Archive for January, 2016

  • Likenesses: The art of Mitch Unrath

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio382 CommentsRead More »

    By Steven Ayres The craftsman at his bench, bent over his work, honing its fine details, thickly surrounded by tools of his trade passed down to him from generations past — he’s an archetype in our culture, representing the relentless pursuit of artistic vision embedded in deep tradition. He might be a Swiss clockmaker of the 1850s, intently focused on the bits of metal in his hands, working through the night in dim tallow light, heedless of time and somehow outside it. But this woodland crofter’s cottage, thatched in pine needles, is just a few blocks from the courthouse square in Prescott. And it’s full of teeth. “It all started with my great-grandfather.” Mitch Unrath crouches in a rolling desk chair, masked in a magnifying loupe, bent closely over the little chip of whiteness in his left hand as he sculpts it with a tiny bur spinning silently at 18,000 rpm, teasing out the perfect shape within. His bench is cluttered with dental casts, the walls and surfaces of the room crowded with antique tooth samples, ancient electrical machines, 19th-century furniture and a glass case with a collection of museum-quality animal and human skulls. Always at his feet is Cody, the sort of whip-smart, high-energy dog who really needs a job. A TV blares random noise off to one side, but he only glances up to scan the pictures of

  • News From the Wilds: January 2016

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris January in the Mogollon Highlands is when the long quiet of winter reaches its coldest and snowiest, as storms bluster and howl, pushing plants and animals to the limits of their strength. The frigid days, however, are often interspersed with sunny, cold days that skitter with bursts of bird and mammal activity. Every plant and animal has a set of strategies for making it through this time of scant resources and dangerous temperatures — pregnant female Black Bears hibernate in underground dens; Bobcats, Coyotes, and deer grow thicker coats and subtly re-route blood flow away from their skin and extremities; and ground squirrels, chipmunks, and Beavers settle into the well-stocked dens that they’ve been provisioning for months. Insects and herbaceous plants have evolved so that only their eggs and seeds overwinter, while trees decrease photosynthesis either by dropping leaves or by insulating them with thicker coatings and alter their chemistry by increasing lipid content and membrane permeability to decrease risk of frost damage. In many cases these adaptations, both physiological and behavioral, are remarkably complex. But the glimmers of the coming spring continue as well. Some animals are “planting their seeds” for the coming year, including the Black Bears and River Otters, both of whom are giving birth. Many of our wind-pollinated trees are in flower, during this time when the broad leaves of deciduous trees have

  • Rise of the pod people: How to drive people sane(ly)

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster The first car I ever owned was a 1969 Corvette maroon coupe with removable hardtop, modest 350 engine, and gleaming factory side pipes. It was a thing of beauty and hopefully today, owned by someone else, remains a thing of beauty. While everyone I knew was buying their first car (or second, or third), I diligently squirreled away what money I could accumulate all through high school, college, and even graduate school. My intent when I had enough money was to try and buy a used Mercury Cougar, but Fate and the L.A. Times classified section intervened. In the used cars for sale ads in the newspaper (some of you may remember when used cars were more commonly sold this way … some of you may remember newspapers), “Cougar” came in alphabetically just above “Corvette.” It was one year old and $2,000 … a good buy even back then. A good buy because the kid who owned it had accumulated so many speeding tickets that the judge in his traffic court case gave him a choice: get rid of the ‘vette and buy a VW bug, or have his driver’s license suspended. Scarcely believing my luck, I got there in time with the two grand, and low and behold, for many, many years I drove a car as flashy as most in L.A. I’ll never own

  • Ask a Rocket Scientist: Super-powered, super-sized computational tools

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Ask a Rocket ScientistNo CommentsRead More »

    By Prof. Werner Von Karmann The phone rang and my officemate Merrit answered the phone. Still focused on my computer screen, I watched as a stream of numbers scrolled past, numbers that represented my latest simulation of whether vortex structures off the tip of a helicopter rotor blade were converging to an answer or were diverging off into NaN (not a number) world. We were both Ph.D. students, part of a NASA research group of over 100 people who already had their Ph.D.s. There was a future astronaut in the group who would later die in the Shuttle Columbia accident. The algorithms and theories we were using were named after the person(s) in the next office(s). The building we were in was the Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation Facility. Upstairs, was a Cray 2 supercomputer and on our desks we each had Silicon Graphics Inc. workstations. I still had my Mac 512 from grad school. That same building now houses the Pleiades supercomputer; the same one that’s featured in that movie, “The Martian.” Merritt launched into a discussion with the other person on the phone. His voice rose in pitch and I heard him say, “Well it’s not like it’s …” But, indeed, it was rocket science. When the editor of 5enses asked me to host this column, I saw it as an opportunity to help answer some questions about the physical

  • There’s no time like the present: … except for maybe 1916, or maybe 1966

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Markoff Chaney By now, you’re probably sick of holidays and those inevitable (and inevitably redundant and/or boring) “Year in Review” and “Top Stories of the Year” articles. Don’t pretend you’ve kept up with the papers. You’ve probably started the New Year with a stack of old news that would make the Collyer brothers balk. Instead of recapping recent events, let’s look toward the future … by looking back a century. Here’s a highly partial, by-no-means complete list of famous, infamous, or otherwise noteworthy 100-year anniversaries to ponder in 2016. (And for alert readers, yes, this is a nearly identical intro to a similarly themed piece for the January 2015 of 5enses. Was it any less effective?)   Jan. 24, 1916 • In Browning, Montana, the temperature drops from 44 F to -56 F in one day, the greatest change ever on record for a 24-hour period in the U.S. and world at large. Feb. 9, 1916 • At 6 p.m., a monocle-clad Tristan Tzara enters the Cabaret Voltaire stage singing sentimental melodies and handing paper wads to “scandalized spectators,” yielding the stage to masked actors on stilts, returning in clown attire thus founding the Dadaism art movement, according to Hans Arp. Feb. 28, 1916 • American expat and novelist Henry James dies of a stroke at age 72. March 7, 1916 • In Munich, Germany Die Bayerischen Motoren Werke

  • Birds of the Month: Spotted Towhee

    By Russ Chappell Spotted Towhee are large, energetic, colorful sparrows with stocky bodies, fan-shaped tail, and thick beaks that are commonly found in shrubby habitats and thick underbrush, as well as backyards and feeders. The adult’s wingspan is more than 10 inches and they weigh close to 1-and-a-half ounces. The male displays a brilliant black head, throat, and back combined with rufous sides and a white belly, while the female’s markings are similar, save for a brownish color replacing the brilliant black of the male. Wings and backs are speckled with white markings and their bright red eyes are intense. In flight you’ll see white corners on their tails. Ground feeders, Towhee generally hop along, scratching with both feet in a backward fashion to uncover seeds and small invertebrates, but may also climb into lower branches to feed on insects and fruits, or issue cat like calls, scolding, or communication with their mate. During the spring breeding season, the male Spotted Towhee spends the majority of the morning singing to attract a mate, but once a mate is located, singing becomes less frequent and they, instead, focus on food. The female Towhee builds a nest with dry leaves, stems, and bark, lining it with grass, pine needles and hair. Nests are often located in a depression on the ground and are about 4-and-a-half inches across, although nests may be constructed

  • Oddly Enough: January 2016

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller This bizarre gastropod, known commonly as the Scaly Foot Snail, lives at extreme depths (over a mile deep) in the oceans near hydrothermal vents. It’s the ultra hot, toxic chemical saturated water that helps make this animal so unique. A kind of bacteria that this snail plays host to helps build the shell casing for this creature. That shell is made of iron! This is the only known animal that manufactures an iron skeleton. Beneath the iron is a spongier tissue which acts as a shock absorber should the snail be roughly handled by its only known predator, the vent crab. Also, many of these snails are magnetic. ODDLY ENOUGH … crabs work so hard at cracking the Scaly Foot’s defenses that they often blunt their own claws, doing actual damage to themselves. ***** This amazing vehicle was commissioned by a Russian Count named Pyotr Shilovsky in 1912. Working with Irish designer Louis Brennan and the Wolseley Tool and Motorcar Company, Shilovsky was on hand when it debuted in London in May of 1914 to rave reviews. It weighed nearly three tons and carried up to six passengers. It could drive forward and reverse, stop and park. Should the driver forget to put down the stabilizing posts and walk away, the car would automatically drop them once the stabilizing gyroscopes ceased spinning. Years later, Louis Brennan built

  • You know, That New Gallery: Gallery opens a new window into the Prescott art scene

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Victoria Page, CFO of That New Gallery. Visit the art gallery 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at the Gateway Mall, 3250 Gateway Blvd., near Dillard’s. Find out more at ThatNewGallery.Com or call 928-445-0788.] How did That New Gallery get started? The Gateway Mall approached several art organizations to see if any of them were interested in opening up an art gallery. The groups as a whole weren’t interested — they didn’t want to commit to a lease — but some people from those different groups got together to give it a try. The gallery opened in November of 2014, which means it’s been open for more than a year now. The artists just jumped into it. I don’t think any of them were really business people. They tried to form a co-op to pay rent and utilities with the monthly dues paid by each member, and it changed from there. I came on board a week after it started. I’m primarily an oil painter, but I’ve done enough shows that I realized jewelry always sells well, so I started doing jewelry, as well as pottery and a line of greeting cards. So, I’m an artist, but the main reason I’m here as

  • Let’s do drugs: An addicting corner of the antique world

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Jacy Lee With a title like “Let’s Do Drugs,” you probably think this article is going to be about drugs. You know, drugs — like reefer, opium, cocaine, and alcohol. Well, these articles are about antiques and collectibles, so fat chance. This one is mostly about things that held drugs. Let’s start with cocaine. Cocaine, a derivative of the coca plant, was a popular drug in the late 19th to early 20th century. Aside from use as a recreational drug, it also appeared in many over-the-counter products. Hair tonics for ladies, such as Lydia’s and Burnett’s, contained cocaine. Women would massage these tonics into their scalps. You’d have to be a numbskull not to figure out where the term “numbskull” came from. Old bottles and boxes of these products are very collectible. Let’s do more cocaine. There is one cocaine-based product from the 1800s that has spawned more collectibles than almost any other product on Earth. That’s both an amazing boast and probably true. You guessed it, Coca-Cola! The most prolific “soft” drink in the world was initially a syrupy elixir based on cocaine. It was later modified into a soda and went global. Obviously, it had an addictive nature. Long into the mid-20th century, cocaine was still an ingredient. Today its addictive property has been replaced by caffeine. Still, think of the myriad real antiques and modern collectibles

  • Plant of the Month: Moss

    Jan 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By Mara Kack Walk in the forest after a rain, and you’ll find the emerald green of mosses. They may seem out of place here in our dry southwest, but mosses are widely distributed from pole to pole and can be found in a variety of habitats. They are members of the most primitive group of plants, the Bryophytes (one of the two divisions of the plant kingdom). Bryophytes, unlike other members of their kingdom, don’t have vascular systems for carrying water and nutrients. They don’t have true leaves, true stems, or true roots. Mosses are composed of hair-thin, substrate-hugging structures that grow in large masses. Locally our most common mosses form soft clusters found hidden on the north slopes, among branches of trees, and tucked in fallen leaves. Lacking a vascular system, mosses cannot absorb water from the soil or air when moisture concentration is lower than their own structure. As such, mosses are only active when their surrounding environment provides proper moisture. In any season, when the moisture is right, mosses come out of dormancy to grow or complete their unique reproductive cycle. Moss life cycles are also unlike “higher” vascular plants. The hair-thin individuals that group to form the vibrant green beds are actually haploid organisms. In all other organisms, including vascular plants and mammals, only sex cells are haploid — these join to generate the diploid

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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