The A to Z Challenge – T for Tunguska Event


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

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Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter T ~
T for Tunguska Event

The morning of June 30, 1908, a mysterious event took place in the northern Russian skies when an object “brighter than the morning sun” ripped through the atmosphere and raced northward. Passengers on the Trans-Siberian railway watched “a massive pillar of fire” roar through the clear sky at a speed estimated to have been one mile per second. A sonic boom followed as it passed, rocking the train cars and convincing the engineer that his train had been derailed.

103 años del misterioso estallidoJust seconds later, nearly 400 miles north of the train, the Evenki peoples, nomadic hunter gatherers of Siberia, witnessed what seemed to be “a second sun racing across the heavens”. Just a few miles overhead, the roaring iridescent fireball streaked towards earth. Fearing for their lives, the Evenki ran to their tents for shelter. When the fireball exploded some thirty miles away, the tents and the Evenki “were lifted high into the air” and “knocked unconscious”. One man had been thrown 40 feet into the air and landed in a tree. He later died from his injuries. Wildlife and herds of reindeer stampeded away from the explosion only to be incinerated by a searing blast of heat. The indigenous peoples would later say the strange and deadly event was due to the god Ogdy, the Old Man of the Thunder.

The plume of hot dust trailing the fireball was quickly replaced by a giant cloud of black smoke rising over the horizon. At a trading post a short distance away, an eyewitness said:

 “I was sitting on the porch of the house at the trading station, looking north. Suddenly in the north…the sky was split in two, and high above the forest the whole northern part of the sky appeared covered with fire. I felt a great heat, as if my shirt had caught fire… At that moment there was a bang in the sky, and a mighty crash… I was thrown twenty feet from the porch and lost consciousness for a moment…. The crash was followed by a noise like stones falling from the sky, or guns firing. The earth trembled…. At the moment when the sky opened, a hot wind, as if from a cannon, blew past the huts from the north. It damaged the onion plants. Later, we found that many panes in the windows had been blown out and the iron hasp in the barn door had been broken.”

The effects of the Tunguska event went well beyond Siberia. An atmospheric shock wave circled the Earth twice and shook seismograph needles like a magnitude 5.0 earthquake. Elsewhere crops were ruined and windows broken. A flash fire burned thousands of trees near the impact site and filled the sky with smoke and ash. For two days there was so much fine dust reflecting light in the atmosphere, that night skies were bright some 6,000 miles away. Historical accounts in London say it was possible to read newspapers and play cricket outdoors at midnight. This might have been caused by ice in the upper atmosphere rather than ash alone. (see Curious Clouds link below)

El SofistaIt’s estimated eight hundred square miles of remote forest had been blasted and eighty million trees were knocked down like so many matchsticks. Yet no crater was ever found. One of the most unusual details came from an aerial survey carried out in 1938. Flattened trees were angled away from the epicenter and all were branchless “like telephone poles” lying in a radial pattern. Such trees were seen in Hiroshima, Japan.

impactarea
Here’s the impact area. See the center point? >>>

Whatever it was that exploded over Siberia, the directions of flattened trees gives information about the object’s trajectory. The unknown “object” appears to have approached Tunguska from the southeast at about 7 miles a second. Using this data, scientists were able to plot possible orbits for it. Of the 886 orbits calculated, more than 80% were asteroid orbits. Only a few were orbits associated with comets. Some propose that the Tunguska object was a fragment of Comet Encke, the comet responsible for the Beta Taurids meteor shower we see in late June and July — the same time of year as the Tunguska event. Makes sense to me. It’s estimated an asteroid on the order of one mile in diameter hits the Earth roughly once every 100,000 years or so. Here’s the full-detail hypothesis from NASA:

It is estimated the asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere traveling at a speed of about 33,500 miles per hour. During its rapid fall to earth, the 220-million-pound space rock heated the air surrounding it to 44,500 degrees Fahrenheit. At 7:17 a.m. Siberia time, at a height of about 28,000 feet, the combination of pressure and heat caused the asteroid to fragment and annihilate itself, producing a fireball and releasing energy equivalent to about 185 Hiroshima bombs dropped during WWII.

Another such event occurred in South America in 1930 and it known as the Brazilian Tunguska. Apparently, this lesser-known event was caused by three large meteorites falling deep in the Amazon. The fires it caused burned uninterrupted for weeks and deforested hundreds of miles of jungle.

The study continues
As with any mystery, Tunguska theories abound. It was even an episode in the X-Files TV show. Soil samples reveal nothing so speculation runs wild from exploding comet to meteor, black holes and antimatter falling to earth, to aliens and alien technology that saved the world by deploying itself and shooting an asteroid out of the air. It’s even suspected by some that Nicola Tesla’s experiments caused this.  That last Tesla theory tickles me. Hey,
I’m a writer. :D

More~

This is long but well worth the time

Witnesses ~In their own words

The University of Bologna, Italy.

What else does NASA say?

Tesla??

Same place, another mystery? 
This will either blow your mind or make you shake your head! 
:)

Tomorrow ~ letter U

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
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Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

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The A to Z Challenge – S for Sundials & Shadow Clocks


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

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Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter S ~
S for Sundials & Shadow Clocks

My very first exposure to the sundial came from an old movie I first saw in the late 1960′s. A neighborhood theater was playing Gone With the Wind, and my mother took me to see it. We sat through it twice. (You could do that back then.) That’s where I saw the sundial. It was sporting a quote from Benjamin Franklin: Do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of. Cool quote and cool gadget. It’s funny what our minds hang on to.  :)

File:Death Sundial.jpg⇐ Most people are familiar with the garden sundials that have face plates — a flat disk marked with numbers and/or incremental lines to indicate time. Some contain multiple markings that can also calculate other information such as the month and date. This plate is a name only, for this part of the device can be just about any shape — spherical, bowl-shaped, circular, half-circle, conical, or flat. No matter the shape, they basically all work the same — sundials specify time by casting shadows or shafts of light on the face plate. 

Ancient timekeeping? What’s the point?

Sundials are the oldest known scientific devices used to measure time. The earliest found are the shadow clocks from ancient Egypt and Babylonia that date somewhere around 1500 BCE. But they weren’t the only ones measuring the passing of time. Studying time, be it in minutes, hours, days, months, season, or years was a keen passion of several ancient civilizations. The ancient Sumerians, Mayans, Greeks and Chinese, all devised clocks and calendars.  Their processes for it were astoundingly accurate too. So much so, we’ve built our modern timekeeping on what they discovered through observation centuries ago. You might wonder about the need for timekeeping in the ancient world. It’s all about knowing. When you know, you’re not blindsided by annual floods or unsure when to plant your crops. Important things like that.

Man saw the passage of time in the heavens. Certain patterns of stars only came in view with the changing seasons, likewise the position of the sun on the horizon varied from point to point along the year. What’s more, the moon’s phases were regular and predictable. Then somewhere back on the human timeline of time-measurement another discovery was made. Someone noticed shadows grew longer and shorter depending on where the sun was in  the sky. With that observation in mind, the first stick was planted in the ground and the shadows it cast measured and marked. And wouldn’t you know, the shadows fell nearly the same the next day and every few days made slight deviations until the sun took the next spot on the horizon and the seasons changed.

2⇐The Greeks took the concept further than just a stick in the ground. They invented the pelekinon. All sundials calculate most accurately at noon. But by placing the gnomon on a horizontal or half-spherical face with incremental markings, the sundials predicted time fairly accurately all day long throughout the year. 

The hemicycle, a more accurate sundial, was built upon their 1knowledge of geometry.  A  block of stone in a half-bowl shape had a  rod attached to one end whose shadow, depending on the season, cast a circular arc with varied length. The arcs were divided into twelve to indicate the length of each day. The rod, by the way, is called a gnomon. The word comes from the late Greek gignoskein which means to come to know. And so does the word gnostic, come to think. So, in coming to know that shadows measured this way is an indicator of time, sundials and shadow clocks became the standard timekeepers in our lives.

Sundials took all manner of shapes and sizes through history. Even several well-known obelisks around the world are actually gnomon. The Washington Monument is one such example. This map shows the layout of the Washington Monument dial to scale. The declination lines are for the Fourth of July and February 22 and the Spring/Fall Equinox. washmap

 

 

 

 

 

 


Who knew?

The age of the sundial lasted well into the 19th century. Though they’ve been replaced as the main timekeepers of society, they’re still in use.  Knowing they’re out there in all shapes and sizes makes me want to go on a treasure hunt to find them. But then that’s just me. :D

More~

Cool site showing where you can find sundials in the USA and a few elsewhere.
North American Sundial Society

A British society
http://www.sundialsoc.org.uk/

This site has descriptions of sundials from around the world.
http://www.sundials.co.uk/  A little digging here and you’ll find sundial mottoes. They have an even larger Latin list too. http://www.sundials.co.uk/mottoes.htm

A french site with weird sundials from around the world
http://www.cadrans-solaires.fr/cadrans-du-mois.html

Very interesting explanation of sun placement and different types of sundials and shadow clocks. An introduction for the classroom by Lawrence E. Jones

Tomorrow ~ letter T

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
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Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

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The A to Z Challenge – R for Red Hair


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter R ~
R for Red Hair

I often write redheaded characters into my stories. Mostly because my husband loves red hair on women, and I like writing for him.  I also write redheads because I understand the mechanics. You see, I’m a natural redhead myself. Living close to the source, I see how the sun shines on the individual strands that make up a head of red hair.  I also get how those blushes and flushes work because my skin shows every emotion in technicolor. While I do have the pale skin tone that goes hand in hand with the hair, I don’t have that translucent look some redheads have, nor the freckles. Just a few… a sprinkle across my nose and on my shoulders. My husband says my skin is more pink. “like fresh-cut alabaster”.  :)

“Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead.”
~Lucille Ball

goldAs far back as I can remember, I’ve been told my hair coloring is unusual for a redhead. When I was little, the whole underside was white-blond. I’m not Irish Setter red nor strawberry blond. I’m not ginger, russet, auburn, or flaming copper orange either.  I’m basically the color of a golden retriever. :D
I’m also the recipient of a rare recessive gene that says so.

Worldwide, mine is the rarest natural hair color among humans. I’ve read the odds are only 1 in 1000 babies will be born with red hair. Because red is a recessive trait, it takes both parents passing on a single mutated gene to produce a redheaded child. In my family, my father’s father was the redhead. On my mother’s side of the family tree there’s a redhead somewhere back in history. She carried this latent gene and passed it on to me. Her great grandmother so many time removed came to the colonies from Scotland about the mid-1700′s (my guess during the clearances there). Perhaps the gene came with her. Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads than anywhere on the planet, with Ireland a close second. This makes sense. Isolated island populations generally have isolated genes.ginger

Needless to say I was a surprise to a family of mostly brown-haired people, an anomaly up until my brother married a woman with recessive red hair genes and had two redhaired kids of his own and so on. My sister has a redheaded grandson. There are five of us in the family now. My own kids have a 1 in 4 chance of having red-haired offspring like anyone else carrying the mutated genes. But…it would be a sure thing if they married redheads. Sort of like two blue-eyed people will always have blue-eyed offspring.

It all happens on chromosome 16 where a mutation in the MC1R gene occurs. Because it’s a recessive trait, red hair can easily skip one generation or several, like it did in my family, then reappear the next time both parents carry the red hair gene, like it did for my brother and my nieces. The purpose of MC1R is to make a protein receptor called melanocortin 1. This protein is key in the conversion of phaeomelanin to eumelanin (pigments). With the MC1R gene, the conversions are infrequent so phaeomelanin builds up in the pigment cells and gives red hair, fair skin, and a predisposition to freckles. Whew. That’s the science of how we came to be. It’s also the best I can do to break it down for today’s post. I just woke up and the coffee it too hot to chug.

redsBut what’s the point?

Genes are funny things. Human beings have about 25,000 of them in our DNA and all made up of four similar chemicals that science reads as A, T, C, and G. The four travel in pairs and carry the instructions for everything the body needs and repeat themselves over and over in the gene sequence. Every once in a while there’s a glitch in the sequence and a mutation occurs. Most mutations are harmless. They’ll pop up in the family tree every once in a while as two different colored eyes or extra fingers and toes etc. Some sit benignly until some environmental trigger sets them off like a predisposition to certain forms of cancer. Others can be deadly from the start such as Tay-Sachs disease or Trisomy 18. By comparison the MC1R mutation is harmless. Almost as harmless as the genes for balding, dimples, and tongue rolling. The gene mutation probably arose 20,000-40,000 years ago.

Not always a pretty picture
I say almost as harmless because there’s a physiological downside to being a redhead:

  • Sun burn and skin cancer. Redheads have less melanin in their skin cells and melanin is needed to protect the skin from UV rays. I burn in the sun. Oh how I burn. The pigment responsible for a redhead’s distinctive coloring also plays a role in their risk for melanoma. It’s like living a game of Russian roulette where the  skin cancer bullet is chambered and waiting. I’ve had more than one bad cell send me to the dermatologist and odds say this will worsen as I age. Most of my sunburns, and the damage from them, were had before the invention of sunscreen. Skin damage is accumulative.
  • Redheads have a high pain tolerance (I do), but are more sensitive to some kinds of pain than others. They are less sensitive to stinging pain, shots, and pinpricks, and are less responsive to anesthetics administered under the skin like Novocaine (I am). Studies show redheads are different in regard to pain perception and body reactions. This means that the mutation that makes a redhead also does something in the brain. Tickling me is akin to punching me on the pain scale. Better you stick me with a pin!
  • Redheads often need higher levels of anesthesia, 20% more, to get the same level of sedation. In my personal experience with surgery, it wasn’t pain exactly, but I felt every moment of my daughter being born by C-section because the spinal block wasn’t working 100%. They topped me off with nitrous oxide (lol that’s a post for another day). In my last surgery I was given an anesthesiologist who specialized in working with redheads. Hmm..
  • Redheads are more sensitive to heat and cold. (I’m sensitive to heat and have been known to faint if I get over-heated) 
  • They suffer more toothaches. (not me)
  • Redheads are at greater risk of developing sclerosis and endometriosis, and have a 90% increased risk for the progressive neurological disorder called Parkinson’s Disease. 90%!
  • They tend to be more prone to allergies. ( I am)
  • Redheads are more likely to get stung by wasps or bees (yep)
  • Redheads may be prone to industrial deafness because melanocytes (melanin -producing cells) are found in the middle ear.
  • That pale skin is good for something. It allows the body to soak more vitamin D. Not only does vitamin D help protect against many diseases, it’s essential for healthy bones. Consequently, redheads have less osteoporosis. (My last bone scan surprised the doctor. She expected to see osteoporosis in someone my age)

fire“There was never a saint with red hair.”
~A Russian Proverb

FYI: Russia literally means land of red because of a redheaded viking named Rurik. Odder still — red haired clowns began in Russia. Hmm..

Historically speaking, people with red hair have been discriminated against. Superstitions exist across the world to this day.
Here’s a list of redhead oddities:

  • To the Ancient Greeks redheads turn into vampires when they die.
  • During the Spanish Inquisition flame-colored hair was evidence of being marked by the fires of hell.
  • Folklore in Liverpool has it that meeting a redhead at the beginning of a journey is bad luck and reason to turn back.
  • Redheads bruise more than other people (this is true for me).
  • Aristotle believed redheads were “emotionally unhousebroken”.
  • Red haired children have been historically branded as the result of “unclean” sex.
  • In English and Scottish tradition, the first caller at your home should never be a redhead on the New Year. To safeguard from such an occurrence, a non-ginger would go out and come in again.
  • If you pass a redhead in Corsica, you’d better spit and turn around to ward off the evil eye.
  • Rumor has it Hitler banned the marriages of two redheads as he feared the resultant deviant offspring.
  • Brahmins were forbidden to marry redheads.
  • Africa’s Cameroon redheaded albinos are ritually murdered, even today.
  • The fat of a redheaded man was an essential ingredient for poison. If one was hanged, his fat made a good base for a balm for aches and pains.
  • Ancient Egyptians offered up redheads in ritual tribute to their god Osiris, usually by burning or burying alive.
  • Gingers are thought to be soulless.
  • Because natural red hair holds its pigment more than other colors do, it’s harder to dye.
  • Redheads have been historically deemed untrustworthy. Biblical artworks through history display the prejudice against redheads: Lillith, Judas, Mary Magdalene, and Cain for example. Then there is that redheaded bare-breasted serpent-woman in the Sistine Chapel painting who’s handing a juicy red apple to eve. Curiously, some scholars speculate that because Adam was from “red earth” and the Hebrew word for “red” is adom, that Adam was a redhead. Hmm…
  • Redheads were thought to be witches and their freckles were witches marks. During the witch hunts, upwards of 45,000 women were tortured and murdered usually by burning at the stake or by drowning. A lot of redheads in that tally.
  • Russian tradition declares that red hair is both a sign that a person holds a fiery temper and craziness. (my husband says this is true. lol)
  • A French Proverb declares, “redheaded women are either violent or false, and usually are both.” (maybe we’re just tired of being called carrot top)
  • “Gingerism” is the bullying or prejudice of redheads. What a crazy world.

 

redhead (2)The upside

  • Apparently everyone wants to be red. Red hair dye outsells all other colors.
  • In Denmark it is an honor to have a redheaded child.
  • In Poland, if you pass three redheads on the street you’ll win the state lottery!
  • Redheads don’t turn grey. We fade to bright white, and do it later in life too. :)
  • MC1R is used in crime scene DNA testing. It greatly narrows a search if you’re looking for a redhead.
  • The 16th-century artist Titian, a.k.a. Tiziano Vecelli, painted so many redheads that his name became associated with a shade of red.
  • The red haired slaves of Romans were obtained at a higher price, and redhead desirability put a lot of red-haired genes into the harem families of sheiks and throughout the middle east.
  • Red hair is considered an outward display of the passion within.
  • Redheads have fewer hairs on their head than do blondes or brunettes, but each individual cinnamon strand is thicker. For instance, blondes have on average 140,000 hairs while redheads have approximately 90,000. (I have a very thick head of hair)
  • People with red hair often have different colored hair at different times of their life. (I change color twice a year, as a matter of fact. It’s noticeable and people always comment on it.)
  • According to Hamburg sex researcher Dr. Werner Habermehl, women with red hair have more sex than women with other hair colors. Curiously, this ties in with the popularity of red hair dye.
  • To people who believe, it’s lucky to touch a redhead’s hair.

More~
Some Neanderthals were probably redheads. (this info was last updated in 2007. Great strides have been made in the genome project since.)

I’m speechless.

Tomorrow ~ letter S

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Funday Sunday!


The A to Z returns Monday with letter R. Today is Funday!

No, that’s not a typo.smile :D

I lead a busy life. To have one less mentally-busy day and still have a good time on this blog, I’ve decided Sundays will be all about wonder and smiles. In honor of mentally kicking back once in a while, Sundays will be Fun Days! Each Sunday, I’ll post a fun, interesting, or unusual something here. I’m a nerd with a complex sense of humor and absurd wit. It literally could be anything.

Today’s post shows the daily closing of the border between India and Pakistan. There’s no missing the longtime influence of the British Empire on the pomp and circumstance shown here. I wonder if their high stomps and posturing are remnants of India’s military culture before British colonialism. I must say, I do find the narrator rather rude. This is obviously a big deal to these two nations.

Here’s the larger story

Come back tomorrow for more of the A to Z Challenge. Monday’s letter ~ R.

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

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The A to Z Challenge – Q for Quadratura, Trompe l’oeil, & Forced Perspective


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter Q ~
Q for Quadratura (And a little Trompe l’oeil, & Forced Perspective)

Since mankind first conceptualized his world on cave walls so many millennia ago, artists continue to convey emotion through artistic expression. It doesn’t matter the size, scope, medium, or subject. Man is driven to create art. I’ve wondered why that is since I was a girl strolling Chicago’s renown Art Institute. I do have my opinions. I believe it’s our self-awareness that drives us. We tap into something so much bigger than ourselves and art becomes meditation or prayer. I’m sure I’m not alone in making this observation. I’ve seen the divine concord in the brushstrokes of those masterpieces I grew up with. (I’ll share those thoughts in depth in my magnum opus –my enormous non-romance as-yet-unnamed work in progress.)

In my opinion as an art lover, there have been some stunning chapters in the sketchbook of mankind. I have a few favorites: The Classical era with its alabaster and marble sculpture so finely detailed you can see veils and curls. The Middle Ages with feats of artistic architecture.  The Renaissance gave us light, and with it, keen perspective.  The late Victorian era had the Belle Époque and light returned after a long hiatus.  Add to this list the bold images of the Art Deco movement. Though there are many defining eras and ages before, after, and in-between, these art movements strike a chord in me.

Outside of specific eras where one or two styles were in vogue and everyone was trying their hand at them, there are some works of art that stood alone even in their time. A few I could get lost in. The nightmarish works of Hieronymus Bosch compel me to look for every demon and grim reaper hidden in the brushstrokes. Salvador Dali pulls at a point just between my eyes. I suppose the individual vignettes both artists fill their canvases with appeal to my ADD brain. lol And I’m sure were I to stare overlong at the works of M. C. Escher I might fall down that rabbit hole. Like I said, I could get lost in them. Some of my favorite artistic expressions have to do with tricking the eye. And that’s what today’s post is all about.

There’s a mode of painting called Quadratura. When you pronounce it it’s pretty straight forward until you get to the t. The t is pronounced ch.

Quadratura means to square. This has to do with painting walls and the angles involved. When I say that, I don’t mean painting the wall, I mean murals on the walls and ceilings. Illusions like these tricked the eye by visually extending the room’s actual architecture into an imaginary space beyond. The point was sotto in su meaning from below upwards. 



Trompe l’oeil, meaning deceive the eye, is less about extending walls than it is about depth. It tricks the eye into seeing flat paintings in 3-D. The Quadratura techniques required an artist to have exceptional spatial skills and mastery of linear perspective. The amazing thing about this grand art style is the full impact of the scene is generally only visible from one vantage point.

One of the more interesting techniques of this visual trickery is Forced Perspective. Example: Were you to lay the Sistine Chapel’s paintings flat rather than going with the curved ceiling vaults it was painted on, you’d see disproportionate and contorted bodies. By painting within the constraints of arcs and keeping the sotto in su in mind, Michelangelo created a stunning masterpiece meant to be seen from below. My small blog doesn’t do the grand images justice. I recommend looking these beauties up online or at the library.

A few examples of Quadratura:

The Palace of Versailles ceiling
Guercino’s Aurora
Correggio’s The Assumption of the Virgin
Andrea Pozzo’s The Apotheosis of St Ignatius

A few examples of Trompe l’oeil:
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

Charles Willson Peale’s The Artist in His Museum
The ceiling in the Royal Palace of Madrid
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

More~
The restoration of the Sistine Chapel
Seven things you may not know about the Sistine Chapel

Modern takes on Quadratura and Trompe L’oeil

An example of Forced Perspective in film

Tomorrow ~ letter R

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Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – P for Phrenology


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

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Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter P ~
P for Phrenology

Mankind has been around a while and from our earliest times we’ve sought to understand ourselves. When you compare us to the rest of the animal kingdom there are several ways we just sunflowerdon’t make sense. Take childbirth. I can’t think of one other mammal that goes through labor like humans do. Our large brain needs a large cranium to hold it. Needless to say, it’s no small feat to pass that through the birth canal.  Thank goodness for those flexible fontanelles. Our big head weighs about the same as a bowling ball and we balance that bowling ball on the stem of our spine. That image makes me think of sunflowers. The stem bends under the weight of the blossom. Imagine that sunflower trying to walk!

Just as our physiology has its incongruities, our paths to understanding ourselves have taken some pretty outrageous twists and turns as well. We’ve bled the ill humors from our veins. We’ve treated the mentally ill with ice baths and purges. We’ve dosed ourselves with poisons and completely nonsensical ingredients the likes of mercury and dog poop. And we’ve routinely surgically removed body parts without fully understanding their purpose (How many baby boomers are missing tonsils and adenoids?). Today’s post is about reading lumps and bumps on that big human head of ours.

 What is Phrenology?
A psychological theory or analytical method based on the belief that certain mental faculties and character traits are indicated by the configurations of the skull.  In other words — a quack science that involved deducing personality clues by the shape of one’s skull and the bumps found on the head.

Sometime in the late 1700′s a physician, one Franz Joseph Gall, made an observation: The cerebral cortex in animal brains were much smaller than that of human brains. This, he believed, was the key difference that separated us from them. A larger cerebral cortex made humans intellectually superior. But…not all humans were created equal. There were obvious ranges of intellect that spanned from complete idiot to genius. One of his burning questions was why did some people turned to crime? He convinced himself that these differences could be seen on the head if only one knew how to read them. Thus phrenology came into being.

Convinced the shape and texture of the skull was linked to personality and character, he tested his theory on a number of young pickpockets. By examining their heads, he deduced that many of them had bumps on their skull just above their ears. Of course this meant the tendency to steal, lie, and deceive was predetermined by those bumps. 

Going further with his theory, he went looking for people with odd-shaped heads and measured the skulls of prison inmates and asylum patients. With this information, Gall developed a system of reading the head. He located twenty-seven specific parts of the head that keyed into what he referred to as Faculties, and created a chart that showed which areas of the skull were associated with specific traits or characteristics. Total nonsense according to those who tested Gall’s theory. A historical note: Phrenology and other skull studies figured heavily in institutional racism. I haven’t seen the movie but I hear such was recently depicted in the Oscar winning movie Django Unchained.

Gall’s list of Faculties and the corresponding chart:

  1. Reproductive instincts
  2. The love of one’s offspring
  3. Affection and friendship
  4. Self-defense, courage and fighting
  5. Murderous instincts
  6. Guile; acuteness; cleverness
  7. Sense of property; the tendency to steal
  8. Pride; arrogance; haughtiness; love of authority; loftiness
  9. Vanity; ambition; love of glory
  10. Circumspection; forethought
  11. Aptitude for being educated
  12. Sense of locality and place
  13. Recollection of people
  14. Verbal memory
  15. Language ability
  16. The sense of colors
  17. Sense for sound and musical talent
  18. Mathematical abilities
  19. Mechanical abilities
  20. Comparative sagacity
  21. Metaphysics
  22. Satire and wit
  23. Poetic talent
  24. Kindness; compassion; sensitivity; moral sense
  25. Imitation and mimicry
  26. Religiosity
  27. Perseverance, firmness

bumpsWhat do your bumps and lumps say about you? lol  :D

Although a pseudoscience, phrenology actually contributed to the field of neurology. In a quest to prove it wrong it was discovered certain mental functions are localized in particular areas of the brain. The lumps on the outside had nothing to do with it.

The Phrenology Machine is shown in this funny clip

More preposterous gadgets
https://www.youtube.com/user/MuseumofQuackery

Tomorrow ~ letter Q

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Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – O for Organ Grinder


The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter O ~
O for Organ Grinder

I grew up with a set of old Childcraft books. Mostly, they seemed to be how-to books for parents but there were four books in the set that were all stories, poems, crafts, and activities for kids. I loved those books and read them inside and out. In fact, I still have the main four packed away somewhere. I remember a poem from back then called The Organ Grinders’ Garden by Mildred Plew Meigs. I liked it because the wording was fun and the artwork was detailed. I love detail. But most of all I liked the poem because it had monkeys! My favorite bit was how the baby monkeys practiced picking pennies up off the ground. Funny how I pulled that out of thin air today. It’s only been 50+ years. It took some searching this morning because I couldn’t recall the authors name, but I found the poem:

In the winter, in the winter,
When the clouds shake snow,
I know a little garden
Where the organ grinders go;

A cozy little garden
Where the fountain makes a fizz
And round about the lattices
The sunbeams sizz;

Where underneath the bushes
In the nodding afternoons,
The frisky little organs sit
And spill their tinky tunes;

While tingle, tingle, tangle,
Go the pennies in the cup,
As all the baby monkeys
Practice picking pennies up.

In the winter, in the winter,
When the sharp winds blow,
I know a little garden
Where the organ grinders go;

A giddy little garden
Where the fruit is always ripe,
And every grinning grinder
Sits and pulls upon a pipe;

While all the father monkeys
Hang their fezzes on the twigs,
And teach the baby monkeys
How to master little jigs;

Until at last the mothers come,
As day begins to fade,
And tuck the baby monkeys up
To snoozle in the shade.

In the winter, in the winter,
When the clouds shake snow,
I know a little garden
Where the organ grinders go;

A garden where the grinders
And the monkeys on a string
Are pleased to wait serenely
For the coming of the spring.

Cute huh?

So, waking up as I did with Organ Grinders on my mind, I poured my coffee and went hunting for information for today’s post.

O for Organ
Organs themselves have a very long history and can be traced back to Ancient Greek inventor Ctesibius of Alexandria who wrote the first treatise on the science of compressed air a.k.a. pneumatics. From there he devised a  hydraulos — an instrument that used the power of water to force air through pipes which were then played. Curiously, they were not used to make music as we know it. The hydraulos was used to mimic bird song.

This hydraulos mechanism and the thought behind it would later become the serinette of the 1700′s — a small barrel organ that employed a crank, drop-in pins, and bellows to force air from the barrel and its small strategically placed holes through pipes. And like the hydraulos, the purpose of the serinette was to teach canaries to sing simple and particular tunes. Somewhere along the way an enterprising individual determined more pipes and pins could be added to the mechanism and actual melodies played beyond the canary tunes. This was the origin of the barrel organ the organ grinders would be known for playing it.

By the end of the 1800′s the barrels had been replaced by punched cardboard rolls similar to those used in mechanized weaving (Jacquard loom– also the origin of the computer punch-card). The cheap punched cardboard meant variety and variety drew larger crowds.

“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”
~Winston Churchill

Before I continue, it’s important to note that people often confuse the organ grinder’s instrument with the hurdy gurdy. The latter is actually a string instrument played with keys whereas the organ is a wind instrument that is run rather than played.

thWhen one pictures the organ grinder of the Victorian streets, more often that not we see a mustachioed foreigner, perhaps right off the boat that just arrived from some Italian port. It took no particular skill to turn the crank and entertain for pennies. With jobs for immigrants hard to come by, getting yourself one of these gadgets so you could go busk for coin could at least put some food in your belly.

As far as the opinion of upper society went, organ grinders were little better than tinkers and gypsies. They fell in the same class as peddlers, ragmen, and circus performers. In general, how society felt about them was a mixed bag. Their itinerant nature brought news from place to place which was desired, and certainly their cheap entertainment was enjoyed by the working class. However, they were often treated with suspicion, as illustrated by Winston Churchill’s quote, and often for good reason. There are stories from the Victorian era about the organ grinders traveling with pickpocketing children who worked the crowds while the music played. And then there were the animals acts such as the monkey with the little fez who was taught to take off his hat to say thank you for the penny. Sometimes those monkeys, dogs, bears, parrots, etc attacked people.

Though not as easy to come by as it was in its heyday, this street theater hasn’t died out as you might imagine. It turns up at fairs and historical events.

More~
Here’s an article about the aging organ grinders in Mexico City.

An image of a Parisian organ grinder and a very happy child doing her song and dance act. She could also be a shill to be sent out to pick pockets.

The person who posted that video has a youtube channel devoted to organ grinders if you’d like to see and hear more. 

:D They make me think of summer which is good. We had snow here just the other day.

Tomorrow ~ letter P

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4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places -
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971
Download your copy of my free chapter sampler!all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

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Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments