What an irony it is that these living beings whose shade we sit in, whose fruit we eat, whose limbs we climb, whose roots we water, to whom most of us rarely give a second thought, are so poorly understood. We need to come, as soon as possible, to a profound understanding and appreciation for trees and forests and the vital role they play, for they are among our best allies in the uncertain future that is unfolding. ―Tim Robbins The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet
We often speak of natural beauty. But are our eyes being fooled? These photos show how far some go to attain “beauty.” Does it push too far, or should we admire these results?
Another way to present the 9 types of intelligence as exemplified by my How Do We Measure Intelligence post.
The basic idea is that different people are good at different things. These 9 probably don’t cover the wide range of smarts we all possess, but it’s a start.
As Albert Einstein said, ”Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Oh cuss, I’m an idiot.
Autumn is in full swing, and the Northeast US is a riot of colors. What causes this seasonal change? We’ve got the answers to all of your fall foliage questions here:
WHERE DO LEAF COLORS COME FROM?
Leaves are green in the summer because they contain a great deal of the pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is necessary for the process of photosynthesis, which plants use to make food.
Chlorophyll is not the only pigment in leaves, but during the summer there’s so much of it that no other colors can be seen. Leaves also contain carotenoids—yellow, orange and brown pigments that give color to such foods as carrots and bananas. In the fall, some leaves produce red pigments called anthocyanins, which are also found in fruits like cranberries and blueberries.
WHAT TRIGGERS A LEAF TO CHANGE COLOR?
As autumn approaches, days become shorter and nights grow longer. Trees respond to the decrease in sunlight by slowing down production of the green pigment chlorophyll. As the amount of chlorophyll drops, yellow, orange and brown pigments (carotenoids) become visible. In some trees, dwindling light levels cause other changes inside the leaf. For instance, the concentration of sugars often goes up, which causes the formation of red pigments (anthocyanins).
DOES WEATHER AFFECT AUTUMN COLORS?
Only a little bit. Although some people assume that leaves change color in response to cooler weather, it’s really the shorter days of fall that signal to trees that it’s time to prepare for winter. But weather does affect the intensity of leaf color. Seasonably warm and sunny fall days combined with cool (but not freezing) nights seem to produce the most stunning autumn colors. In addition, fall colors can be delayed by a severe summer drought.
DO LEAVES ON ALL TREES CHANGE COLOR?
No. Trees like pines, spruces and firs are “evergreens”—their leaves are always green. These trees generally have tough needle-shaped leaves that can withstand cold weather. In fact, individual leaves on evergreens can stay on the tree for several years.
ARE CERTAIN COLORS ASSOCIATED WITH A PARTICULAR KIND OF TREE?
Yes. The chart below lists some common trees and their typical fall leaf colors.
BEECH: Yellows and Tans
DOGWOOD: Deep Reds
OAK: Reds and Browns
RED MAPLE: Bright Reds
SOURWOOD: Deep Reds
SUGAR MAPLE: Orangish Reds
Can’t get enough fall foliage? Check out our Pinterest board Autumn at the Museum.
American artist Paul McCarthy has erected his latest Christmas-themed work, “Tree,” and it has plugged up Paris’s Place Vendome for the FIAC Contemporary Art Fair. Regardless of how you feel about the 80-foot-tall work, and its symbolism, I think we can all agree that the massive inflatable sculpture is not only supposed to be a Christmas tree.
The colorful history of toy cameras, those affordable film cameras in plastic boxes, is being celebrated in a new book. Christopher D. Salyers and Buzz Poole’s Camera Crazy, available this month from Prestel, starts with the Brownie debuted in 1900 by Kodak — the first affordable camera model — and continues on through marketing ploys like the 1971 Mick-a-Matic shaped like Mickey Mouse; the Diana, favored for its moody prints; and even the recent Shironeko Holga, made specifically to take pictures of cats by attracting their attention with flashing LED lights and meowing coordinated with the shutter button.
This week on our Design and Violence blog, singer/songwriter and activist Angélique Kidjo writes about Amnesty International’s female genital mutilation awareness campaign.
[Volontaire (est. 2009) for Amnesty International (est. 1961). Creatives: Malin Åkersten Triumf (Swedish, b. 1976), Yasin Lekorchi (Swedish, b. 1973). Photo: Niklas Alm (Swedish, b. 1986)/Vostro. FGM rose poster. 2009. Dimensions variable. Image courtesy of Volontaire. This poster was created for Amnesty International to use for free, worldwide, in campaigning against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)]