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90% Eclipsed!

Okay, it wasn’t as big a thrill as in the fabled Path of Totality, but Victoria BC was the best place in Canada to view the Eclipse of 2017.

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Homemade solar eclipse viewer in use.

 

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This is as close as we got to totality.

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The dimmest part of the garden at 90%

The weirdest thing for me was the 3 degree (C) drop in temperature even though it was technically sunny. It’s also amazing how much light the sun emits even when it’s 90% obscured. I suppose that’s why so many people travel to zones of totality.

Time to make plans for April 8, 2024!

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Bamfield Revisited

Two years ago, I wrote a post about a visit to the town of Bamfield, British Columbia, to attend two concerts of that year’s Music By The Sea festival.

I just got back from this year’s MBTS, having attended three concerts and spent more time exploring this unique community on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Highlights for me included the Sunday matinee concert, which featured chamber music by Brahms and Smetana performed by some excellent young musicians. I was sharper and more attentive than the previous evening, after the four hour boat trip down the Alberni Inlet. The clear light of noon in the superlative performance space made this matinee concert a treat for both eyes and ears. Evening concerts are enhanced by sunsets that create a magnificent backdrop behind the performers.

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Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

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The view from the Rix Centre’s balcony.

Other highlights included visits to Brady’s Beach near Bamfield, and Pachena Beach, several kilometres away.

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Brady’s Beach on a perfect July day.

Then there were the Gunneras…

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A huge patch of huge plants — the Gunneras that might eat Bamfield?

I’m not sure which species these are, Gunnera manicata or G. tinctoria, but it doesn’t really matter. Apparently they can become invasive, which is a scary thought.

Sadly, the calls of the Swainson’s thrushes, which so entranced me in 2015, were not as evident this time. Apparently, these birds have a short breeding season, and Music By The Sea 2015 was held in early July, so it may be this year the thrushes were mostly finished with the singing which is used by males to claim territory. I hope their numbers haven’t declined; they migrate to South America for the winter, flying by night, so may be killed by collisions with windows, radio and cell-phone towers, and tall buildings. It would be unfortunate if these little singers disappeared from a place that celebrates music every year.

 

Herbert in Italy

Herbert West is about to manifest in an Italian-made web and TV series, and eventually a feature film. Yet another incarnation of this fascinating character, in addition to H.P. Lovecraft’s original, the “Re-Animator” movies directed by Stuart Gordon and featuring Jeffrey Combs, and, of course, the series of novels by one Audrey Driscoll.

Everyone knows and loves the masterful 1985 horror comedy Re-Animator. Directed by Stuart Gordon and produced by Brian Yuzna and Charles Band, the proudly unrated sex and splatter shocker based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, won the hearts of horror fans and mainstream critics and put Gordon on the map. And now, 32 years later, an intrepid band of Italians are reviving the source story for a web and TV series.
Read more at http://www.comingsoon.net/horror/news/858595-re-animator-is-now-an-italian-series#8oLxm0Y15ivjPC9i.99

Death… is just the beginning.

How Separate Are We, Really?

Here is a different perspective on our troubled world from Barbara Backer-Gray.

Resident Alien -- Being Dutch in America

image: nairaland.com image: nairaland.com

On July 14, a man ran his truck into crowds of people enjoying the Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France, killing eighty-some and wounding so many others.

Bastille Day celebrates France’s beginning of the republic, with its motto, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. fraternity means, among other things, communal support, friendship, brotherhood.

A while after the breaking news, we heard that two of the dead were Americans. Even later: they were a father and 11-year-old son from Texas. Then, Lakeway, which is pretty much a suburb of Austin, where I live. And late that evening my 16-year-old daughter R got an email from the acting studio in Austin that is her second home: the boy, Brodie Copeland, was also involved at the studio. She didn’t know him personally, but it hit really close to home for her.

T and I held her as she cried, and we cried with…

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Redating Human Civilization: Background and New Evidence

Here are some interesting thoughts about Egyptology, ancient history, Darwin and other matters. Mr. Roberts’s book River in the Desert is also worth reading, an informative, funny and vividly written account of travels in Egypt.

Paul William Roberts

I shall be talking more generally on this subject to the Laurentian Society in March 2016, but I want here to summarize the main points proving the central contentions and latest developments in scientific research that have finally shattered the old paradigm doggedly clung to by the so-called academic orthodoxy for some 100 years now, and disgracefully ignoring or even suppressing all mounting evidence to the contrary. Firstly, however, I need to address the irksome issue of calendrical dates. It will be clear that the accepted convention of delineating time in a Eurocentric milieu stems from religious rather than historical concerns. Thus Judaism gives us 3,000 years; then Christianity starts its clock at zero (although not even the Gospels can agree on a precise date for Christ’s birth); and in the Islamic sphere time rolls back to begin in the 8th century. Overlooking the fact that European calendars have…

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Happy 125th, H. P. Lovecraft!

Today, August 20th, 2015 (it’s only 7 p.m. here on the west coast of Canada, folks) is Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s 125th birthday.

HPL in what appears to be a library reminiscent of the one at Miskatonic University

HPL in what appears to be a library reminiscent of the one at Miskatonic University

It just happens that my next Local Author Book Review (#6) will be of a Lovecraft-themed book. Look for it in the next week or so.

A Language Tree

Writers are perforce interested in language — the one in which they write, naturally, but also in languages generally, their origins and how they relate to one another. Here is a beautiful graphic illustrating that. It’s the work of Finnish-Swedish illustrator Minna Sundberg. The full version (and a lot more by Sundberg) can be found here.

language family tree_cropped