Archive for May, 2015

  • Cycles: One Man’s Treasure turns trash into art

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio14 CommentsRead More »

    By Valerie Irvine-Karinen Car parts. Dishes. Carpentry. Tools. Cans. They all come out of Granite Creek covered in mud. It’s easy enough to throw them away again, but where’s the fun in that? Since the 1980s, people have been pulling trash from Granite Creek as part of cleanups sponsored by various groups, including, at one point, a city committee. Nine years ago, the local nonprofit Prescott Creeks picked up the torch. “You would think that after all this time there would be nothing left,” said Paula Cooperrider, a Prescott Creeks board member. “But, every year, we drag out anywhere up to 10 tons of trash out of Granite Creek.” In recent years, more than 500 volunteers have participated in the annual Granite Creek Cleanup — which boasts some 4,000 volunteers under Prescott Creeks. And, on April 18, about 2.4 tons of trash from the creek, bringing the total amount of trash collected during the last nine years to around 42.6 tons. Though some of the collected trash is bound for recycling centers and landfills, some of it’s given new purpose in artwork sold at “One Man’s Treasure,” an annual found object art show and auction via Prescott Creeks founded in 2012. There are a lot of ideas tied up in these objets trouvés. Implicit or explicit, their reemployment is commentary on consumption, waste disposal, watersheds, conservation, art, aesthetics, and, in

  • Leash or lease?: Fido finds the Uncanny Valley

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's Perceivings16 CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster I suppose we could blame Disneyland. Specifically, the Enchanted Tiki Room. Now don’t get me wrong. I loved the Enchanted Tiki Room. The tropical storm that came and went on schedule, the talking flowers, the carved tiki walls that surprised you by coming to life just when you thought you’d seen everything. But I didn’t care for the birds. See, the birds were just too close to reality for me to entirely suspend disbelief. Talking walls, flowers, drumming tikis: The child in me knew they were fake. But I’d seen talking birds on television. Yet, when the quartet of heavily accented Psittacidae started conversing in the Tiki Room, and in multiple European accents, it freaked me out a little. Because I knew real birds could at least approximate what I was seeing and hearing. But these weren’t real birds. They were patently fake. Unlike the flowers and the tikis, with the birds the line between reality and unreality was so much thinner. What I didn’t know at the time was where all this was audio-animatronic (as the Disney folk called it) enchantment was leading. Nobody did. Where it was leading was to … robot pets. They’ve been around for awhile now. It started with simple talking dolls. Soon these were turned up a notch. Remember Chatty Cathy? Then some enterprising toy manufacturer thought: If talking human

  • News From the Wilds: May 2015

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds1,421 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris May is the great turning of spring to summer in the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona. Winter is firmly past, and the seasonal creeks usually run with the last percolating snowmelt, while extraordinary flowers abound. But May is also the beginning of the dry season, as regional climate patterns shift, and the winter storms that had been flung off of large storm systems over the Pacific are replaced by northering warm, wet air masses from the Sea of Cortez. Eventually these air masses will mature into the titanic cumulonimbus and torrential rains of our summer monsoon, but they are fueled by heat, which will not build sufficiently until late June. We are lucky enough to have not one, but two distinct flowering seasons per year — our first great flowering happens this month, while the other great flowering is after the monsoon rains of mid-summer. Interestingly, many of our flowering plant species are unique to one or the other period. This bimodal flowering season is matched by peaks in activity in our animal species, as well. Insect activity follows flowering very closely, as insects either pollinate flowers or disperse the seeds that result from that pollination. The peak in bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian activity follows shortly after insects, as insects constitute much of the diets of these animals. Because of this, the diversity of species and behaviors

  • Oddly Enough: May 2015

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly Enough16 CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller In 1870, a German immigrant family named Bender moved near a small town called Cherryvale, Kansas. They established an inn and eating establishment for travelers heading West. Katie Bender, a “healer” and psychic, would offer her lodgers a place at a table next to a canvas curtain and serve them meals. While the victims dined, the Bender men, hiding behind the curtain would beat their guests brains out with hammers. The bodies would be dropped into a pit through a trap door in the floor. The Benders would then steal all of the boarder’s possessions. The bodies were disposed of at night in the orchard behind the buildings. At least 11 people died this way, including a prominent doctor. When their evil scheme was discovered, the Benders vanished. ODDLY ENOUGH … A plaque describing the incidents and the unsolved mystery stands to this day next to the site of the inn on U.S. 169. ***** The earliest submarine was successfully launched underwater in 1620. It was invented by a man named Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutch inventor. It was made of wood and leather, and required 12 oarsmen to propel it. Many accounts of its test trips in the river Thames exist, including a story of King James I of England taking a ride in one of his later models. ODDLY ENOUGH … Drebbel also developed a liquid

  • Gutsy measures: A tale of the amazing microbiome

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature18 CommentsRead More »

    By Erica Ryberg Michael Hurst struggled with gastrointestinal issues almost from birth. By the time he was in his 20s, those issues had developed into a full-blown case of scarring colitis, one that surgeons told him could only be treated by removing his colon. He didn’t like the idea, but the doctors said it was the end of the line. You as superorganism Sometime between your conception and birth, the bacteria arrived from your mother, taking up residence in your infant guts and digging in for the long haul. Your body, it turned out, was a fertile microbial substrate, and you, when you were born, were more of a confederation than a sovereign nation. From an evolutionary viewpoint, this partnership is nothing new. Eukaryotes, the cell lines from which all animals, plants, fungi, and protists arise, are by definition chimeras; in these cells dwell legions of tiny, interdependent mitochondria, former bacteria turned energy factories complete with their own DNA. The microbial mat, hence, is but another layer, albeit one that contains 8 million genes to your 23,000. It’s this genetic wealth that scientists call the microbiome. The organisms themselves are collectively known as microbiota. The process of colonization that began in utero picked up dramatically after you were born. If you came out the old-fashioned way, the trip down your mother’s birth canal was a richly microbial experience — for

  • Get the phone: It’s a dead ringer for an antique

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature19 CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee Sometime in the 1870s, A.G. Bell accidentally “spilled” upon the formula for transposing the human voice through wire. Shortly after this, “Get the phone” became a battle cry of both the home and office. Had he not been experimenting with acid at the time (Sorry, not that kind of acid), who knows where telecommunication would be right now? But he was, so this article continues. Widespread phone use didn’t occur until the first quarter of the 20th century. Radio makers like Stromberg-Carlson jumped into the blossoming field. These early phones were composed of heavy iron and copper materials encased in oak with Bakelite earpieces. The earpiece was cradled on one side, usually the left, and a mouthpiece of iron was attached to the front. Also attached to the front, above the mouthpiece, were one or two bells, shaped like inverted bowls with an iron clapper inside. On the right side was the crank. There were no dials or numbers. You rotated the crank a specific number of times to reach a certain party or the operator. The next major style of phones were known as candlesticks. These were basically shaped like, you guessed it, candlesticks. The mouthpiece was attached to the main stick, while the earpiece hung on a rack on the side. The earpiece was attached by a thick cord. These phones were mostly iron, some

  • Asparagus

    By Kathleen Yetman Right now is the time to enjoy fresh asparagus. Local farmers generally harvest asparagus shoots only between March and June, which makes them a temporal delicacy. This short season also means that growing asparagus requires a great deal of patience. Asparagus grown from seed isn’t harvested for the first two springs in order to establish strong roots, so most farmers and gardeners order “crowns” or year-old roots, which can be lightly harvested one year after planting. A well-cared-for asparagus plant can produce for up to 20 years. Asparagus has been cultivated for thousands of years in Europe and in many countries, the asparagus season is still a reason for celebration. Purple asparagus originated in Italy and is becoming more common in the U.S. White asparagus is actually just green asparagus grown underground. Farmers pile on soil as the asparagus grows and without sunshine, the shoots stay white. Here in the U. S., most asparagus found in the grocery store comes from Peru, Mexico, and China. California, Michigan, and Washington produce most of the domestic crop. Asparagus is low in calories and high in vitamin B6, A, C, E, and K. It provides a variety of minerals and is a good source of fiber. Young shoots are the best for eating; they are tender and flavorful. Shoots start to lose flavor after a few days and become woody

  • Back to the land: Joseph McCaffrey proffers ecotherapy with Nature Based Wellness

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature2,630 CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and ecotherapist Joseph Paul McCaffrey, founder of Nature Based Wellness. Contact him at 970-217-8698 and JosephPaulMcCaffrey.Me.] How long has ecopsychology been around? Theodore Roszak is one of the founders of the field. It’s been around for over 20 years. It’s new, an uprising field. There’s a split within it at the moment. I think it’s important also to mention that there are a few different tenants upon which ecopsychology was built. I really resonate with the following tenants, because I have seen them so clearly in the work I do. First, there is an unconscious reciprocity existing between all living beings and the Earth. Second, people’s relationship to the natural world allows them to cultivate their psyche into a coherent whole or the process of becoming the full, actualized self. Third, people’s ecological ego matures toward a sense of ethical responsibility that there is an interdependent relationship between humans and the animate natural world. Fourth, humans have biologically evolved through our interaction with the natural world. Fifth, there is synergetic relationship between people’s interaction with nature and optimum health, psychological development, inner peace, compassion, service, and trust. Finally, people’s interaction with nature has physical and psychological benefits. You practice ecotherapy. What exactly is that? Ecotherapy is a healing modality that takes individuals into the natural

  • Tufted Evening Primrose

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By Mara Kack The temperature is rising and the days are getting longer, thus triggering a new season. The trees have woken up and spread new shades of green across the landscape, but they’re not the only plants emerging from dormancy. Under the spreading canopies, new leaves of all shapes and sizes are bursting out of ground. Basal leaves are the first to develop in many herbaceous (non-woody) plants that showcase flowers through spring, summer, and fall. One herbaceous perennial has especially unique leaves that stand out. The delicate leaves of Tufted Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) stay low to the ground throughout its life with only its petioles (leaf stalk) supporting them. (O. caespitosa has no true stems.) These leaves may be mistaken for common weeds if not regarded closely. The petioles have a creamy pinkish color and support long, narrow leaves that have serrated (or crenate to lobed) edges, each of which are rather hairy. This hair may deter some predators, but not the caterpillar of the Sphynx Moth (Sphingidae sp.) who commonly indulges on the leaves. Next time you’re out enjoying the summer and spot a new plant emerging from the ground give it a second look before dismissing it as a weed. If you give these plants a chance, you’ll soon be graced with astonishing beauty. Large flower buds will begin to develop in a shape which

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: May 2015

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks1,916 CommentsRead More »

    By Peregrine Book Co. staff “The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality” By Brian Greene An easily accessible book about String Theory and how we perceive time and space. —Jon “The Dog Stars” By Peter Heller All the devastation of the apocalypse– the sadness, loss, guilt– blended with beauty, humanity and humor. An engaging story, meditative and original. —Kim Smilla’s Sense of Snow By Peter Hoeg A harsh, fierce story with a harsher, fiercer heroine; a murder mystery with many moments of visceral beauty and insight. Smilla, half Danish and half Greenlandic, refuses to accept the official version of how a child, her former friend, met his death. Her pursuit of the truth will take her through the bleaker wastes of human nature and her own heart. —Reva “Cumin, Camels, & Caravans: A Spice Odyssey” By Gary Paul Nabhan Gary Nabhan skillfully blends cultural history and natural history, botany and geography making it all both personal and universal. He is one of my favorite writers. Nabhan is a lecturer and research social scientist at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center. He has received a MacArthur “genius” award, the John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing, and many other honors. —Tom “The Famished Road” By Ben Okri A truly extraordinary work of hallucinatory magic in the style of Gabriel García Márquez. —Ty ***** Visit Peregrine Book Company

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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