Lenticular Clouds

Weather Watchers from Argyll and Bute in Scotland captured some stunning photos of lenticular clouds, otherwise known as UFO clouds.

_95932080_26-2.jpg_95932086_26-4.jpg

These clouds are rare and also unusual, because they appear stationary even when it’s windy. They get their name from the Latin word lenticularis, meaning “lens-shaped” and are often mistaken for UFOs. They are formed near mountains when the air is both stable and humid. As air is blown over the mountain, it produces a standing-wave pattern and these clouds form in the crest of the waves.

 

_95921714_25-2.jpg_95921716_25-3.jpg

Here are your artistic results of the easterly wind that blew over parts of Scotland.

Irish Sun

The 17th-century Beaulieu House in Co Louth is one of the first country houses built in Ireland without fortification. Now it’s the site of Ireland’s first solar farm. The estate’s first owner was the Plunkett family and in 1666 Sir Henry Tichborne was granted a patent by Charles II.

image-1.jpg

The present house was designed by Dutch artist Willem van der Hagen, who settled in Ireland in the 1720s.

image-2.jpg

K. O’Sullivan reports in The Irish Times that the present owner is installing 20,000 solar panels, a five-megawatt, fixed-array solar farm spread across 23 acres that can generate enough electricity to power 1,500 homes a year.

image-3.jpg

Photovoltaic cells are becoming more efficient in such applications.

how-photovoltaic-solar-panels-work.png

 

solar_pv_diagram.jpg

A Tumbler of Island Water

The Nobel poet Derek Walcott died last month. He wrote about the Caribbean, its harsh legacy of colonialism. In particular, they considered his island of St. Lucia, its opulent vegetation, the white beaches and its tangled multicultural heritages.

His 1962 collection “In a Green Night” included the poem “Islands”:

I seek,
As climate seeks its style, to write
Verse crisp as sand, clear as sunlight,
Cold as the curled wave, ordinary
As a tumbler of island water.

In 1990, he told The Economist: “The sea is always present. It’s always visible. All the roads lead to it. I consider the sound of the sea to be part of my body. And if you say in patois, ‘The boats are coming back,’ the beat of that line, its metrical space, has to do with the sound and rhythm of the sea itself.”

18walcott-obit-1-master675-v3.jpg

Walcott was also an accomplished watercolorist and illustrated many of his books:.

18walcott-obit-4-blog427.jpg

His 2004 work, “The Prodigal”, had a distinctly elegiac undercurrent and offered a glimpse of the author’s restless travels to Italy, Colombia, France and Mexico.

“Prodigal, what were your wanderings about?”

“The smoke of homecoming, the smoke of departure.”

“There can be virtues in deprivation.”

“For every poet, it is always morning in the world. History is a forgotten, insomniac night. History and elemental awe are always our early beginning, because the fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world, in spite of History.”

End of the World

Spiral Jetty is Robert Smithton’s Monument to Catastrophe, in Utah, and was featured in the New York Times on July 7th by H. Julavits.09spiral1-superJumbo-v3.jpg

(For scale, above, in the middle you see two people standing.)

It comprises more than 6,000 tons of black basalt rocks extending 1,500 feet into the Great Salt Lake. It is in the shape of a counterclockwise vortex, designed by Robert Smithson in the 1970s.

It is called the ‘Spiral Jetty’ though some prefer ‘The End of the World’ and gives a feeling of aloneness, in a place that is unsafe and somehow devilish.

During some winters the rock is covered by water. To reach the Monument you have to drive along 16 miles of unpaved road that is often flooded.09mag-09spiral.t_CA1-superJumbo.jpg

If you must visit, it’s best to go at this time of the year.

Hokusai’s volcano

At the British Museum, there is an exhibition of the popular paintings by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). There are several images of the Fuji volcano.hokusai_highlight_fuji_1000.jpg

They are symbols of natural power and human vulnerability.  Hokusai’s infatuation with Mount Fuji was much more than an admiration of its beauty. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter told that a goddess placed an elixir of life at the top of the peak, and thus the mountain was a secret source of immortality, as well as a secret reason for Hokusai’ obsession with the mountain.

hokusai_highlight_umezawa_1000.jpg

This gave him a chance to explore and experiment with its beauty. hokusai_highlight_snowy_1000.jpg

A section through a present-day volcano shows its hidden structure:

th-1.jpeg    Volcano_scheme.svg.png

Cross-section through a stratovolcano (vertical scale is exaggerated):

  1. Large magma chamber
  2. Bedrock
  3. Conduit (pipe)
  4. Base
  5. Sill
  6. Dike
  7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano
  8. Flank
  9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano
  10. Throat
  11. Parasitic cone
  12. Lava flow
  13. Vent
  14. Crater
  15. Ash cloud

Ice

USM Modular Furniture presents an exhibition by Swiss photographer Daniel Schwartz. The black and white photographs can be viewed from May 4-26, 2017 in the USM, New York Soho Showroom. ds.jpg.1280x680_q90_crop.jpgThe images feature glaciers in Switzerland, Pakistan, Peru and Uganda.

expo-showroom-paris_4.jpg.384x384_q90_box-0,0,600,600_crop_detail.jpg

Glaciers form a dynamic system. Due to man-made climate change, they are rapidly losing surface area and mass with far-reaching consequences. Glaciers serve as reservoirs of water as well as serving as an archive of climate history.

schwartz-eau15-19.jpg.384x384_q90_box-0,0,600,600_crop_detail.jpg

Daniel Schwartz presents the glacier as a place of remembrance – confronting loss by exposing the past – and as a stage that reveals the future as it recedes.

Book of Miracles

The recently discovered Augsburg Book of Miraculous Signs reveals a 16th Century society gripped by anxieties that we can relate to today, The illustrated manuscript is now available, edited by T. Borchert and J.P. Waterman.