Archive for October 19th, 2010

October 19, 2010

Seed Bombing

seed bombs

Seed bombing or aerial reforestation is a technique of introducing vegetation to land by throwing or dropping compressed clods of soil containing live vegetation. Often, seed bombing projects are done with arid or off-limits (for example, privately-owned) land. The term ‘seed grenade’ was first used by NY artist, Liz Christy in 1973 when she started the ‘Green Guerrillas.’ The first seed grenades were made from condoms filled with local wildflower seeds, water and fertilizer. They were tossed over fences onto empty lots in New York City in order to make the neighborhoods look better. It was the start of the guerrilla gardening movement.

The earliest records of aerial reforestation date back from 1930. In this period, planes were used to distribute seeds over certain inaccessible mountains in Honolulu after forest fires. Seed bombing is also widely used in Africa in barren or simply grassy areas. Newer seed bombs use biodegradable shells which feed the sprout as it grows. Barren land can be turned into a garden in a little over a month.  A variant of seed bombing, called tree bombing, involves dropping saplings from military aircraft, but has yet to be attempted.

Tags:
October 19, 2010

Pu-erh Tea

pu-erh

Pu-erh tea or Bolay tea is a type of tea made from a ‘large leaf’ variety of the tea plant Camellia sinensis and named after Pu’er county near Simao, Yunnan, China. Pu-erh tea can be purchased as either raw/green (sheng) or ripened/cooked (shu), depending on processing method or aging. Sheng pu-erh can be roughly classified on the tea oxidation scale as a green tea, and the shou or aged-green variants as post-fermented tea. The fact that pu-erh fits in more than one tea type poses some problems for classification. For this reason, the ‘green tea’ aspect of pu-erh is sometimes ignored, and the tea is regarded solely as a post-fermented product.

Unlike other teas that should ideally be consumed shortly after production, pu-erh can be drunk immediately or aged for many years; pu-erh teas are often now classified by year and region of production much like wine vintages. While there are many counterfeit pu-erhs on the market and real aged pu-erh is difficult to find and identify, it is still possible to find pu-erh that is 10 to 50 years old, as well as a few from the late Qing dynasty (1644–1912). Indeed, tea connoisseurs and speculators are willing to pay high prices for older pu-erh, upwards of thousands of dollars per cake.

Tags: ,
October 19, 2010

Cortisol

stress hormone

Cortisol [kawr-tuh-sawl], also known as hydrocortisone, is a steroid hormone or glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal gland, and is one of the best known ‘stress hormones.’ Stress hormones act by mobilizing energy from storage to muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity.

October 19, 2010

Sangfroid

Keep Calm and Carry On

Sangfroid [sahn-frwa] is a noun meaning  self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain. The word derives from French, c. 1712 and translates literally as, ‘cool blood.’

‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of World War II, to raise the morale of the British public in the case of invasion. It was little known and never used. The poster was rediscovered in 2000 and has been re-issued by a number of private sector companies, and used as the decorative theme for a range of other products.

October 19, 2010

Saccade

saccade

A saccade [suh-kahd] is a fast movement of an eye, head or other part of an animal’s body or device. It can also be a fast shift in frequency of an emitted signal or other quick change. Saccades are quick, simultaneous movements of both eyes in the same direction. Saccades serve as a mechanism for fixation and rapid eye movement. The word appears to have been coined in the 1880s by French ophthalmologist Émile Javal, who used a mirror on one side of a page to observe eye movement in silent reading, and found that it involves a succession of discontinuous individual movements.

Humans and many other animals do not look at a scene in fixed steadiness (as opposed to e.g., most birds); instead, the eyes move around, locating interesting parts of the scene and building up a mental, three-dimensional ‘map’ corresponding to the scene (as opposed to the graphical map of avians, that often relies upon detection of angular movement on the retina). One reason for the saccadic movement of the human eye is that the central part of the retina—known as the fovea—plays a critical role in resolving objects. By moving the eye so that small parts of a scene can be sensed with greater resolution, body resources can be used more efficiently. Saccades are the fastest movements produced by the human body

Tags:
October 19, 2010

Cymande

cymande

Cymande [sah-mahn-day] were an electric funk band who released several albums throughout the early 1970s. The group was formed in 1971 in London, England by musicians from Guyana and Jamaica. The name Cymande is derived from a Calypso word for Dove, which symbolizes peace and love. The group developed a subtle and complex, deep funk style influenced by calypso rhythms, jazz, African music, American soul and UK rock of the time. Cymande can now be seen as one of the most sophisticated of the funk acts that evolved in the early 1970s.

By the mid-70s the band members were going their separate ways and the group was disbanded in 1974. It wasn’t until 20 years later that they reaped any financial rewards, as their music became a popular source for samplers. Cymande’s original albums are still widely sought-after by DJs and funk aficionados. Perhaps the band’s best known recording is the soulful dancefloor filler called ‘Bra,’ which was later sampled by the American hip-hop group De La Soul and used as a breakbeat record by the godfathers of hip-hop Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.

October 19, 2010

Issy Blow

issy blow

Isabella ‘Issy’ Blow (1958 –  2007) was an English magazine editor and international style icon. The muse of hat designer Philip Treacy, she is credited with discovering the models Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl as well as the fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Blow battled with depression and bipolar disorder most of her adult life.

In 2006, Blow attempted suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills. Later that year, she again attempted suicide by jumping from the Hammersmith Flyover, which resulted in her breaking both ankles. In 2007, Blow made several more suicide attempts by driving her car into the rear of a truck, by attempting to obtain horse tranquilizers, by drowning in a lake and by overdosing while on a beach in India. She died in May of 2007 after ingesting a weedkiller, in what was later ruled a suicide.

Tags: ,