Archive for November, 2017

  • Mouth-watering flavors: The aesthetics of gurgle

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster So … water has taste? Is that aesthetics, or is there science behind the claim? I can remember when water was just water. At least, so it was for most Americans. Europeans always seemed to feel differently about it. I guess because they’ve been parsing foods longer than us. But … water? Nowadays people have taken to speaking about water the same way oenophiles (I love that word … it’s stupid, but lovable) talk about wine. A glass of water might be “crisp” (as opposed to what … damp?) or “lightly mineralized” or “slightly acidic” (ah, there’s the science!) or having a taste like a “fresh spring morning.” Sometimes I can’t tell if the testers are talking about water or room deodorizer. I can see the difference between plain water and alkaline water, but some of the rest of the so-called differences leave me cold. As to alkaline water, why would people boast about drinking rock? Not for me to criticize individual tastes, I suppose, no matter how confounding they may be. Sparkling water seems to be a thing of the moment. Especially sparkling water flavored with “essence.” When I was young we used to call “essence” “concentrated,” but hey, whatever sells. Perrier has been selling sparkling water, i.e. water full of bubbles, since 1863, so plainly there’s something to it. In order to compete with

  • News from the Wilds: November 2017

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris Highlands. The cold has crawled from the cracks of night into the light of day changing how all of the creatures of the region live. The coming season brings scarcity of food and water along with low, sometimes killing temperatures, and every species, plant and animal, has their set of adaptations to these challenges. These adaptations are sometimes physiological and sometimes behavioral, though for most species there is a little of both. Mammals (including humans) and some non-migratory birds begin to undergo cold acclimatization now, which includes redirection of blood flow away from skin, accumulation of insulative body fat and fur, and metabolic and chemical changes, all resulting in an overall increase in tolerance for low temperatures. Insects undergo a wide variety of changes — some, including bumblebees, generate propylene glycol (antifreeze) in their blood, which prevents them from freezing, while others develop the ability to raise their body temperatures far above that of the surrounding air, proving themselves anything but “cold-blooded.” Reptiles and amphibians are able to tolerate very low body temperatures without any injury, though some snakes, such as rattlesnakes, gather together in large numbers in caves to avoid killing frosts. Many birds, including the swallows and warblers, migrate south both for food and to avoid the cold, while mammals such as Black Bears, Rock Squirrels, and Beavers, create dens in which to shelter. The

  • S(tr)addling communities: Annual Arts Prescott show raises funds for Bethany’s Gait

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Jody Miller, member of Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery, 134 S. Montezuma St., 928-776-7717, ArtsPrescott.Com, whose annual charity show opens with an artists’ reception on Nov. 24 and runs through Christmas.] What is the Arts Prescott Cooperative’s annual charity show and how did it get started? The gallery, itself, opened in 1994 and, ever since, there’s been a charity fundraiser show from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It’s kind of the gallery’s way of giving back to the community that’s supported it over the years. … The process goes like this: A couple of months before the holidays, members of the gallery do a sales pitch at the general meeting of a charity they think is deserving of support. The members get a month to think it over, then come back and vote. This year, it’s the charity that I pitched, Bethany’s Gait. In past years, there’ve been a lot of different groups. Last year it was Skyview School, which I think was the first time we supported a school. The year of the big fire, we did a fundraiser for the town of Yarnell. We’ve done groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Yavapai Food Bank, and Hungry Kids. We try to do a different one every year and cover areas of the community we feel

  • Myth & Mind: Harvests, hops, & human sacrifice

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard Autumn has arrived. The wind changed almost overnight: one day towing monsoon clouds from the southwest in summer’s established pattern, then suddenly restive, keeping the trees awake after dark and setting a fresher edge on the mornings. The light, compressed a minute at a time by approaching winter, became a little clearer, more insistently golden. The wind’s mood in autumn, a combination of restlessness and certainty, has always made this season my favorite. The year is setting out on a journey whose destination is death. To the ancient Celts, the germinant sleep of death preceded life; nightfall was the day’s beginning, and the beginning of winter was the new year. The festival of Samhain (SOW-inn), falling in early November, marks not merely the first day of winter but a resetting of the cosmic mechanism at a fundamental level. To pastoral-agrarian ancestors, winter’s onset meant it was time to move the herds down from the highlands to more sheltered pastures, time to reap and store the rich life of summer before harshening weather took it away, but furthermore the crux of nature’s cyclical drama of death and rebirth. As such it was a dangerous season: The doors between worlds stood open, and one might easily wander inside the hills where the race of fairy-folk lived — especially considering the marathon drinking bouts the Irish engaged in as a

  • Plant of the Month: Wright’s Silktassel

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By David Moll People seem to really like Wright’s Silktassel. They seem to like it primarily because it’s an evergreen shrub, its broad, leathery leaves lending rich green color to winter landscapes. It also happens to be a useful illustration of botanical phenomena. That attractive foliage is a clear example of plants that have leaves paired opposite one another on the branch. Other plants have an alternating or a whorled leaf arrangement. Furthermore, Wright’s Silktassel’s opposite leaves are set at horizontal right angles from the leaves at the preceding and following nodes. The fancy name for this phenomenon is decussation and leaf arrangements exhibiting it are called decussate. This is the most common formation among vascular plants. Leaf arrangement is a good thing to notice in our botanical explorations. Wright’s Silktassel is also an example of plants that have boy flowers and girl flowers on separate plants. This opens the topic of plant sexuality and can help us understand what we’re seeing when we investigate the plants we find in the field. We may be most familiar with flowers that have boys (stamens) and girls (pistils) on the same flower, but boys and girls can be on separate flowers, separate plants, or some mix. Let’s not forget vegetative reproduction which begs the evolutionary question of why sex at all. If fertilized, those girl flowers will mature into a dark blue,

  • Bird of the Month: White-faced Ibis

    By Doug Iverson The White-faced Ibis, a species seen mostly in migration in the Prescott area, is an unmistakable bird when sighted. It is a gregarious species you might first see in a flock of 15 or more birds as they circle over Willow or Watson lakes looking for suitable shoreline shallows. They may circle as if uncertain or wary before landing close to shore where they can be hidden from view by shoreline vegetation. Depending on location, an Ibis will feed on insects, earthworms, snails, newts, frogs, fish, crayfish, and other invertebrates it can spear with its long, decurved bill, often digging prey out of the mud in a marsh, on a shallow shoreline, in an irrigated field, or even in damp soil. They will change both feeding and breeding locations depending on the availability of suitable habitat in a given year. White-faced Ibis have a rich metallic luster, bronze-green feathers, long pinkish legs, pinkish lores, and white feathers on the face at the base of the bill. The White-faced Ibis can be distinguished from the Glossy Ibis only in breeding season when it has the border of white feathers on the facial skin behind the bill — they were formerly called White-faced Glossy Ibis — but this is not a local identification problem because we have no Glossy Ibis. The Ibis was a sacred bird of Ancient Egyptians,

  • Building blocks: Ecosa Institute rethinks renewable

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Jessica Hernreich, executive director of the Ecosa Institute for Ecological Design, 300 E. Willis St., 928-541-1002. Find out more at Ecosa.Org.]   What is the Ecosa Institute for Ecological Design? It’s an ecological design school. We’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and we teach the principals of ecological design. We break the mold of a traditional design education in the sense that we pack what would happen in two years in a design school into a 15-week total-immersion semester wherein we teach the earth sciences: ecology, hydrology, biology, and climate science in conjunction with the design arts. There’s an emphasis on architecture, but there’s also a big focus on product design, landscape design, graphic design, and urban planning, as well as material sourcing for the fashion, building and product industries.   What exactly is “ecological design”? Ecological design asks how do we create something that follows the logic of nature, that goes beyond sustainability or green building. The idea is to create systems, landscapes, and buildings rooted in the ecology of a place. That’s true sustainability. … Sustainability, for us, is a baseline. Our job is to do regenerative work.   Each cohort goes through the program in one semester, correct? Is there a certificate or some other sort of designation upon completion of the program

  • Oddly Enough: November 2017

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Late in the 19th century a very strange set of objects was discovered in the peat of Lancashire, England. Tiny knives, scrapers, borers, and other flint tools were found that were obviously too small for human hands to use. The workmanship was extremely fine. Labeled as “ritual instruments,” none have ever been found alongside actual working tools, and for the most part, no one knows who carved them or what they were designed for. Some fanciful notions suggest gnomes and elves. ODDLY ENOUGH … Whoever the creators were, they were apparently widespread, because “pygmy flints” have also been discovered in Egypt, Australia, Africa, France, Sicily, and India. ***** There are over 1,600 species of starfish. This primitive animal has done remarkably well for a creature with no brain. Starfish reproduce in a variety of ways, but one of the strangest is the Linckia Starfish, which simply sheds its legs, each of which grows into a new, fully formed starfish. ODDLY ENOUGH … The largest starfish ever caught measured nearly 5 feet across. The heaviest starfish ever recorded weighed more than 13 pounds. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Peregrine Book Co. Staff Picks: November 2017

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Peregrine Book Co. Staff PicksNo CommentsRead More »

    Catered by Reva Sherrard “The Second Sex” By Simone de Beauvoir Along with “The Feminine Mystique,” de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” is one of the quintessential tomes on mid-century women’s liberation. ~ Lacey   “The Book of Emma Reyes” By Emma Reyes Reading “The Book of Emma Reyes” is like holding the key to a secret door. An incredible story of self-discovery, resilience, and courage. ~ Lacey   “In the Cafe of Lost Youth” By Patrick Modiano Master of the hauntingly beautiful, Modiano weaves a world you won’t want to leave. Skillfully layered with the themes of emotion, identity, and human behavior. ~ Lacey   “The Trial” By Franz Kafka Waking up to being accused of a crime and not being told what it is, to supposedly being under arrest but not apprehended and taken to jail, is an odd way to start the day. ~ Joe   “Sanctuary” By William Faulkner This is my favorite in Faulkner’s oeuvre. Part Southern Gothic, part noir, and strangely elegant. Sanctuary is the book to read on a late summer night. ~ Joe   “The Boys from Brazil” By Ira Levin A Nazi hunter plays detective, searching for Josef Mengele, who is rumored to be in South America concocting a frightening experiment. (As absurd as it sounds, this book is a thrilling page turner). ~ Joe   “Finnegans Wake” By James Joyce The

  • Hard drive by: Edsel shopping in the Digital Age

    Nov 3, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, ColumnNo CommentsRead More »

    By Jacques Laliberté Our household requires a second vehicle and my 1989 Dodge Dakota pickup — hardy as it is, has over 233,000 miles on her — is only trusted for in-town lumber duty. As a freelance pet portraitist, I can only reasonably afford an older car model, spending under ten grand, if that. And I’d prefer a European Classic that will appreciate 400 percent during my ownership while attaining 80 mpg. All fantasy aside, I took the simple route in my car search — the new millennial one — and logged in to scan the websites of local auto purveyors, from frontage road Buy Here Pay Here lots’ garish sites to slick manufacturer’s dealer showroom portals. They all pretty much use the same software to showcase inventory, allowing me to filter my choices by make and model, year, mileage, MPG ratings, number of cylinders, price range, even color. They are only missing filters for “number of $1,000s needed in immediate repairs” and “percent chance our mechanics didn’t discover the pot stashed in a fender well.” Once on a website, scrolling down vertiginous listings of brawny pre-owed — not used, mind you — SUVs and last years’ trade-ins, you are confronted with endless pop-up windows that migrate infuriatingly across the screen like a lame Pong game. Portrayed by stock photos of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, gorgeous salespersons with names like Nikki

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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