Parisians claim that in Paris, one is never more than 400 yards away from a Metro station. In Los Angeles, I am equally certain that one is always within 400 yards of a palm tree.
Scores of streets are lined with them; they are ubiquitous in domestic and public gardens; they rise from hilltops; they tower above cemeteries; they front museums, movie studios, hotels, hospitals, municipal buildings, modest apartments, and lavish villas; they are clustered around swimming pools; they dominate the skyline — they are everywhere, and have never been more popular. The city’s 200-year love affair with palms has never ceased, and rather than waning, the affair is waxing. From the first palms planted by Spanish padres to the city of Beverly Hills, which recently, in an act of cosmetic alteration, created a palm-lined, palm-bisected thoroughfare on upscale Rodeo Drive, the palm has been the tree of choice for Angelenos. [more inside]
“Pawzing Workout, Resuming Workout” [YouTube]
– A black bear encounter while running in Matcheetawin Trails, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The legacy of John Evelyn’s Sylva—
in 1664, on behalf of the Royal Society, the courtier, garden designer, entrepreneur, bee-keeper, connoisseur, author & celebrated diarist John Evelyn published Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest-Trees, and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesties Dominions,
which is supposed
to have significantly influenced [PDF]
forestry in the UK over the succeeding centuries. Now, ‘silvologist’ Gabriel Hemery
and artist Sarah Simblet
have produced a new work
inspired by Evelyn’s—The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest & Orchard Trees for the Twenty-First Century.
- a time-lapse tribute to the beauty of Joshua trees, native to southwestern U.S. Photographer Sungjin Ahn
embarked on his project after learning that climate change could "eliminate Joshua trees
from 90 percent of their current range in 60 to 90 years." via PetaPixel
Video Game Foliage.
"Making spaces for games is a strange and interesting art. Not being bound by physical limitations makes it possible to create impossible structures, but being bound by the technical limitations of modern computer graphics makes it difficult to create accurate simulacra of even simple objects. So video games cheat, using approximations to create the desired aesthetic result.
Plant approximations are especially hard, since organic structures tend to be difficult to describe in terms that graphics cards understand. This creates an interesting design constraint.
How do you create representations of plants given the limitations of realtime rendering?
I plan to use this blog to show a bunch of games that choose different answers to this question. I hope you’ll join me in looking into the weird world of video game foliage." [more inside]
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
Are your "friends" pushing illegal marijuana cigarettes? Don't let drugs get in the way of your dream car! Keep sober with these snappy comebacks to narcotics. [SLYT Australian PSA]
is a sculptor who works in Cleveland, Ohio. She also has a blog
. [Some images may be NSFW
Want to make a skyscraper look trendy and sustainable? Put a tree on it. Or better yet, dozens.
However, "There are plenty of scientific reasons why skyscrapers don’t—and probably won’t—have trees, at least not to the heights which many architects propose. Life sucks up there. For you, for me, for trees, and just about everything else except peregrine falcons." [more inside]
Some evil bastard has stuffed a bag of dope into a hole behind my house
and turned my life into the backdrop of a James Ellroy noir.
Destroying the Commons
by Noam Chomsky
: "The Charter of the Forest
demanded protection of the commons from external power. The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population: their fuel, their food, their construction materials, whatever was essential for life. The forest was no primitive wilderness. It had been carefully developed over generations
, maintained in common
, its riches available to all, and preserved for future generations -- practices found today primarily in traditional societies that are under threat throughout the world." [more inside]
by Clément Briend
. "La culture cambodgienne est habitée par une spiritualité qui crée une conscience du monde peuplée de génies et d’esprits. Dans le paysage d'une ville endormie, la nuit fait apparaître ces figures divines sur les arbres, permettant ainsi leur incarnation
. Par ces projections nocturnes, nous pouvons alors toucher la magie qui illumine leur regard sur le monde." [Via]
are to be seen
around the world
, a colorful plea to save the trees. [more inside]
Last week, I wrote about how urban trees—or the lack thereof—can reveal income inequality. After writing that article, I was curious, could I actually see income inequality from space? It turned out to be easier than I expected.
Legendary architect-philosopher Christopher Alexander delivers a fascinating lecture at Berkeley
, in which he criticizes "modular" design and offers a radical new vision of architecture's relation to nature. Alexander is best known for A Pattern Language
, which aimed to make buildings and towns more "alive" through a series of pleasing and comfortable patterns (five sample patterns can be found here
). His most recent work, the four-part The Nature of Order
, theorizes that life, whether organic or inorganic, emerges from a single simple process, which can be found on page 4 of Amazon's preview of the third volume
. In the first volume Alexander lists fifteen properties
that make a structure whole. Also worth reading: Alexander's classic essay A City is not a Tree
Romeyn Hough's American Woods
is one of the most astonishing books of the late 19th century, a 14-volume set containing a thorough survey of the trees of the U.S.
, complete with thinly sliced samples of the wood of each tree. Complete sets of this mammoth undertaking are today rare and highly prized
by Bartholomäus Traubek: a record player that plays slices of wood.
13-Year-Old Makes Solar Power Breakthrough by Harnessing the Fibonacci Sequence
After studying how trees branch in a very specific way, Aidan Dwyer created a solar cell tree that produces 20-50% more power than a uniform array of photovoltaic panels. [more inside]
is a free field guide for iPhone (Android coming soon) that uses the phone's camera and some biometric processing to identify trees by the shape of their leaves
. Development was financed by the National Science Foundation
(NYT article), and includes research by Columbia University, University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Cloning trees to stop global warming!
Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is a non profit organization that creates clones of ancient trees and uses them for the purpose of functional forestation. They are doing their part to stop deforestation and fight global warming by planting these cloned trees in different area across the planet. They are also preserve some of the oldest living things on the planet for future generations as well!
I was doing some research on Dryads
when I stumbled upon the TreeSpirit Project
. To cut to the chase, it appears to be a series of artful, tasteful photographs of people dancing butt-naked around trees
. What more can I say? Well, other than NSFW, obviously...
Welcome to Isle of Tune.
A music sequencer for the modern colonial. (Flash)
Old man winter has arrived. That means sugaring
season and maple syrup (pdf) production
is not that far away. Creamed
, there are treats
for everyone. Previously
Every Anime Opening Ever Made
(an admittedly exaggerated title) is a SLYT romp through the repeating themes in 93 different opening sequences, compiled by Derek Lieu
) [more inside]
They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fasted rooted they travel about as far as we do.
The quote is from John Muir, of course ("John o' the Mountains"). I guess there's a lot of these beauty of trees sites, but this is the first one I've encountered, and it's stunning.
My friend, the dead tree
For five years, Kevin Day has been photographing a single dead tree at Langley Country Park
in Berkshire. He talks a little about the process at theMET
Want a forest but don't have the space? Get a tree and four mirrors and make your own Unlimited Urban Woods
In preparation for the upcoming G8/G20 summit
in Toronto, security forces (who have already removed mailboxes, bus shelters and garbage bins
, as well as shutting down cell-phone
towers) are removing saplings from
the streets on the theory that they can be uprooted and used as weapons by protesters.
RCMP Constable Wendy Drummond explains that it is "like child-proofing your home
." [more inside]
and video of the devastation has begun to appear online,
as power is restored to the area: the storm that hit Leamington Ontario
early Sunday morning was part of a system that killed 7 people in Ohio
, but which incredibly caused no fatalities when it hit in the Canadian town of 20,000.
Obscure, overlooked, early '80s new wave/electro/artpunk. JOHN FEKNER CITY SQUAD
: Player on left. Try 2 4 5 7 9 11. Or better
just listen to them all. Eighties synth wave doesn't get much better than this. Sound collage at the next level. Throbbing synths + icy guitar: Beautiful Skin - Harsh distraction
. Gods of psychedelic coldwave, Lives of Angels
(Gallis Pole). Trees
: Sleep Convention
. And Necropolis of Love
(yes, that is how we danced in the eighties).
Whole Tree Architecture
- if you'd like a house built by pioneering architect Roald Gundersen
, your first step might be to hike in your nearby woods to choose some young, wind-bent, and diseased "Charlie Brown" trees
. Small diameter round trees have 150% the strength of milled lumber and twice the strength of steel in tension. Besides structural and environmental advantages, whole trees make for some beautiful
. [more inside]