Monthly Archives: August 2016

Bird’s Eye Chili

iPhoneOgraphy – 21 Aug 2016 (Day 234/366)

Bird’s eye chili, bird eye chili, bird’s chili or Thai chili is a chili pepper, a cultivar from the species Capsicum annuum, commonly found in Southeast Asia. It is often confused with a similar-looking chili derived from the species Capsicum frutescens, the cultivar “siling labuyo”. Capsicum frutescens are generally smaller and characteristically points to the sky. Unlike bird’s eye chilli, Capsicum frutescens are often much hotter than Habanero chilli. Bird’s eye chili can also be found in India, particularly in Meghalaya, Assam, and Kerala. It is used in traditional dishes of the Kerala cuisine. This cultivar is also found in rural areas of Sri Lanka, where it is used as a substitute for green chilis. It is also a main ingredient in kochchi sambal, a salad made using freshly scraped coconut ground with bird’s eye chilis and seasoned with salt and lime juice. It is used extensively in Thai, Lao, Khmer, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisine.

The bird’s eye chili plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often two or three, at a node. The fruits are very pungent.

The bird’s eye chili is small, but is quite hot (piquant). It measures around 100,000–225,000 Scoville units, which is at the lower half of the range for the hotter habanero chili but still many times more spicy than a jalapeño.

All chilis found around the world today have their origins in Mexico, Central America, and South America. They were spread by the Spanish and the Portuguese, together with many other now common crops such as maize, tomatoes and pineapples. This is now called the Columbian Exchange. The chili varieties found in Southeast Asia today were brought by Spanish and Portuguese colonists and traders in the 16th or 17th century.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Tonight Meal “Bak-Kut-Teh”

iPhoneOgraphy – 20 Aug 2016 (Day 233/366)

Bak-kut-teh (also spelt bah-kut-teh; Chinese: 肉骨茶; Peh-ōe-jī: bah-kut-tê) is a meat dish cooked in broth popularly served in Malaysia and Singapore, where there is a predominant Hoklo and Teochew community, and also in neighbouring areas like the Sumatra, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.

The name literally translates as “meat bone tea”, and at its simplest, consists of meaty pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds and garlic) for hours. Despite its name, there is in fact no tea in the dish itself; the name refers to a strong oolong Chinese tea which is usually served alongside the soup in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amount of fat consumed in this pork-laden dish.

However, additional ingredients may include offal, varieties of mushroom, choy sum, and pieces of dried tofu or fried tofu puffs. Additional Chinese herbs may include yu zhu (玉竹, rhizome of Solomon’s Seal) and ju zhi (buckthorn fruit), which give the soup a sweeter, slightly stronger flavor. Light and dark soy sauce are also added to the soup during cooking, with varying amounts depending on the variant – the Teochews version is lighter than the Hokkiens’. The dish can be garnished with chopped coriander or green onions and a sprinkling of fried shallots.

Bak kut teh is usually eaten with rice or noodles (sometimes as a noodle soup), and often served with youtiao / cha kueh [yau char kwai] (strips of fried dough) for dipping into the soup. Soy sauce (usually light soy sauce, but dark soy sauce is also offered sometimes) is preferred as a condiment, with which chopped chili padi and minced garlic is taken together. Bak kut teh is typically eaten for breakfast, but may also be served as lunch. The Hokkien and Teochew are traditionally tea-drinking cultures and this aspect runs deep in their cuisines.

Bak-kut-teh is a herbal soup dish developed in Malaya among Hokkien immigrant communities. It is popularly thought to have originated in Klang, where it was claimed that a Chinese sinseh developed the dish in the 1930s. The Teochew variant was developed in Singapore and was sold in the Clarke Quay and River Valley areas after World War II. The dish is reported to supplement the meagre diet of port coolies and as a tonic to boost their health. The main visual difference between the Hokkien and Teochew version of bak kut teh is that the Hokkiens use more dark soy sauce and thus the soup base is characteristically darker in colour.

The Chinese word bak (肉), which means meat (or more specifically pork), is the vernacular pronunciation in Hokkien, but not in Teochew (which pronounced it as nek), suggesting an original Hokkien root.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Where The Waste Water Flow?

iPhoneOgraphy – 19 Aug 2016 (Day 232/366)

Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area. The internal drainage of most agricultural soils is good enough to prevent severe water logging (anaerobic conditions that harm root growth), but many soils need artificial drainage to improve production or to manage water supplies.

The ancient Indus of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the civilization were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban cities in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in some areas of the Indian Subcontinent today. All houses in the major cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro had access to water and drainage facilities. Waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets.

Wetland soils may need drainage to be used for agriculture. In the northern United States and Europe, glaciation created numerous small lakes which gradually filled with humus to make marshes. Some of these were drained using open ditches and trenches to make mucklands, which are primarily used for high value crops such as vegetables.

The largest project of this type in the world has been in process for centuries in the Netherlands. The area between Amsterdam, Haarlem and Leiden was, in prehistoric times swampland and small lakes. Turf cutting (Peat mining), subsidence and shoreline erosion gradually caused the formation of one large lake, the Haarlemmermeer, or lake of Haarlem. The invention of wind-powered pumping engines in the 15th century permitted drainage of some of the marginal land, but the final drainage of the lake had to await the design of large, steam powered pumps and agreements between regional authorities. The elimination of the lake occurred between 1849 and 1852, creating thousands of km² of new land.

Coastal plains and river deltas may have seasonally or permanently high water tables and must have drainage improvements if they are to be used for agriculture. An example is the flatwoods citrus-growing region of Florida. After periods of high rainfall, drainage pumps are employed to prevent damage to the citrus groves from overly wet soils. Rice production requires complete control of water, as fields need to be flooded or drained at different stages of the crop cycle. The Netherlands has also led the way in this type of drainage, not only to drain lowland along the shore, but actually pushing back the sea until the original nation has been greatly enlarged.

In moist climates, soils may be adequate for cropping with the exception that they become waterlogged for brief periods each year, from snow melt or from heavy rains. Soils that are predominantly clay will pass water very slowly downward, meanwhile plant roots suffocate because the excessive water around the roots eliminates air movement through the soil.

Other soils may have an impervious layer of mineralized soil, called a hardpan or relatively impervious rock layers may underlie shallow soils. Drainage is especially important in tree fruit production. Soils that are otherwise excellent may be waterlogged for a week of the year, which is sufficient to kill fruit trees and cost the productivity of the land until replacements can be established. In each of these cases appropriate drainage carries off temporary flushes of water to prevent damage to annual or perennial crops.

Drier areas are often farmed by irrigation, and one would not consider drainage necessary. However, irrigation water always contains minerals and salts, which can be concentrated to toxic levels by evapotranspiration. Irrigated land may need periodic flushes with excessive irrigation water and drainage to control soil salinity.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

“Ho Ho Ho”

iPhoneOgraphy – 18 Aug 2016 (Day 231/366)

Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Santy, or simply Santa is a mythical figure with historical origins who, in many Western cultures, brings gifts to the homes of well-behaved, “good” children on Christmas Eve (24 December) and the early morning hours of Christmas Day (25 December). The modern Santa Claus is derived from the British figure of Father Christmas, the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas, and Saint Nicholas, the historical Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra. During the Christianization of Germanic Europe, this figure may also have absorbed elements of the god Odin, who was associated with the Germanic pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.

Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, joyous, white-bearded man—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children. Images of him rarely have a beard with no mustache. This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of the 1823 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children’s books and films.

Santa Claus is believed to make lists of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior (“naughty” or “nice”) and to deliver presents, including toys, and candy to all of the well-behaved children in the world, and sometimes coal to the naughty children, on the single night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of the elves who make the toys in the workshop and the flying reindeer who pull his sleigh. He is commonly portrayed as living at the North Pole and saying “ho ho ho” often.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Ready To Taking Off

iPhoneOgraphy – 17 Aug 2016 (Day 230/366)

Simulation cockpits or simpits are environments designed to replicate a vehicle cockpit. Although many pits commonly designed around an aircraft cockpit, the term is equally valid for train, spacecraft or car projects.

By their very nature aircraft cockpits tend to have complex controls, instrumentation, and radios not present in other types of simulation. Recreating these present specific additional challenges to anyone building a cockpit. Aircraft components are often expensive to purchase, and access to real aircraft cockpits is likely to be restricted due to security concerns, especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks or if the builder has chosen a current military aircraft.

A way to avoid a lot of the pitfalls is to not replicate a specific aircraft, simply a class of aircraft. Thus creating a generic GA, airliner, or military cockpit, which while it will not have every button or switch of the real aircraft, will have all the key elements for simulation. The other end of the scale is to build an exact 1:1 replica of the real cockpit, utilizing real panels or even a complete cockpit from the chosen plane. All cockpit builds will be somewhere between these two concepts, and even highly accurate replica pits will often make some concessions, if only due to limitations of the simulation software driving them.

For replica pits the choice of aircraft will be key. With the growth of home cockpits there are a number of companies who sell complete kits for common aircraft. Thus details of current Airbus and Boeing aircraft panels are fairly easy to obtain. For older aircraft museums or aircraft scrap yards can be valuable sources of information. However while research will often locate a lot of information, sometimes it is a minor detail that is needed. For example, how wide the center pedestal is, or how large it should be. Where the information is not in the public domain, more subtle techniques have been developed to obtain the information. For example pixel counting from a digital photo of the aircraft. By counting the pixels in an item of known size, for example a standard cockpit instrument, a scale can be established. This can then be used to estimate the size of unknown elements in the panel. Accuracy will vary depending on the quality of the photo located, the angle the shot was taken from, etc. However this can give a good guideline on dimensions in situations where there may be no other source of information.

The level of functionality will also vary within the ‘pit’. Very realistic looking pits may have non functioning instruments, simply in place to complete the ‘feel’ of the cockpit. At the top end of realism would be individual real instruments, either modified from actual aircraft components or replicated. This approach provides the maximum immersion, but presents complexity with interface electronics and driver software needing to be fabricated. A compromise between the two is to display the instruments on a monitor and mount this behind the panel. The simulated instruments can then be seen through the cutouts which can give a realistic effect, especially if the aircraft uses ‘glass cockpit’ displays in real life.

Many pit builders go through the process of building a basic, low-spec compromise pit first, just to give them a dedicated environment to practice their hobby. The lessons learned in this process can be put to good use if they later decide to build a high-spec compromise or replica pit, which requires a great deal of time, effort, and passion to complete.

Home based simulators have been a common training aid for private pilots for many years. Recently the increased power of home PCs and improvements in graphics and simulation technology has opened up further opportunities to utilize a PC as a training aid. While early simulators allowed instrument approaches to be practiced, with photographic scenery add ins pilots can now practice visual flights and navigation. Rehearsing a flight in the PC, before performing it in the real world, making training sessions in the real aircraft more productive.

Recognizing this market a number of suppliers provide ready to go desktop simulation products. Radio stacks, instruments, yokes, pedals, throttle quadrants, and seats are readily available from pilot shops. This allows a highly realistic GA cockpit to be put together in a matter of minutes. However an enthusiast is likely to extend well beyond the functional cockpit a trainee would require, adding in items to enhance the suspension of disbelief. Enclosures, projectors, even real aircraft components or nose sections are commonly incorporated in the drive to make the experience as ‘real’ as possible.

While General Aviation pits are often put together for real pilots to train on, commercial aircraft pits are often purely for entertainment. Very few people who are not professional pilots ever have the opportunity to pilot a real airliner, however a realistic home simulator will provide a highly immersing experience.

Commercial airliner pits offer a greater challenge to builders as there are more systems to model such as the auto pilot, CDU/FMS, engine management, etc. Even the throttle quadrant is a complex piece of engineering compared to the simply replicated push / pull throttle used in the GA Cessna. However a number of commercial suppliers exist supplying replica panels, controls, even complete cockpits to the community. Where these or ‘real’ components are not available or are out of budget builders will often fabricate components at home out of wood or similar easily worked materials.

With most modern aircraft utilizing “Glass cockpit” displays it has become easier to create highly realistic panels. The displays on these panels can be driven by multi head graphics cards, or networked PCs running dedicated software that can read from the simulator spreading the processing load. Interfaces for switches, knobs, and other elements needed can be purchased commercially or created by dismantling existing hardware such as keyboards or joysticks. Feedback from the PC to the panel, for example to light warning lamps or move real instrument is more complex and normally completed through a commercial expansion board.

One of the first software requirements for a simpit is a suitable flight simulator to provide the graphics, sound and instrument outputs for the pit. To date, the majority of civilian simpits are built around Microsoft Flight Simulator, and most military pits use Falcon 4.0 as a base, but as of 2013 the Digital Combat Simulator series has spurred interest for the A-10 as well.

Voice communication (VOIP) software is commonly integrated into a simpit, as this allows real-time communication with other virtual pilots.

Other software may be custom written to control hardware aspects of the pit; e.g. an interpreter for an MFD or a custom listener to implement an AoA Indexer. In many cases the need for custom software can be removed by using control hardware with a comprehensive SDK or API, but when you really need that unique instrument and nobody has an off-the-shelf solution for it, hacking code is the only way to get it.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

The Street Lamp

iPhoneOgraphy – 16 Aug 2016 (Day 229/366)

A street light, light pole, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard is a raised source of light on the edge of a road or walkway. Modern lamps may also have light-sensitive photocells that activate automatically when light is or is not needed: dusk, dawn, or the onset of dark weather. This function in older lighting systems could have been performed with the aid of a solar dial. Many street light systems are being connected underground instead of wiring from one utility post to another.

Early lamps were used by Greek and Roman civilizations, where light primarily served the purpose of security, both to protect the wanderer from tripping on the path over something or keeping the potential robbers at bay. At that time oil lamps were used predominantly as they provided a long-lasting and moderate flame. The Romans had a word ‘lanternarius’, which was a term for a slave responsible for lighting the oil lamps in front of their villas. This task remained the responsibility of a designated person up to the Middle Ages where the so-called ‘link boys’ escorted people from one place to another through the murky winding streets of medieval towns.

Before incandescent lamps, candle lighting was employed in cities. The earliest lamps required that a lamplighter tour the town at dusk, lighting each of the lamps. According to some sources, illumination was ordered in London in 1417 by Sir Henry Barton, Mayor of London though there is no firm evidence of this.

In 1524, Paris house owners were required to have lanterns with candles lit in front of their houses at night, but the law was often ignored. Following the invention of lanterns with glass windows, which greatly improved the quantity of light, in 1594 the police of Paris took charge of installing lanterns in each city neighborhood. Still, in 1662, it was a common practice for travelers to hire a lantern-bearer if they had to move at night through the dark, winding streets. Lantern bearers were still common in Paris until 1789. In 1667, under King Louis XIV, the royal government began installing lanterns on all the streets. There were three thousand in place by 1669, and twice as many by 1729. Lanterns with glass windows were suspended from a cord over the middle of the street at a height of twenty feet and were placed twenty yards apart. A much-improved oil lantern, called a réverbère, was introduced between 1745 and 1749. These lamps were attached to the top of lampposts; by 1817, there were 4694 lamps on the Paris streets. During the French Revolution (1789-1799), the revolutionaries found that the lampposts were a convenient place to hang aristocrats and other opponents.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Monorail In Singapore

iPhoneOgraphy – 15 Aug 2016 (Day 228/366)

A monorail is a railway in which the track consists of a single rail. The term is also used to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track. The term originates from joining mono (one) and rail (rail), from as early as 1897, possibly from German engineer Eugen Langen, who called an elevated railway system with wagons suspended the Eugen Langen One-railed Suspension Tramway (Einschieniges Hängebahnsystem Eugen Langen).

Colloquially, the term “monorail” is often used to describe any form of elevated rail or people mover. More accurately, the term refers to the style of track, not its elevation, with ‘Mono’ meaning ‘one’ and ‘Rail’ meaning ‘rail’.

The first monorail prototype was made in Russia in 1820 by Ivan Elmanov. Attempts at creating monorail alternatives to conventional railways have been made since the early part of the 19th century. The earliest patent was taken out by Henry Palmer in the UK in 1821, and the design was employed at Deptford Dockyard in South-East London, and a short line for moving stone from a quarry near Cheshunt, Hertfordshire to the River Lea, the world’s first monorail to carry passengers and the first railway in Hertfordshire.

Around 1879 a “one-rail” system was proposed independently by Haddon and by Stringfellow, which used an inverted “/\” rail. It was intended for military use, but was also seen to have civilian use as a “cheap railway.”

Early designs used a double-flanged single metal rail alternative to the double rail of conventional railways, both guiding and supporting the monorail car. A surviving suspended version is the oldest still in service system: the Wuppertal monorail in Germany. Also in the early 1900s, Gyro monorails with cars gyroscopically balanced on top of a single rail were tested, but never developed beyond the prototype stage. The Ewing System, used in the Patiala State Monorail Trainways in Punjab, India, relies on a hybrid model with a load-bearing single rail and an external wheel for balance. One of the first systems put into practical use was that of French engineer Charles Lartigue, who built a line between Ballybunion and Listowel in Ireland, opened in 1888 and closed in 1924 (due to damage from Ireland’s Civil War). It uses a load-bearing single rail and two lower, external rails for balance, the three carried on triangular supports.

Possibly the first monorail locomotive was a 0-3-0 steam locomotive.

A highspeed monorail using the Lartigue system was proposed in 1901 between Liverpool and Manchester.

In 1910, the Brennan gyroscopic monorail was considered for use to a coal mine in Alaska.

The first half of the 20th century saw many further proposed designs that either never left the drawing board or remained short-lived prototypes. One of the first monorails planned in the United States was in New York City in the early 1930s, scrubbed for an elevated train system.

In the later half of the 20th century, monorails had settled on using larger beam or girder-based track, with vehicles supported by one set of wheels and guided by another. In the 1950s, a 40% scale prototype of a system designed for speed of 200 mph (320 km/h) on straight stretches and 90 mph (140 km/h) on curves was built in Germany. There were designs with vehicles supported, suspended or cantilevered from the beams. In the 1950s the ALWEG straddle design emerged, followed by an updated suspended type, the SAFEGE system. Versions of ALWEG’s technology are used by the two largest monorail manufacturers, Hitachi Monorail and Bombardier.

In 1956, first monorail to operate in the US began test operations in Houston, Texas. Later during this period, monorails were installed including at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, Seattle, and Japan. Monorails were promoted as futuristic technology with exhibition installations and amusement park purchases, as seen by the legacy systems in use today. However, monorails gained little foothold compared to conventional transport systems.

Niche private enterprise uses for monorails emerged, with the emergence of air travel and shopping malls, with shuttle-type systems being built.

From 1950 to 1980 the monorail concept may have suffered, as with all public transport systems, from competition with the automobile. Monorails in particular may have suffered from the reluctance of public transit authorities to invest in the perceived high cost of un-proven technology when faced with cheaper mature alternatives. There were also many competing monorail technologies, splitting their case further. One notable example of a public monorail is the AMF Monorail that was used as transportation around the 1964-1965 World’s Fair.

The high-cost perception was challenged most notably in 1963 when the ALWEG consortium proposed to finance the construction of a major system in Los Angeles in return for the right of operation. This was turned down by the city authorities in favour of no system at all, and the later subway system has faced criticism as it has yet to reach the scale of the proposed monorail.

Several monorails initially conceived as transport systems survive on revenues generated from tourism, benefiting from the unique views offered from the largely elevated installations.

From the 1980s, with the rise of traffic congestion and urbanization, monorails have experienced a resurgence in interest for mass transit usage, notable from the early use by Japan. Tokyo Monorail, one of the world’s busiest, averages 127,000 passengers per day and has served over 1.5 billion passengers since 1964. Monorails have seen continuing use in niche shuttle markets and amusement parks.

Modern mass transit monorail systems use developments of the ALWEG beam and tire approach, with only two suspended types in large use. Monorail configurations have also been adopted by maglev trains. Chongqing Rail Transit in China has adopted a unique ALWEG-based design with rolling stock that is much wider than most monorails, with capacity comparable to heavy rail. This is because Chongqing is criss-crossed by numerous hills, mountains and rivers, therefore tunneling is not feasible except in some cases (Line 1 and future Line 6) due to the extreme depth involved. India is developing monorails in several cities for mass rapid transit with Mumbai Monorail being the first one.

In December 2014, the government of Malta proposed a monorail system to the European Commission as an infrastructural project to benefit from EU funding. The network would be 76 km (47 mi) long, which would make it the longest monorail network in the world.

Many cities are seeing Monorails as legitimate mass transit solution. São Paulo, Brazil is building a Bombardier Innovia Monorail system as part of its public transportation network. The 14.9 mile guideway will have 17 stations, 54 monorail trains and boasts a passenger capacity of 40,000 commuters per hour, per direction. Another city installing a Bombardier Innovia Monorail system in an urban centre is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for its new King Abdullah Financial District.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

Salad Of The Day

iPhoneOgraphy – 14 Aug 2016 (Day 227/366)

A salad is a dish consisting of small pieces of food, which may be mixed with a sauce or salad dressing. They are typically served cold. Salads can incorporate a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, cheese, cooked meat, eggs, grains and nuts.

Garden salads use a base of leafy greens like lettuce, arugula, kale or spinach; they are common enough that the word salad alone often refers specifically to garden salads. Other types include bean salad, tuna salad, fattoush, Greek salad, and Japanese sōmen salad (a noodle-based salad). The sauce used to flavor a salad is commonly called a salad dressing; well-known types include ranch, Thousand Island, and vinaigrette. Vinaigrette comes in many varieties; one version is a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and seasonings.

Most salads are served cold, although some, such as south German potato salad, are served warm. Some consider the warmth of a dish a factor that excludes it from the salad category calling the warm mixture a casserole, a sandwich topping or more specifically, name it for the ingredients which comprise it.

The word “salad” comes from the French salade of the same meaning, from the Latin salata (salty), from sal (salt). In English, the word first appears as “salad” or “sallet” in the 14th century. Salt is associated with salad because vegetables were seasoned with brine or salty oil-and-vinegar dressings during Roman times. The phrase “salad days”, meaning a “time of youthful inexperience” (on notion of “green”), is first recorded by Shakespeare in 1606, while the use of salad bar, referring to a buffet-style serving of salad ingredients, first appeared in American English in 1976.

The Romans and ancient Greeks ate mixed greens with dressing. In his 1699 book, Acetaria: A Discourse on Sallets, John Evelyn attempted with little success to encourage his fellow Britons to eat fresh salad greens. Mary, Queen of Scots, ate boiled celery root over greens covered with creamy mustard dressing, truffles, chervil, and slices of hard-boiled eggs.

The United States popularized mixed greens salads in the late 19th century. Salads including layered and dressed salads were popular in Europe since Greek imperial and particularly Roman imperial expansions. Several other regions of the world adopted salads throughout the second half of the 20th century. From Europe and the Americas to China, Japan, and Australia, salads are sold in supermarkets, at restaurants and at fast food chains. In the US market, restaurants will often have a “Salad Bar” laid out with salad-making ingredients, which the customers will use to put together their salad. Salad restaurants were earning more than $300 million in 2014.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

The Dumbbell Story

iPhoneOgraphy – 13 Aug 2016 (Day 226/366)

The dumbbell, a type of free weight, is a piece of equipment used in weight training. It can be used individually or in pairs, with one in each hand.

The forerunner of the dumbbell, halteres, were used in Ancient Greece as lifting weights and also as weights in the Ancient Greek version of the long jump. A kind of dumbbell was also used in India for more than a millennium, shaped like a club – so it was named Indian club. Despite their common English name implying an Indian origin, the so-called Indian clubs were in fact created in the Near East. Properly referred to as meels, they are first recorded as being used by wrestlers in ancient Persia, Egypt and the Middle East. The practice has continued to the present day, notably in the Varzesh-e Bastan tradition practiced in the zurkaneh of Iran. From Persia, the Mughals brought the meels to South Asia where are still used by pehlwan (wrestlers). British colonists first came across Persian meels in India, and erroneously referred to them as “Indian clubs” despite their Middle Eastern origin. The design of the “Nal”, as the equipment was referred to, can be seen as a halfway point between a barbell and a dumbbell. It was generally used in pairs, in workouts by wrestlers, bodybuilders, sports players, and others wishing to increase strength and muscle size.

The term “dumbbell” or “dumb bell” originated in late Stuart England. In 1711 the poet Joseph Addison mentioned exercising with a “dumb bell” in an essay published in The Spectator (1711). Although Addison elsewhere in the same publication describes having used equipment similar to the modern understanding of dumbbells, according to sport historian Jan Todd, the form of the first dumbbells remains unclear. The Oxford English Dictionary describes “apparatus similar to that used to ring a church bell, but without the bell, so noiseless or ‘dumb’”, implying the action of pulling a bell rope to practice English bell ringing.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

The Paper Lantern

iPhoneOgraphy – 12 Aug 2016 (Day 225/366)

A paper lantern is a lantern made of thin, brightly colored paper. Paper lanterns come in various shapes and sizes, as well as various methods of construction. In their simplest form, they are simply a paper bag with a candle placed inside, although more complicated lanterns consist of a collapsible bamboo or metal frame of hoops covered with tough paper. Sometimes, other lanterns can be made out of colored silk (usually red) or vinyl. Silk lanterns are also collapsible with a metal expander and are decorated with Chinese characters and/or designs. The vinyl lanterns are more durable; they can resist rain, sunlight, and wind. Paper lanterns do not last very long, they soon break, and silk lanterns last longer. The gold paper on them will soon fade away to a pale white, and the red silk will become a mix between pink and red.

Often associated with festivals, paper lanterns are common in China, Korea, and Japan and, similarly, in Chinatowns, where they are often hung outside of businesses to attract attention. In Japan the traditional styles include bonbori and chōchin and there is a special style of lettering called chōchin moji used to write on them.

In China, paper lanterns can be classified into 5 distinct classes; the Baby’s Bottom is the miniature class, often used in modern times with Christmas lights. The second class is the Rolling Paper, the tall, cylindrical lanterns often associated with restaurants and bars. The third class is the Tomato Light also known as Big Red; the classic round mid-size lantern. The fourth class is the Crystal Magic; the variously-shaped geometric lamps constructed of many square and triangular panes. The last is known as Buddha’s Gastronomy; the large and extra large lanterns used to decorate temples and for show at festivals. Also, there are the traditional Chinese lanterns, primarily red but also in other colours, that can be round or capsule-shaped, usually seen in stores, at temples, or during festivals. The color red (fire) traditionally symbolizes good fortune and joy.

Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+

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