shell and abandon the previous one. This habit of living in a second-hand shell gives rise to the popular name “hermit crab”, by analogy to a hermit who lives alone. Several hermit crab species, both terrestrial and marine, have been observed forming a vacancy chain to exchange shells. When an individual crab finds a new empty shell it will leave its own shell and inspect the vacant shell for size. If the shell is found to be too large, the crab goes back to its own shell and then waits by the vacant shell for anything up to 8 hours. As new crabs arrive they also inspect the shell and, if it is too big, wait with the others, forming a group of up to 20 individuals, holding onto each other in a line from the largest to the smallest crab. As soon as a crab arrives that is the right size for the vacant shell and claims it, leaving its old shell vacant, then all the crabs in the queue swiftly exchange shells in sequence, each one moving up to the next size. Hermit crabs often “gang up” on one of their species with what they perceive to be a better shell, and pry its shell away from it before competing for it until one takes it over.

For some larger marine species, supporting one or more sea anemones on the shell can scare away predators. The sea anemone benefits, because it is in position to consume fragments of the hermit crab’s meals. Other very close symbiotic relationships are known from encrusting bryozoans and hermit crabs forming bryoliths.

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The Cocos Nucifera

iPhoneOgraphy – 15 Jul 2016 (Day 197/366)

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family) and the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. The term is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco meaning “head” or “skull”, from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.

Coconuts are known for their great versatility, as evidenced by many traditional uses, ranging from food to cosmetics. They form a regular part of the diets of many people in the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are distinct from other fruits for their large quantity of “water”, and when immature, they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for their potable coconut water. When mature, they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell, and coir from the fibrous husk. The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh”. When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying, as well as in soaps and cosmetics. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. The coconut also has cultural and religious significance in certain societies, particularly in India, where it is used in Hindu rituals.

One of the earliest mentions of the coconut dates back to the “One Thousand and One Nights” story of Sinbad the Sailor; he is known to have bought and sold coconut during his fifth voyage. Thenga, its Malayalam and Tamil name, was used in the detailed description of coconut found in Itinerario by Ludovico di Varthema published in 1510 and also in the later Hortus Indicus Malabaricus. Even earlier, it was called nux indica, a name used by Marco Polo in 1280 while in Sumatra, taken from the Arabs who called it jawz hindī. Both names translate to “Indian nut”. In the earliest description of the coconut palm known, given by Cosmos of Alexandria in his Topographia Christiana written about 545 AD, there is a reference to the argell tree and its drupe.

In March of 1521, an extremely detailed description of the coconut was given by Antonio Pigafetta writing in Italian and using the words “cocho”/”cochi”, as recorded in his journal after the first European crossing of the Pacific Ocean during the Magellancircumnavigation and meeting the inhabitants of what would become known as Guam and the Philippines. He explained how at Guam “they eat coconuts” (“mangiano cochi”) and that the natives there also “anoint the body and the hair with cocoanut and beneseed oil” (“ongieno eL corpo et li capili co oleo de cocho et de giongioli”). The journal then details how on the following week, Magellan’s expedition landed at Suluan east of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. There they were given gifts by the natives which included two coconuts (“dui cochi”), with indication that more coconuts would be brought later (“cochi et molta altra victuuaglia”). Pigafetta then goes into great detail on how coconut is used and processed by the Filipino natives:

It is evident that the name ‘coco’ and ‘coconut’ came from these 1521 encounters with Pacific islanders, and not from the other regions where it was found as no name is similar in any of the languages of India, where the Portuguese first found the fruit; and indeed Barbosa, Barros, and Garcia, in mentioning the Tamil/Malayalam name tenga, and Canarese narle, expressly say, “we call these fruits quoquos”, “our people have given it the name of coco”, and “that which we call coco, and the Malabars temga”.

Other stories to explain the origin of the word have been published. The OED states: “Portuguese and Spanish authors of the 16th c. agree in identifying the word with Portuguese and Spanish coco “grinning face, grin, grimace”, also “bugbear, scarecrow”, cognate with cocar “to grin, make a grimace”; the name being said to refer to the face-like appearance of the base of the shell, with its three holes. According to Losada, the name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a ghost or witch in Portuguese folklore called coco (also côca).

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The Pedanius Dioscorides

iPhoneOgraphy – 14 Jul 2016 (Day 196/366)

Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. The genus is quite large, containing several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Member species are often noted for their showy flowers and are commonly known simply as hibiscus, or less widely known as rose mallow. The genus includes both annual and perennialherbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees. The generic name is derived from the Greek word hibískos, which was the name Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40–90) gave to Althaea officinalis.

The leaves are alternate, ovate to lanceolate, often with a toothed or lobed margin. The flowers are large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals, color from white to pink, red, orange, peach, yellow or purple, and from 4–18 cm broad. Flower color in certain species, such as H. mutabilis and H. tiliaceus, changes with age. The fruit is a dry five-lobed capsule, containing several seeds in each lobe, which are released when the capsule dehisces (splits open) at maturity. It is of red and white colours. It is an example of complete flowers.

The hibiscus is the national flower of Haiti and is used in their national tourism slogan of Haïti: Experience It! The Hibiscus species also represents several other nations. The Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is the national flower of Malaysia. The red hibiscus is the flower of the Hindugoddess Kali, and appears frequently in depictions of her in the art of Bengal, India, often with the goddess and the flower merging in form. The hibiscus is used as an offering to goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

In the Philippines, the gumamela (local name for hibiscus) is used by children as part of a bubble-making pastime. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky juices come out. Hollow papaya stalks are then dipped into this and used as straws for blowing bubbles. Together with soap, hibiscus juices produce more bubbles.

The hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls. If the flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is married or in a relationship. If the flower is worn on the right, she is single or openly available for a relationship. The hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower.

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie named her first novel Purple Hibiscus after the delicate flower.

The bark of the hibiscus contains strong bast fibers that can be obtained by letting the stripped bark set in the sea to let the organic material rot away.

Many species are grown for their showy flowers or used as landscape shrubs, and are used to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Hibiscus is a very hardy, versatile plant and in tropical conditions it can enhance the beauty of any garden. Being versatile it adapts itself easily to balcony gardens in crammed urban spaces and can be easily grown in pots as a creeper or even in hanging pots. It is a perennial and flowers through the year. As it comes in a variety of colors, its a plant which can add vibrancy to any garden.

The only infestation that gardeners need to be vigilant about is mealybug. Mealybug infestations are easy to spot as its clearly visible as a distinct white cottony infestation on buds, leaves or even stems. To protect the plant you need to trim away the infected part, spray with water and then spray with a good insecticide recommended by a plant nursery.

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The Sky Cotton Candy

iPhoneOgraphy – 13 Jul 2016 (Day 195/366)

In meteorology, a cloud is an aerosol comprising a visible mass of minute liquid droplets or frozen crystals, both of which are made of water or various chemicals. The droplets or particles are suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body. On Earth, clouds are formed by the saturation of air in the homosphere (which includes the troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere) when air cools or gains water vapor. The science of clouds is nephology which is undertaken in the cloud physics branch of meteorology.

Cloud types in the troposphere, the atmospheric layer closest to Earth’s surface, have Latin names due to the universal adaptation of Luke Howard’s nomenclature. It was formally proposed in December 1802 and published for the first time the following year. It became the basis of a modern international system that classifies these tropospheric aerosols into five physical forms. These are: 1. stratiformsheets, 2. stratocumuliform rolls and ripples, 3. cirriform wisps and patches, 4. cumuliform heaps of variable size, and 5. very large cumulonimbiform heaps that often show complex structure. Most of these forms can be found in the high, middle, and low altitude levels or étages of the troposphere.

The forms are cross-classified by étage to produce ten basic genus-types or genera. Cirriform clouds only occur in the high altitude range and therefore constitute a single genus. Stratiform and stratocumuliform genera have the prefix cirro- when they occur in the high étage, and alto- when based in the middle altitude range. Low- and multi-étage genera of any form do not have altitude-related prefixes. With this method of nomenclature, a cloud genus can be defined as any physical form that is particular to a given étage, or simultaneously to more than one étage if the genus-type has significant vertical extent. Most genera can be divided into species that are often subdivided into varieties where applicable.

Clouds that form higher up in the stratosphere and mesosphere have common names for their main types, but are sub-classified alpha-numerically rather than with the elaborate system of Latin names given to cloud types in the troposphere. They are relatively uncommon and are mostly seen in the polar regions of Earth. Clouds have been observed on other planets and moons within the Solar System, but due to their different temperature characteristics, they are often composed of other substances such as methane, ammonia, and sulfuric acid as well as water.

The origin of the term cloud can be found in the old English clud or clod, meaning a hill or a mass of rock. Around the beginning of the 13th century, it was extended as a metaphor to include rain clouds as masses of evaporated water in the sky because of the similarity in appearance between a mass of rock and a cumulus heap cloud. Over time, the metaphoric term replaced the original old English weolcan to refer to clouds in general.

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What To Cook?

iPhoneOgraphy – 12 Jul 2016 (Day 194/366)

In cooking, a gas stove is a cooker / stove which uses natural gas, propane, butane, liquefied petroleum gas or other flammable gas as a fuel source. Prior to the advent of gas, cooking stoves relied on solid fuel such as coal or wood. The first gas stoves were developed in the 1820s, and a gas stove factory was established in England in 1836. This new cooking technology had the advantage that it was easily adjustable and could be turned off when not in use. However the gas stove did not become a commercial success until the 1880s, by which time a supply of piped gas was available in large towns in Britain. The stoves became widespread on the European Continent and in the United States in the early 20th century.

Gas stoves became less unwieldy when the oven was integrated into the base and the size was reduced to fit in better with the rest of the kitchen furniture. By the 1910s, producers started to enamel their gas stoves for easier cleaning. Ignition of the gas was originally by match and this was followed by the more convenient pilot light. This had the disadvantage of a continual consumption of gas. The oven still needed to be lit by match, and accidentally turning on the gas without igniting it could lead to an explosion. To prevent these types of accidents, oven manufacturers developed and installed a safety valve called a flame failure device for gas hobs and ovens. Most modern gas stoves have electronic ignition, automatic timers for the oven and extractor hoods to remove fumes.

A major improvement in fuel technology came with the advent of gas. The first gas stoves were developed as early as the 1820s, but these remained isolated experiments. James Sharp patented a gas stove in Northampton, England in 1826 and opened a gas stove factory in 1836. His invention was marketed by the firm Smith & Philips from 1828. An important figure in the early acceptance of this new technology, was Alexis Soyer, the renowned chef at the Reform Club in London. From 1841, he converted his kitchen to consume piped gas, arguing that gas was cheaper overall because the supply could be turned off when the stove was not in use.

A gas stove was shown at the World Fair in London in 1851, but it was only in the 1880s that the technology became a commercial success in England. By that stage a large and reliable network for gas pipeline transport had spread over much of the country, making gas relatively cheap and efficient for domestic use. Gas stoves only became widespread on the European Continent and in the United States in the early 20th century.

Early gas stoves were rather unwieldy, but soon the oven was integrated into the base and the size was reduced to fit in better with the rest of the kitchen furniture. In the 1910s, producers started to enamel their gas stoves for easier cleaning.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

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