Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Thought for the Day

Bytes Bits


Snippets from all over . . . 

Moqui Marbles 

(From Amusing Planet) 

Spread across the U.S. states of southern Nevada, northern Arizona, northwest Colorado, and Utah is a geological formation known as Navajo Sandstone. Within south-central and southeastern Utah the sandstone and iron have combined with weathering to produce what are known as concretions, more commonly known as Moqui Marbles. 

These iron oxide concretions exhibit a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Their shape ranges from spheres to discs; buttons; spiked balls; cylindrical hollow pipe-like forms; and other odd shapes. Although many of these concretions are fused together like soap bubbles, many more also occur as isolated concretions, which range in diameter from the size of peas to baseballs. The surface of these spherical concretions can range from being very rough to quite smooth. 

The word “moqui” comes from the Hopi Tribe, and it means “the dead” in the Hopi language. The Hopi Tribe itself was known as the Moqui Indians, named so by the early Spaniards, until their name was officially changed to Hopi in the early 1900s. According to one Hopi legend, Hopi ancestors’ spirits return to Earth at night and play marble games with these iron balls, and in the mornings the spirits leave the marbles behind to reassure their relatives that they are happy and content. 

Interior of a Moqui Marble 

Martian Blueberrues: 

Moqui Marbles have a Martian geological equivalent, known as Martian Blueberries or, for those with less imagination, Martian spherules. 

In 2004, NASA’s Mars Rover found Martian concretions, believed to have formed in a similar manner as Moqui Marbles, providing evidence that Mars once had a wet surface. There is also evidence that certain bacteria and microorganisms can help iron to form concretions, a fact bearing on the search for evidence of past life on Mars. 

Martian Blueberries 

Martian Blueberries 

Mars Rover tracks and Blueberries 



The Devil Takes Selfies 

(From Amusing Planet) 

Mock up of Devil statue, Segovia, Italy 

Residents of the Spanish city of Segovia are up in arms over a Devil sculpture because it looks too friendly. 

Segovia has a famous Roman aqueduct which, according to legend, was built by the Devil at the request of a servant girl. Local artist Jose Antonio Abella was working on a sculpture that commemorated this particular piece of lore. It was Satan taking a selfie. However, about 5,400 people (roughly a tenth of the city’s population) have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of the statue (mock-up pictured above). As a result, a judge has placed the artwork on hold until the matter is resolved. 

Their problem is that the Devil looks too jovial and good-natured. It exalts evil and offends Catholics. They believe that Satan should be depicted as looking repulsive and fearsome and that the statue, as is, would turn Segovia into a hot spot of Satanism. 

The city’s heritage councillor, Claudia de Santos, promised the project will continue despite the “unfair, dispiriting” push against it. Abella also admitted to being shocked at the response and says that his sociable Satan has a far more innocuous purpose: It’s for tourists to take selfies with. 

Sculptor José Antonio Abella Mardones poses with a plaster model of his sculpture. 



Criminal mocked for ridiculous name 


Quoted verbatim: 

Fugitive File: Cletorious Aretha Fry, age 34, is wanted for violating the terms and conditions of her supervised probation. She removed her ankle bracelet and her whereabouts are unknown. Her last known address is 163 Chancellor St. Apartment 5, Charlottesville, VA.
A woman who is on the run from police has gained a lot of attention after police posted her mugshot online but its not her crimes that have people talking, it’s her name. The Virginia Department of Corrections in the US uploaded a photo of the fugitive to their Facebook page and people immediately started mocking her unusual name.  
“Cletorious Aretha Fry, age 34, is wanted for violating the terms and conditions of her supervised probation,” the post read. “She removed her ankle bracelet and her whereabouts are unknown.”  
Social media users seemed to think her name sounded very similar to a part of the female anatomy, resulting in hundreds of hilarious comments.  
Here are some of the best comments:  
“VIRGINIA is looking for its CLETORIOUS? Not today internet. Not today,” one person wrote.  
“Her husband’s been looking for her for years,” another said.  
One added: “She was sentenced to five years hard labia.” 

(scroll down after opening the link) 

Once a Year, Over 27,000 Elvis Fans Flood This Small Australian Town 


Quoted verbatim: 
Many places lay their claim to Elvis Presley: Tupelo, Memphis, Hawaii...and Parkes, a small town in the southeast corner of Australia. Although The King never set foot Down Under, for the past 26 years, close to 27,000 tourists — over double the town’s population — flood the locale for the Parkes Elvis Festival. Held the second weekend of January to coincide with Elvis’ birthday, the 5-day festival celebrates all things Elvis from the music to the jumpsuits.

The idea for the festival came about — as many great things do — at an Elvis-themed dinner party. Elvis aficionados Bob and Anne Steel, two of the guests, decided to host the first festival at their Gracelands restaurant. The hot summer months are slow for tourism in Parkes, so they thought holding a festival in January would be good for the town’s economy. "(January is) a pretty slack time,” Bob told the BBC. “I went to a hoteliers' meeting, and they were all having their grizzle about quiet times. I said, well, Elvis's birthday is in January, and we could have a birthday party."

Only a few hundred people attended the first one-night festival in 1993, but the festival has steadily grown each year and now draws Elvis fans from across the globe and is endorsed by Presley’s estate. 

An Elvis and Priscilla lookalike at the 2019 Parkes Elvis Festival 


Thought for the Day

The Jar of Life

Byter Vince C sent me a video with a sound lesson for life and priorities. Okay, it may be glurge but I admit that I am a sucker for that kind of stuff. The link for the video follows and the wording of the video follows after that. Enjoy . . .

“Golf Balls, Pebbles and Beer: An Analogy for Life” 

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. 

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. 

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’ 

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. ‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions — and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. 

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.
Take care of the golf balls first— the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. 

The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.’

Monday, January 21, 2019

Thought for the Day

Sir John Kerr, where are you now that America needs you?

Art copies, Part 2


Part 2 of selected photos from a website where people post pics of recreated classical art works.  These pics and some of the reader comments are from a selection on Bored Panda at:

Some reader comments:

What a similarity. I like it! 

I think the left picture she needs to look just slightly more surprised, then it would be freakishly accurate. 

Twins eons apart! 

Eyes make the difference! Feel of longing vs tired subtle sorrow! 

Oh, wow 

She’s beautiful. 

I like this, even though it's not as literal a copy as some of the others - it's good in its own right. 

Does anyone else see a skull image on the right? Other than that, adorable pic! 

Aw, so sweet! 

Wish my cat would stay still enough to take pics like this 

Cat got it better :) 

Cute, but inaccurate! Ha ha love this

This I like 

Bath time just got serious. 

I love that statue - where is the original at? 

    I think it's Piazza della Signoria. =) 

        I actually read that as PIZZA Della Signoria. Must be hungry. 

For a minute I couldn't figure out which one was the painting! 

Me too. Both look like a perfect painting. 

The one on the left is looking at the viewer. The one on the right isn't. Otherwise, very similar. 

I like the original better. 

Brilliant job with the lighting 

Great! I had to look twice to see the original 

No, really. Stick your unwashed finger in my open wound. 

Guy front center: Looks like the same guy! 

Yes Thomas it is really me! 

This seems to be a popular painting to recreate 

Yes, it's cool to see the different interpretations. 

Yes in both paintings they forget to put the hand in front of the chin 

I prefer this one. 

"Show me where I said I give a fuck about what is said." 

This made me laugh out loud and not exaggerating. I LOLed at my desk. Thank you. 


They are both so pretty. 

The scarf is really gorgeous in both pictures! 

Anna Karenina...? 

It doesn't really look like a recreation. Just another cold person. 

Someone gone to a lot of effort to recreate that dress - lovely 

I didn't know that recreating paintings was such a big thing, much less that someone would go to so much effort to make the dress. And, one presumes, more outfits for their studio. Interesting gimmick/theme for the studio, though. 

So precious! 

Kudos for the effort! 

Why God shouldn't be a woman?! She goat appropriate. 

The best one yet

I laughed out loud. 

I think it's Ghengis Khan 

It's definitely his son. The pagoda like face hair reveals it 

Why is the cat inside out? 

Relax guys... that's not a cat!!! 

Hairless breed! 

Sphynx cat is a perfect stand-in for an ermine! They're so cute in their own way. 

What they couldn't find a ferret ? 

The idea is that since ermines are white, they are a symbol of purity. Ironic, because she was the mistress of some cardinal. 

The painting on the left is actually amazing. Who did this? 

    A Basket of Ribbons, 1869 Guillaume Charles Brun 

    Thanks for the info! This painting is breathtaking. A masterpiece of combination of color and light, the expression of the face and body language and the accuracy of the threadbare fabric of the skirt..... 

This recreation misses with that important face lighting. 

The model on the right is about ten years too old. 

Well not everyone can pull off that "homeless child on the streets selling ribbons for sustenance" look perfectly. 

Expressions are off, but very well done. 

Are we seriously censoring this??? 

    My thoughts exactly, are we really that precious these days? 

Must hide the small, drawn tackle! Laughable that it is considered necessary. 

"Psst, the guy has a wiener - don't tell anybody!" 

Both very pretty! 

Those deep eyes, so lovely. 

Interesting pose 

Title: the long chin and the devils claws 

Thinking about how to dodge a party they've planned for the next year. 

The recreated one looks suitable for album art of a musician.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Quote for the Day

Sydney Suburbs continued: Camperdown


Continuing an alphabetical look at Sydney’s suburbs . . .


Camperdown is an inner western suburb of Sydney, located 4 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. It is part of the City of Sydney and Inner West Council.

Name origin:
  • Camperdown is named after the 240 acre estate granted to Governor Bligh (he of Mutiny on the Bounty and Rum Rebellion fame) in 1806. 
  • Bligh called his land Camperdown in memory of a naval battle in which he took part in 1797. 
  • It was fought off the Dutch coast near the town of Camperdown, 50 kilometres north of Amsterdam. This was a definitive battle in the French Revolutionary Wars between the British and Napoleon's Dutch allies. During the battle, the British succeeded in capturing nearly a dozen Dutch ships without suffering any significant losses of their own.
Governor Bligh

The Battle of Camperdown, 11 October 1797, by Thomas Whitcombe, 1798,. The painting shows the British flagship Venerable engaged with the Dutch flagship Vrijheid.

  • Ordered by his superiors to clean up widespread corruption in the newly formed colony, Governor Bligh proceeded to make numerous changes in Sydney in order to improve Sydney and ensure the colony's success. He developed a model farm on the Hawkesbury to promote more efficient farming methods, and he provided flood relief for the farmers. He destroyed illicit stills, legislated the purchase of alcohol and severely restricted the practice of bartering for alcohol. This triggered Australia's only armed military takeover in history: the Rum Rebellion. Camperdown was put up for auction several months later.
  • The estate became a largely residential area and was primarily rural, but it developed over time.
  • The University of Sydney and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital were built in the 1800s. 
  • The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital was a small 146-bed hospital originally, but, like Camperdown, grew to meet the needs of the surrounding community. Today, it is one of the largest teaching facilities in the state and remains at the cutting edge of medical research.
  • The University of Sydney was incorporated in 1850 and its first buildings were designed by Edmund Blacket (1817–1883). In 1859, Blacket's Great Hall was opened at the university.
  • In common with neighbouring inner city suburbs such as Newtown and Enmore, Camperdown has large areas of Victorian terraced housing, including many examples of single storey terraces. There are several examples of semi-detached houses which became popular around the time of Australia's Federation at the turn of the 20th century. With the advent of gentrification, from the late 20th century, modern infill development now tends to be sympathetic with the traditional Victorian and Edwardian streetscapes.
  • One of the oldest industrial suburban hamlets in Sydney, Camperdown at one time boasted a foundry, a soap and candle makers, a coach works, a cordial factory, a tannery, a glassworks, two biscuit factories, and a prosperous pottery works.


Part of the University of Sydney

MacLaurin Hall, University of Sydney (I did some of my exams here)

Front entry, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (I have been a patient here)

RPA, 1890

RPA, 1890

Boy on a bike, Australia Street, Camperdown, date unknown

A drinking trough commemorating James Sullivan, who lost his life in 1924 whilst saving horses in a fire in a stable in a lane behind where the Children’s Hospital used to be.  It was dedicated in 1925 and is located in Fowler Street, Camperdown Park, Camperdown.

While many of the narrow streets and lanes in Camperdown are named in memory of mayors and councillors who performed their elected functions, it is rare for a memorial to be erected to a working man. According to the academic Chilla Bulbeck, ‘memorials to workers are marginalised both in form and location… more likely to be a drinking than a decorative fountain, they are rarely grand or in the form of statues’ (Bulbeck 1990). Sullivan’s memorial trough is certainly not grand. The 59-year-old left no descendants, only his name inscribed on a concrete filled tub. We know nothing else about this Camperdown Hero, as the Herald called him, other than that he lived locally and was an employee of Mr. W.E. Budd, who paid for his burial at Rookwood cemetery. How many other stories of blue-collar workers deserving of recognition have been forgotten?
So here is James Sullivan's sad but heroic story, from the same site:
According to the Sydney Morning Herald at seven pm on the 23rd July, 1924, a horse-driver spotted smoke coming from W.E. Budd’s stables at Camperdown. In the stables were 66 horses and as the animals smelled the smoke they became panic stricken (Sydney Morning Herald 24 July 1924. p.9). Nightwatchman Jack Sullivan was in the north-eastern corner of the stables where the fire had commenced and where the flames were the fiercest. Nearby residents saw Jack Sullivan leading a terrified horse to safety. He ran back into the stables and was in the process of saving another horse when he realised his escape route had been cut off by the seething flames. He climbed to a ventilator above the stall but could only fit his head through the narrow opening. A woman living opposite the stables heard his cries for help and witnessed his plight. She ran into the neighbouring houses yelling for help. Several young men ran to the footpath below the ventilator with a pole and tried desperately to widen the opening of the ventilator. Others grabbed a ladder and an axe and tried to hack their way through the galvanised iron wall. They could see that Sullivan’s face was blackened and his eyes were almost closed from the smoke rising around him. ‘Water, for God’s sake, get me water,’ he cried. The men hacked at the reinforced iron walls with tools and used a long pole as a battering ram. From inside the stables the screams and frantic kicks of the horses could be heard. ‘I’m burning alive, I’m burning alive,’ Jack Sullivan gasped and around him the galvanized iron walls glowed red from the intense heat. ‘I’m done’, Jack Sullivan cried and loosening his grip on the ventilator, he fell back into the flames. Moments later, fire brigades from Glebe, Annandale, George-street West and Newtown arrived and broke through the iron walls. They found the blackened remains of James Sullivan lying beside the body of the horse he had tried to save.

Twenty-one horses perished that Wednesday night in the great Camperdown fire while 50 more horses were saved (Sydney Morning Herald 6 August 1924, p. 14). The fire made such an impact on the newspaper’s readers and local residents that the RSPCA proposed in a letter to the editor to permanently honour the memory of Mr Jack Sullivan. A fund was set up to erect a handsome trachyte water trough to be called the ‘Jack Sullivan Memorial Trough’ at a cost of 200 pounds. On the following day, an unknown reader wrote to the Herald suggesting that the nightwatchman’s name and deed live on to inspire the lowly and the great. ‘Fearless of the horrors of that great stables’, he wrote, ‘where the menace of the cruel flames was intensified by the plungings of the maddened horses, ready in their terror to bite and kick their rescuers, Sullivan rushed in to save these good friends of man’. (Sydney Morning Herald 25 July 1924, p. 9) He enclosed a pound note for the fund and signed his letter: A Citizen.

The employees of W.E. Budd’s stable suggested that the memorial to their mate be erected at the corner of Pyrmont Bridge Road and Parramatta road close to where the fire occurred. For forty years the trough was used as a watering station by draymen, carters and horse-drawn lorries travelling along Parramatta road until it was shifted to its current site beneath two old fig trees at the entrance to Camperdown Park. No longer used by Clydesdales and other working horses the twin troughs filled with rainwater, figs and rubbish until local residents petitioned the council to have it removed. Marrickville council responded by filling the troughs with concrete. Today the rectangular structure stands in the shadows of the fig trees bearing a inscription at either end: To Honour James Sullivan who lost his life on 23rd July 1924 when trying to save his employer’s Horses from death by fire. People sometimes stop and peer at the brass inscriptions before they move on, but the stone and concrete sarcophagus serves mainly as a ledge on which passers by leave their drink cans.

For those interested in reading a detailed look at the death of James Sullivan and how the politics and society of the time is reflected in how he was honoured and remembered, click on the following link:

Remembering and forgetting James Sullivan, by Peter Harney, University of New England

The final paragraph of that article reads:
James Sullivan was the Camperdown Hero, but of a Camperdown no longer recognisable. His time and place seem to hold no relevance and have been forgotten. We do not remember James Sullivan because we hardly know who he was. The attempt to recover the past at the local level is increasingly a struggle to understand the story of an area via individual sites, objects, people and events. Just as more information becomes accessible in archives, the physical environment and objects it relates to continues to be modified or removed. The RSPCA spoke of a block of granite that would be imperishable, and its presence has indeed been maintained. But they left behind the person who gave it meaning. Because of this the memorial does not easily prompt remembrance to a hero and his time, but rather to a convoluted story in which he disappears.