Posts Tagged ‘University of Arizona’


April 22, 2018

I do so like being home, spending time with family and friends, and working in my garden, even if it only is for a week of “rotation”.  Harvested four round carrots (easier to grown in the desert hardpan soil), two stubby bell peppers,  five small japanese eggplants, and one ripe cherry tomato.  The squash is in bloom and there are dozens of green cherry tomatoes, but the brussel sprout plant is not producing yet.  These are all plants that didn’t die back in the winter.  I’m working my own compost (produced by slow but steady worms) into the soil to plant more on my next visit home.  The Abert’s towhee is enjoying water in the birdbath; fun to watch him revel in it.  Quail investigating the yard; guess they haven’t had chicks yet.  And lots of collared lizards enjoying the sun.

Wednesday friend K and I saw an art movie at the Loft, Leaning into the Wind – Andy Goldsworthy.  I love his work, and have two books of it, but now he’s doing a kind of performance art (like climbing through hedges, as in this photo).  Here’s a trailer: into the Wind

The next day we took a tour of University of Arizona’s Environment + Natural Resources Building II by Richärd+Bauer Architecture.  Awesome building which earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – I am accredited in it) Platinum Certification.

The vision for the Environment and Natural Sciences complex (ENR2)… sustainable design. The University’s goals: this project is the centerpiece of environmental research, the building should have a definable iconic identity… serving as a living and learning laboratory, and be the most sustainable on campus…

Organized about a central “slot canyon”; curvilinear anodized aluminum ribbons define the walls of the central canyon, recalling the terra cotta walls of the natural canyon, leaning overhead, and falling away. The vertical striations of the anodized scrim recall the desert varnish pattern of the Navajo tapestry and the canyon walls. As in the natural environs, each terrace reflects the elevated desert floor, with native trees, grasses, shrub, and stone. The canyon floor is a sand and stone dry bed, which gathers the rainwater and guides it into storage cisterns for reuse…

Walked the U (of Az) this morning w/ friend B and her dog, and brunch at the B-line.  Weather lovely: 64° feels like 84°.


You must read 40 Sea Gulls Wrecked His Hotel Room. 17 Years Later, a Pepperoni Pardon.

Florida Art

I’ve not been posting as often because I spend at least 7 3/4 hours a day on the computer at work, so I’m not enthusiastic about working on my tablet on weekends. But St. Petersburg was fun a few weekends ago. I had to go to the Dali Museum. It was built by Reynolds and Eleanor Morse who, in 1943, married, became friends with Dali, and bought their first work of his.  In 1982 they built this museum to house the largest collection of Dalí’s works outside Europe.  The architecture was amusing.  Those colored ropes, trailing from the tree in the wind, are made up of the bracelets we got when we entered the museum.  When you leave, you contribute to art.  The spiral staircase is in the center.

Dali’s style changed with the times.  Here are some of my favorites.  Love this Post-Impressionist scene, Cadaques, 1923.  (Cadaqués is a town in Catalonia, Spain where Dali spent summers as a boy and later made his home as an adult.)

The Portrait of My Dead Brother is huge – 69 in x 69 in.  This older brother was also named Salvador and died at the age of two, before the second Salvador was born.  When you’re close to it you see only the cherries (click on the photo and enlarge to see them) – the two under his nose have joined stems representing him and his brother.  Sorry not great focus – I was using a phone to photograph.  Had to take that one from a room away.

This Surrealistic self-portrait of Dalí surrounded by the elements of war, Daddy Longlegs of the Evening–Hope! was painted in 1939 in the US, where Dali and his wife sought refuge during World War II (The daddy longlegs spider, when seen in the evening, is a French symbol for hope.)  This was the Morses’ first purchase, a wedding present for themselves.

You’ll have to look up this Surrealistic painting, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, to understand all of the references.  It took over a year to paint and is so large, over 14 feet tall and 9 feet wide, I couldn’t get back far enough, with the crowds of people, for a straight shot.  It is amazing.

There is a room where you put on goggles and earphones to move through space made up of symbols in Dali’s paintings.  Sound has been added.  Much fun!

Even the gift shop has Art: this car.

Then the Imagine Museum, a glass museum, which was free that family Saturday, with children doing projects in the cafe area.  Can’t imagine them touring the glass exhibits.  Asked one of the women in charge – she said it was “a challenge.”  I have the names of the artists who did these marvelous pieces, if anyone is interested.

This is not my best photograph.  These are all glass copies of plastic containers.


This is all glass.  Amazing.  I had lots more photos, but can’t find them now.  Took them with my FEMA iphone.


Anyway, am leaving Tucson tomorrow morning to get back to work.  So figured I ought to post this.  Hasta…


February 14, 2013

Gene Hackman, Gene Kelly, Gene Wilder, Gene Autry, Gene Krupa, and Genomes (the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism).

U of A has a Science Lecture Series on Wednesday evenings at this time of the year that I enjoy.   Last year it was Living Beyond 100.  This year is Genomics Now.

Last week we learned about The Genesis of the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic.  Very interesting.  Helps that the lecturers have a good sense of humor.  (The College of Architecture & Landscape Architecture also has lectures the same night; I went to the first one and the guy was boring as all get-out.  I left after an hour and decided that I’d rather do science.)

This week it was Genomics and the Complexity of Life. I didn’t know that Mendel the Monk was the father of mice genetics.  (Before the Abbott said he didn’t want him working with animals that had sex and so he started on pea plants, which have sex.)   First we had to guess how many genes humans have.

Between 2000 and 2003, a light-hearted betting pool known as “GeneSweep” was run in which genome researchers could guess at the number of genes in the human genome.  Bets ranged from 25,497 to 153,438 genes, with a mean of 61,710, as indicated by the plot below.gene #

tattooWe’re between chickens and grapes.  (Round of laughter.)
Chickens 16,736
Humans  22,333
Grapes    30,434

And did you know that Darwin’s evolutionary tree is a trendy tattoo?

Then there were the studies on the Rock Pocket Mice (the Snickers bar of the desert, eaten by hawks, snakes, owls, coyotes…) on Nova.  Couldn’t find the Nova video but there is a cute 20 second summary on this link.  Play the mov:

I knew that with mammals (and fruit flies) the males are XY and females XX but I didn’t know that with birds and butterflies it’s reversed: females XY, males XX.  Then my son informed me that the duck-billed platypus is XXXXXXXXXX versus XXXXXYYYY.

He also said,

I went to a pretty interesting lecture about “weird genomes” recently. The emphasis was on protists, single-celled ancient organisms. It’s important to remember that life has been on earth for 3-4 billion years (I don’t remember the exact amount off the top of my head) but the kind of stuff we think of when we think “life” (i.e. plants, dinosaurs, duck-billed platypus) have only been around for a few million years; the rest of the time there were ONLY single celled organisms.

There was a bit conjecture from religious groups about how genomes would look; basically they expected that humans (being the most evolved organism) would have the largest and most complex genome, and as we stepped down the tree of life you would see a progressively simpler genome. This is not the case (as you’ve learned), but it gets weirder when you get to protists. I’m sure you’ve heard of an amoeba – the simplest animal, single-celled, the butt of countless jokes. Humans have 3 billion base pairs in their genome; amoebas have 670 billion base pairs.

Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!1

The history of the musical has some pretty dull stuff – a stiff-backed guy (Nelson Eddy playing opposite Jeanette MacDonald) singing with an operatic voice and a lame plot.

But we watched the title number to RagtimeWOW!  The singing, the choreography of history!  Watch this youtube:

Death by Gun

After all I had written about the Blade Runner2, I am very sorry to add this:

South African “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, was charged on Thursday with the shooting death his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his upscale home in Pretoria.

Guns do not make a family safer.  The Blade Runner killing was in South Africa, but here are some statistics for the US:

A gun at home doesn’t keep you safer. For every time a gun is used in self-defense at home there are seven assaults or murders; 11 suicide attempts and four accidental shootings; and 43% of households with kids have at least one unlocked gun.

In 2011, nearly 10 times more people were shot and killed in arguments than by civilians trying to stop crime. In 2010, almost six times more women were shot by husbands and boyfriends than male strangers.

A women’s chance of being killed by their abuser increases more than seven times if he has access to a gun. High gun ownership states ups the chance of a woman being killed by a gun 4.9 times compared to states with low ownership.3


2 and and