Archive for December, 2017

  • (Ca(r)t): Dale O’Dell steers into automotive art

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Dale O’Dell Are you looking for something a little different for your next family vacation? Is the beach too crowded with starlets posing for paparazzi? Did bears eat your tent the last time you went camping? Perhaps the outdoor music concert has lost its appeal? Does Disneyworld give you the creeps? Maybe you’ve already seen the Grand Canyon four times. What are you going do, and where will you go to do it? Here’s a crazy idea for you: Go see some Big Art! Most Big Art in America is called “installation” or “land art,” but I’m not writing about the highbrow sculptures in front of corporate offices that we all ignore, oh no. I’m writing about lowbrow, cheesy-fun, borderline kitsch, land art installations featuring cars. “Automotive Art.” The American love affair with bigness and the automobile has inspired some artists to use the car as both subject and medium for large-scale outdoor art installations. And this art is much more fun than what you’ll find in some white-cube art gallery where the artworks are obtuse and overpriced. With automotive art you can still play outdoors and you won’t need a docent to explain “meaning.” I’ve visited and photographed the four most famous automotive art installations in America. And you’ve got to slow down to find these places because, at a distance, they can look a lot like junkyards

  • Perceivings: The tao of Pussyfoot

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Alan Dean Foster Okay, let’s get the title of this column out of the way fast. Pussyfoot is the name of a small black kitten that features in five Warner Bros. cartoons directed by the great Chuck Jones. Arguably the best one, “Feed the Kitty,” features the kitten subduing an enormous, ferocious bulldog by the name of Marc Antony. Pussyfoot accomplishes this via a combination of unrestrained love, impossible cuteness, and general indifference. I am moved to mention this by way of providing proof that the Beatles’ song “All You Need is Love” may have more than a little scientific truth behind it, at least where domestic cats are concerned. I am further impelled to bring up the subject because the internet has been inundated by a flood, a veritable tsunami, of videos featuring cats. If some sources are to be believed, when ranked by subject matter cat videos draw the most views of anything on the net. In turn, this popularity has given rise to an entire subset of articles and scholarly treatises that attempt to explain the phenomena, such as “The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism” (Ethan Zuckerman, 2008). It is worthy of note that there is no corresponding “Cute Dog Theory of Digital Activism,” or Horse Theory, or even Baby Theory. Disclaimer: Just as programs on ABC promoting Disney have to add a proviso that

  • News from the Wilds: January 2018

    Dec 29, 17 • 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

  • Myth & Mind: When blue is not blue: A glance at color through the eye of linguistics

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard When Ahmed ibn Fadlan, 10th-century diplomat from Baghdad to a king on the banks of the Volga River, encountered the Scandinavian settlers there, he described them as covered fingers to neck with green tattoos. The account I first read this in was puzzled what to make of the “green” markings, as colored tattoo ink is a relatively recent innovation. If that writer had glanced below the surface of the translation — or had had personal experience with tattooing — they would have seen that the word for “green” in ibn Fadlan’s Arabic also meant “blue.” A further historical glance would have informed them that the medieval Arabs were by no means the only society to assign the two colors, distinct to modern eyes, a single name. I, myself, am significantly tattooed with traditional black ink, and can testify that once healed a black tattoo in fair skin becomes dark blue-green. Likewise the visible veins beneath fair skin can look green or blue, though we call aristocrats “blue-bloods.” The phrase is a direct translation of Castilian Spanish sangre azul, a term of pride and bigotry used in the age of inquisitions by pale families with no skin-darkening tint of Jewish or Moorish genes. It is a delightful historic irony that the very word azul (blue), like countless other common Spanish words, was loaned from the Moors who occupied

  • There’s no time like the present … except for maybe 100 years ago, and maybe 50, too

    Dec 29, 17 • 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 and half-century. Here’s a highly partial, by-no-means complete list of famous, infamous, or otherwise noteworthy 100-year and 50-year anniversaries to ponder in 2018. (And for Alert Readers, yes, this is a nearly identical intro to a similarly themed piece that’s run the past few years in 5enses. Was it any less effective?) 15 things that happened in 1918 • Jan. 8, 1918: Woodrow Wilson delivers his “Fourteen Points” speech outlining the principles of peace to be used for negotiations to end World War I. • January, 1918: Spanish flu, i.e. influenza (specifically H1N1), is observed in Kansas, kicking off the 1918 flu pandemic in the U.S. Worldwide, the influenza pandemic infects 500 million people resulting 50 million-100 million deaths, then three to five percent of the world’s population. In the U.S., alone, life expectancy dropped by a dozen years as a result. • Feb. 6, 1918: The “Representation of the People Act” gives most women over the age of

  • On the Walls: ‘STEPS Art Education Program Student Exhibit’

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, On the WallsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood You know who really gets art? Kids. Without the intellectual baggage of pre- and post- -isms and -ologies, they’re able to approach just about any medium with a fresh eye and creativity void of affectation or pretense. But, like anyone learning a new skill, some direction is helpful if not outright necessary. You can argue about raw talent all you want, but who couldn’t use more tools in their tool box, right? Enter the STEPS Art Education Program via ‘Tis Art Center & Gallery. Launched in 2011, the program has grown and now caters free art lessons to 5- to 16-year-olds. Class sizes are limited to maximize teacher-student interaction, and the program often draws a waiting list. Instruction varies from class to class, and many art educators use a variety of methods and approaches to encourage exploratory learning. Curious to see more? Well, you can see art by the fall 2017 coterie on display at ‘Tis in the Mezzanine Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St. You can even meet some of the budding artists noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6 during an artists’ reception. If you think these artists are just kidding around, you’re in for quite a surprise. ***** Visit the “STEPS Art Education Program Student Exhibit” Jan. 5-16 at ‘Tis Art Center & Gallery, 105 S. Cortez St., 928-775-0223, TisArtGallery.Com. The artists’ reception is noon-2 p.m. Saturday,

  • Bird of the Month: January 2018

    By Russ Chappell If American Dippers are to be trusted — and, hey, they’re quite discerning — then Fain Park has a pond with quality water. Indeed, they’re quite picky and avoid even mildly polluted waters. A casual, transient, winter visitor, Dippers normally prefer fast-running, clear streams, where they feed on aquatic insect larvae like caddisflies, mayflies, beetles, bugs, and mosquitoes, as well as adult insects, worms, snails, fish eggs and small fish. They are, by and large, rarely seen on ponds or lakes. Also known as a water ouzel, American Dippers are stout and dusky grey with some brown on their heads, bright white eyelids and thick bills. They’re 5.5 to 8 inches in length, weigh 1.5 to 2.4 ounces, and have an extra eyelid called a “nictitating membrane” which helps them see underwater. They also have scales that block their nostrils when submerged. Permanent residents throughout their territories, which range from Alaska to Panama, some Dippers stay through winter when streams remain unfrozen. Others relocate to lower elevations and southward for the winter. They can tolerate cold water because of their low metabolic rate, their blood’s extra oxygen-carrying capacity, a thick layer of feathers, and the generous quantity of secreted oil, which keeps them warm while feeding underwater. When not foraging, you can catch them bobbing up and down on a rock or the shore. North America’s sole

  • Two-bit Column: Pelcgbtencul

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Two-bit ColumnNo CommentsRead More »

    By Justin Agrell I was at Prescott’s 2600 Hacker Quarterly meet up when I first got to see a man-in-the-middle attack in real life. A malicious network was made using two wireless antennas attached to a laptop. The first antenna was used to connect to the cafe’s real Wifi and the second to create a spoof wireless network. When someone connects to the fake network all of the traffic can be analyzed. I was the guinea pig. I simply needed to connect and use the internet as usual to see what could be discovered. I connected and was able to watch all of the traffic my computer generated communicating to the internet on the host the laptop. Credentials used to log on to popular websites were safe, protected by the HTTPS protocol, my email accounts were also safe as they were protected by TLS encryption, but my file server had no encryption and as soon as I logged in everything showed up in the stream of data. My username and password were both in plain text and clearly readable. Everyone watching saw my password and could now use it to access my file server. It’s demonstrations like these that really display the importance of encryption and how it protects us and our information. Being able to communicate securely has been important for thousands of years. One of the earliest known

  • Yelp review of the planet Earth

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By Jacques Laliberté  We visited this quaint planet — it’s in a corner of the Milky Way galaxy — on the recommendation of the wife’s carbon surgeon. I guess those guys are used to another level of accommodations because the wife and I found our experience downright unpleasant. Let me explain: First, the hospitality encountered in North America — a brash continent whose citizenry are highly active and their demeanor brusque — was not up to universal standard. The wife then reminded me that these sentients do not travel off-planet so wouldn’t know how others comport themselves. They eyed us askance, making no attempt to disguise their discomfort. The foodstuffs we sampled were spiced in unique and concordant ways, as their native organic ingredients are found no where else, and trying local food is one reason we travel. Unfortunately, the human serving us was undergoing life-span changes which nullified her empathy. Regional temperatures were tolerable, though we remained bound to our SCn-pacs just in case. The single, newer star — affectionately dubbed “Sun” — that lights Earth is agreeably dull — with one caveat, below — adding a warm hue to the surroundings. Travel Advisory! The light/dark cycle this star generates during Earth’s intervallic rotation is alarmingly brief and would’ve caused us to pupate if not for our medications. All our pre-trip research did not describe this potential horror. Beware

  • Oddly Enough: January 2018

    Dec 29, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller The Cone Shell Mollusk (of which there are hundreds of types) is a snail that can actually fish for its dinner. Using a tongue-like organ that contains a poisonous “harpoon,” the Cone Shell darts its victims with incredible speed. Tough ligaments hold the barbed harpoon fast to the Cone Shell as it “reels in” its prey. So potent is the venom of this little animal that some can kill humans in a few minutes. Collectors have been known to pay thousands of dollars for a single Cone Shell. ODDLY ENOUGH … The Cone Shell Mollusk is blind. It senses its meals by tasting the water while hiding in rocks or sand. ***** Most court-ordered decapitations were carried out using a sword, and unlike most movie versions, the prisoners were either standing or kneeling. The velocity brought to bear by the flying blade was remarkable. In 1645, for instance, a felon who raised his hands at the last moment not only lost his head, but both of his hands were cleanly nipped off at the wrists as well. ODDLY ENOUGH … A swordsman by the name of Charles-Henri Sanson made such a ferocious and clean cut of one victim that his head remained perfectly balanced on his neck. It is reported that Sanson mumbled, “Shake yourself — it’s done.” ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper,

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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