Archive for November, 2014

  • Environmental influences: Micah Riegner cross-pollinates art and science

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio4,349 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon It’s hard not to have a guttural reaction to scorched chaparral, especially in Yavapai County. Recent history aside, its stark contrast with verdant foliage is a siren’s call, tempting the eye along a push-pull of contrasts. Linger, though, and you’ll miss something special. “Down the way: a coyote standing in the middle of the road,” said Walt Anderson, a Prescott College professor, recounting a field trip with his “Interpreting Nature Through Art and Photography” class. “It was rather peculiar, standing there on a high-traffic road,” said Walt, who, until then, had been pointing out the impacts of the Doce and Yarnell Hill fires. “Then, out came the bobcat.” It was a singular moment. The kind that clarifies your place in the natural world. Blink. And it’s gone. Only one of Walt’s students —the one who alerted him to the coyote — was present enough to snap a photo. “That was Micah Riegner,” Walt said. “What can I say? He’s always prepared.” At 21-years-old, Micah’s already an accomplished international birder and tour guide who’s worked with expeditions that have documented new species of birds in the Amazon. He credits much of his success as a naturalist to the influence of art. “Whenever you sketch something, it forces you to spend more time looking at it,” Micah said. “Then, suddenly, you can see subtle things you didn’t see before.” In

  • In the eye of the Froot Loop

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster I don’t mean to particularly pick on Froot Loops. Or instant coffee, or pretzels, or the potato chip flavor of the moment. Or Wheat Thins, or ice cream. It’s just that anymore it seems that they all have something disgraceful in common. They lie. Yes, that smiling Cap’n Crunch and grinning Count Chocula and even neighborly Juan Valdez and his patient donkey are liars. But they’re not bold-faced liars. Their prevarications are subtle and carefully thought-out. I’m speaking of the art of visual deception, of consumer product prestidigitation, of how contemporary manufacturers strive to convince your mind and your eyes that you’re getting something you’re actually not. It’s been getting worse for years now. Humans are a very visual species. We possess an excellent memory for observed objects. Nowhere is this predilection more evident than in the supermarket. We grow up tagging along with our parents as they shop. Without realizing it or intending to do so, we mark for future reference the size, shape, and contents of familiar containers. This is what the equivocators among present-day manufacturers rely upon: visual memories that are ingrained in our consciousness. Like most of us, I’ve known this has been taking place for years, but it didn’t really hit me until I was perusing the ice cream section and saw, bravely emblazoned across a container of Ben & Jerry’s

  • News From the Wilds: December 2014

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds2,993 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris The coldest season has come round again, and the wilds have entered the depth of their quiescence. But though the nights are at their longest now — the longest of the year is on Dec. 21, the Winter Solstice — the coldest and toughest parts of the winter are still to come. December is slightly warmer and bears a bit less rain and snow than January, when the days will be already growing longer again. This lag between the darkest and the coldest times is a result of the thermal qualities of the air masses in the atmosphere, which hold their temperature long after incoming solar radiation has declined. It is for this reason that the warmest parts of the summer are typically after the Summer Solstice, and that the coldest parts of the winter are after the Winter Solstice. As a result of low temperatures and lack of sunlight, plants and insects now enter the depth of their winter diapause, when almost no activity is to be found. These two groups are the primary food sources for almost all of our species, so their somnolence brings extreme hardship for birds and mammals, the two groups that remain most active. Only the most resourceful and innovative can find food during this time, and often creatures are more desperate because of this. Predators, such as Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-shinned

  • Oddly Enough: December 2014

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough25 CommentsRead More »

    Dr. William Christmas, a man of considerable ego and self delusion,decided in the early 1900s that airplane wings should be flexible and not rigid. Amazingly, he managed to get financial backing to build his futuristic aircraft without a blueprint. Whereas his “Christmas Bullet” looked like an airplane, it was completely unsound. The prototype shed its wings and killed the first pilot to fly her. After advertising his second plane as the “safest, fastest, and most controllable plane in the world,” Christmas watched as another pilot died flying it for the first time. ODDLY ENOUGH … In 1923, Christmas managed to get $100,000 from the United States Army based on a supposed patent he had on an aileron. The money was paid without anyone checking on the validity of the (likely unprovable) claim. He died rich at 94 in 1960. ***** The BE9 “Pulpit” was built by the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1915. The gunner was located in a basket compartment in front of the propeller. Because of the location of the engine and propeller, the gunner and pilot couldn’t communicate at all. ODDLY ENOUGH … The gunner had to hold onto his gun for dear life, lest he become sucked into the whirling blades that spun only inches from his head. The Pulpit never saw mass production. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference

  • A nice cave with a view

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • Uncategorized2,469 CommentsRead More »

    By Gene Twaronite Recently, I signed up for a DNA test at one of those ancestry sites. It was a little pricey, but the idea intrigued me. Since my family originated in Lithuania, I fancied there might be some kings or brave knights of old, or at least a wizard (vedlys) or two in my background. After sending in the usual saliva swab, I waited anxiously for the results. Months went by without a reply. Finally, I decided to call the company. I had to go through three different people before I was transferred to the head honcho. “Yes, Mr. Twaronite, we have your lab results here. You may want to sit down for this.” I did not like the sound of this. The last time someone used those words was when the police called to tell me that my stolen car had been located at the bottom of the La Brea tar pits. “Your ancestry is most unusual, Mr. Twaronite. In fact, we would like to perform some additional tests on you. If you give permission, you might even appear in a research paper. Would you be willing to come down to our office?” “Not until you tell me what’s going on. What do you mean unusual? Are my genes abnormal? Is there some kind of disease I should know about? Am I gonna die?” “No, you’re not going

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: December 2014

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks3,827 CommentsRead More »

    By Peregrine Book Co. Staff “My So-called Ruined Life” By Melanie Bishop Melanie Bishop’s “My So-called Ruined Life” is a page-turner with substance. Readers young and older will fall in love with smart and witty Tate McCoy as she struggles through more adversity than any one person should have, gaining strength and wisdom from what could have broken her. This poignant and inspiring book will fly off the shelf. —Susan “Understand Rap: Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics That You & Your Grandma Can Understand” By William Buckholz From Bone Thugs to Busta Thymes, Puff Daddy to Biggie Smalls, and Dr. Dre to Lil; Wayne, this book is jam packed with clear and concise explanations (many of which seem so spot on Buckholz himself must have grown up street-side) of oft misunderstood and highly misquoted “bars.” You don’t have to be a hip-hop head to acquire a chuckle or two from this. Doesn’t hurt though. –Seth “One Hundred Years of Solitude” By Gabriel Garcia Marquez You will never see the world the same way again. You will learn to dream with your eyes open. –Michaela “A Fine Balance” By Rohinton Mistry “A Fine Balance” is arguably the greatest novel I’ve ever read. Mistry’s prose is absolutely remarkable and his descriptions of India and its people evoke such unbelievable poignancy. At times I felt completely delighted to be reading of such compassion

  • Game theory: Prescott Area Boardgamers don’t just roll the bones

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature2,878 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Jeff Whitham, of the Prescott Area Boardgamers. The group meets every other Wednesday at the Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St., 928-777-1500. Check the calendar online at PrescottLibrary.Info.] How do you describe the Prescott Area Boardgamers to the uninitiated? Basically, we’re a group of players who meet to play board games every other Wednesday at the Prescott Public Library. By board games, I don’t mean traditional games like “Monopoly” or “Sorry!” — the kind we all played when we were younger. We play what we call modern games or Euro-games. They’re called Euro-games because most of them come from Europe, and these kind of games have been around for about 20 to 25 years. These games are different from those older, traditional games in that there’s less luck and randomization, no player elimination, and more options, which means you have more paths to victory. Players can usually recover from a bad start, and player interaction exists, but isn’t as devastating, meaning you can’t really knock another player out of the game. There’s a term we use for this: multiplayer solitaire. It’s as if you’re playing your own game but there’s some annoyance from other players. How long has the group been around? And how long have you been involved? It was formed in

  • Seeing red

    By Helen Stephenson EXT. YAVAPAI COLLEGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – NIGHT – ESTABLISHING SHOT The outside lights are on, and the trees twinkle with white lights. A red carpet has been rolled out and antique and classic cars surround the entrance. Men in tuxedos and women in high heels and sleek formal gowns start to arrive.  Photographers snap photos and videographers capture moments. Two friends, Dorothy, Caroline, walk up the red carpet. They are around 65-years-old, bubbly, excited, and having the time of their lives. There is an interviewer at the end of the red carpet. INTERVIEWER Good evening ladies! Are you ready for a great evening at the Academy Awards telecast? DOROTHY We are dressed to the nines and ready to win! INTERVIEWER (laughing) Win? Are you nominated in one of the categories? CAROLINE (laughing) Not an Oscar! Passes to the annual Prescott Film Festival! DOROTHY That’s right! We’ve watched almost every film that’s  been nominated, including all the nominated shorts! CAROLINE And don’t forget “Boyhood”! It had a HUGE Oscar buzz, so we saw that one, too! INTERVIEWER How did you ladies see all the Oscar-nominated short films? DOROTHY The film festival screened them in February! CAROLINE All three categories for the shorts: animated, live action, and documentary. INTERVIEWER So it sounds like you are both going to be prepared to fill out your ballots! DOROTHY Yep! And

  • Not-so-regal ransoms: Cyber threats that holdyour files hostage could be ‘the new normal’

    By Paolo Chlebecek Most people ask you, “How are you feeling?” Not many ask, “How’s your digital health?” Now more than ever, we have rich digital lives. But are they safe? Can they be compromised? With the ever-growing threat of cyber terrorism and malevolent software looming over our cyber shoulders, how can we keep our world of data safe? We’ve discussed aspects of this topic in earlier articles, but now it’s time to dig a bit deeper. As of this month, a new version of the “CryptoLocker” ransomware virus called “CryptoWall 2.0” has infected 625,000 victims worldwide, encrypting 5.25 billion files and collecting more than $1.1 million in ransoms, according to a threat analysis from Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit researcher Keith Jarvis. This virus maliciously encrypts your data effectively rendering it unusable unless you pay the ransom amount of $200 to $2,000 — and in one case $10,000! Even if the user pays the ransom, there’s no guarantee that the attacker will provide the decryption key needed to unlock the files. Instead, once they get your credit card, they take out as much as they can and keep the info so they can steal more later. Sorry folks, it gets worse.In an interview, Jarvis said that he expects “to see ransomware that ‘destroys files’ become the new normal.” How does it spread? According to Symantec a world leader of

  • True as steel: Matthew McIntosh shapes Avertosh Salvage Steel Art

    Nov 28, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Matthew McIntosh, artist and co-owner of Avertosh Salvage Steel Art. See their reclaimed salvage art at Pennington’s Antiques, 177 N. Cortez St., 928-445-3748, or online at Avertosh.Com.] What kind of pieces does Avertosh Salvage Steel Art create? We mostly do wildlife and aquatic scenery on salvage steel and metal. I’m more of the wildlife side, and Travis is more into the sea stuff. We do functional pieces, mostly — a lot of big lamps and fire pits and signage. It’s really up the individual, though. People come with ideas and we just run wild with them. We’re about 50/50 between commissions and things we’re interested in. Most people find us through friends, family, or online at Avertosh.Com. How did Avertosh come to be? Well, I’d done construction all of my life. Then I got in a car accident in 2001 and broke my neck and back in six places. It was a single-car accident. A friend and I were racing around — I was being a typical stupid 21-year-old — and he died in the accident and I was incarcerated for around 11 years. While I was in prison, I started drawing a lot and thinking about what I wanted to do when I got out. I’ve always loved working with steel , and

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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