Fake Snake

Snake

When my granddaughter was a baby, I started keeping old toilet paper rolls, thinking we could make something to of them together, maybe a giraffe or other animal. Our first project was the easiest: a snake. We painted the rolls, then put a string through them. We used a small matchbox for the head. She trailed it behind her, letting it slither around the house.

Peggy

xxxxxxxx

My Brain on Non-standard Time

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one.

Each day is a different one, and each day brings a miracle of its own.”
— Paulo Coelho

This morning  I woke thinking that today was yesterday.  This afternoon I thought that today is tomorrow. Holy Toledo! (wonder where that expression comes from?) Time is mushed in my mind.  

If cells in a petri dish can be taught to tell time I need a petri dish.

Cultured Brain Cells Taught to Keep Time

The UCLA findings are the first to suggest that networks of brain cells in a petri dish can learn to generate simple timed intervals.

The ability to tell time is fundamental to how humans interact with each other and the world. Timing plays an important role, for example, in our ability to recognize speech patterns and to create music.

In a three-year study, UCLA scientists attempted to unravel the mystery by testing whether networks of brain cells kept alive in culture could be “trained” to keep time. The team stimulated the cells with simple patterns — two stimuli separated by different intervals lasting from a twentieth of a second up to half a second.

After two hours of “training cells”, the team observed a measurable change in the cellular networks’ response to a single input. In the networks trained with a short interval, the network’s activity lasted for a short period of time. Conversely, in the networks trained with a long interval, network activity lasted for a longer amount of time.

Duke Researchers Find Brain’s Motor Center Keeps Time Too

By measuring activity in the brain as reflected by blood flow, Duke researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the brain’s motor control center also keeps track of time. Their experiments show that in both animals and people, the striatum, a portion of the brain once thought only to control movement, keeps track of timing short intervals, from seconds to minutes.

“In addition to providing the first map of a neural circuit for an internal clock, the results have implications for Parkinson’s disease patients, because the timing mechanism is located within the basal ganglia, which is damaged in people with Parkinson’s disease. The findings also may help define the role of timing in learning and memory, said Dr. Warren Meck, associate professor of experimental psychology at Duke University.”

“We believe timing is the foundation for learning and memory,” Meck said in an interview. He suggests that defective timing mechanisms may underlie some learning disabilities and may contribute to dyslexia. Before these experiments, how the brain keeps track of time intervals in the seconds to minutes range was unknown.”

ScienceDaily

Creative Expression – Running Out

My husband is always after me to exercise. In Southern California it’s difficult to use weather as an excuse so I’ve been using fibromyalgia brain fog rather creatively:
  • “What!? It’s midnight already!? I was just about ready to go for my walk”
  • “Are you sure? I could swear I exercised today”
  • “I couldn’t walk today. I locked myself in.”
  • “What do you mean the doctor stressed exercise?! I swear she said not to stress over exercise.”
I really had a good reason not to exercise when I began to get light-headed on my walks and figured out it wasn’t the heat, lack of food or dehydration. I suspected my heart arrhythmia.  
(It was heart arrhythmia that led to my getting Tullulah, my pacemaker.)
This is a series of pictures I did when I was first diagnosed with atrial tachycardia.  I wasn’t focusing or even thinking about my heart when I was painting.  I painted spontaneously and very quickly.  The only reason I painted 3 was that I didn’t want to waste paint and throw away what I hadn’t used.  About 6 months later as I was putting together a presentation it hit me that these paintings represented my heart.

It’s easy to identify which picture is my heart in normal rhythm and which paintings represent the various stages of arrythmia.
That is the wonder and power of Therapeutic Creative Expression.
Whether it’s painting on canvas, crayons on paper or magazine pictures in a collage we express our unconscious knowing and inner wisdom.

Now that my arrhythmia’s are under control the most exercise I’m getting is running out of excuses.

judy

Why do so many Egyptian statues have broken noses?

The most common question that curator Edward Bleiberg fields from visitors to the Brooklyn Museum’s Egyptian art galleries is a straightforward but salient one: Why are the statues’ noses broken?
(If you don’t want to read the entire article, which is fascinating, we’ve highlighted the answer to the question in blue and red.)

Face of Senwosret III, ca. 1878-1840 BC

Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Written by Julia Wolkoff

Bleiberg, who oversees the museum’s extensive holdings of Egyptian, Classical and ancient Near Eastern art, was surprised the first few times he heard this question. He had taken for granted that the sculptures were damaged; his training in Egyptology encouraged visualizing how a statue would look if it were still intact.

It might seem inevitable that after thousands of years, an ancient artifact would show wear and tear. But this simple observation led Bleiberg to uncover a widespread pattern of deliberate destruction, which pointed to a complex set of reasons why most works of Egyptian art came to be defaced in the first place.

The bust of an Egyptian official dating from the 4th century BC.

The bust of an Egyptian official dating from the 4th century BC. Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y. 
Bleiberg’s research is now the basis of the poignant exhibition “Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt.” A selection of objects from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection will travel to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation later this month under the co-direction of the latter’s associate curator, Stephanie Weissberg. Pairing damaged statues and reliefs dating from the 25th century BC to the 1st century AD with intact counterparts, the show testifies to ancient Egyptian artifacts’ political and religious functions — and the entrenched culture of iconoclasm that led to their mutilation.”
“In our own era of reckoning with national monuments and other public displays of art, “Striking Power” adds a germane dimension to our understanding of one of the world’s oldest and longest-lasting civilizations, whose visual culture, for the most part, remained unchanged over millennia. This stylistic continuity reflects — and directly contributed to — the empire’s long stretches of stability. But invasions by outside forces, power struggles between dynastic rulers and other periods of upheaval left their scars.”
“The consistency of the patterns where damage is found in sculpture suggests that it’s purposeful,” Bleiberg said, citing myriad political, religious, personal and criminal motivations for acts of vandalism. Discerning the difference between accidental damage and deliberate vandalism came down to recognizing such patterns. A protruding nose on a three-dimensional statue is easily broken, he conceded, but the plot thickens when flat reliefs also sport smashed noses.”

Flat reliefs often feature damaged noses too, supporting the idea that the vandalism was targeted.

Flat reliefs often feature damaged noses too, supporting the idea that the vandalism was targeted. Credit: Brooklyn Museum
“The ancient Egyptians, it’s important to note, ascribed important powers to images of the human form. They believed that the essence of a deity could inhabit an image of that deity, or, in the case of mere mortals, part of that deceased human being’s soul could inhabit a statue inscribed for that particular person. These campaigns of vandalism were therefore intended to “deactivate an image’s strength,” as Bleiberg put it.”
Tombs and temples were the repositories for most sculptures and reliefs that had a ritual purpose. “All of them have to do with the economy of offerings to the supernatural,” Bleiberg said. In a tomb, they served to “feed” the deceased person in the next world with gifts of food from this one. In temples, representations of gods are shown receiving offerings from representations of kings, or other elites able to commission a statue.”
“Egyptian state religion,” Bleiberg explained, was seen as “an arrangement where kings on Earth provide for the deity, and in return, the deity takes care of Egypt.” Statues and reliefs were “a meeting point between the supernatural and this world,” he said, only inhabited, or “revivified,” when the ritual is performed. And acts of iconoclasm could disrupt that power.”

“The damaged part of the body is no longer able to do its job,” Bleiberg explained. Without a nose, the statue-spirit ceases to breathe, so that the vandal is effectively “killing” it. To hammer the ears off a statue of a god would make it unable to hear a prayer. In statues intended to show human beings making offerings to gods, the left arm — most commonly used to make offerings — is cut off so the statue’s function can’t be performed (the right hand is often found axed in statues receiving offerings).

“In the Pharaonic period, there was a clear understanding of what sculpture was supposed to do,” Bleiberg said. Even if a petty tomb robber was mostly interested in stealing the precious objects, he was also concerned that the deceased person might take revenge if his rendered likeness wasn’t mutilated.
The prevalent practice of damaging images of the human form — and the anxiety surrounding the desecration — dates to the beginnings of Egyptian history. Intentionally damaged mummies from the prehistoric period, for example, speak to a “very basic cultural belief that damaging the image damages the person represented,” Bleiberg said. Likewise, how-to hieroglyphics provided instructions for warriors about to enter battle: Make a wax effigy of the enemy, then destroy it. Series of texts describe the anxiety of your own image becoming damaged, and pharaohs regularly issued decrees with terrible punishments for anyone who would dare threaten their likeness.”

A statue from around 1353-1336 BC, showing part of a Queen's face.

A statue from around 1353-1336 BC, showing part of a Queen’s face. Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Indeed, “iconoclasm on a grand scale…was primarily political in motive,” Bleiberg writes in the exhibition catalog for “Striking Power.” Defacing statues aided ambitious rulers (and would-be rulers) with rewriting history to their advantage. Over the centuries, this erasure often occurred along gendered lines: The legacies of two powerful Egyptian queens whose authority and mystique fuel the cultural imagination — Hatshepsut and Nefertiti — were largely erased from visual culture.”
“Hatshepsut’s reign presented a problem for the legitimacy of Thutmose III’s successor, and Thutmose solved this problem by virtually eliminating all imagistic and inscribed memory of Hatshepsut,” Bleiberg writes. Nefertiti’s husband Akhenaten brought a rare stylistic shift to Egyptian art in the Amarna period (ca. 1353-36 BC) during his religious revolution. The successive rebellions wrought by his son Tutankhamun and his ilk included restoring the longtime worship of the god Amun; “the destruction of Akhenaten’s monuments was therefore thorough and effective,” Bleiberg writes. Yet Nefertiti and her daughters also suffered; these acts of iconoclasm have obscured many details of her reign.
Ancient Egyptians took measures to safeguard their sculptures. Statues were placed in niches in tombs or temples to protect them on three sides. They would be secured behind a wall, their eyes lined up with two holes, before which a priest would make his offering. “They did what they could,” Bleiberg said. “It really didn’t work that well.”

A statue of the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut wearing a "khat" headdress.

A statue of the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut wearing a “khat” headdress. Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Speaking to the futility of such measures, Bleiberg appraised the skill evidenced by the iconoclasts. “They were not vandals,” he clarified. “They were not recklessly and randomly striking out works of art.” In fact, the targeted precision of their chisels suggests that they were skilled laborers, trained and hired for this exact purpose. “Often in the Pharaonic period,” Bleiberg said, “it’s really only the name of the person who is targeted, in the inscription. This means that the person doing the damage could read!”

“The understanding of these statues changed over time as cultural mores shifted. In the early Christian period in Egypt, between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, the indigenous gods inhabiting the sculptures were feared as pagan demons; to dismantle paganism, its ritual tools — especially statues making offerings — were attacked. After the Muslim invasion in the 7th century, scholars surmise, Egyptians had lost any fear of these ancient ritual objects. During this time, stone statues were regularly trimmed into rectangles and used as building blocks in construction projects.”
“Ancient temples were somewhat seen as quarries,” Bleiberg said, noting that “when you walk around medieval Cairo, you can see a much more ancient Egyptian object built into a wall.”

Statue of pharaoh Senwosret III, who ruled in the 2nd century BC

Statue of pharaoh Senwosret III, who ruled in the 2nd century BC Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Such a practice seems especially outrageous to modern viewers, considering our appreciation of Egyptian artifacts as masterful works of fine art, but Bleiberg is quick to point out that “ancient Egyptians didn’t have a word for ‘art.’ They would have referred to these objects as ‘equipment.'” When we talk about these artifacts as works of art, he said, we de-contextualize them. Still, these ideas about the power of images are not peculiar to the ancient world, he observed, referring to our own age of questioning cultural patrimony and public monuments.”
“Imagery in public space is a reflection of who has the power to tell the story of what happened and what should be remembered,” Bleiberg said. “We are witnessing the empowerment of many groups of people with different opinions of what the proper narrative is.” Perhaps we can learn from the pharaohs; how we choose to rewrite our national stories might just take a few acts of iconoclasm.”
This article was published in partnership with Artsy, the global platform for discovering and collecting art. The original article can be seen here.
Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt” is on at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St Louis, Missouri, from 

Did you know? Octopuses: not alien, and very cool

Octopuses, which for the record is the correct pluralization of octopus. (It can also be octopodes, since the word is Greek in origin, but never octopi.)

Blue Bloods

“For starters, octopuses have literal blue blood. There’s a common misunderstanding that human blood is blue inside your body when it’s deoxygenated, but that comes from the fact that your veins look blue through your skin. Deoxygenated blood is still very red because of the iron-based mechanism by which our bodies transport oxygen molecules. Octopuses said ‘no, thanks’ to iron blood, though, and swapped in a copper-based protein that binds oxygen instead. It’s more efficient than iron in the cold, low-oxygen environments that most octopuses live in. It sure does make them spookier, but they’re not alone. The ocellated icefish has clear blood and there are lizards that run green. Both are from Earth.”

octopus on rock

An octopus just hangin’ out, Pixabay

Octopuses’ brains are in their arms

“Two-thirds of an octopus’ neurons reside in the long appendages (tentacles). This decentralized way of thinking means that even severed arms can “think” for themselves, or at least respond to physical stimuli and try to escape whatever is trying to eat them, which is why people die from trying to swallow live octopus arms only to find that the arm is still fighting back (a reported six people die this way on average each year in South Korea, where the dish is popular).”

Intelligent 

But their peculiar approach to brains hasn’t stopped them from ranking among the most intelligent creatures that we know of. Octopuses regularly use tools, solve puzzles, and generally cause mayhem by sneaking in and out of their enclosures. They also sometimes accessorize by hopping inside old coconut shells and using them as little mobile homes, all while looking more stylish than most humans.

Suckers and 3 Hearts

As they travel, they also taste everything that they walk on since their suckers are all sensory organs. You’d think that would motivate them to swim everywhere, but unfortunately one of their three hearts has to stop beating whenever they swim, which is quite tiring and means that many octopuses prefer to stroll. Their other two hearts provide blood to the gills, but that third heart circulates blood to the central organs.”

“The main organs reside inside the octopus’ bulbous head (called a mantle), which contains no bones. The only truly hard part of an octopus is the beak, which is basically its mouth. This means that the critters can squeeze through almost any opening as long as it’s bigger than the schnoz. Everything else is negotiable.”

Short Life

“But perhaps the weirdest thing about octopuses is that, unlike many of the other highly intelligent creatures populating our planet, they don’t live long. Some live just six months, others a few years, and most males die shortly after mating. The females last long enough to protect their clutch of eggs, during which time they slowly starve to death.”

https://www.popsci.com/octopus-aliens#page-2

Frankly Freddie, Doggone Good Dog – Remi, fashion hound

Dear Freddie Fans,

Remi is a consummate human-trainer.  After a lot of trial and error Lyn, his human, finally has learned exactly when it’s time to eat, time to walk and time for treats.  Remi has also taken on the task of helping her be charitable.  Every week he takes her to a Senior Care Facility.

As a reward for Lyn’s good behavior Remi took her to the Annual La Chien Fashion Show because he was walking the runway . . . wearing a priceless couture fur coat.

This show helped raise money for no-kill shelter, pet adoptions and pet rescue programs. 

Remi is certified by the AKC as a “Canine Good Citizen” and a Certified Therapy Dog and now adds runway model to his resume.  Being a working canine can be exhausting . . .

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield,

Exhausted Roving Reporter

Click below to read more about Remington

The Tail of Remington.